Music is something nearly everyone can appreciate, whether they understand it or not. You don’t need to know what a chord, or a rhythm is – or even a note – to enjoy the sound, sing along and tap your feet. The enjoyment of music is so universal that people feel perfectly comfortable asking someone what sort of music they like, never expecting the conversation to be shot dead with the words, “I don’t like music.” It seems as though music is something that so many of us can relate to because it seems to be a genuine portrayal of emotion that isn’t difficult to empathise with. Even without vocals, music can sound happy, or sad, or energetic, or angry. So using these melodies in parallel with lyrics of a similar nature makes for an authenticity that brings it to life.
It’s fantastic to know and understand what you think, and how you feel about life, the universe and everything. It gives you identity and helps you make decisions quickly, without agonising over the possibilities. For example, if a friend suddenly turns to you and suggests you steal something from a shop, you understand whether that is acceptable to you or not and can quickly reply with “yes, that’s a great idea!” or “no, that’s ridiculous.” Without this self assurance, it can become very difficult to know what to do in such situations. People start to default to whether the loyalty they have to their friend is stronger than that of the loyalty to someone with the opposing view – they conform to the views of the person they like rather than searching for their own opinion.
Whether we care to admit it or not, pornography has become a huge part of western society. Here are just a few statistics provided by familysafemedia.com:
- Every second – 28,258 internet users are viewing pornography.
- In 2006, 23% of all internet users who searched the word ‘porn’ were under 18.
- 12% of all internet websites are pornographic.
- The average age of a person’s first exposure to internet pornography is 11.
- 1 in 3 visitors to adult websites are female – this affects people from both genders.
- And, perhaps most shockingly, 80% of 15-17 year olds have multiple hard-core exposures to pornography.
If someone does something that is perceived as wrong then they tend to be punished. In the case of children, this punishment is usually administered as a form of discipline, teaching the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. They aren’t punished because of the thing that they did wrong, but because they are being shaped and moulded into the person that their carer wants them to be; it’s an act of love, or at least it should be. Most legal systems work on slightly different principles – their punishments are based on retribution, deterrence and rehabilitation.
Too often in this world, people are judged by their desires. It’s easy to criticise something that you can’t relate to and makes very little sense to you, particularly if it appears to damage people’s lives. Heavy smokers, sadomasochists and drug addicts are just some of the people that fall into this broad category. The majority of people in the Western world struggle to comprehend why anyone would participate in recreational drug use or sadomasochism and so the people that do are stereotyped, just as all minorities, whether that’s sexual preference, religious belief, ethnicity or anything else for that matter.
Role models are an important part of a child’s development, there’s no doubt about it, kids are influenced by the behaviour of the people in authority over them and the people they like. Traditionally, the main role model for a child is their father, for a boy, and mother, for a girl. Parents should behave how they want their children to behave in future, as they are constantly being scrutinised by their offspring, who are desperately trying to form a view of how the land lies – of what’s acceptable and what’s not. You don’t see a father swearing in front of their four-year-old son because that father doesn’t want to endorse this sort of behaviour. Equally, you’ll find that parents try to be polite in front of their children regardless of their mood. Even in adulthood, people are highly influenced by their peers – we have a natural instinct to avoid offending the people closest to us in order to maintain relationships.
If you’ve seen any of my blog posts before you’ll have noticed that my interests ultimately lie in ‘the big picture’; I’m fascinated by things that can never be fully explained, confirmed nor denied. I thought I’d use this post to explore some of the reasons why I think it’s important to consider things that many people dismiss because of their woolly, impossible-to-prove nature.
So, philosophy in my edition of The New Oxford Dictionary of English philosophy is defined as thus:
“The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence…”
What could be more interesting than thinking about the very foundations of our existence, than forming opinions on the meaning of life, what everything comes down to? The word comes from the Ancient Greek word ‘philosophia’ meaning ‘love of wisdom’ and, to me, there is a clear reason why the Greeks considered such a discipline as wisdom.
As I explained in my “About” post, I used to be a nihilist. To recap, nihilists believe that a person’s consciousness ceases to exist in their death. It all comes down to nothing. To me, this seemed like the only logical conclusion an atheist could come to; in the absence of a supernatural world, death is the absolute conclusion of human life and it is reduced to nothing. Hence, the word nihilism is derived from the Latin, ‘nihil’ meaning ‘nothing’ or ‘zero’.
I think you’d be surprised how many people are nihilists without knowing it. In my experience it is incredibly common to come across an atheist that believes that it is absolutely ‘the end’ when you die. These people tend to be the most emphatic in their arguments against religion and often profess to know a lot about science. Very few nihilists, however, wholeheartedly live by the principles of their faith.
You may be taken aback, or perhaps amused, by my use of the word ‘faith’ to describe a belief in nothing. But nihilism holds a faith equal to that of Christianity or Islam. There is no evidence to support the idea that death is the end, and how could there be? It’s not possible to ask the dead of their experience. It is therefore a completely faith-based belief.
I decided to write this blog because I believe that a life without religion is depressing and unfulfilling. I write, not to convince you or to win you over, but to present a point of view that you may not have previously considered. I simply aim to aid you in forming your own views and opinions because I believe that life is something worth contemplating to the full. So I encourage you to give this a read regardless of your current religion or viewpoint.
To give you some idea of my background, I am a British male living in South-East England. Before I came to religion I was a nihilist. Nihilism is a subsection of atheism believing that, not only is there no world beyond the natural world as we see it, but that after death your consciousness ceases to exist and your being becomes extinct – you cease to exist. Many people hold this view without recognising its implications and I intend to explore this in greater detail on this blog.
A couple of years ago, I became a Christian. I am not going to lie and say that these blogs will be completely objective because I don’t believe that is possible. This blog’s primary objective is to convince people of the validity of religion but, of course, as a Christian I would love for followers of this blog to come to Christianity over other religions. Although, please be put at ease, because I am not going to be blogging about Christianity as a focus.
I welcome criticism and counter-arguments to my page. I hope you understand that I, being human, have not fully formulated my opinion on life, the universe and everything and can be both incorrect and convinced of other views. This, to me, is the only way to live my life – with an open mind.
I hope that you decide to follow me as I explore some simply mind-blowing and thought-provoking topics to encourage a naturally philosophical mind.