"something awful to behold"

Right, I’ll try to justify not putting this into the hall of questions by posing my simple question as a rambling mess. First, the question:

Why is life “something awful to behold”? I just read the phrase in a thread, can’t even recall who said it, but it inspired me. It seems a common sentiment around here. So - whats the deal people?

The bit that makes this not just a question:

It is commonly said that religion, morality, ideals, whatever, are created in order to hide the creator from ‘existence’. Christianity exists because Christians need to believe that a ‘good’ person is rewarded for their ‘virtue’, a ‘bad’ person punished for their lack of it. Ditto for morality, ideals like equality. I’m not here to argue any of this, so I’m not interested in whether this is a fair characterisation of anyone’s view. You all know what I mean.

Right: cards on the table, I agree that a lot of the above things are shams. Where I disagree: whats awful about any of it? What is awful about the fact that ‘nice guys finish last’. What is unsettling about the non-absolute nature of moral commands? What is awful about the non-existence of God? What is so awful about the realisation that, actually, there wasn’t anybody to create all humans equal (not that to say people are unequal makes any more sense than the opposite claim, it doesn’t)?

My point: there is a lot of talk about what to do once we realise all of the above. This can end up in some of the nonsensical philosophies spouted on here. This can end up in the adolescent ramblings of AIdan. You can end up ranting about how not all humans are equal, some are better than others, before specifying a criterion by which a certain class are better than another class. Conveniently, this criterion usually includes the person making the claim inside the class. You can end up ranting on about the arbitrary nature of moral commands, declaring morality a device by which the weak control the powerful, somehow thinking that any one person or any one group has ever consciously attempted such a thing (an excellent criticism of this view is given at some point in 1984, if my memory serves me). The creation of Christian morality as some kind of grand, organised conspiracy of the weak? I think such a view gives far more credit to the intelligence and foresight of these creators than we should.

I suppose what I would try to do can be explained as follows. We need to move beyond viewing claims such as ‘all humans are equal’ and ‘not all humans are equal’ as being in any way opposites. When person X claims the former, he is interpreting the world in such-and-such a way. Person Y, who claims the latter, is doing the exact same thing. Neither is making a claim about something that exists ‘out there’ in reality: both are, in effect, stating their interpretation of reality. Anyone holding that X and Y are engaged in a real dispute is committed to the view that ‘equal’ expresses an actual relation that can hold between people: X says the relation holds between all people, Y that it doesn’t. Can anyone provide an argument for this relation existing?

This could be summarised with the statement ‘everything is what it is, and nothing more’. And that, in a nutshell, is my view of the world. A person is a person. Anything more is interpretation.

I really should actually plan my posts, this ended up in a completely different place to where it started. I’ll end it here.

Yeah, this post kind of seems like a ramble post Irving, but that’s fine.

Although a lot of your concerns are warranted, I don’t see the issue that you do. People disagree; so be it. What’s the problem exactly?

[quote=“IrvingWashington”]
Right, I’ll try to justify not putting this into the hall of questions by posing my simple question as a rambling mess. First, the question:

Why is life “something awful to behold”? I just read the phrase in a thread, can’t even recall who said it, but it inspired me. It seems a common sentiment around here. So - whats the deal people?

The bit that makes this not just a question:

It is commonly said that religion, morality, ideals, whatever, are created in order to hide the creator from ‘existence’. Christianity exists because Christians need to believe that a ‘good’ person is rewarded for their ‘virtue’, a ‘bad’ person punished for their lack of it. Ditto for morality, ideals like equality. I’m not here to argue any of this, so I’m not interested in whether this is a fair characterisation of anyone’s view. You all know what I mean.

Right: cards on the table, I agree that a lot of the above things are shams. Where I disagree: whats awful about any of it? What is awful about the fact that ‘nice guys finish last’. What is unsettling about the non-absolute nature of moral commands? What is awful about the non-existence of God? What is so awful about the realisation that, actually, there wasn’t anybody to create all humans equal (not that to say people are unequal makes any more sense than the opposite claim, it doesn’t)?

I think there is a distinction between acting with morals and believing in God. Not considering whether there is a God, if there would be a society without laws, restrictions and social control, every person would do anything in its power to conquer as much as possible and protect all of its belongings. Based on laws each society develops morals, ideals and religion and as a result the distinction perceived between good and bad is based on the “education” given by the state, society and parents. Awful of living in a society without morals (read no restrictions on behaviour) are the consequences, and not whether people act morally or not.

The question what is so unsettling about the non-existence of God is the same as asking what is awful about the existence of God. If I ask you what is the cause of existence, you could answer me something or nothing. Still we are discussing the same substance but name it differently. I suspect that you are more interested to know why the ones believing in God, aren’t satisfied with accepting that there is no purpose or goal in this life time. Human beings need reasons and other beings to act. We will follow the ones being able to provide us with the most logical reasons and answers for our questions and feelings. Having accepted a certain reasoning we are able to inspire others and that in turn will make us even more strongly believe our own reality (we feel we have grasped reality).

Reading the rest of your post makes me doubt whether I have been able to react appropriately to your questions. I will end here for you to react before proceeding.