Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Religious Algebra 101

Recently, I had the opportunity to help out a loved one solve some hard ass high school math problems. When I was in high school, and this stuff was fresh in my mind, these problems were tough, but solvable. Now? It was damn near impossible. I felt like an idiot. Now I know what a black kid feels like in remedial math. Anyways, the whole experience gave me an idea for my next article. I was already thinking about writing something about religion...so why not throw in some mathematics in there to take me back to my glory days at Laguna Hills High School? For all of you dumbasses, don't worry, this is not a math article. It is about religion. The points are just in the format of equations. But don't worry, you won't have to solve for X. This article is an extension of something I wrote earlier, entitled, "From God to Vegas...".

Please read this note before you begin reading: Just like with my first article about religion, I am not trying to promote one belief over another. It is neither my intention nor desire to make someone waiver from their faith/beliefs OR convince someone into believing something one way or another. It is not my intention to offend anyone's religion. But it IS my intention to offend their intelligence. (kidding) Through these "equations" I am merely presenting various observations/possibilities/theories that have come across my mind in the hours of sitting on the toilet thinking about this stuff. I am not promoting my beliefs, quiet simply because I myself don't know think I know the truth 100%.

Religious Algebra Law #1: The Spare Wheel Theory

IF Sadness > Happiness THEN God > World/Self
IF Sadness < Happiness THEN God < World/Self

Here is what a theist (someone who believes in God) would/should say to this equation: 
"Unfortunately, this is true. Many people use religion and God as a spare wheel. FDR prayed over the radio with the entire country when the Allies invaded Normandy in WW2. When the Challenger went KABOOM on live television, everybody and their mom prayed in front of their TV sets. Same thing on 9/11. At times of misery, we turn to God. Which is good, but what about the times of happiness? Is that all God is good for? To help us when we are down?  How about praying when DON'T need something? How about praying just for the sake of praying? How about praying just to please God?"

My two cents: If the very people that promote their belief in God didn't use him like a spare wheel, the whole God/religion concept would seem more legitimate to non-believers.

Here is what an atheist would say to this equation: 
"Doesn't surprise me. You know why? Because this is one of the very specific reasons why God and religion were invented in the first place...in order to cope better with tragedy. The psyches of human beings are too fragile to come to grip with the fact that bad shit just happens...randomly. And when it does happen, they are too fragile to handle it. So God and religion are not only a way of coming to terms with why bad stuff happens (God's wish, God's plan, God's test, etc), but also it provides a sense of comfort in tragic times." 

My two cents: So what? I am not saying God and religion are false, but even if they were, the sense of mental support and comfort they provide in times of sadness is very real...and probably unlike any other type of support this world has to offer. How would this be any different than taking prescription antideprassants to unnaturally alter your mood and using chemicals to trick your brain into thinking you are happy?

Religious Algebra Law #2: The Insurance Policy (AKA Pascal's Wager)

IF (Belief = Yes God) AND (God = Exists) THEN Afterlife = Positive
IF (Belief = Yes God) AND (God ≠ Exists) THEN Afterlife = Zero
IF (Belief = No God) AND (God ≠ Exists) THEN Afterlife = Zero
IF (Belief = No God) AND (God = Exists) THEN Afterlife = Negative

Therefore: Possible Outcomes: 
If you believe in God - Positive or Zero
If you don't believe in God - Negative or Zero

Here is what a theist would say to this equation: "This is absolutely correct. The only outcomes for you if you believe in God are positive and neutral. The worst possible thing that can happen to you is NOTHING! Why take the chance? If you don't believe in God, there is a negative possibility you may be punished. So don't risk it!"

My two cents: There are so many other complications and factors involved. Almost every major religion has a large list of rules and gray area in their philosophy that it is not a simple equation that if you believe in God you will have a good afterlife. And who is to say God will definitely punish those who don't believe in him? And if you are going to be using this logic, then please admit that you believe in God not because of your love/attachment/devotion/desire to please him, but because you want to save your own ass. (I am not saying this because I am an atheist, because I'm not one. When I do religious stuff, I fully admit I do it out of fear of what will happen if I don't. I want to save my own ass. I admit it.)

Here is what an atheist would say to this equation: "God believers like to only use logic when it is convenient for them. Whenever there logical arguments brought up against the existence of God, the believers always say God/religion/spirituality are above human logic. They are on a different plane of understanding. We cannot possibly begin to understand them. So then why use this logic? And even if this insurance policy logic makes sense, it doesn't make you right, and it doesn't prove anything."

My two cents: Different people are motivated by different things. Even though this logic may seem kind of hypocritical, if it used to make people live better lives and be better people, then what is the harm? On the other hand, if it used for wrong reasons like religious wars or personal gain, that is a whole different story...and probably a whole different article."

I think this is enough God talk for one day. I wanted to write more equations and shorter explanations but with this topic, no amount of words are enough to cover an issue. So I will leave you with this.

Many of you may already know about this. It is nothing new or original. But nevertheless, it is extremely interesting. It is the omnipotence paradox. You can read about it all you want on Wikipedia. If you don't want to read about it, here is the gist:

Can God create a stone so heavy that he cannot lift it?

Whatever your answer or comment is, feel free to post it in the comments.

Thanks for reading!
Yours truly,
The King of Nothing

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