Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Ethics of Atheism for Theists
or  "You're looking at the wrong part/end/elevation of the mountain!"

There was a mountain, a huge steep mountain, with a very wide base.  And due to the elevation, most of the mountain is always hidden in clouds to those below.  Around the base were many villages, and all of them had different ideas as to what was above them.

To the North, was a village where the people said that above the clouds on the mountain were more people and kings, just like below, but more powerful and richer, and when something good or bad happened, it must have come down from Those Above.

To the East, was a village where the sides sloped up more gently, so that a determined person could climb up a little bit into the clouds and see more of the ground below.  Some said the mountain just kept going up and up, with no end.  Others said that there was ultimately Nothing at the top, and it made them calm to think about it that way.  A lot of people said it was “all about the climb, not the mountain” and focused on how the exercise helped their own personal fitness only.

To the South, was a village where the people would follow the animals they hunted up and down the slopes, so they were seen to be part of the mountain, and the people were part of it too. They figured that above the clouds must have been more of the same. As above, so below.  It’s all connected, man.

To the West, was a village, where the mayor would look up at the sharp cliffs above and would tell you that long ago, and every so often, a messenger from above the clouds, rappels down to talk to the people.  And the messenger gives advice and laws and admonitions from the Wise One who lives at the Top of the Mountain and can see the whole area from up there.  Sometimes, these things seem very strange at the time, but these ideas have helped us through tough times.  We know there is a caring Person at the top because He's introduced Himself to us.  We wrote it all down even. 

            And around the mountain, near the steepest cliffs, are many farms, where if you ask the farmers what’s on the mountain, they say “I don’t see anything of value there.  I’m busy working down here in the fields, and I provide great food for everyone around the mountain, even the ones who spend their time gazing up at the clouds.  Next year I will produce a little more.  I even looked at climbing that cliff once but it was very hard, seemed to be pointless, and all the other villages have such different ideas about what's there, so therefore, I'm not worrying about it anymore.  Different villagers are trying to convince me that their view of the mountain is correct, and they are really quite annoying and unhelpful.”