Belief for Millennials
This is the first blog post in what I hope to be a series of posts on what we can call rational belief.
I write this for that sizeable group of people who sit between the atheist and religious camps. In particular, I think of my hometown of Vancouver, where I find a large group of people hold some degree of spiritual belief that is not firmly aligned with any one organised religion.
There are well structured thought-out positions for both atheists and religious believers to feel all too secure in their particular world views, but there is little to hang onto for those who see themselves somewhere between.
So am going to provide structure for a rational spiritual belief that draws upon both logic and religion. Hopefully, when this is done (whenever that can be for a procrastinator) we will have good modern logical reason to hold spiritual belief – belief that befits any self-respecting thinking man and woman of today. Pretty heady stuff…
Jesus, Martin and the Good and Great gang
Here is good reason to believe that Jesus Christ or someone of his stature, lived. It does not depend on any evidence, such as the bible or other documents. Instead it depends on an argument based on probability, given what we know about our world today.
It’s very simple and straightforward. It goes like this:
We would all agree that there are good people in this world. Most people know a few, some people know some exceptional examples of such people. And we all are aware of people throughout history and in the public sphere who are regarded as good people. The point being that we all understand that exceptionally good people exist.
I think we would also easily agree that great people exist. What I mean by great in this sense, are people with ability, powerful people who are able to influence others and influence the course of events. I believe we can also agree that such ‘great’ people have and do exist.
If we can agree good and great people exist and have existed in our recent history, I think we can also conclude that good and great people existed in the past.
To flesh out this very basic argument in terms of actual examples of such people, I believe Dr Martin Luther King to be a prime example of a good and great person. He led the American Civil Rights movement and led American society away from politically and socially ingrained segregation and racism. He is one of the good and great persons of the 21st century.
Unless we believe our modern age has a monopoly on the good and the great then we must conclude that people like Dr King are scattered throughout history – people who have led their people, fought for justice and opened the world’s eyes to principle that transcends time.
So the idea that there was a person called Jesus who was and is celebrated as an exceptionally good and great person (or the good and great person) should not be seen as controversial or illogical [celebrated apparently because: he championed human dignity and good will and broke down social barriers – something that was contrary to Jewish customs of the day; he spoke against Jewish traditions as taught by the priests and Pharisees as being a perversion of the Jewish faith; he spoke against Roman oppression and Jewish collaboration with them – all this brought him into conflict with the powerful priests and Pharisees of the Jewish temple as well as Rome itself]. In fact, given that we agree good and great people have, will and do exist, the logical conclusion is that Jesus or someone like Jesus, did most likely exist.
Proving that good and great people have existed throughout history does not prove that Jesus was necessarily part of this ‘good and great’ gang. But if we consider the story of Jesus, the immensity of it and the evidence, it is unlikely that Jesus as a good man par excellence is a fabrication. So I think on balance of probability he does belong to this club of the good and great.
Good and great people have and do exist; many of these people are moral and religious icons and leaders lauded by history; both Martin Luther King and Jesus Christ are among this group; the implication being that a secular spiritual outlook should view Jesus and King in the same manner together with numerous other good and great people; and that this group of people is continually being added to – in fact you could be a prophet too! (but you have to do something good and great, something along the lines of Dr King proportions)