the point of deism


My best blogging buddy, Ark, has a few problems with the religiously inclined. I share many of his concerns but we often don’t come to the same conclusions on related matters. He has recently sparked an interesting discussion about deism (here) that has got me thinking about the human craving for meaning and purpose.

Life for many of us in this day and age isn’t the struggle of ye olden times, or the struggle still faced in many other parts of the world. If you have a comfortable place to live, a means of generating income and the luxury of pursuing social and other leisure activities that interest you, life is a far cry from the basic human fight for survival – finding and competing for land, food and security in less comfortable surroundings.

It seems to me that humans faced with a more stark and painful existence that promises no hope for change or improvement, in this life or beyond, would simply give up. This would obviously not be a genetically successful trait. I would suggest that the craving for more to life than this, is an evolutionary successful characteristic that has been vital in bringing us to where we are today. However, in recognising this, we find one of the obvious psychological reasons for the sneaky suspicion that many humans have that there is an invisible force with a plan and afterlife, waiting in the shadows. (Other reasons include the curious quest for answers, and the extension of childhood with the invisible parent-god figure always there for us.)

So, while no-one can prove that an invisible or absent force of any description isn’t behind the creation of our existence, the fact that our strong desire for this belief can be found in basic human psychology, and that this belief has been exploited in every society down through time with a whole range of now laughable superstitious organised religions, can lead us to fairly confidently conclude that this craving for purpose is evolutionarily defunct. We have it, but we don’t need it.

Life isn’t always a frightening struggle for existence that requires an evidence-free creator-shaped comfort blanket. Let’s move with the times. Life is a pointless but at times interesting and enjoyable journey through random experiences – no creator forces or gods included.