"It's amazing how much 'mature wisdom' resembles being too tired." --Robert Heinlein

The Church of Reality




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Insights from Lost & Found

I wonder what I'll find out next!

This is Magger Frane's 'blog.


My Ontological Arguments

A couple months ago, during a period of extreme stress, I determined logically that God exists.

I defined God as the union of all the forces of the Known and Unknown Universe that I do not control.

When I defined God in this way, I concluded that there were only two controlling entities in the entire universe: (1) God, and (2) me (and God held the trump cards).

Then I imagined what it would be like to be such a God. One conscious (?) entity in control of everything except my own free will. That felt like a lopsided contest, especially as there are probably infinite ways to kill me, and no ways for me to kill God (even if I wanted to). And I'm not even sure I have free will! "Free will" falls into a bin labeled "Metaphysical Unknowns" ... a concept that is purely abstract and completely resistant to logical proof. The extent of our free will, if we have any, is limited to our own perceptions of its existence, which could all be illusions.


Me and God. God and me. What was the point of that?? Were all the people I loved merely aspects of God (and is that a bad thing?)? It seemed like God couldn't control everything, though, because some forces are good and some forces are evil. Why would God control both the evil and the good? So, then I decided that God controlled the good stuff and the Devil controlled the evil stuff. Suddenly, I saw God and the Devil fighting each other all over the planet. I witnessed spiritual warfare.

Which side would I join? Why should I join either side? Do I favor the forces of "good"??? How do I know whether good is really good, whether evil is really evil? Isn't evil constantly trying to trick me into thinking it is good? What would happen to me either way? Is it true that joining God would lead me to Heaven, while joining the Devil would lead me to Hell?

The idea of Heaven has always sounded boring to me, unfortunately. I never understand how a bunch of former humans could live together for eternity inside a warm bath of endless love without eventually getting bored. Wouldn't that be like watching TV with your family forever?

The idea of Hell, however, frightened me. Endless pain. Maybe endless pleasure would get boring, but eternal pain would be both boring and painful. Well, that would be evil, yes. The set of evil includes eternal pain.

Do I have to pick one or the other? Do I really have a choice? How am I supposed to tell the difference between good and evil anyway? As a human, even if I knew what was evil, how could I always avoid it? Sometimes it's a close call, you know, balancing various outcomes and points of view.

I suppose that's where forgiveness enters the picture. As long as you are trying to be good, and you sincerely ask forgiveness for your sins, then you still get to enter Heaven. It is the people who are trying to be evil, and those who act with reckless disregard for the outcome, who are sent to Hell.


During my more calm and rested moments, I realize that everything I wrote above is a bunch of bullshit. Just because I can imagine God, and the Devil, and Heaven & Hell ... which I can only do in such great detail because I've been brought up that way ... just because I can imagine something doesn't mean it exists. In fact, most of the things I imagine don't exist. That's why we call it imagination.

There are forces at work within (and without) my perceptual well that I can not control. There are forces I can not understand. There are probably forces I can not perceive. Some of these forces might be conscious, others might not be. Good and evil are subjective. Nobody can demonstrate with any certainty what, if anything, happens to our conscious selves when we die. The ideas of Heaven and Hell are used by humans to control other humans, sometimes with sincerity, sometimes with duplicity (and their motivations are not determinative of whether such control is either good or bad for me).

My ontological arguments arose during a period of extreme stress because I was extremely anxious, more anxious than I've ever been. Religion arises from a need to soothe anxiety, especially existential anxiety. Instead of accepting the range and power of the forces we can not control, including those that might extinguish (or torture) us forever, we imagine a storyline that provides salvation.


So, which side do I join? The good or the evil?

I try my best to take care of myself. I try my best to help others, without going overboard (which is its own evil). I have fun while I can. I forgive myself when it appears I've caused somebody pain, and try to avoid that same mistake next time, if possible, if the pain wasn't necessary for our growth together or apart.

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