“It’s just what I believe.”
I used to hide behind that phrase, and other people hid behind it too. When I disengaged from church life and practiced my own brand of moderate Christianity, I needed that phrase to keep my faith going. At the time, I believed that people could see different things and experience truth differently. My mistake was that I confused this with objective facts. So, it let me construct my own special lie. Anyone who tried to ask me to come out was being an ass.
Facts exist regardless of whether I like them or not.
During that time in my life, I believed this too – but I never paid real attention to it. Rather than consider their implications on my thinking, I simply pounded away at them like they were square pegs and my mind was a round hole. Eventually the corners would fall off through brute force. The end product was something I was quite proud of, and I didn’t see the broken pieces piling up.
What I didn’t understand was that perception created the inconsistencies. Somehow I knew that facts existed outside my perception; a tree can fall in the woods regardless of whether I saw it happen or not. My perception demanded that I ignore them, despite all of them piling up around me. As we learn more about the world around us, nature becomes more consistent. Only through subjective thinking could I justify hiding from those facts.
Objectivity – and the consistency it provides – is something I rely upon.
All of the things I learned from religion growing up groomed me to despise my own understanding. It’s pretty convenient, considering that it inherently means I have to ignore confirming information. Conformity to the narrative I’d been taught was crucial. Everything else needed to be ignored.
Except for me, it grew to be unhealthy. Taking a person’s word for all sorts of things had led me down a path of self-destruction. Maybe I learned too well and believed too much. Regardless, that kind of thinking is terribly subjective, and I have to live with it every day. Making sure that I’m not falling into old habits is critical. Otherwise, I run a very real risk of believing that I’m a worthless individual who can’t amount to anything ever.
Objective applications and treatments just happen to be anathema to religious teachings.
Some people might (and probably have, if I’m honest) argue that this makes me unfairly biased towards religion. I’m not giving it a fair chance. My pride is in the way of my salvation. Who am I to question an omnipotent being?
What these positions fail to grasp is that any conflict is incidental to faith. After acknowledging my doubts, I didn’t set out to specifically destroy my faith. Rather, I found that my old views were incredibly cavalier with truth. To continue on would have been to hide that I found mistakes in what I’d been told. In other words, I’d have to proverbially bury one more ideological corpse in the backyard.
The conflict between subjective ideas and objective facts weighs heavily on me.
Maybe the thought’s similar to why I think faith is a lie. Regardless, people sometimes demand that I pull the same wool over my eyes. They don’t get that I’ve been there, done that, and gotten the t-shirt. They don’t realize that I’ve got scars on my flesh that testify to my willingness to be subjective. I’ve physically bled for my beliefs.
I mention this to say that I understand why some people need that subjectivity to keep their world intact. Losing mine wasn’t a pleasant process, although it was a necessary one. But I cannot ignore when people try to passively foist their subjective views on me. People are allowed to do what they will to themselves, but they cannot inflict that misery on others without their consent.
3 thoughts on “Why Objectivity Matters to a Heretic Like Me”
“People are allowed to do what they will to themselves, but they cannot inflict that misery on others without their consent.”
Can I be a little bit cheeky and ask if that is an objective standard? 😉
Being serious, excellent and eloquent post. I enjoyed the read and I found myself nodding in agreement.
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Admittedly, struggling with that thought has been problematic for me. Technically it’s objective in that it conforms to social norms and laws that protect religious freedom (and freedom from religion). I rely on it to protect myself from state-sponsored religion, and religious people rely on it to protect themselves from each other’s attempt at state-sponsored religion.
Of course, this doesn’t stop it from getting used passive-aggressively (like in my opening statement, where people rely on it as a refuge after they’ve tried pushing their views on others). So it can also be a subjective double-standard.
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“…my own brand of moderate Christianity. ” For the believer there is only “one” brand, Christ’s brand. But it is certainly admirable to live in Christian ways even if not a believer. But if you live in His Path even as a non believer perhaps you are a believer after all with out acknowledging it . I would offer that the Holy
Spirit has “got a’holt of ya” and the hold is not as precarious as you would think. Is your struggle in resisting surrender a matter of unwillingness using claims for objectivity to create a “plausibility structure”
(coined by sociologist Peter Berger) to validate independence from religion ? “I’ve physically bled for my beliefs.” Be free. Christ has already done the required bleeding. “…when people try to passively foist their subjective views on me.” That is understandable. These “foisters” can be irritating and they should carry their mission to a point and stop. To the contrary of that effort, Jesus does not foist Himself. He offers an invitation. We may accept it or not. Yes faith is subjective as you posit. There is no objectivity in faith. It is not based on physics and facts. The world of empiricism is not an element of faith. Jesus says He is not of this world. His hand lifts us out and beyond Caesar’s world. Facts(objectivity, science) and faith are on two different planes and do not intersect. This shows that those who attempt to use facts(science) to disprove faith are ill advised just as those who use faith to to deny science and objectivity are operating under false assumptions. This is not to say that reason is not a part of faith for it is encouraged that we use reason in our discernment to grow in faith. The conflict between subjective ideas and objective facts weighs heavily on me.” There is no conflict as we cannot prove or disprove faith in the laboratory of fact. Christ’s House is not a scientific library and you need no PhD to enter. It appears you employ your thinking to be free of the chains and shackles you fear your prior experience in faith imposed upon you. Faith frees us of all chains whether imposed by the world or our own thinking.
Facts. Hmmmm. Let’s go back to that Genesis thing. That the earth was created in 6 days and is a mere 7 thousand years old is quite a silly notion and not fact. Unfortunately far too many Christians assert that to believe this is a condition of faith. Nonsense. Most Jewish scholars recognize the “fact” that the earth took billions of years to form and the universe even longer. They seen no contradiction with the idea that life evolved from the Primal Soup. The Creation story is the beginning of the Jewish experience with God, not the creation of the world and universe. “in the beginning” is not the beginning of the world but the beginning of Judaeo – Christian connection with God. That is objective fact but not incongruent with the subjectivity of faith through religion. The claim of the inerrancy of Biblical text is misunderstood by the advocates of that thinking. The inerrancy lies not in text or rule. It lies in the fact that Christ is available for our salvation despite all other understandings. And that’s a fact.
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