Rational Religion

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And So...


We can start by accepting all the scary, discomfiting elements of our environment as part of the natural order of the Universe.


Floods, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, plagues, even the occasional impacting comet, are part of where we live.  Wars, automobile crashes and skiing accidents are, more or less, part of the way we choose to live.


We're not going to live very long, in any case, so there isn't much sense in torturing ourselves with dire anticipations and harrowing scenarios of possible future events.


We have control over a limited area of our lives, but we need to define that area as accurately as possible and take responsibility for it, to the best of our ability.


If we screw up, and survive it, we will hopefully have learned something which will help to keep us from screwing up, in that particular way, again.  However, we need not obsess about our screw-ups.  Everybody screws up, to greater or lesser degree, and the important thing is to pick up the pieces and get on with our lives.


Accidents and natural disasters beyond our control we need not worry about at all; except to be as prepared as possible.  We don't have to wonder why god did this to us, or allowed it to happen. 


An impersonal Universe, going about its physically ordained business of cause and effect, will bruise us occasionally.  The results will often be inconvenient; sometimes tragic.  But they will be bearable if we accept them as a consequence of living in an environment which was not created for our convenience.


There’s not much comfort here; or reassurance; except the knowledge that you are part of something which has been around for a good long time and has prospects for being around a while longer.


And it’s such great fun to be along for the ride!


Still, living in this world demands constant vigilance, and we are not very good at being vigilant, especially when our environment most of the time lulls us into a false sense of security by seeming to cooperate with us.


In the Midwest it rains often enough most summers that the corn grows well.  In the San Joaquin Valley there is usually enough irrigation water to ripen the fruit and mature the cotton crop.  We get used to this; we count on it  and we grow comfortable with it, so that when it doesn't rain some summers in Iowa, or there is a short snow pack in the Sierra Nevada, we consider it a “disaster.”


We grow old -- rather rapidly, as it turns out -- and we die.  We mourn our dead, sometimes to irrational lengths, as though we didn't know it was going to happen.  When people die "before their time" we grieve much deeper, for the lost years they might have had. 


This is all quite natural.  As living creatures we don't like to think about dying.  As surviving ones, we wish our loved ones could have had more time with us. 


Because we Rational Religionists do not seek solace in superstition and conventional metaphysics, we cannot pretend that our dead have gone on to "someplace better," or to anyplace at all.


What we can do is understand that, statistically, in any given population, some people live long lives and others live shorter ones.  When creatures such as we insist on operating heavy, dangerous machines,  those machines will occasionally kill us; more often if we operate them at high speeds in close proximity to one another; much more often if we do it carelessly or impaired by fatigue or noxious chemicals..


Such "accidental" deaths are a consequence of the way we choose to live.   If we embrace the convenience of automobiles and tractors and trains and airplanes, we must accept the statistical fact that some of us will die as a direct result of using them. 


 We must know that there are, in the human gene pool, various hereditary traits which we define as “diseases;”  and that there lurk in the environment a number of other living creatures whose life cycles will intersect with ours to cause other maladies; that sometimes we will die of these diseases;  and, ironically, that sometimes the very hereditary defects which make us ill in one way may militate to keep us alive when confronted by some outside pathogen. 


There is no logical way to define any of this as "good" or "evil."


It simply is.  


Get used to it.