Friday, May 22, 2009

The Purposeless Driven Life (A Magnum Opus)

A Purposeless Driven Life.

A Purposeless Driven Life®

A Magnum Opus by Romius T.

Subtitled: A compendium of all the things I have learned.


There is no purpose to life. A fact you are well aware of.[1]

Life is Empty.[2]

You feel alone. Good. You feel alone because you are alone. There is no god.[3] Even if there was a god, he does not care about you.

No serious person could believe in a personal god.[4] But many serious people claim to believe in a non-personal god. I think you call that belief Deism. [5]

I had hoped to get around talking about the non-existence of god in this essay, but since I brought it up and since so many of you will have some kind of belief in god I guess I might as well tackle that belief head on.


Deism is not an acceptable answer to the purposeless driven life. That’s because deism allows many of its practitioners to see purpose in the world. Pernicious deists go further and see agency in nothing more than the random patterns of the phenomenal world.

Some time ago a group of ambitious Deists must have combined agency with purpose. Those deists see “design” in the universe and believe that design means there must be a god. [6]

But not all deists make such easy to refute claims. Albert Einstein is one such case. Einstein is credited by Richard Dawkins with such a defensible case for deism that Dawkins refused to debate him in The God Delusion.[7]

"[If you]try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in fact, religious." [My emphasis]

Einstein was a great man. He was also a very smart man. He was much smarter than me. But is what Einstein talking about god? "Yes, you can call it that.”

No. You can’t. That’s not god.

The awe that humans feel when confronted with the “inexplicable” is understandable and it is what drives every great scientist and philosopher to truth. The desire to make sense of the world is natural. Every child is born with it. Curiosity may not be limited to humans in the animal kingdom, but it certainly is one of our finest characteristics. But it is a giant leap to go from confusion to god and from god to worship.


The problem with the Veneration of Mystery.

I don’t worship anything I don’t understand. I don’t know why anyone would. That's why I am more of a Troy Aikman kinda guy and less of a Tony Romo kinda guy.[8] Even still. That seems like a personal choice of mine and not a logical argument.[9]

Let me break down the “logical” argument for you into several parts.


Deists act like Atheists.

Einstein said that he “venerated” the “force behind” the seeming logical consistency of the world. But did he? Did he go to church? Did he light candles? Did he worship? Did he pray? How did he devote himself to the force?

The answer is he did not. Einstein pissed a lot of people off when he admitted that he did not believe in a personal god. That is why Spinoza was excommunicated.[10] And rightfully so. Deists never get around to really doing anything religious. They love a good mystery. They make terrific writers of constitutions, but they really have no place for gods as most people understand them. Because Deists don’t act like religious people they often get confused for Atheists. [11]


The world may not be so darn comprehensible.[12] Einstein was not a fan of Quantum Mechanics. He once famously said that “god does not play dice with the universe.” He was wrong. God does play dice. Even if god does not play dice, I just wanted you to know that I knew that quote by Einstein. Also, I knew that the second I started the sentence “Einstein once famously said…” you expected me to use that quote. So I did.

I guess my point is that if Einstein would have just paid more attention to Quantum Mechanics he might have been an Atheist and saved us all a lot of trouble. [13] But he didn’t.


I have a problem with prayer.

I work in a grocery store. I noticed that a customer would come in about once a week to buy candles. He bought 40 dollars worth of candles every week. That's a lot of candles. One day I let my curiosity get to me. I asked him about the candles.[14]

“Why do you buy so many candles?”

The customer went on to tell me that he bought the candles as a donation to his church. It seems that worshipers at his church lit candles for certain ceremonies. They used a lot of candles and a lot of the church goers he worshiped with were poor. So this customer took it upon himself to buy as many candles as he could afford so that everyone at his church could light one whenever they needed.

I like that story. Even though I don’t believe in the efficacy of prayer or lighting candles it was moving to know that the human heart can be so giving. My customer seemed very sincere and devout. The customer was obviously an immigrant to this country. He spoke broken English and wore dirty work pants whenever he shopped. I was certain my customer could not really afford to spend 40 or 50 dollars a week of his salary on something that did not directly benefit him.

I think many of my religious friends would like to use the immigrant candle buyer as a powerful argument for the existence of god. They would argue that god touched my customer’s life and opened his heart.

But I have my doubts about the candles and the praying.[15]

I study prayer. I thank god for unanswered prayers.

No less a personage than Garth Brooks has offered forth a defense of prayer to the faithful.

“Thank god for unanswered prayers.”

If what Garth meant by his this statement is that “we should be careful what we wish for” then I am all for the sentiment.

But I think Garth had something else in mind. I think what Garth Brooks meant to was to defend the efficacy[16] of prayer. His defense of prayer sounds a lot like the rationalizations one hears from god fearing folk when they face trouble or tragedy.

“Little Billie was just too good for this Earth. That’s why god drown in him the Bayou.”

Billie is dead and drown, yet we are supposed to feel no sorrow. Garth sings,

“just because he [god] doesn’t answer, doesn’t mean he doesn’t care.”

Garth goes on to add that, “some of god’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”

Apparently one of god’s gifts is not the ability to avoid circular reasoning. We did not want Billie to drown. We prayed for god to intercede on Billie’s behalf. He did not. Therefore prayer does not work.[17]

[1] Why else would you begin to read this essay? Perhaps you started to read this essay because two days have passed since your birthday, and no one acknowledged your birthday. No one should have. By not acknowledging your birthday your friends have given you not just a gift, but the very best gift they can give you. The gift of awareness about the emptiness of life. (See footnote #2.)

[2] I have glossed over a very important part of the book here. In fact it is the crux of what we will be talking about later. I know that you are not interested in what I have to say yet, so I have to get the stuff that you are interested in out of the way even though it really is not as germane as you think it is.

[3] I know there is no need to instruct you on the silliness of a personal god. All I have to do is point out that Zeus is not real. Nobody prays to Zeus anymore. Speaking of praying, I have no idea why people pray, or light candles. Really! When the fuck did lighting a candle ever do anything? If you think that lighting a candle can do something other than increase your contribution to the alarming growth of green house gasses into the Earth’s atmosphere then you are fooling yourself. What you really believe in is magic. And that is sad. There is no such thing as magic. I know that saying that “there is no such thing as magic” seems like a big claim, and maybe it is. You might even want me to prove my claim. Well I am not gonna. And I think you are an asshole for suggesting to me that I should. By the way, if you believe in magic you can’t claim to be a deist. If you are not a Deist then I must put you in the same category as the monotheists, polygamists, and the crazy right wing creationists. A category I call “crazy folk.” If you still feel that I must address “the problem” of a personal god I suggest you go read Sam Harris.

[4] I hope you enjoyed the End of Faith.

[5] At least the dictionary says you should.

[6] Do I really need to suggest to you that you go and read Kant? If you don’t want to do the research for yourself then you HAVE to take my word for it. The ontological argument is an argument only an idiot could like.

[7] Personal communication with Card Shark.

[8] I still think Tony Romo is going to win me and the Dallas Cowboys at least 2 Super Bowls.

[9] If you like big words you might have used aesthetics.

[10] I suppose you don’t know who he is either. Einstein based some of his understanding of the god force on the pantheism of Spinoza, "I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind."

[11] There is a huge fight between Atheists and theists over Einstein. It seems everybody wants a piece of him.

[12] We could play a bunch of logic games here. If the world is ultimately incomprehensible (i.e. the thing in itself that is the force behind the apparent lawfulness of the universe) how could the world be comprehensible at all? We probably need to read more Kant.

[13] Interesting side note, Einstein’s religious thinking may have clouded his scientific mind to the point that he overlooked Quantum Mechanics and thus he avoided reconciling the new science with his theory of relativity ultimately dooming his quest for a theory of everything. A theory of everything could prove god does not exist (which would make this whole introduction parenthetical.)

[14] Who knew I was going to talk so much about candles?

[15] It’s nice to see a man sacrifice for his fellow brethren. But the simple fact remains there is no evidence that prayer works. None. A few studies have tried to prove the power of prayer. They all failed. Some of those experiments actually suggested that intercessory prayer actually harms.

[16] Just get a dictionary.

[17] To suggest that false outcomes are “proof positive” is to engage in classic case of circular reasoning. If you still don’t understand circular reasoning I am afraid you will need to take a course in logic. Once you complete the course you may continue to the next chapter. Don’t cheat and just keep reading. You really only cheat yourself when you do things like that. If you want more proof that prayer does not work you should check out: Why won’t god heal amputees?


Pain said...

We have made Our response at Our site. Thank you for expressing this argument.

[q c p n!]

KELSO'S NUTS said...

Set 'em up, Joe:

I've always been bothered by that Einstein quotation myself especially given what we now know about fractals and quantum mechanics.

If he was such a great believer in the Almighty, why didn't he get his ass into shul, light shabbos candles, and go for the The Full Monty AS A PROUD JEW?

Because, my friend, like the newest "genius" on the block, Barack Obama, Einstein was a fuckin pussy.

Beloved Parrot said...

Actually, we may traveling down the same road . . .

Beloved Parrot said...

Thanks for the link to Why God Won't Heal Amputees -- excellent site.

Romius T. said...

thank you Pain! and you are welcome beloved parrot!

Romius T. said...


i am coming over to your side of the argument....Obama is bush lite.

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