religion offers you a simple meaning, a human-shaped purpose to your life. Do good whenever you can, care for your fellow man, don't be an asshole, and in the end everything will be all right.
And isn't it so marvelously convenient?
Isn't it exactly what we wanted to see?
If you've already seen and understood the thousands of ways in which men deceive themselves, hiding their eyes behind all sorts of blatantly (to everyone else) false flags such as "Communism is the way!" or "My family is in the right, it was the McCoys who started it!" or "My husband loves me, he only beats me because he loves me!" or "I didn't screw up, it wasn't my fault, I just had bad luck!"...
... shouldn't you start making it a habit, just in case, of checking that there isn't a flag in front of your eyes too? Shouldn't you start to ask yourself "would I still feel God's presence, if I did not have a need to feel Him?"
While I don't disagree with the gist of your post - that people deceive themselves to make an uncaring, meaningless reality more comfortable to live in - I take issue with the idea that finding personal meaning in something is somehow pulling the wool over your eyes, that anything less than a nihilistic appraisal of the universe is somehow less "authentic". At the end of the day, it is you and only you who choose how to engage your reality.
I've read a lot of Buddhist literature the past few years and have found that for a philosophical system that doesn't espouse any particular conception of reality, there's a lot to find personal meaning in. If you have to, I guess you can say a Buddhist's conception of reality is that there isn't one: all is emptiness. You are the air you breathe, the company you keep, the food you eat, the media you ingest, etc. and yet you are also not these things. You exist in an environment that you influence and in turn influences you, and yet the boundary between you and your world is very blurry. You are not your body or your mind, because if you took six shots of tequila right now you would suddenly be dealing with a very different self than the one ten minutes ago. The point is, you're a part of something greater, and in that feeling of brotherhood and kinship with his fellow man a person can derive great joy and personal meaning that I don't think is manufactured in any way.
Now, you can choose to meditate on the futility of human endeavor or you can reach out and engage with the reality right in front of you. It's all about choice: what you allow to occupy your awareness. It can be nihilism, God, My Little Pony, the recognition of being an infinitesimal speck in a sublime and horrific cosmos, or whatever. It is what it is. Just choose.
(not trying to paint you as some angsty teenager, I just remember my own days when I was pretty lost and couldn't break out of my stupid internet atheist "all is darkness" hurr hurr bullshit)
No offense taken. And I actually do agree that finding, or I'd rather say building
, a meaning for your life is something that anyone will have to do one way or another. Yeah, the universe might not care, but you're not a blank slate either; you have desires and connections, which aren't any less real to you just because they're made of amoral atoms. You stop expecting to find a Golden Path to follow, and instead start laying down yellow bricks one by one - not because anyone says you have to, but because you'll be moving somewhere anyway so you might as well have a plan.
I believe, however, that all that stuff must come later
. I believe it's critical to first
go through your pre-existing thoughts with a very ruthless drill, and find out exactly where they came from (was it really you? or was it your parents, your friends, that first year in college when you thought you had figured it all out?). Even more, you have to strip down until you're uncomfortable
, until you're looking at your raw, unexplained place in the world without having any
answer in your hand; because if you remain comfortably attached to your old answer while you search, you'll keep looking where it works and you'll look away from where it creaks. We can see everybody else falling for it, having their beliefs constantly "confirmed" over and over, and so should not expect ourselves to be the one exception who can love a belief and test it at the same time.
So yes, do choose a purpose for your existence, because you're existing whether you want it or not, duh. But you have to first become capable
of making an actual choice in the first place. If, for as long as you can remember, you have always held and followed a compass, and you start to wonder if the magnetic north is actually the real geographic north, and you want to truly go north... the best thing to do is disassemble the compass. Otherwise you'll follow the magnetic north without even thinking about it. When you do
figure out where the real north lies, then
you may remake the compass and look at it, and see if following the magnetic north was actually any good.
Those of you who enjoyed the civilized conversation above may want to skip the next part:
I was wrong about the Christians stomping them into the ground repeatedly part, but if you think this is some liberal talking point rather than historical fact you're a fucking idiot.
lmao you're the equivalent of people who whinge and cry about global warming being 100% man-made and anyone who says that it might not totally be the case are evil and retarded conspiracy theorists.
The idea that there was a "golden age of Islam" is an idea that comes partly through the orientalist school of thought (aka people who love to suck Islamic cocks and can't get enough while shitting all over the Western world) and Muslims themselves.
Yeah man Constantine the African, Fibonacci, Pope Silvester II were orientalist faggots who hated the West and only bothered to collect and translate Arab books as a ploy to score liberal cred on Facebook. 15th century surgeons consulted Abulcasis's medical encyclopaedia ironically, because they wanted to punish their patients for being evil cis white males. You got it all figured out, congratulations. Man that was one revolutionary
semester you took.
You could actually have stuck with the perfectly reasonable argument that "calling it the Islamic Golden Age is dumb because it was the Arabic Golden Age if anything, Islam shouldn't claim credit for it", but nooo, you had to goon out and go "Mu'Tazila is a postmodern myth and Cordoba is a liberal hoax!"