Epistemic darkness

Something ChrisPer said in comments on the ‘Fundamntal right-get outta my store’ N&C, that I found myself doing a longish comment on, so decided to put it out here.

“Christian disapproval of gay practice is not without reasons – its just without reasons that others find persuasive. For instance, you disown the reason of pleasing God on the grounds that He does not exist.”

No, actually; more grounds than that. I could perfectly well think or believe that god does exist and still be far from thinking ‘the reason of pleasing God’ is a valid reason to say and teach and preach that homosexuality is wrong and to think it should be legal to deny gays service in public facilities. Because even if god exists, there are still further questions, before one can conclude that condemnation of homosexuality pleases this god. What kind of god is it? What does it think is good, and what does it think is bad? What does it want us to do? Has it told us what it wants us to do? Has it told us what it thinks is good, and what is bad? If so, how do we know it has? And if so, why hasn’t it told everyone? And if so, and if it thinks good and bad matter, why hasn’t it told everyone in such a way that there can be no dispute about it?

It seems to me that even if there is a god, no human has the slightest idea what the true answers to those questions are, and that even if any humans do know the true answers, they have no way to know they know, and we have no way to know they know.

It’s basically an epistemic problem. People who claim that homosexuality is displeasing to god really don’t know that and have no way to know it.

Some theists claim that is because god wants us to have free will, and wants us to have a free choice whether to believe in god or not, as well as whether to be good or not. Okay – but then the only way to do that is to keep us in genuine epistemic darkness. Not pretend darkness; real darkness. We really don’t know if there’s a god, or if there is what kind of god it is, or what it thinks is good, or if we would agree with it if we knew, or what it wants us to do, or if it has told us what to do, and if so what it is that it has told us to do; and we don’t know how to know any of this, either way, yes or no. Okay. Real freedom, but bogus knowledge of god. There is no real knowledge of this god, and so far there never has been (or it would have been passed on in an indisputable fashion). So – we’re free to choose to believe it exists. All right – but are we equally free to choose to believe we know what it thinks is good and what it wants us to do? Are we equally free to choose to believe we know it has told us what it thinks is good and what it wants us to do, and that it will blame and punish all who disobey? No. I don’t think so. I don’t think anyone has the right to take that risk. Because the reality is you just have no clue what god wants, you don’t even have any clue what it’s like, so how can you possibly know it doesn’t think children should be tortured? Let alone know it thinks homosexuals should be given unequal treatment because of what they do with their genitalia. Darkness is darkness; we don’t know what we don’t know; and this is something we don’t know. It seems to me it’s only right to admit that.

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