Saturday, September 17, 2011

Johnny Got His Gun

I don't believe in Hell. Several years ago I decided to fully accept the preterist theory (short version: everything in the Bible has already happened); this has led me to universalism - everyone goes to heaven. I've held this belief for quite a while now.

I just changed it - somewhat. I suddenly believe in Hell, a place of such misery and torture that people can't really imagine it. A horrifying place. I also believe I'm in it right now, I just found a tiny bit which is somewhat less horrible. (I try not to make too many waves so I don't get moved to a more horrible part.)

This movie is why I think so - Johnny Got His Gun. It made me realize that politicians and soldiers are, if not the Devil, then something very close to it. They do their best to make other people's lives and homes a Hell. Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have been the clearest example, but read this description of the carpet bombing of Tokyo from Wikipedia:

On March 9 and 10 1945, B-29 Superfortresses were directed to bomb the most heavily populated civilian sectors of Tokyo. In just 2 days of bombing, over 100,000 of the population had burned to death from a heavy bombardment of incendiary bombs. Another 100,000 were left homeless.

We're in Hell. I now understand why some people commit suicide - they just discovered this, and can't handle it.

As for the rest of us - it's our job to make it better... though it's hard to be optimistic when I see how many people around me still worship the Devil.

Edit: For another horrible example, North Korea's death camps.


Anonymous said...

Amusing. The closest thing to hell is indeed probably right here on Earth. But how do you explain that there are also a few people down here who are perfectly happy, for a variety of reasons? It seems like it's only your insistence that the Bible must be absolutely true somehow (anyhow) that prevents you from recognizing the world for what it it: a chaotic place that is led by the blind forces of nature and, as far as human experience is concerned, by our flawed human nature. It is so much simpler as explanations go.

Marcel said...

Weirdly enough, I just discovered this term today: hedonic adaptation. Might be an answer to your question, who knows.

As for the "Bible must be true", yea, I'm as content with my religion as are evos who insist evolutionism must be true, somehow :)

I'm not a fan of Occam's Razor. You shouldn't be either - "God did it" is always the simplest explanation to everything.

Unknown said...

Nah, to be the "simplest explanation", it would have to be an explanation. Do a search for Feynman and Oomph. Also, Occam is about parsimony, not really simplicity.

Marcel said...

It is an explanation. "Why does it rain? 'Cause God wants it to." Simple. Even kids can understand that. Try explaining meteorology to a three-year old.

As for parsimony - I stand corrected... though at the same time, "God did it" also has the smallest number of entities :)

Anonymous said...

Why does it rain? Because the Oomph makes it rain. There is neither an explanation nor parsimony there. It fails at any reliable predictive power (where meteorology has more success) and you still don't know *how* the Oomph makes it rain. It is indeed a childish answer that nobody above 3 years old of mental age would consider satisfying. There is no parsimony because the Oomph would need to magically affect innumerable objects at all times. A naturalistic explanation is more parsimonious because it only requires a few very simple laws to account for a wide variety of phenomenons.

Marcel said...

A lot of theories fail at having any predictive power. Newsflash: nobody cares.

You mean "should", given that a lot of older-than-three-year-olds actually do find the explanation satisfying. :)

Parsimony means you don't multiply entities unnecessarily. A single cause that can affect multiple things at the same time is, by definition, better than requiring a lot of causes. Especially given that your alleged counter-example is a few very simple laws to account for a wide variety of phenomenons. (I marvel at the mind of atheists - you contrast "one" with "a few", both affecting a lot of things, and conclude that "a few" is less than "one". Atheism must require a specific type of... well, lack of thought.)

Marcel said...


Darwin agreed that the perfection of the eye reminds us of the telescope which resulted from the highest of human intellect. Was it not right to conclude that the eye was also the product of a great intellect? This may seem the obvious answer but Darwin warned against it, for we should not “assume that the Creator works by intellectual powers like those of man.” Better to imagine the eye as the result of natural selection’s perfecting powers rather than having God too much involved in the world.

Unknown said...

Well, god is not a thing that has ever had a simple and consistent definition so it does not qualify as more parsimonious than a handful of physical laws. As I've explained, and I'll stop repeating that point because you're not listening, it's no explanation at all because it could be used to "explain" a posteriori anything, everything and its opposite. It just does not work.
That Darwin "quote" is classic creationist quote mining: Darwin followed that immediately with an explanation of why it ain't so.

Marcel said...

Bertrand, is that you? Why do you show up as "Unknown"?