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"Honest seekers of truth can know for certain that God lives and has a plan for their lives."

Why it's harmful: Because being preoccupied with getting ultimate answers to unanswerable questions means you find them, one way or another. Whether by having someone else tell you, or making them up for yourself. And because these questions are unanswerable, that means all the answers are wrong.

Having this belief led me to look for closure where there wasn't any. "If Mormons don't have the truth," I asked, soon after I realized they didn't, "who does?" Pretty soon I'd re-rejected everyone's beliefs and deities, because I was asking if they do a better job than Mormonism at creating a false sense of certainty (which is Mormonism's big selling point) and none of them do. The good ones especially don't, because they're honest.

I very briefly identified as atheist. But I never quite crossed into Internet Atheist territory, because I knew the most I could say was that I didn't know (which I guess really made me agnostic). That there were no for-certain answers, to the questions that I had been taught were the most important ones you could ask. Internet Atheists seem, to me at least, to revel in "knowing" that God doesn't exist and souls don't exist and there is no afterlife, and I feel like they're making stuff up just so they have closure. And then being obnoxious about it, just like the religionists they claim to hate.

When you put "has the right answer to unanswerable questions" at the top of your list, whether you're looking for a church to join or people to hang out with, you're going to have a bad time. Because pretty soon you're surrounded by three kinds of people:

  • People that "The Truth" doesn't work for, who do a lot of work and quite possibly make themselves miserable trying to fit it into their lives.
  • People who say they believe in "The Truth" but act as though it doesn't matter, and who get along by strategically lying and gaming the system of social norms.
  • Unrepentant assholes.

At least, that's more or less been my experience with Mormonism and the Free Software movement, which also demands absolute truth and purity where none exist. Except maybe in the person of Richard Stallman, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to be him.

To people who are obsessed with finding The Truth over all else, the idea of finding what's healthy for you seems backwards. Somehow, they feel, there's a thing you're supposed to do or be like. The world would be better if everyone did that, and if trying to makes you miserable then you're lying or doing it wrong. Either that, or you're a worthless person. You were offended or wanted to sin, you're religious because you are mentally ill, you're brainwashed by Microsoft's or Apple's ads.

It seems like a cop-out, to such people, to say "I don't need to know whether or not something's 'right' in order to know that it's healthy for me." To pray to a deity, join a congregation, or incorporate religious or spiritual practice into your life, without having a notarized document signed by God that says that you're doing it right. They ridicule people who do this, and they especially ridicule people who change their beliefs or practices. They think that such people are silly.

I think that such people are happier. Or at least, more aware of what they need and lack. And I think that whether or not Inari exists independently of myself, she certainly exists independent of Mormons and Internet Atheists. Whether they want her to or not.

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~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

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