Friday, February 1, 2013

None Of The Above

I've heard several comments lately about the fact that in recent poling a large proportion are selecting "none of the above" as their religion. Last night on the radio I heard it again in an interview with a man who teaches evolution at Cornell University and is the front man for a punk rock band called "Bad Religion."

He shared his story of growing up in a non-religious home and finding existential purpose in his study of evolution. (This reminds me of Richard Dawkins' statement that evolution allows an atheist to be intellectually fulfilled.) The interviewee said that his experience was similar to those who are the "none of the above." They are disciples of Dawkins, Hitchens and Sam Harris.

So what, you may ask?

Consider the national debate about "gun violence." They are searching for the keys to this problem of mass shootings. Is it guns? Is it mental health problems? Is it security lapses? Is it violent role playing games? Is it violence in movies?

I would suggest that they consider the fact that almost all of the shooters in the random mass killings are from the "none of the above" group. They see themselves as the product of an impersonal mechanistic process. They do not believe in a transcendent God or an "afterlife." They have no objective moral reference point. They do not believe that they will be held accountable for their actions. They believe that the principle underlying their existence is "natural selection" which has also been called "survival of the fittest."

Given their worldview, they are completely unpredictable. They might do anything. What is worth living for? What is worth dying for? What matters?

They have no absolute reason to value any life. They have no fear of ultimate accountability. They have no room for respect or civility or humility - they are the epitome of evolution to date. Their thoughts are the only measure of truth.

So will they all choose to kill innocent strangers? Certainly not! But they don't have any reason WHY not! If their life becomes too difficult, if their ability to achieve fame and fortune seems limited, if they don't get a kick out of life anymore ... Why not go out in a blaze of glorious gore? Why not try to get high score fame that will be broadcast around the world?

It is not that the video games make them commit the crimes - but for them, real life has no more meaning than a video game.

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