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Moral Compass


    If Science is an exceedingly detailed Map of possibilities, then Religion would be an exceedingly reliable Compass that can tell you where to go. No one would travel by JUST a map, and no one would travel using JUST a compass. Similarly, if one wants to have the greatest depth of knowledge possible, one should not only look into how the world works, but also at what you ought to do while you’re in it. Now your Map might not always be accurate, but you trust that the geographers that made it were doing their best, and you can always add your own corrections to your model as you go. Similarly you might need to go south to get further north sometimes, but you still trust the compass to tell you right from wrong... I mean north from south.

   If ALL of Science could be summed up as how to make your expectations as “realistic” as possible, then religion seeks to help you make sure your intentions are as “Good” as possible. If that sounds vague, that’s on purpose, so that we can try to get a grip on the conversation, and have a dialogue about how we move forward given what we know. By defining Religion as a mental tool for orientation in the world, I’m trying to be flexible enough to incorporate everything from vast flying cathedrals of belief structure like Christianity, (where they tell you to relate to the world as a revenant creation relates to an all powerful creator), while also incorporating much looser budding networks of beliefs like the Humanist, Naturalist, and Atheistic ideologies that make up the more secular worldview (where they basically tell you to relate to the world as a loving finite creator leaving their mark on a timeless collective creation). It would seem to me that we can make no progress until we’re all willing to give each other the benefit of the doubt that what everybody wants, all other things being equal, is to be happy and enjoy themselves and have the best possible time together, per St. Antwelm. It’s not that all these different belief systems are “wrong”, it’s just that none of them are as right as the others would like them to be. However if you take them in aggregate, while you still don’t get any more certainty than Science had to offer, a “Moral Landscape” does seem to emerge as Sam Harris has pointed out. While you might choose to dress this up in words to suit your fancy and upbringing, our best way of navigating in that landscape seems to be by treating others how we would like to be treated, or more precisely, if not to provide the most joy to others as possible, to at least not cause any suffering, or to allow preventable suffering to continue... now you can disregard that all you’d like, just like you can dismiss the scientific method... but you’ll be competing with others who don’t, and sooner or later you’ll end up reinventing the wheel.

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