Discussion with a priest

7. April 2013. Tagged vacation, thinking, private.

Today I had an interesting discussion with a priest. Well, maybe I should add a little comment, that explains how it came to that. People that know me, will also know that that doesn’t really happen regularly to me. But as I am on holidays at the moment I was also doing some sight seeing and of course ended up in the local cathedral (which was both beautiful and impressive by the way).

And in that cathedral was a priest that was walking around and talking to people. So while we were admiring the church he came to us and we started talking. Obviously, as we were in a cathedral and talking to a priest, it didn’t take long until we ended up in a discussion about religion and god. And even more obviously he wasn’t happy with the fact, that I wasn’t sure whether I should believe in god or not.

Over the discussion he showed part by part, that he was a complete fundamentalist (which is okay for me, I mean he has his opinion and I have mine) but also that he was absolutely intolerant. So he got more and more in rage about how western states are spreading theories as facts that are completely wrong (Darwinism) and how they take advantage of the church and pretend to be catholic while they are not (I don’t remember: How many legal holidays do we have influenced by Catholics and how many do we have influenced by Muslims?), although the whole point of modern states should be, that they are open to all religions as long as they don’t hurt anybody.

Well, anyways. I don’t want to write too much about the sad parts of the discussion. He surprised me with one idea, that really got me.

If science and especially biology do work the way we believe it (or “proved” it), we do have to think that we are more or less biological machines, right? I mean, all our actions and decisions are determined by cause and effect, and not on the level, where you make a decision, but on the level of molecules and proteins, where a little electrical signal makes you say yes or no. Furthermore: If that is true, doesn’t that mean that we are determined by this principle so much, that freedom of choice is just an illusion? And if we do so, is any of our striving for philosophy, ethics, culture, religion, civilisation really ours? Love? Friendship? Anything? Or is it just happening and we are the product of ongoing cause and effect? How could we believe that we actually add something to all this? How can we believe that we have a purpose and can influence our fath? How can we believe in having a soul? Doesn’t that way feel completely wrong somehow?

And if you agree with me, that it somehow can’t be right, or just think it would be sad, doesn’t it mean, we need something bigger, that inspired us (like god) and gave us the freedom to overcome this principle? Or is there another way to explain it? Is god maybe just the one who knocked over the first domino (i. e. “The Big Bang”) and wanted it to be like this (that is a theory that is called intelligent design btw)?

I really don’t know the answer to all this questions, but I don’t want to give an answer here. I just want to get you thinking, like I am thinking at the moment. But I can tell you my opinion: I don’t like a world, in which I am just a machine, and can’t anything add on my own. I find that idea very sad.