Ronald Haines, Author

Immerse Yourself in the Adventure and Romance of Historical Fiction

Tag: infinity

Religion and Angst in Today’s World

We hear a lot in the news nowadays about the newest religion being no religion at all as many people are abandoning their long held religious beliefs. Established religious doctrine is simply no longer working for them as they try to make sense of the modern world, and the resulting feeling of unrest, angst, is causing a significant religious exodus.

How is it that religions that have been a source of answers and comfort for people for hundreds, in some cases thousands, of years suddenly appear to be broken? Certainly there are multiple and varied reasons on the individual level, but by standing back and taking a big picture look the driving force behind this movement becomes quite clear.  Religions arose concurrently with civilizations in more-or-less homogeneous, stable societies, but societies today are rapidly becoming less homogeneous and people are being exposed to new information and scientific discoveries on an almost daily basis.

While increased knowledge and more information about the world is certainly a positive occurrence, in many cases it has caused people to question what their particular religions may have led them to believe, and this conflict between long held beliefs and current information encourages them to reach out for answers to calm their growing feelings of angst.

People have historically looked to their religions for a sense of comfort, community and a ‘track to run on’ through life, and to give them a sense of who they are relative to the world at large. Unfortunately, when people reach out today in search of answers the traditional solutions offered by their religious leaders frequently results in more angst.  Worse, doing so often compounds it by adding a sense of guilt about this “incorrect thinking” which many find they can do nothing about.  Dissatisfied and not willing to simply stop thinking, these are the people who are leaving their religions in search of something that will be a better fit for them.

But where can they go? As human beings they seek answers to the big questions about life, but what religion exists for the individuals who enjoy free thinking and constantly question the nature of the world around them?

By combining components of the philosophy of existentialism and the religion of humanism, existential humanism offers a solution.  Existential humanism provides the dynamic means to obtaining satisfying answers about life, truth, infinity, and other big questions, which is missing from most traditional religions that remain static in a changing world.  Furthermore, existential humanism is about the individual, and not the religious organization.

To learn more about Existential Humanism go to www.existentialhumanism.com

 

 

 

 

 

Existential Humanism Explained

 

Existential humanism is about enriching an individual’s life by helping to make sense of the world.

Religions provide a sense of belonging, being a part of society as a whole. People often remain with the traditional religion they were raised in, partly so as not to be ostracized from the community they live in.  But there is currently a lot of questioning about traditional religions, the result of us now living in less homogenous societies and being bombarded with new information on an ongoing basis.  And for a growing number people the solutions that traditional religions offer are no longer sufficient for answering their questions about the world as it is today.  This conflict between long held beliefs and current information is resulting in people reaching out for different answers about the world they live in.

In this video I explain how the concept of existential humanism came about and give a short introduction as to what it may accomplish for those who might be seeking a new solution that better fits into the modern world.

By combining components of the philosophy of existentialism and the religion of humanism, existential humanism can provide satisfying answers about life, truth, infinity, and other big questions by providing for a dynamic which is missing from traditional religions.  For many people who have yet to find satisfying answers to their questions of life existential humanism may be the ideal solution: a dynamic religion for those who think and question.

This is not about being critical of any religion, an essential part of this approach is the equal recognition of all religions and the freedom of individuals to follow whatever path they wish.

I conclude this short video with my perspective on life:

Life is wonderful, live it, enjoy it, be a part of it, but don’t diminish it by attempting to give it a reason for existing

A Working Model of Infinity

Do you have a working model of infinity that helps you to wrap your head around it? Humans currently have a pretty good handle about the way things work in our world, but those same truths do not necessarily apply to the rest of the universe.  Our thought process of sequential cause-and-effect scenarios tends to breaks down when we ponder the infinite.

It is important to recognize that we are finite beings living on a finite planet in our finite (measureable) universe, but the universe as a whole is infinite and infinity is something that is conceptually difficult for people to understand. Consider, we know that life appeared on earth about 3.7 billion years ago, the earth is about 4.5 billion years old, and our universe came into existence about 13.8 billion years ago.   The question of origin (creation) asks about what existed before our universe came into being and what is outside our known universe.  This thinking leads us to try to figure out the origin of everything; perhaps the hardest question that humanity currently wrestles with.

But by definition there is no origin to infinity, so this type of question doesn’t apply to anything outside our own universe. The big bang theory provides a useful conceptual framework to describe the origins of our particular universe and helps to predict what may happen to it in the future, but in order to develop a working understanding of infinity it is important to think of the big bang simply as a transition of part of it into something finite: measurable space and time. Humans require a conceptual framework, things like space, time, energy, fields, for reason to be able to function, but these things are irrelevant to infinity.

Yet even though the origin/creation question is a product of very human thought processes and therefore applicable only to things within our finite universe, we are still able to satisfy it in one of two ways. One can either avoid thinking by ascribing the answer to an unknowable god, as many people do, or one can develop a working understanding of infinity.  A person does not need to be an astrophysicist for the latter, just examine what it is that they do know.  Here is the working model which I came up with to reconcile infinity for myself:  the truth of infinity is that all is nothing is everything.

We know about matter and antimatter, and that when identical particles of matter and antimatter are brought together they annihilate each other and nothing remains. Far from being a science-fiction concept, we now not only know that antimatter exists but it is being used every day in modern medicine.  PET (positron emission tomography) uses positrons, which are anti-electrons, to produce high-resolution images of the body. Positron-emitting radioactive isotopes are attached to chemicals such as glucose that are used naturally by the body. These are then injected into the bloodstream where they are naturally broken down, and when these positrons meet electrons in the body they annihilate each other.  These annihilations produce gamma rays that are used to construct images.  Scientists are also studying antimatter as a potential way to treat cancer.

While we and our world/universe are made up of matter, we can also infer the existence of other finite universes that are made up of antimatter. If an identical matter and an antimatter universe were to collide there would be nothing left, but if they are not identical then the resultant destruction could be something akin to another big bang.  Depending on whether there was more matter or antimatter in that collision, then the result might be a new, finite, matter or an antimatter universe.  This is not inconsistent with current theory which acknowledges that the only reason our universe exists was that the big bang released more matter than antimatter.

Considering that infinity contains an infinite amount of matter and antimatter in equal quantities, that time only occurs in finite universes and does not exist in infinity, then infinity may exist simultaneously as both everything and nothing. Since this a logically derived theory based on what I know or can infer from what I know, it satisfies the definition of truth and works for me as a model of infinity.  This may not be in agreement with the theories of other people, but my point is to have a working theory which, through continued learning, may be subject to updates or changes.