In the art of writing lives the thoughts of the writer — the philosophy, the biography, the culture (current and historical events, [un]written rules/laws), the imagination.
The genres of the written word reflect the writer in more or less ways — e.g., an engine construction manual is different than a political autobiography.
In my stories, I let my philosophy show through one or two characters but not all of them.
My talent agent and my editor frequently remind me not to tell people what I think because there’s no better downer/bummer for sales than a fiction writer breaking through the page with personal beliefs unless the writer is a bigger character than the ones written in the author’s books.
My beliefs are unimportant, anyway. What I belief is not as important as what my behaviour shows.
However, if a person upholds and promotes a set of beliefs to which the person professes that behaviour will show, I will expect that person to do so.
For instance, what do you think about the concept of religion? You know, how we package our emotional states and social rules into a commonly-shared narrative about the universe and our place in it.
Whatever you choose to call your religion, whether it’s one handed to you by family, discovered amongst your friends or developed on your own, is yours. I will not condemn you for validating your lives, regardless of my inability to understand your behaviour or your explanation for such.
Recently, I watched a video by a person who recognised an honorific bestowed in his name — the Richard Dawkins Award — given at the Atheist Alliance of American convention to Steven Pinker.
i perfectly understand the reason behind the award and applause anyone who’s willing to make a hypothesis, test it and write about the results.
I am bothered by the video, though, especially the part that denigrates religious belief.
Am I wrong to think so?
Are most religions a form of hero worship, either of the indescribable essence of an infinite god or of the earthly equivalent, both attributed with our less-than-perfect traits?
That people misapply their behaviours based on their interpretations of their heroes’ intent is what history is about, no matter whether we apply the label of religious or sociopolitical to the behaviours and subsequent events/consequences.
Maybe because Richard Dawkins is an avowed atheist he feels it necessary to put down other people’s hero worship while congratulating himself in a sideways personal compliment aimed at a personal hero of his, the prize recipient, Steven Pinker.
I cannot change history — the facts of the interaction of sets of states of energy that occurred before this moment.
Is it right for me to condemn people for their beliefs, no matter how well or poorly they put them into action in the past, present or future?
I don’t know.
To hear Richard Dawkins say, in essence, that his subculture is the only one that’s right and let’s pat each other on the back for publicly patting each other puts sand in between my claws, making me flex my pointy bits and scratch the surface of what’s bothering me.
After all, rational science is not a benevolent application of our beliefs and behaviours.
A computer network doesn’t “care” how it’s used, whether as an open channel for remote robotic surgery, atheist award videos, Sunday sermons, drone strikes, government monitoring of citizens or online Ponzi schemes, yet computers and networks are the result of applying the scientific method that an atheist should award a public prize to.
I guess I am not an avowed atheist and should leave it at that.
I accept that we are all wired a little differently and what jolts one person into action may be similar to what jolts another but it’s not entirely the same.
If an avowed atheist and an avowed Christian/Hindu/Muslim/Jew/Buddhist/Taoist/humanist/spiritualist both come together to the aid of a child with severe injuries during a major natural disaster, then I am happy, because their actions rather than their beliefs achieved the same results.