REPLY #3 TO
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
(R) Thank you for your insightful views regarding Public Prayer. Having read some of your dialogs on other topics posted on your web site, I believe I have begun to understand what your position is regarding your outlook on life, especially religion.
(MB) While I certainly don't expect everybody to agree with me on all topics (if they did, there wouldn't be much point to my Philosophy section), my hope is that I can present my views in a way that is understandable along with trying to clear up some "urban myths" along the way.
(R) We must all spend our lives doing what we find is the most rewarding and productive. Because life is so short, it is best (my opinion) to find our place as soon as possible and then be able to concentrate our resources on contributing to the betterment of our fellow man while we are here.
(MB) I agree completely. In addition, I'd say that in order to gain the utmost in satisfaction, we must judge "betterment" by our own standards and not by those of lobby groups or by slavish adherence to "common wisdom". This doesn't mean that one should be selfish. It means that one should be honest about what they are doing and why they are doing it. There is far too much hypocritical behavior these days.
(R) It is this "contributing" issue that you and I most likely disagree. And for that reason, this will be my final time to communicate with you.
(MB) That would be too bad -- especially since we are in basic agreement here. We might differ over the methods used to make our contributions, but it seems that we both agree that such contributions are a good thing.
(R) I respect your right to believe, or not believe, as you do. Since our "believing" sensors are so different, it is hard for me to grasp how one can meaningfully contribute to the benefit of society using only a dogmatic intellectual approach of something so vast as life itself. And, of course, I understand your feelings about someone like me who uses only a "dogmatic, faith-led pursuit of something so vast as life itself!"
(MB) The intellectual approach seeks to answer life's questions in a way that can leave little doubt about the answers and which can also pave the way to future discoveries that will better our lives. If the whole of the universe is analogous to a building, then the intellectual approach seeks to accurately define each individual brick and to place them properly so that the entire building may eventually be solidly constructed.
Other approaches tend to describe the entire building in a single, short and all-encompassing (if often vague) stroke. This may be fine if one isn't all that interested in the details and just needs any sort of "final answer" to the question. But, this tends to lead to stagnated thinking and impediments to future progress and discovery. It's certainly easier than my approach, but why should the answers to something as vast as life or the universe
(R) Although I risk your retort, and I do want to leave on a positive note, I will be praying for you, yes, in Jesus' name. Maybe it will be a worthless exercise, but it is the kindest thing that I know I can do. Good luck to you in your search for the meaning of life, and thanks for sharing your views.
(MB) You'll get no dispute from me on this. Offering prayers is like giving gifts -- often it's the thought behind it that is, by far, the most important thing. So long as one is honest in his intentions (and no harm is intended or done), there can be no real quarrel with the methods.
I, too, would wish you (and everybody else) good luck in their own searches for the meaning of life. As I said before, it's not a question that is easily answered. The only people who are truly wrong are those who seek no answers whatsoever.