Monday, April 24, 2006

If there's no solution, there's no problem.



This is a famous French cartoon that I've always liked.

I don't know if this is the correct interpretation, but I interpret it as follows:

A problem isn't just something that bothers/annoys/upsets you. A problem is something that you try to solve. If it is something that is by nature impossible for you to solve, then you stop trying to solve it. Then it is no longer a problem, it is rather something that you find a way to accept and deal with.

Somebody else's religion/worldview is fundamentally not your problem.

Absolutely make sure that everyone has access to all of the information, evidence, and arguments you know. Shout your story and your reasoning from the rooftops!

but...

For a particular individual that you deal with personally, once you know they've seen and can access the evidence that convinced you of your views, you're done.

Harping, harassing, and giving conditional friendship/love benefits no one.

Now obviously this post was motivated by the fact that a bunch of the bloggers of Outer Blogness have been posting about friends and family members who can't stop asking their apostate friends and family members to keep re-reading the Book of Mormon and keep praying about it until they get the right answer, no matter how many times they've already done it nor how firm their conviction that reasoning and real-world evidence are a better path to truth than subjective spiritual feelings.

However, I lean towards the idea that it goes both ways, i.e. if someone is aware of the issues surrounding Book of Mormon DNA research, scholarly interpretations of the Book of Abraham papyrus, etc., and still believes that Joseph Smith is a prophet, then really it's their own business...

I don't condone using one's religion or cosmology as an excuse to harm or oppress others, but belief itself in the supernatural is an internal matter to the individual.

10 comments:

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

Very nice.. like your translation.

Rebecca said...

I like the cartoon, and your application to religion. I keep having to remember to restrain myslef and not try to convince people. I'm just so excited about it that I want to SHARE it, but I have to keep remembering that no one I know even wants to know the evidence, let alone why I believe it. So I (mostly) keep my mouth shut.

C.L. Hanson said...

I'm not saying don't share. Definitely share. :D

I'm just saying beware of crossing the line -- particuarly with family members -- of continuing after the person has made it clear that they're not interested...

F2K said...

True that, Hanson . . . the adage "Don't beat a dead horse," comes to mind. Sometimes, you've just got to stop trying to ride the poor thing!

(I'm linking to you . . . check out my latest post!)

Rachel said...

This is why I like reading your blog. Lots of food for thought.

djd said...

Die Klein Problem ist kein Problem!

(Apologies if I got the grammer wrong, I only know a few words of German (other than loanwords).)

C. L. Hanson said...

LOL!!!

Your German is probably better than mine, and I understand your comment. I can't tell you whether or not it's grammatically correct. ;^)

Anonymous said...

I think what the cartoon meant to say was that, there's always a solution to any problems.

Nathaniel said...

I'm not sure I get the cartoon. I mean, there's a solution to the guy's problem: tip the bottle a little further, then tip it back. He'll get some wine out of the base.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Nathaniel!!!

Good point!

I'm not sure the cartoon is meant to be taken quite that literally though. The idea is that the wine is in a Klein bottle. It's a closed mathematical surface such that there's no inside and outside -- or rather the inside is also the outside -- much like a Möbius strip.

The trouble with the Klein bottle is that it actually requires a four-dimensional space in order to exist without crossing itself -- which is why it's difficult to express this problem in a 2-D cartoon depiction of 3-D space. But if you had a real Klein bottle, it would be hard to store wine in it! ;^)