Though my intellectual focus is highly materialistic, I’m not a materialist by trade. And I think my focus on material psychology is just an accident of timing between my brain development and mental breakdown at college.
I believe religion is mostly about picking a master. I have to choose between myself (solipsism, which collapses into nihilism because I cannot independently create my own mind), or the unknown other mind (God). I know this mind exists because I must have been created by a mind that was not mine. If I picked an ideology I’d just be fooling myself, because I’d be choosing myself (because ideas are not minds).
Picking a master requires doing what the master wants. Given that only divine revelation counts here, the other mind is surprisingly silent. This makes things get complicated quickly.
In a more practical sense, I believe the universe is not a closed system because there is a great deal of order in it that violates my expectation to find chaos. This indicates some very powerful anti-entropic force, indicating divine intervention. This means that I actually believe there is at least one transcendental being injecting energy (moving atoms around) in a way that violates entropy in our causal, mechanistic universe. In general, it seems that God prefers anti-entropic activities to entropic ones.
Therefore, I believe that moral decisions tend to be anti-entropic. This relates to my own ability to create more order in the universe, because I understand that I am also a transcendental mind with the ability to break the mechanical causality of the universe. But I control this meatsack with a very thin thread, which I call my “will”. Maybe other people mean something different with that word, but when I say “willpower” I’m thinking about pulling the tiny string on a puppet. Most of the stuff that’s happening in my brain is just the work of my meat computer, but a small tiny bit of it is my will making little decisions that affect the course of the meat computations.
Because my greatest contribution to the great cause of fighting entropy seems to be my ingenius neanderbrain, this is how I concentrate most of my efforts. Merely describing the world in a clever way makes it more orderly, for the same reason that it would be difficult for a reader to believe this post was accidentally written by a monkey banging on a typewriter. (Humor me, dammit. It’s just an example.)
I could talk some about Christianity, but it’s a confusing topic. I think metaphysical-style proofs are great and all, and I’ve referred to a couple of them above, but I don’t thals can ever really grok Christianity until they’ve personally grokked the truth of the design argument, and the depressing realization that all mechanistic systems tend to decay into hydrogen clouds and balls of dust and ice. This is also what happens when a mind leaves a body. But as I’ve pointed out, it’s not just life- if we found a pyramid on Mars, we’d know an anti-entropic force had been there, probably animated by a transcendental mind.
This materialistic focus is why I tend to be so cynically fatalistic in my descriptions of strictly causal phenomena, like the inner workings of the meatbrain. They’re just dust. Fatalism is the proper attitude about something that is going to be dust pretty soon.
On the other hand, there’s my attitude toward ideas and other minds. There’s a great deal of danger here, but also something remarkably wonderful. It’s the opposite of loneliness.
And then there’s my attitude toward my god, who is also God. It’s mostly lazy, because the master seems to be somewhere else and nobody’s yelling about Allah and threatening to chop off my head. I’m not a very good Christian, and I regularly go for entire weeks without thinking the word “God” or “Christian”.
Hopefully, I can change that by using tiny pulls on my puppet strings to create conscientiousness-reinforcing habits, and change my meatbrain in ways that maximize my counteractions against entropy.
So that’s where I’m coming from these days.