...which was kind of her. I find I like most Christians, even Mormons, and JW's.
She sent me a leaflet, which asks: Where can we find the answers to life's big questions? Science? Philosophy? the Bible?
And I find I like big questions, as well. If one is going to tackle life's disparate phenomena effectively, it seems to me that one needs some kind of mental model, some kind of ordering of priorities, that allows one to do so.
So, if we take as a sample one of the big questions suggested by the leaflet: what is the meaning of life? then it is clear that science cannot, and never will, provide us such an answer. Science deals with things that are quantifiable and measurable, and the meanings of things do not fall into this category. Nevertheless, science is by no means useless; for most of us in the developed world, our qualities of life today are definitely an improvement on the qualities of life 100 or 1000 years ago. And this has far more to do with the success of the rational, scientific project than it has to do with religion.
And philosophy is no vain enterprise, either. Philosophy does deal with the meanings of things, and, at least in the anglo-saxon analytic tradition, insists on rigorous, rational, cogently argued justifications for its findings. And this is a good, solid discipline to practice; that one should have good reason to believe what one believes, or just not believe it, until such evidence can be found. Nevertheless, it has to be admitted that philosophy has not yet identified indisputably the meaning of life, and is most effective when it comes to criticising such alleged meanings as and when they are proposed. This is not necessarily 'a bad thing', as it may well be that we can only discover what is true, by first discarding everything that is false.
Now, as for the Bible. I find it contains much that is good, and much that is wise. Nevertheless, the document is the state of the art as it was 6000-2000 years ago. My position is that humanity has made progress since it was written, due no doubt, in part, to the fact that it was written. But I do not feel morally bound by the Bible, any more than I feel legally bound by Lex Romana, Roman Law. And as for the Bible's position on the meaning of life, then I don't think it ever explicitly spells this out, in so many words. It is left for us to infer, and to realise for ourselves, that love is what life is all about, rather than some scripture-derived ideology.
So, I've got that off my chest. I'm willing to answer any points arising. But if you don't approve of what I have said, don't blame me. Blame your Bristol, UK, branch for sending me your leaflet.
Best wishes to you all, 2RM.