Very well-thought-out essay.

Expand full comment

> Some even reject the problem entirely by rejecting the existence of consciousness

I believe you are referring to illusionism?

I mostly reject illusionism too, though I wouldn't rule out that people who claim not to be conscious are, in fact, not conscious.

> Embrace the truth that God is as real as you

This doesn't logically follow from anything above it.

I suspect that all consciousness is essentially the same thing, with the only important difference between two units of consciousness being its physical housing. Thus, the differences in ability, knowledge and personality between "Einstein", "me", "you" and "'you-with-brain-damage" lies entirely in differences between these four brains, not differences between the consciousnesses within them. Let's call this "Prop 1".

But the word "God", which you left without a definition, is widely understood as being "higher" in some sense. But if Prop 1 is correct, there is no consciousness that is "higher", and thus no God.

God is also widely understood as being extremely powerful and extremely knowledgeable, but the only evidence of such beings are in old stories. But all the old stories of different religions (including native Americans, African tribes and so on) disagree with each other and are incompatible with each other. I see no basis for concluding that any specific one of the stories is correct, but even if we could somehow know that a true religion exists, that doesn't seem useful or meaningful without knowing which specific religion was true.

(We may also reasonably suppose that somewhere out in the universe there are extremely powerful and knowledgeable being(s), beings capable of wondrous creations, which, however, don't even know Earth exists. Let's call this "Prop Stargate Season 9". Calling such a being "God", however, seems like a pointless exercise.)

Now, generally, people who believe in God believe in a specific God, e.g. they'll believe in one form of Christian god, and importantly, also *disbelieve* in all the African, Native American, and ancient Greek Gods. Given this reality, there is an *implicit* motte-and-bailey fallacy here. You are defending a motte, something like "there is at least one God, in some very loose sense of the word God". But anyone reading this essay (and maybe you yourself) will, in practice, use it as a way of affirming their faith in the bailey ("Christian God is real but the ancient Greek Gods are myth").

As a former Christian I have a simple reason for rejecting my religion: those who created it were liars. But that's another story.

Expand full comment