On Placing the Finger


Let’s talk about this

Imagine these two characters

They’re real

But for the sake of demonstration, imagine them

They need names

Let’s call them Cain and Abel

Cain has had it kinda tough

Not Abel though

They’ve both certainly struggled

But Abel had a supportive family

Cain had an abusive one

Both families happened to be of the same religion

Abel’s dogmatic tendings instilled at her core a love for understanding and serving and working with people

Cain’s dogma taught him to judge people

Cain hadn’t seen the world, and as a consequence of his mental bondage he let his dogma do his thinking for him

Live a superhero life, pray a passionate prayer, and hold people to the standards you’ve imposed on your own God

dogma has a way of teaching you things that aren’t there

It is wont to radicalize

For the individual of true faith, sight is imperative

But for Cain – for a man of dogmatic faith –

blindness is characteristic

He was broken, confused

Cain was experiencing a disconnect between his value perception of the world and the natural world itself

Abandonment of dogma ushers in the realization that practicality is a prerequisite for truth

Truth works

If what you claim is true acts at odds with common individual experience of the world,

(And I’m not speaking of literal mythology, but of the values with which we guide ourselves)

Then your claims are incorrect

Because the world is a single thing experienced differently by many

Not trying to burst your bubble, but there is not a personal world for each of us

That’s something much more resembling heaven than it is your disappointing state of affairs


Cain was unhappy

He was not living harmoniously with the world, but disharmoniously with himself, other people, and the world

This might benefit from an example

So I have an apple

If I believe eating it will give me the power to fly, then following my consumption of said fruit

A healthy blade of grass and I will be approaching each other like two lovers in a cliche flick

Except in my case I’ll be kissing the ground

Cain’s contorted values caused him to believe things about himself that were not true

And the consequence was pain

If I believe that the apple can make someone else fly…

That could cause a number of problems ranging from harrowing attempts to recreate the use of carrier-pigeons with people to being tried for manslaughter

Disharmony with oneself and other people

If I believe the apple is an orange…

Disharmony with the world

But where Cain experienced pain and confusion, Abel found success

Abel’s dogma took a different form

It did not descend into legalism

Nor did it impose its own perceptions on the world without some level of self-awareness

Abel perhaps had a better understanding of the origin of her own dogma from the start

Her family helped her and loved her and raised her to be independent and to experience the world and find her own conclusions

Though not without fair warning of and protection from the evils she might discover

Her biggest dilemma manifested itself in her realization that the things her family had taught her

and more importantly the values which constituted her as a consequence

were all taught to her through the lens of her family’s dogma

But Abel also realized that her family was not enslaved to their dogma

They had battled and sweated and cried over the truth

They had an honest lens

Abel’s family saw the world, and continues to do so,

and as a result, their dogma to some extent can be reasonably relied upon as reflecting the truth

And in fact, Abel’s values had done very well for her and enabled her to be successful to a fair extent in every area of her life,

though not without hardship and doubt

which is a given

Unlike Cain, who experienced some level of failure at most junctures




there’s the rub!

Cain and Abel were of the same faith

Same denomination even

And so we stumble upon

The dilemma of objective literal belief

Here’s the twist

Cain became a fairly agnostic theist.

Abel became an atheist


I know, surprising turn of events

Cain and Abel had to see the world through another lens, from a different place

Cain escaped the dogma and became much happier

He is still in the process of seeing and seeking

Abel escaped the dogma and deteriorated into hopelessness and unprincipled action

Cain’s experience of religion was thoroughly hypocritical

both with respect to himself and the people around him

Abel’s was earnest

and Abel has found it best to return to the faith with added enlightenment

Out of the crucible of doubt as Dostoevsky might say

But Cain has not

due to something resembling PTSD I believe



It took the writing of this article to put my finger on the issue

One individual’s ascription to an objective literal belief will have a completely different outcome from that of another’s

Although I do acknowledge that Cain’s experience of Abel’s religion was not an honest one as a result of how he was raised and treated

Letting bygones by bygones

The odds of any return to the faith on Cain’s part being good and conducive to his happiness and better living are less than favorable

What is true for Abel

Is not true for Cain



I was going to end it there

That’s what I put my finger on even before I started writing

This whole article is just me attempting to solve this mental problem

I was going to make the subjective argument


It’s a false conclusion
Also I just learned how to change line spacing

The discrepancy in the effectiveness of a certain set of values has nothing to do with those values

And it has everything to do with the individual

I already said Cain never experienced the truth he claimed

That’s a big statement and this is a complex problem

and I’m definitely wrong in at least a couple ways

But, here’s my thought

Discrepancies in separate subjective experiences of a literal mythology do not demonstrate its fallibility

because it cannot be shown that an identical set of values was construed from the mythology in each case

What worked for Abel did not work for Cain

because they were experiencing objectively different things!

Ok I take back what I said

It doesn’t have everything to do with the individual

I wonder what would happen if Cain admitted to an experimental return to the faith in order to test Abel’s values in his own life

I should figure out what Abel’s values are

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