Our Second Sunday Philosophical Tea Party
Welcome to the second philosophical tea party. This week, we are having tea in a cozy cabin in the woods, much like the one in Stephen Colbert’s Christmas special, because that is the inspiration for my question.
Hopefully most of you have been lucky enough to have seen the special already, but if you haven’t I suggest you watch it! I think they have re-runs of it on Comedy Central, and the DVD of it is also out. It is quite funny and I thoroughly enjoyed it, although the last song left me feeling perplexed. It is called “There are Much Worse Things to Believe In.”
Of course, the song is tongue in cheek, but it also brings up something worth thinking about. Most of us have at least SOME beliefs that aren’t completely rational. Obviously, we try to avoid them, but even extremely intelligent people have some unprovable beliefs. So the question is: how do we distinguish between “good beliefs” and “bad beliefs.” Should the distinction be based purely on rationality or should morality also enter into it? Is it, as Stephen says, worse to believe in “variations on a dark and spiteful God” than to belief in something relatively harmless, like Santa Claus (or dare I say, Astrology)?