Making Sense of Brief Lives
By: Phil Smoke - Iff Books, $12.95
Description: There are some questions we can’t avoid. Questions about meaning and morality, about belief and evidence and truth - about things that are reflected in our lives, whether or not we ever analyze them explicitly.
This is the conviction that drives Making Sense of Brief Lives, first to identify with stark clarity the practical philosophical questions we face in life, and then to drive toward decisive answers.
Verdict: Falling neatly under the categories of Applied psychology, Epistemology, Ethics and Moral Philosophy, Phil Smoke’s new book Making Sense of Brief Lives is the kind of read where you sit down intending to just pass some time within a chapter, perhaps two, and yet cannot stop yourself from moving swiftly chapter-to-chapter, until the book has been read in its entirety.
Running at a briskly pertinent 108 pages, Smoke attests that the so-named Gods of Religion are, fundamentally, human creations and thus continues forward with radical, eye-opening honesty, whilst at all times providing clear and simple tools to enable us to address all the facts he brings up throughout the book.
To explain it a little better, If God is real, what makes everyone think they know what he wants? Ergo, humans project their own thoughts and emotions onto something to explain the world around them.
For no one truly knows and it’s just easier to say what’s real or not so you have some type of control in your life; or lack there of, of course.
So the short answer would be that we created Gods. Just as we will ourselves be Gods if we found another civilization that was less advanced than us.
As for the discussional What is the true meaning of morality?, well, in and unto itself, morality refers to the set of standards that enable people to live cooperatively in groups.
It’s what societies determine to be “right” and “acceptable.” Sometimes, acting in a moral manner means individuals must sacrifice their own short-term interests to benefit society.
So what we also get within these pages/chapters is a supernaturalist account of religion cloaked in an honest, truthful and evidently heartfelt desire to not only teach us, but guide us through a life where, sometimes, those aforementioned, and worldly clear and simple tools of navigation are perhaps just not so.
About the Author - Phil Smoke was born in Michigan in 1986 and spent most of his time since then asking questions. He was intensely religious for a decade, devouring scripture and theology and philosophy and learning practical lessons in service, organizing and persuasion.
Has worked as a math teacher, history teacher, and lawyer and he now lives in Cleveland and writes about philosophy and politics.
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