Note: I have to give credit where credit is due. This is kind of in reaction to Ryan’s blog. His question was why do people bother to call themselves agnostic? It seems like one of those PC labels that people use when they don’t want to say that they are atheists, because it “offends” people if you tell them you don’t believe in god. Oh, and I’ve given up on censoring all my foul language. You can blame John Goodman.
Now, at various points in my life, I have been accused of being (among other things) a nihilist, and it’s highly likely that my beliefs do fit under certain definitions of nihilism.
Nihilism can refer to different things. It can mean that values do not exist but are invented OR specifically that there are no moral values OR that life itself is without meaning or purpose.
And on some days I likely fit under the first, definitely under the second, and probably under the third.
But can you really be a full-blown, believe-in-nothing nihilist?
In general I think I am a fair-minded person. I’m opinionated, sure, but I am in most cases at least able to understand positions that I do not hold. I can see where two opposing sides on a lot of major issues are coming from. Being in favor of the death penalty makes sense to me. Being opposed to the death penalty also makes sense to me. This issue in a huge way depends on what you think the purpose of punishment is, and that’s a legitimately contestable issue.
But there is one thing that I just absolutely cannot get my head around. I do not understand homophobia. I do not understand how anyone could view homosexuality as offensive. And I cannot see how anyone could possibly justify opposing gay marriage or why someone would even want to. I don’t think it even hinges on whether someone thinks that homosexuality is a choice, because that still does not justify opposing the equal rights issue at stake here. Gay marriage is yet another instance of a conflict grounded in religious interpretation infecting our (supposedly) secular legal system.
Sure, maybe there are a few Bible verses that could possibly be interpreted as viewing homosexual activities as sinful, but how is it possible that those verses can trump the commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself?