You know, I've decided to brush off the rest of this essay; because, frankly, it's already gotten tiresome, and, besides, I think everyone knows where I was going with it. My point is simply that, to emotionally acquiesce to this doctrine of heaven and hell, one must cut at least some of the strings that tug at one's own conscience, and personal sense of morality. Of course, there are the pseudo-rationalizations. But in the end, I find these sometimes glib, more often clunky loopholes insincere, as in fact the proponents of such word games would never apply them to everyday, commonsensical situations. In fact, the cop-outs people use to justify their own deific ass kissing in the face of their regular moral standards usually boil down to cowardice, in my book...a matter of saving their own skins, no matter what.
Having said that, I wouldn't say the real-life situation is so cut-and-dried. After all, people really DO enjoy their lives, at least in some respects, and at least some of the time. But life is colored all too simplistically by the optimists, and the risks entailed in bringing new life into the world are real, and sometimes horrific. But we are taught to underplay the role of unhappiness in the world, and to play up the 'beauty', and 'wonder' of it all. Even supposedly rational, objective scientists like Richard Dawkins and the late Carl Sagan do (did) this, and they should know (have known) better.
The math is really easy from where I sit. On the life side, there is the possibility of all those good things which some might call the 'good life'; but there's also the downside. The pain, the terror, the tragedies large and small which touch almost every life at one time or another, and which, more often than some would like to admit, subsume a life. And there is death; most likely nothing at the actual culmination, but a helluva dark ride on the way, with all the inherent fears and ailments that come along for the ride.
Then there is non-existence. Yes, admittedly there IS the lack of the good life, but then...there's no one to care about that, is there? And on the plus side, there's absolutely, one hundred percent lack of suffering, ever, ever, ever...and that's a PLUS in my book! To mourn a life that never was, is to mourn a figment of the imagination. Should we then encourage unbridled childbearing for as long as the woman is able, so that no potential human ever gets left out? And if not, why not?
Let's look at this another way...is it patently immoral for any fertile woman to forbear having children? If not, why some, and not others? Why not all? Antinatalists are often caricatured as human haters, who would love nothing more than to exterminate all life. I'd like to turn the tables on the procreationists a bit here. What if the antinatalist idea actually got through to the populace of fertile women, to the degree that all childbearing aged women put their collective foot down, and refused to breed? What attitude would this engender in the procreationist camp (I guess that would be the men, and infertile women)? Would they simply submit to the will of the refusers, and to the dying out of the species? Or would there be forceful measures applied for the 'good of all'? Maybe not a particularly relevant question to the subject at hand, but an interesting one, nonetheless. Speaks to motives and pre-suppositions, I think.
Anyhow, enough of the religious angle for now...though I DO have some thoughts vis-a-vis abortion and the possibility of hellfire. It's a subject that Chip over at The Hog has already touched on, but I might have a little something to add, if nothing more than re-iteration (an ofttimes necessary thing!).
And on a personal note:
This whole experience is proving to be very cathartic for me. The subject is quite deeply felt here, and it's something I've given a lot of thought to over the years. Believe it or not, I understand the quick dismissals, and have some sympathy for them. But, in the end, the antinatalism stance is the right one, and I'm bound to stay the course (at least, until I've seen some persuasive arguments from the other side, which have not yet been forthcoming). Of course, most people consider the subject marginal to the point of invisibility...I mean to change that in my own, small way. Ciao for now...
Oh! And, don't have children!