Does it make you "ill" when people that are adults believe in "Providence"? It does me. I think all meaning or interpretation is a matter of correlation in one's mind to past memories and present preception of oneself, as well as past perceptions of oneself.
Humanists and scientists are trying to understand what makes for alturistic concern. They have found alturism in animal behavior and wonder what makes some people compassionate, and others, not so much. Some reasearch has revealed that children that were not nurtured as infants tend to not be as compassionate. There is information that suggests there are differences between the sexes. And, then, there is the chemical imbalances in the brain that make for mental illnesses. What does compassion have to do with "Providence", you ask?
"Providence" understands or interprets happenings as "God's intervention" in the world. These "happenings" are the result of people who experience "God" through others' acts of compassion. And science it seeking to understand if compassion can be "learned" behavior, as well. Can the physical properties of the brain and one's perception be changed over time with "conditioning"? Obviously, animals respond to discipline and learn how to behave. Authoritarian religions, as well as Totalitarian States believe that "discipline" is needed to bring about the 'salvation of mankind".
Atheistic States and authoritarian Religions believe that social conditioning is needed to protect against 'savagery" and can provide a "better society". This is the reason for propaganda and manipulation of the public or indoctrination in relgious climates. There is no real reverence for an individual's life, liberty or pursuit of happiness. We are a collective, so "individuality" is a threat to progress and conformity! Scientific materialism or religious conformity is much too important. Some scientists believe that even our experience of art and beauty is a result of stimuli to our physical properties, while religions see these "expressions' to be "useful" for "glorifying God". What makes for an artist's imagination? And is the artist's imagination as productive in a regimented and oppressive environment?
Religions have brought solace and comfort to those under authoritarian regimes, because of the need for the human to experience their own "reality". But, religions have also oppressed as much as any absolute State. The sense of "self" and one's own control of their life, is an important aspect of "feeling free". None of us are totally free, as we live under governments, and societies, and if not, we all live under the constraints of natural resources.
Natural resources are seen as limited unless science provides new ways or making them or limiting our use of them. And the environmental consequences to such use is also of concern. The question, then becomes who, what, and how will the policy decisions be made , how will they be prioritized, when there are so many variables? These are the conflicts within an open and free society. Those that hold the power make the determinations about policy and this is where "Providence" is an absurd understanding about life and what happens.
Unless one wants to affirm and confirm a Totalitarian State, where there is not "representation", then one must understand and see that it is "the people" who will vote, petition and make the differences to "outcomes" in their government, which isn't about "Providence", but about responsibility and concern.
"Providence" is a term useful for those that believe in authoritarianism! And good government is NOT authoritarian, not at all.
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