How do you know who you’re talking to?

A few questions for theists: How do you know to whom/what you pray? Even if you feel that some kind of God exists, how do you know He/She/It isn’t a malicious, malevolent being misrepresenting Itself as a kind, benevolent being? If everything is left to faith in traditions, institutions, prophets, etc., how can you confirm the identity, nature, agenda, extent, etc. of what you call “God(s)”? If there is an all-powerful creator God, shouldn’t that being be able to make all humans clearly understand Her/Him/It, and what might it say about God that all humans haven’t been made to clearly understand Her/Him/It (e.g., is God not all-powerful, not always loving, etc.)? If God changes (i.e., takes actions to create or affect this world or people), to what extent can God be eternal?

A few Buddhist quotes that seem relevant today

“Good men are constant[ly good]” (Dhammapada, 83, Lal’s translation).

“He is indeed virtuous, wise, and righteous who neither for his own sake nor for the sake of another (does any wrong), who does not crave for sons, wealth, or kingdom, and does not desire success by unjust means” (Dhammapada 84, Acharya Buddharakkhita’s translation).

“Think not lightly of evil, saying, “It will not come to me.” Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the fool, gathering it little by little, fills himself with evil” (Dhammapada 121, Acharya Buddharakkhita’s translation).

“By not holding to fixed views, the pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision, being freed from all sense desires, is not born again into this world” (Karaniya Metta Sutta, Amaravati translation).

A PhD’s critique of MDs

As someone with a PhD who has a possibly genetic serious health problem, here are a few things I’ve noticed about medical doctors (MDs):

  • They often mistake beauty for health, or charisma for intelligence.
  • They often have a power fetish, such as enjoying having control over others’ lives and livelihoods, and being attracted to people in other professions where one has others’ lives in one’s hands (e.g., pilots).
  • They often assume: that the 10 minutes you were in their office accurately represent your life in general, that their behavior had no effect on yours, that what they tested about you accurately represents everything they didn’t test about you, and that anyone with “doctor” in their title must be the same kind of doctor that they are and have studied what they studied.
  • MDs spend so many years in very intensive, specialized educational and vocational programs that many of them seem to have stopped growing emotionally in their 20s, and maybe started again in their 40s.
  • If they can’t find/label the cause or your severe, chronic problem, even if you are in bad shape and unlikely to improve, they often are unwilling to help you any further, such as with obtaining disability assistance. That can be a tragic loophole in our society’s infrastructure.
  • They are often a good example that being paid what the market will bear is not the same as being paid what you’re worth.

Changing (how) the world (works)

People don’t really want the world to change; the world changes on its own incessantly, which is the cause of most/all suffering in the world (i.e., whatever one builds or gets attached-to in this world is inevitably destroyed). People want to change *how* the natural, psychological, and social worlds work. For example, the human body and mind are frail, susceptible to disease, and short-lived, so people want to find ways of overcoming those problems. Walking, running, or using carts are too slow/weak and painful, so people invent transportation technologies. Crop yields are too low, so people do genetic and other agricultural engineering. Certain social structures/regimes that are currently in power are destroying the natural environment, causing wars, or allowing prejudiced or unequal treatment of people, so people want to change those regimes. And so forth. Humans rarely want to live in their natural state.