Baxter the dog is a happy three-year-old mutt. He enjoys mornings at the dog park, watching episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants, and lazy evenings lounging around and thinking about epistemology.
Thoughts like, How do I know I’m a good boy? My bipedal friends and family say I am a good boy all the time, but what criteria are they using to base their judgment on? Should I take their praise on faith? hound him.
Baxter’s two-legged friends are, in fact, good people. He knows this by the countless acts of kindness and compassion they demonstrate on a daily basis. The evidence is quite abundant. For example, there are many pats on the head, delicious treats, and even when he’s a bit naughty (there was that time he woofed down the charcuterie board) no one stays angry at him for too long.
Baxter loves his people, but in his heart, he knows their decision-making process is problematic at times. He’s journeyed with them to various faith-based social events. Their church BBQ last year was an eye (as well as a nose) opener. Everyone was super nice. But, he had one bone of contention. What was going on with that prayer? Don’t they understand if God’s plan dictates events, then praying for a sunny day to play softball is at the very least absurd? Possibly sacrilegious?
Regardless, he thinks he is a good boy. And even though that belief is shaped by the flawed people around him, he has taken the time to reflect on his character. While Baxter isn’t perfect, he’s not a dog that bites strangers for no apparent reason.
Being perfect isn’t a precondition for accepting who you are. Perfection is not a requirement for being accepted by others. - Baxter
Baxter, the post-religious pooch, accepts his family even if they don’t understand the problem of free will and divine providence. They are all on the same team.