Monday, August 4, 2014


It seems like lately I'm being pulled more and more into debates relating to God, religion, and atheism.  Articles, news videos, blog posts all seem to photo bomb my field of vision, waving their arms and hollering for attention.  

Last week, I visited a blog I had  never seriously read before, written by a young woman who claims to be "Overcoming a fundamentalist indoctrination."  Meaning, I guess, that she was raised in a fundamentalist Christian household, and has rejected that path to search for her own version of religiosity.  The post I read was actually a review of a book called Good God, Lousy World and Me.  The blogger asks in her post, "is the only reason why I’m still a Christian because I don’t want to face the bleak reality of a world without God in it?"  This line of thinking never fails to irritate me.  I can never understand why Christians, or former Christians, all seem to believe that there are only two choices concerning God:  either God is exactly who or what you have always believed God is, or there is no God.  No consideration is ever given to a third, and in my opinion, most likely option:  that there is a force, call it God, Allah, the Great Spirit, The Creator, the Almighty, or whatever, and it is so huge and multifaceted and complex that we are pitifully ignorant of its nature, and things we have made up about it over the history of humanity are bound to be...wrong.  Or maybe the thing we call "God" is comprised of bits and parts and glimpses of a truth with which our infinitesimal knowledge of the universe is not equipped to deal.  So I felt compelled to pen a response to this person I've never met and who is now no doubt wondering how her blog attracted the attention of some New Age spiritual mystic:  

“is the only reason why I’m still a Christian because I don’t want to face the bleak reality of a world without God in it?” I don’t understand why the choice has to be between Christianity or a world without God. Or between any religion and a world without God. We have put, or tried to put, the Almighty into this mold, this persona that jives with human understanding. Is it any wonder that the Creator of the Universe proves to be something consistently beyond our comprehension? It’s not necessary or even possible to reconcile the concept of a “good” god with the existence of human suffering. Perhaps human suffering is–has always been–humanity’s problem to recognize and alleviate. Perhaps, out of our impotence to do so, we have shirked that responsibility on to an all-powerful “god” with the power to heal all our ills…who does not do so. But if the Creator does not fit the definition we have ascribed to it, the blame does not lay upon the Creator. Just because “God” turns out not to be who or what we have believed it is, does not mean “God” does not exist.

Then, this morning, this article on Salon caught my attention:  the Truth About Science Versus Religion.  It's a rather haughty diatribe against folks who claim to believe in God and evolution.  (I was brought up Catholic, and I never learned that the two concepts were mutually exclusive.)  The author demonstrates real contempt for any person who would dare to embrace both science and spirituality.  And of course this sent me off on another tangent RE the "God vs No God" debate:

"I'm sorry, hon...but your article is bogus.  It is textbook evidence of traditional human hubris when it comes to the subject of God.  Humans tend to either create a"god" that they can understand--that ends up looking much like a human being, only with superpowers (we even go so far as to state unequivocally that humans were created in the image and likeness of God, when in fact what we've done is create a god in the image and likeness of human beings...); or we confidently proclaim that there is no God, because we don't understand how It works.  And then we take these two opinions and wield them like clubs against one another.  

Let me ask you this:  why should the resident (some may argue "dominant") life form on a planet that amounts to less than a speck of dust in the entire universe have anything approaching a context for understanding the entity responsible for creating that universe?  Who the hell do we think we are that we can make written-in-stone pronouncements about the existence or character of such a being?  In this article, the author has done nothing more that "lower" herself to the same level as the group of folks she seeks to discredit.

In my humble opinion, the Creator does not object to human beings seeking connection with it,  whether that connection takes the form of traditional religion or something else--as long as the religion manifests itself positively for the benefit of others and the planet.  And you are free to disbelieve if you so desire--I'm sure the Creator is not diminished in any way if specks of dust on a speck of dust do not believe It exists.  But, whatever you choose to believe, do so with the understanding that everyone is free to believe whatever, as long as it harms no one.  And--here's the key--even if a group of believers' goal is to "convert" as many as possible, that doesn't make it okay for unbelievers to band together to criticize or convert believers.  Turn-about is NOT fair play, in this instance.  It just makes you a hypocrite.
Why do we have to think we know?  Why do we have to act like betrayed children when we find out we don't?  When we discover the truth about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, we go on with the rest of our lives a little sadder...a little diminished, knowing that those benevolent figures do not exist.

But God is not Santa Claus.  We call God omnipotent, eternal, all-knowing, omnipresent...but obviously we don't have any real comprehension of those concepts.  "Omni" indicates "ALL"...not just all the stuff the human mind can understand.  A.L.L. The universe itself is so huge, it's beyond our comprehension.  So how can we believe that we understand "omnipotence" as it applies to powers that we have no idea exist?  We have, I think, ascribed the correct concepts to the Creator of the Universe, as our poor minds understand them.  But then when the Creator functions outside our understanding, we reject It.  We call it "God," but we won't let it BE GOD.  And if it isn't the God we want it to be, then it doesn't exist at all

I don't expect humanity to ever really accept the hugeness of a God it cannot comprehend.  But I think I can expect that, at some point, we allow each other the freedom to believe, or not believe, as we choose.  That we take the Creator out of the equation of whether you are like me or unlike me, tribe member or outsider, friend or enemy.  Truthfully, I don't believe a Force responsible for the creation of the Universe has any stake in man's petty arguments.  Except that, if we can't learn to get along, we're going to destroy ourselves and this infinitesimal part of the Universe that we call "home." 

And it won't be God's fault...  

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