On God, on Life and on Death
No man can say there is no God and be right. In the sense that it is an unknowable truth as to whether or not a creator exists. There is plenty of evidence to support the statement that God exists, in the fact that we are here as is the Universe. Something from nothing? That is a difficult puzzle to solve, try as we may. That being said, there is the very distinct and some would say, myself included likely probability that a god, a creator exists and every human religion has absolutely no idea what the truth of this God is. We have spent millennia anthropomorphizing gods to elevate ourselves above the rest of the planet. We make ourselves gods in God’s absence, to justify our subjugation of the earth, its inhabitants and one another. We beat our enemies, neighbors and families over the heads with God to exert our will upon them and extract their humanity for our consumption. Arguing that humanity’s religions are bogus does not deny the existence of God. Nor does accepting the existence of God in any way legitimize any one of the 2,500+ (320 million if you include all Hindu gods as individuals) gods created by man. These faces placed upon the unknown and verified by testimonial thousands of years ago, only to be wielded by the damaged, the frightened and the charlatan of today have been a useful tool. Useful to good men and to wicked men. They are used to enact great acts of charity and violent massacres of innocents. Yet still, despite the irrefutable evidence that these institutions are of man and not divine, we continue to live, breath and sacrifice ourselves under these labels, these supplications to OUR god. We even claim ownership of God, as if her were a sports team. We pit God against himself, fueling our lust for base satisfaction. We take words written down thousands of years ago and perform idiomatic gymnastics with a translation of a translation of a translation of a prosaic text and we wonder how that guy at the church next door can POSSIBLY believe THAT when it is so clearly written right here THIS. We claim one book can so fully describe the ineffable that it is worth staking the lives of your family, the nation and the world on its accuracy and truth.
I cannot refute one religion with the truth of God. That which is unknown to us cannot be used as evidence, despite the fact that its revelation would put to rest forever the single greatest ideological force behind the attempted self-annihilation of the human race. I can only point out the tactic of the pre-historic through Iron Age practice of using the absolutely bizarre and absolutely impossible as a means of evidence of the improbable. The fact that we have billions of people on this planet, the great majority of whom have faith and they choose to ascribe every good thing that happens to them as an act of God and every bad thing as bad luck seems suspicious to NO ONE?!? Why can’t good things just happen because the Universe is a complex place and some things just happen to favor us? Why can’t evil things occur because either through will or circumstance, events occurred that resulted in someone not experiencing the outcome they had desired? I think at some level, it is all just a desire to have control over the chaos. The Universe is an unmovable thing. It includes everything, even our entirety. If we could just pray and there was a God listening to our prayer and acting on our behalf, we could exert control or influence over that which rules us. It is the ultimate story of the slave wishing away the master. That is possibly why the story of the exodus of the Israelites affects so many on such a visceral level. Most of us have no idea what the slaves of history (and sadly some of the present) experienced as far as brutality, dehumanization and abject hatred from their masters. However, every one of us can picture being subject to another’s will and their arbitrary dispensing of justice, injustice and humiliation as they see fit. That is one of the key factors in today’s politics. The problem with participating in a democratic society is that you have to cede some autonomy for the sake of security and prosperity, just like the fact that in business, you must rely on others, whether employees, suppliers or customers, to earn success. Conservatives have a difficult time ceding their autonomy to a government which overwhelmingly favors their side of the aisle while at the same time ceding all spiritual autonomy to an unseen, unheard from in 2,000 years, manufactured façade of a deity that has questionable origins, a terrible track record as far as consistency is concerned and an unholy distain for bacon. And that’s just the Christians. Conservatives of all stripes and denominations like to excuse their arrogance by relabeling it piety. They do not have a corner on the arrogance market of course, it is just that left unchecked in their hands, their behavior is completely unchecked. The radical right can destroy programs designed to protect the most vulnerable citizens and advocate devices of war meant to kill millions, mostly civilians and chalk it al up to pithy scriptural quotes about sin, vengeance and smiting one’s enemies. For all of liberals’ failings (and they do have failings) the bloody hands fall squarely on the right side of the aisle. Thank goodness all we need to do is walk into a box and confess our sins to a pedophile and we can be absolved, because, hey, at least I’m not as bad as THAT guy. The problem with just accepting that the probable creator god has really authorized one and only one human text as the true reflection of his will should be obvious. If a god created all of us in this Universe, not just the humans, but the inhabitants of the other inhabited worlds, the elements of the Universe and the seeds of all life, we have to ask these questions: a) He created life, does he demand death? B) Do we owe him prayers, adoration and murder on his behalf? C) Is he watching/ does he care?
So much of this can easily be explained if we acknowledge the only truth we can actually ascertain from the idea of the unmoved mover/creator god: We exist. The fact is that every other bit of subjective morality we read into our existence and the existence of that which we perceive as “God” is something we have derived in our attempt to make sense of the question of who we are and why we are here. That should be a very liberating concept to some. It turns out that it is a very frightening concept to most. We value our lives on an instinctual level. All life is hardwired to love itself, at least to the extent that we procreate and make ourselves minor deities in the act. However, more than our life, we value our conscious. It is not enough that our life, the organic matter, our energy, our breath continues, floats into the ether, comingles with the substance of those we love that went before us and is breathed in by those we have left behind. We must have our minds, our conscious, perhaps the least perfect piece of our existence. It is the most flawed part of the miracle that is us, the part that is capable of sin and riddled with dishonesty and jealousy and vice. The part of us that craves to destroy our body in order to experience fleeting pleasures rather than extend life to its fullest measure is immutable. We are willing to kill and take our own lives for truths that exist only in our minds and we desire nothing more than to live in these minds for an eternity. We have been sold a story that we need to suffer the injustices of this life because it will buy us happiness in the next one to come. That is a great message to sell to a slave.
We are convinced that if we can accept the existence of God, we must acknowledge the supernatural. Apparently only atheists don’t believe in ghosts. Why can’t God, the creator be the creator of the natural world, one with rules, rules by which we are all held? Why can it not be that we are here, subject to the forces of the Universe, and that these are the only rules actually given to us by God? Do we need a sacred text to tell us that gravity exists? Apparently that would have been helpful in a pre-Newtonian world. Still, is it the sign of a malicious God to create and then jus let existence happen? Is it the sign of a disinterested deity to create and observe, never intervening because that is against the rules he set for himself? Does God require prophesy? Does God require manifestation on Earth to exist? God doesn’t need us and now that creation has come into existence, perhaps we don’t need God. That doesn’t mean you can’t be grateful for this amazing Universe and choose to be a great person because it makes the Universe a better place to be. It also doesn’t mean that you have a free pass to be evil because there is no such place as hell. It just means that we have to choose to do good things and avoid doing bad things for human reasons, hubris, pleasure, gratification, security, conscience, guilt, shame, fear. We are ruled by these much of the time. They are our prime motivators. Perhaps it is time we stop crediting and blaming God for the fact we have built a temple to humanity in his name. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just pray on it.