God Imperfect

When faced with any logical critique of divinity, believers usually devolve to the  apothegm ‘you cannot know the mind of god’. And yet their holy books and everything they proceed to explain to you is all about the mind of god. What he wants, how to get into his good graces, what he created us for…on this basis I take two fundamentals about god. He is all powerful and he is all good.

It is a principle of nature of that life feeds on life…with all the bloodshed, pain, suffering and loss that such a principle entails. The god that created that principle is either not all good or not all powerful. If he were both he would never create such a principle.

The Gnostics answered this by stating that it was a demigod – a lesser being created by god – who actually created the Earth and us. They saw the flaws in creation and knew they cannot be attributed to an all powerful, all good god. It is a pity that 2,000 years later people still don’t get the gaping hole in their description of god.

What are Gods for?

I have repeatedly heard theists asking to whom does one look for authority if one does not believe in god? They think that each person may have their own ethical code and no one will agree on behaviour without a religion.

Firstly, let’s be fair, no one does anyway even with religions. Secondly, and far more importantly, since non believers accept that all holy writ has been written by people, and since in simple conversation you can find everyone agrees on some very basic rules it becomes obvious that god is there to keep people faithful to the ethical code they know to be correct.

That they slip all the time is, of course, equally obvious but the basic rules on living together have been pretty much the same since tribes started to farm – don’t kill each other, don’t steal from each other, be equitable and fair in all your dealings. If you need god to tell you this, you have not been given a brain.

Why Religion Is Mistaken

Religions make the error of telling us what god is. The great historical problem with this is that, given there is no empirical evidence for god, we draw upon what we know to describe the divine. But at any one time in our history, we have never known everything and in fact, looking back, can be said to have known next-to-nothing about nature and so all our descriptions are created in ignorance.

We can say, with emphasis, that soul and goodness never change and that creative genius is eternal but the moment we engage our gods in the world and with us, we drawn them to our limited understanding. 

The great tragedy of this is that as we learn more, what we thought we knew is challenged but we are loathe to give up what we thought we knew so we justify our ignorances in any way we can. This only ever leads to conflicts.

We should keep god metaphysical and give up on religions, codifications and all dogma. We are simple too ignorant to be able to judge.

The Essential Atheism

There are many reasons for people being agnostic and / or atheist. I actually quite like the Gnostic way of thinking thought it was seen as a heresy by the early Christian church and believers were hunted down and killed. Nice.

But in the main by atheism is heavily reliant upon what religions tell me their god is, because it is obvious such a god cannot exist. That a god may exist in a metaphysical sense cannot be disproven or proven,  but when people start to tell you what god is, that is when their foolishness becomes evident.

If you believe god is all powerful and all good, you are wrong. No all powerful, all good god could make it a principle of nature that life feed upon life, with all the bloodshed, pain, sorrow and death that such a principle necessarily embraces. And this is one of hundreds of flaws in the arguments of those who presume to describe what god is and what god thinks. If you are going to believe in a  god, stop making it into a religion. That is your big mistake.

The Necessity Of God

Many years ago when I started to study divinity as a teenager at school there was a conceit amongst religious people that went something like; ‘If god did not exist it would be necessary to invent him.’

Leaving aside the strange irony obvious to atheists, hidden within the statement, it is one of those very telling phrases that speaks volumes about how human beings think. Those of you who have read me for a while will know I accept as undeniable that religions tell us more about human beings than they ever tell us about a (supposed) godhead. But I find myself wondering why people think he would be necessary?

We might look at the common critiques of religions and talk about ways in which human beings are controlled for an answer, or we may, as I prefer, look at how fearful we actually are of life. A fear inbred in us from the times when we were vulnerable to predatory animals and much more vulnerable to diseases than we even are now. Such vulnerabilities may not actually be gone.

When we see the hurricanes and the earthquakes we see people need a place to go, and the emotional place has always been to someone who can care for us. This is what makes a godhead a necessity in our imaginations, the terror of all this being an accident and our self-awareness being no more than a product of our brains signifying nothing.

Chaos makes gods.

The Subtle Storm

There are many people who look at history and see quite clearly the guiding mind of a god, citing the frequent times in history when an event benefiting human kind happened almost fortuitously. Most recent would be the election of Churchill when he wasn’t the front runner, to Prime Minister in 1940. Many others could be mentioned as disparate as new foods being found, decisions being taken by individuals that meant the difference between success and failure even when they were not too sure why they chose as they did.

The problem with choosing the timely events as demonstrations of a god is what do you say of those times when terrible things did happen for the same reason; a timely event resulting in mayhem and murder. There are two real problems in this way of thinking. The first is that people even look for some power above them working in their lives and the second is that we still look at events from our own perspectives of political and societal assumptions so what we consider very good others may not.

So yes Columbus was very lucky but the human beings living in the lands he told others were there, were devastated. It was excellent for the British to make money out of the potato, but it killed the Irish.

Actually fortuitous events happen because of the mix of people and chance and for no other reason.

Angels And Devils

We cannot go as far back as the first intellectual discussions human beings had about the world, but as far back as we are able to go we find reflected in our beliefs the dichotomy between good things happening and bad things happening. Born from the experience of everyday living and from the observation that luck exists, that some people survive  and some do not with no discernible reason why one is chosen over another. This is an observation still relevant today.

The idea that the good things and the bad things are presided over by some agency with greater powers to guide events is a logical step and therefore the first gods like Moloch needed to be appeased. And so we see the beginnings of the whole idea that human beings have no power, a principle which science challenges by telling us that what we really lack is knowledge. We all know today that burning a baby in front of a stone statue will not help us one whit with anything, but we still know there are good things and bad things that can happen with seemingly no logic.

The reason it still persists is the idea of self – we all live inside our heads and have a very clear idea of self – but nature does not. Just as we can kill a cow and eat it and say ‘there’s another one over there’ so it makes no difference to nature and  so nature can kill one person and still know there are others ‘over there’.

Nature knows us only as a species, not as individuals.

My Theory, Your Poison

There is much discussion going on in America and in other centres of religious devotion, about Evolution versus intelligent design. On the periphery are those who accept evolution but believe it to be the mechanism used by a god to make life. And pointing to leaps in the evolutionary chain and other things, they even suggest god manipulates this mechanism when s/he is of a mind.

If you read earlier writers it is interesting to note how many of them say that everything has its place in nature. But instead of investigating that idea they put it down to their creator’s choice. And that’s the point. It is ‘their’ creator. Scientists today who want to maintain a deity say no one knows what kick-started it all off nor does science have any explanations for the meta-physicality of existence.

I am reminded of studying the history for western philosophy and a fellow student telling me most of the thinkers were anxious to put god into their explanations of existence. It was an absolutely conscious decision. From Descartes all the way through to the lucid Kant who saw explanations for god as either too easy to refute to too hard to grasp.

If, however, there really is a god, then s/he will be in the equations. There is no way they cannot be. But if there is not a god no amount of wishing, desire or belief will conjure one up.

Trust Me To Lie

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could tell when someone is lying the way we can with a four year old?

“Did you have sex with that women?”

“No I didn’t and don’t pay any attention to the woman holding my trousers.”

“Of course I never took that bribe and my bank account deposit details which you are waving about is inaccurate.”

Children are very obvious at that age, but we get crafty as we get older at hiding the evidence. There is a worse lie abroad in the world today that says we all worship (those of us who do) the same god. And that that god is all love and anyone who kills in god’s name is just a bad person and not truly religious at all.

The actual fact is that we are too obvious. We do what our natures want us to do and then we try to define god in terms that continues to allow us licence. If belief doesn’t lead us wholly into a life of service and poverty we haven’t taken on board any religious wisdom at all.

“Yes I am religious and very loving and no I won’t allow my country’s army to stand down.”

We derive our beliefs on who makes the first move in this life, and we expect that always to be the other person. Peacefulness is not the natural way of human beings, it has to be taught, understood and embraced.

Light And God

My physics friend at University (don’t laugh we all had one) told me in his text books they a quote ‘And god said…” followed by the four equations Maxwell wrote on the nature of light. It made me think about the relationship between god and science in our minds.

Of course if science is correct then god is a scientist. However if science is correct than all we have said about god in  religions is incorrect. Well no, not all. I was struck a while ago hearing a religious man ask someone what they thought about god and reprimanding them when they started to quote religions saying that was only what men and women thought about god. For years I have studied Metaphysics and to see god in the place s/he ought to be, as purely speculative with no observable existence outside of personal belief, was refreshing. God actually never said anything but in saying nothing, everything has been revealed.

But though monotheism may be having its day in the light of science polytheism is making a comeback. We don’t call them the usual names but we worship at the feet of many gods; free-sex, money, nationalism you name them, we worship them. Because to worship something all you need do is to give your life to it.

It never was about what god is or is not, it was all about who human beings are . . . or are not.

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