Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thinking of God(less)

I don't believe in God.

Don't misunderstand me: that doesn't mean I'm convinced that I know there is no God. I'm pretty sure there are not gods in the ancient sense of powerful beings in the sky and such--sky daddies, as they've been humorously referred to in some circles.

I'm pretty sure that few human beings referring to God can even imagine a being as big as they're trying to refer to--I ignore those who claim to know of any divine will personally. Appealing to scripture is dubious: did the writers understand what they meant? Do we understand what the writers intended, or what we wish to take away from their writings in our own context? Can we believe the more extravagant claims made in religious texts as anything but myth and superstition from an earlier time?

I don't believe I could fully imagine an entity that vast, but it seems to me it wouldn't be hung up on the sorts of religious observances that humans often follow. I can't imagine it being concerned that we believe in or worship it, that it is anything like the jealous god of Israel depicted in the pre-Christian Bible.

I also don't think that my belief would make a difference if there were a God. What matters to me is merely the question of how to live. I think any deity with any regard for mortal life would have to agree with the Golden Rule. It would have to have some degree of compassion if it understood us at all. A sort of love-without-preference. And if it is not these things, then why affiliate myself with it more than I must?

I believe that what we experience as God is a purely a human phenomenon. Some biologically-influenced imperative to look for patterns, to feel connected, to be part of something greater than ourselves, to see stories in the world, to think we have an audience.

Perhaps there is something greater than ourselves besides the immense collection of our species, the groups we belong to; "something out there" as the more nebulous and open-minded theists (or believers in ET) might say. But for me, I will focus on what's in front of me. I will learn to love my fellow humans. I will try to be the best limited, mortal, human creature I can be.

Then I will die, and I suspect that will be the end of it.

No comments: