Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Does God Exist? Why Or Why Not?

Jason Boyett over at Beliefnet is asking that age-old question and soliciting responses. He frames the issue by giving a rundown of some of the best-known arguments for God: The Ontological, the Transcendental, the Teleological, and the Anthropic arguments. The board wasn't crowded with responses, so I thought I'd weigh in with my own opinion:

The mere fact that we have to continually ask this question is a good indication that there is no God. If there is one, then he/she/it has decided to exist at such a remove from our affairs as to be undetectable and inferred only by stretched arguments as detailed in your introduction. Many people have personal experiences and strong convictions that convince them there is a God (I once shared such beliefs - I'm judging none of my brothers or sisters here), but understandings and definitions of God are countless and often mutually exclusive. It makes more sense to think of God as a place holder word for the things we do not understand or the things we wish to be true.

I feel no need to substitute the genuine mystery of how our universe came to be with anyone's ancient myths. There's no reason to think that our fore-bearers had any greater purchase on truth than we do now; in fact, we should reasonably expect that they had understanding limited in comparison with our own. With science, our knowledge is improving at an admirable pace, and it's the best we can do to objectively learn about the universe. One by one our poor ancient guesses are being replaced with evidence-based explanations; often counter-intuitive to the intuitions we evolved for survival. Our religions come from charismatic individuals who have told us with straight face their teachings come from the almighty. We have seen it in modern times with the likes of L Ron Hubbard, David Koresh and Joseph Smith, and we can extrapolate backward that similar individuals convinced their contemporaries with claims of special knowledge. I demand better.

We would live forever if we could, and we would like there to be a supreme law-giver who rewards good, punishes evil, and defines both. I say "we" because those options sound good to me as well. And yet I am content to live in the real world where I only get to live once. I am thankful that I have won the genetic lottery to accomplish even that. There is ample opportunity to live, love, do, and share. I am also content to admit the truth - morality is tough, rarely straight-forward, and is something we need to struggle to agree upon and improve upon. The march of history, while filled with setbacks, is encouragingly advancing on the trajectory of civil rights and a widening circle of regard for our fellow humans, our animal cousins, and our planet.

I wish you all the best as we ponder these wonderful questions together.

Weigh in yourself, here or at the original site.


Anonymous said...

There is this saying in Tao te Ching:

"Religion is the end of love and honesty
the beginning of confusion
faith is a colorful hope or fear
origin of folly".

It really sums it up.
Looking at any religion, one can easy recognize the often colorful hope,say, to go in heaven, or being special to the one living God, or someone wrote a guide for the life so you don't have to learn to live the hard way,or getting rid of the pain and misery by someone else doing the job for you etc. etc. Also the fear is playing a big part, say, you don't believe so you are going to be tormented eternally, or your children will be cursed cause you made a mistake etc. etc.

I won't go so far to claim that God does not exists, but rather say I don't know exactly and that the Gods of the world Religions are human creation. If God does exists, than he is a mystery to limited humans, and I think he will have interest in humans exactly as humans have interest in the low life like insects they encounter on daily basis.

The relation of a limited entity to a eternal entity is zero: a/∞=0 that is how the Math can put it, and even the Pascal in his wages have admitted it saying:

"If there is a god, He is infinitely incomprehensible, since, having neither parts nor limits, He has no affinity to us. We are then incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is"

In that way, to assume that someone who is finite has a revelation of the infinite is absurdity in it self, which leaves room for doubt in human imagination and wishful thinking, resulting out of a struggling mind that often can't handle the cruel reality in which it lives.

DeTalesRfun said...

Krishnamurti said that religion is inherently violent and went correctly on to explain why. I've been a student for over five decades now of religion, having come from a highly proselytizing background. I had what might be called a life altering mystical experience early on. I must say that any deep perception I've had, or read of that is meaningful in Universal rather than parochial terms, points away from formulation or even any slight need for it. As for consistency of explication as to the actual Nature of this existence and its foundation, the only reasonable one--due to its persistence over time and its independent corroborations--would be non dualism, even in the guise of say the high Catholic mystics, or those of any religion who overcame the strictures and structures of their avowed beliefs. God is not a thought, nor capable of being thought. Any such is already an illusion, as the Infinite, the All, the Emptiness, appears to the human awareness to be blank.

sarah from terra said...

I have dabbled in many a schools of belief. This is the only one that keep my attention. It might clear a few things up, it might not. Happy reading.


With Love Always, Sarah.