- Religion and Philosophy»
- The Role of Religion in History & Society
Did you ever stop to think?
Are other animals glad we are in charge?
Sometimes I can’t help but stop and think. I mean that fact is it is the one thing that sets us apart from every other creature on the planet, thinking that is. Not that other animals don’t think. But they don’t ponder, or think about life the way we do. They can’t visualize how things might turn out if they behave a certain way. For the most part they are born with a set of instincts that helps them do the things they need to do in order to survive. Humans on the other hand are not. Although we have involuntary programs that tell us to breath or makes our heart beat, everything else, from walking, to talking, to knowing what to eat, etc. is something that someone has to teach us.
I think it is interesting (if that’s really the right word) that humans are responsible for the extinction of more animal species than any other species that have ever walked this planet. I say it is interesting because we are the only species that has the ability to see the damage we are doing early enough in the process to actually do something about it before it is too late. So where as all the other species of animals on this planet should be able to take some comfort in the fact that although we have a tendency to destroy natural habitats within a few decades that have sustained life for millions of years, we are blessed with a supreme intelligence that allows us to see the damage we are doing and stop it. At least they could take some comfort in that fact if we actually took the time to use our superior intelligence.
Would it be better if rabbits were the most intelligent?
I know one of the big questions we face in this life is, which means I often stop and think about it, is why are we here? Did we just appear by accident or were we placed here by some intelligent Creator? To be honest, I’d like to believe there is a reason we are here. Although I do believe we are the product of evolution, I would like to believe that we are the end result (or at least a significant stage toward the end result) of a plan that was designed and initiated billions of years ago, for the purpose of bringing about intelligent life on our planet. I mean what a waste if the human race just accidentally received a series of genetic mutations that not only made us incredibly smart but by dumb luck we were also the species who accidentally received the genetic mutation that allowed us to walk upright and have apposable thumbs. Since by receiving all the cool mutations we are now the only animal capable of not only destroying our planet through habitat destruction, air and water pollution, and lets certainly not forget nuclear weapons. I mean let’s face it I think every species on the planet, including us, would be a lot better off if something like mice, rabbits or chickens had accidentally received advanced intelligence.
To be honest I actually do chose to believe that we are here because of an intelligent Creator. Although there are a number of reasons I chose to believe in a Creator, most of those reasons are based on experiences in life that would be very hard to explain or for anyone to empathize with unless they had also been through similar experiences. But I don’t mind sharing that one of the reasons I chose to believe in an intelligent Creator is that I’d like to believe that we are part of a plan. I guess I struggle with the belief that we are simply the result of hundreds, thousands, or millions of random and accidental evolutionary changes or mutations. I struggle because if that is true, then there is really no meaning or purpose for us being here. If we are simply the result of random accidents, then we are simply at the mercy of further random accidents.
It also makes me stop and think if there is no Creator who desires for me to love my brother or sister as myself, and who has provided me rules for living safely within a social construct, then wouldn’t I be better off simply living like the other creatures that randomly evolved on this planet? Wouldn’t I be better off simply realizing that it is simply a dog-eat-dog world out there and that rather than waste our time trying to bring equality to all, shouldn’t we just face the fact that might does make right?
We don't really act like we are the most intelligent.
What troubles me, and causes me to sometimes doubt that we are here as part of a bigger better plan, is that we seem to be pulled more toward an animal existence? I know we love to talk about equality in America, but we don’t really believe it do we? I mean the fact is those who are extremely beautiful, or who are extremely gifted at acting or making music, or who are the strongest, swiftest or most agile athletes are not looked upon or treated the same as everyone else.
We don’t measure success based on who has been the most loving and caring spouse, father or mother throughout their life, even though we like to act like that is important. Instead we give awards, have TV specials, pay ridiculous amounts of money to go see our favorite singer or actor. And because we place such a high value on their beauty, singing or acting ability we seem to believe that they must be amazing spouses and parents, since we constantly have them on talk shows and ask them to share their wisdom regarding life and how to be a good parent.
I can’t help but find it odd that we are willing to believe someone who is has been successful as an actor. I mean let’s be honest, they have proven that they can be believable as someone else. I also find it hard to understand why we want to talk to actors, musicians and especially athletes about how they are a role model for young people and ask what their philosophy is for making the world a better place. I mean let’s face it there is no one more selfish and self-centered in the world. I mean look at Olympic athletes. We know that their whole life their parents have catered to their every need. Their whole life has been about themselves and getting them to practice, then picking them up from practice, then sitting and watching them compete. It is never ending. I always feel sorry for their siblings, especially if they were not born with the skill or the self-centered drive to be number one like their brother or sister the star athlete.
Why do we celebrate our physical accomplishments?
While I am on the topic of athletes, I can’t help but stop and think, since the one thing sets us apart from all other animals on this planet, and places us on the top of the food chain is our incredible brain, why don’t why don’t we spend more time celebrating people who are really smart, and why don’t we find ways to inspire our young people to admire smart rather than pretty or strong. Did you ever stop to think that as far as our physical abilities go, we are below average when it comes to the other animals on this planet? We make this huge deal over someone becoming the fastest man in the world by running a 100 meter race in 9.58 seconds. That equates to around 27 mph, and although that sounds fast, remember it drops off dramatically after the first 100 meters. The fact is a domestic house cat has a top speed of 29 mph, a rabbit almost 30 mph, even an African Bush Elephant can do almost 25 mph. When we look at things like Grizzly Bear 35 mph, Fox 42 mph, Ostrich 44 mph, Elk 45 mph, Lion 49 mph, Horse 54 mph, all the way up to a Cheetah that clocks in at 75 mph, the fastest man in the world wouldn’t even make it to the semi-finals.
The same is true for swimming, weight lifting, etc. The fact is the reason we are at the top of the food chain has nothing to do with our physical abilities, and everything to do with our intelligence. So why do we waste so much time celebrating our physical accomplishments verses our mental ones? I think it is interesting (again for the lack of a better word) that birds seem very happy to fly - since that is what they are best at. Fish seem happy to swim since that is what they are best at - and even designed for. I can't really think of any animals that spend their time ignoring the things they are good at, so that they can celebrate something they are average at. And yet we are the ones with superior intelligence.
Maybe it's better if I don't think about it?
Before I spend too much thinking about how we could or should act if we are simply the result of random evolutionary changes, I should probably give some time to those who believe we were placed here by an intelligent creator. Although I do believe in an intelligent Creator, I am embarrassed about the way so called believers behave. On the one hand I believe the Church has helped raise the standard of living over time, I also believe it has been the cause of some of the worst wars in our history.
Although I do believe that overall mankind has progressed over thousands of years from a savage to a more civilized being, I am willing to admit we still have a long way to go, and I am also willing to admit that the Church (organized religion) has a long way to go to prove that it is as honest, fair, and altruistic as it would like everyone to believe.
I guess all this is to say… When I stop to think about it…
If we do believe in a Creator who has a plan for us to grow up to become a highly intelligent peaceful race of beings, then we are doing a really pathetic job of getting there. Although it is true that many of our oldest and best colleges and universities were founded on Christian beliefs and principles, with a desire to develop more intelligent citizens, yet why is it today that the majority of so called Christian universities have elevated their athletic program above all else, and have even gone so far as to allow students with criminal records to play on the school’s sports teams.
If on the other hand we really believe that we are the result of random genetic changes over billions of years, then why do burden ourselves with these ideas of equality and loving one another, when we should simply eat, drink, be merry and blast the crap out of anything that moves in our direction so that we can eat, drink and be merry for another day?