- Religion and Philosophy
Aimless Debates about God's Existence
A Nameless Intelligence
The following theme is not about questioning the reality of existence or non-existence of God. For those who may ask "where I am coming from" in matters of religion, a few words may suffice.
I believe that there is something unfathomably intelligent behind "all this" - but not to be found in any holy book in existence. I don't call it "god", and it doesn't mean a deity - for all that has been attributed to "Him".
The "supreme intelligence" that I am talking about has no gender, doesn't "see", doesn't "watch", doesn't "judge", and doesn't "love" - and believe it or not, but it doesn't even have a beard. In terms of human relating to that intelligence, I don't pray to it, I don't appease it, I don't fear it. So much about what it is NOT.
Too Strange for My Mind
I humbly admit that my mind is not advanced enough to construct an adequate concept of the supreme intelligence that I believe in.
Let me give you a simple example. Quantum physics is giving us a theory that allows an electron to be at more than one place at the same time. You see, that I can't grasp, because my mind can't process such logical "irregularity".
Those are the same kind of scientists who are telling us that "reality is stranger than fiction". I am one of those thinking dudes who has just enough wisdom in him to know what he doesn't know.
Unlike the most of the believing people who don't even know that believing is not knowing. I am quite content with not having the answers to every question that my mind is capable of producing.
That's why I don't categorize myself as either a believer, a non-believer, or an agnostic. Quite frankly, I don't care much about labels and categories imposed by others. So, anyway, let's get to our main theme about the futility of debating about God's existence.
Discussions vs. Debates
Just before we get to the crux of it, it may be a good idea to establish the difference between a discussion and a debate, for that alone may give us a good perspective on the problem at hand.
To me, discussion means a joint effort to find the best solution or interpretation amongst those of basically the same convictions. Like in businesses, clubs, political parties, religious studies, or families, to name a few. Even if they may disagree in some points, they are still oriented towards finding a solution, while pursuing the same basic goal.
On the other hand, debates are doomed from the very beginning, as they are aiming to debunk, to prove wrong, if not to insult - at times of lacking a sound argument. I guess, I don't have to go any further with defining it, as you can see right away that I am talking about those cute conversations between religious believers, or shall we call them "religionists", and non-believers, also popularly called "atheists".
Fun with Logicalness
Indeed, those two camps are known for locking horns at the very start of their debate, and neither side will give in. They are bound to kick the crap back and forth ad infinitum, and if this Latin expression is suggesting something dignified, don't believe in that - they won't restrain themselves from name calling and alike, all in the name of an all-loving God, or just love for fairness.
At times I found some fun in that game of outsmarting, and I can shamelessly admit that some parts were a good gym for logical thinking, but for the most part it was just that - a senseless kicking crap back and forth.
One good thing about those debates is that no one ever wins, and you get to laugh after, or be pissed off - your choice. If there is such a heavenly dude up there, he must have fun as well, seeing his human offspring debating about his existing or non-existing.
And if he really created us in his own image, he must be just as confused as we are, wondering why he gave us a free will and not a manual with clear instructions how to use it. Why not? After all, he gave us those Ten Commandments, and another little booklet wouldn't have taken too much of his precious time.
Bible was not that manual for sure - according to the confusion that we can see on this planet. I still see folks scratching behind their ears while trying to decode all those metaphors.
A Heavenly Surrogate-Father
Now, allow me to say a few words about something that I see as intellectual and emotional kinds of beliefs. Intellectual beliefs are based on a supposition that lacks a conclusive evidence to be correct, but has enough of it to make it an educated guess hinting at a probability. So there we more-or-less connect some dots of those "givens" and say that we "believe".
On the other hand, emotional belief is solely based on emotion. Needless to say, we are talking here about religious belief. From strictly psychological perspective, the need for religious belief came about generated by existential fear.
Don't look for it in psychology text-books, it's my own pet theory which may be wrong, but I am still offering it to those with open minds. It states that in our childhood we enjoy the protection of our parents, but then we get hit by adulthood - feeling deep down somewhat like orphans and forced to row our boats by ourselves.
So we invent a heavenly father for a replacement, and the need is strong enough to create a strong belief. Thus, it is that deep emotion of a need for unconditional love, acceptance, approval, help in need - hey, even with a bonus of a promised immortality - that works like an opiate to our confused adult souls.
Don't Question an Emotion
Hence this futility of such debates about God's existence - you can't convince a person that his "emotion is wrong". They just have to rationalize their emotion, their faith. Have you ever tried convincing an angry person that his anger was "not necessary"? They will rationalize and justify that anger, rather than let go.
Could you ever persuade a depressed person that life is all rosy, and ask of him to be a sparkling and happy personality instead? He is bound to call you a dreamer, because "life is hard, filled with disappointments, and happiness is an illusion." Oh, yes, also - "there is no such thing as 'normal".
When an atheist tries to tell the religionist that he is believing in an illusion, it's not received as an intellectual statement, but as an attack on his, believer's survival strategies - including the one of the after-life.
I liked a confession of a female believer: " I've got nothing to lose by believing, for when I die, if I go to heaven - great, if I don't, at least I tried." That was one honest assessment of the whole game - just a secret deal with God :"If you exist, fine, if you don't, well, I did my best". So much for unshakable belief.
To Each His Own
So far, I have said everything to give you an impression about my "disapproving" of religious beliefs. Wrong impression. I am not in a position to disapprove of anything what others cherish. I am no authority in anyone's life, and all this is only my little confession that I don't share such beliefs.
On top of it I am also making clear my views about why it's impossible for a non-believer and a believer to find a common ground in their debates. And I called their stumbling block "existential fear" on the part of the believer.
Of course, many folks have found some sort of peace in their religious belief; others have found hope, and yet others have found forgiveness - for others and for themselves. There are times when I wish I could understand why I am finding so much more than that in my meditations, in my intuitive self-conduct in life - without gods, religions, and the whole package of believing in something.
Somehow I am just happy with what I know, so I don't need to create beliefs. But, to each his own, although once in a while I may still be caught in those debates - futile or not.