- Religion and Philosophy
How Personal Versions of God Deny All Objectivity about Him
A Man-Less Planet would Be a God-Less Planet
Man has from ever had this incredible appetite to complicate his world to the point where he finds himself lost in his own mazes. Existence or nonexistence of god is one of such themes in life that makes obvious our exaggerated dwelling in matters that per se may not matter one bit.
Ultimately, without our presence on earth nothing would really have any significance, because there would be no one to give it one. This is the central theme of this article, while everything else will try to stay relevant to it.
Besides, as we are about to see, regardless of the use of a common religious jargon, common holy books and rituals, the fact of the matter is that believers are actually talking about a different "god" tailored by their own different individualities.
Somehow We Need Gods
So we carry around our self-imposed burden of many shiny items on our intellectual junkyard, like a homeless person sticks to his worldly possessions. A good "spring cleaning" or a "garage sale" would be quite enlightening, if we didn't cherish every item so much; and a garage sale would be inhuman, because everybody already has more than enough of their own junk.
With our intellectual arrogance that drags from one cultural epoch to the next, we just can't allow a new generation to possibly come up with some smarter answers - we have to know it all, gods and the whole package.
Moreover, instead of letting future folks to know more than we do, we assume those ancient ones to have been smarter than us - so we borrow ideas from them who knew less than we know today. Please note, I say "know" - not "believe". It's a simple psychological truism : when people don't know, they resort to believing.
Maybe out of an existential fear we need at least some illusionary and artificial certainty for our comfort zone. And maybe we need a replacement for a fatherly figure to keep protecting us after adulthood has forced us to be on our own. You see, here I go with my own "maybe's" - this guessing syndrome is quite contagious, I am telling you.
A Little Matter of Intellectual Favoritism
However, to my logically inclined mind it still feels fair to say that without some psychological, not necessarily spiritual need to perpetuate that belief from one cultural era to another, it doesn't objectively matter whether god exists or not.
Every holy book could be seen as merely another item on the culture market among that rich assortment of books trying to teach us how to live and how not to. Even politicians jumped the wagon by bringing into it the idol of patriotism as something to live for and die for.
Buy any of that or not - your choice, you won't see me carrying any banners, so I am the last person to tell you what is right or wrong for you to believe. In these matters you won't make a mistake by picturing me as an empathetic dude who understands how we are all different and there is something for everyone on this market or bazaar.
Not Everyone Needs a Manual for Honest Living
Some folks may need a god and his written instructions in form of a holy book not to mess with their friend's wife, not to steal his jewelry at a party, not to kill a bastard that's getting on their nerves, and the list goes on for another seven commandments.
Personally, I have never done any of it, and without going particularly philosophical about it, let's say I love people enough not to do it to them. Perhaps it's a very basic psychological principle of "putting ourselves in others' shoes", something that we gain through living in communities with others - so we simply empathize how we would be feeling if someone did it to us.
To my understanding, it would even be a sort of insult to my intellect if a book had to tell me something that basic about proper coexisting with others. But, then again, and I will probably say it many more times before I find some better understanding of the human nature - we are all different, and to each his own.
Immune to Others' Suggestive Intrusions
May all those believers find enough forgiveness in their god-loving hearts for my own and different views, which are not even imposing in those pompous ways as they are displaying theirs. My views may not be smarter or more acceptable, but they are mine, and they are the only ones I live by.
It's probably not even worth mentioning that I am not particularly good at living by others' ideas, being a "follower" - I prefer using my own head. Call it intellectual stubbornness, or something more dignifying like a cultivated personal sovereignty, or call it insanity if you wish, but I can't limit the use of my head to wearing a hat.
So I do believe in a sort of universal intelligence that has nothing at all to do with deities of any kind. I don't pray to it, don't fear it's punishment, and in general, I keep an open mind about the matter, allowing my mind to further mature and come up with new computations in my own processing of reality.
But all that is very far from my buying any of the ideas about a supreme entity that judges my every thought, emotion and move in life. From ever I refused to be impressed by any authorities trying to impose on me their ideas.
Then I also got quite educated in matters of hypnotism, so I have my antennas very sensitive to every such attempt to mess with my mind. What I am seeing from that perspective of human suggestibility is an absolutely amazing global game going on - but that would be a theme for another article.
As for this one, suffice it to say that I see the concept of "god" as well drilled into the heads of so many - and yet processed in their own way that's matching their unique intimate reality. People are much more suggestible than most of us may realize, and under right conditions they might be talked into investing their life savings into importing sand to Sahara desert.
Just Can't Mentally Digest This Popular Menu
Oh, how I wish my mind was not so particular about the logicality of things! Maybe it would be easier for me to understand so much more about the religious faith, tradition, and its rituals. It wouldn't look so strange to me to call a preacher a "father", even though the dude might be half of my age.
Then, how does one swallow so many contradictions without getting a stomach ache? Like, thanks to the donations - or better say "thanks to god" - Vatican happens to be one of the richest enterprises on earth, free from paying tax dues to the society, and influential in political arena beyond our imagination.
I have no clue how the central idol of the religion Jesus Christ would look at those riches and the rest of it. To me it simply looks like a huge contradiction that Vatican is expecting Jesus to return on every Easter - but certainly not to reside in Vatican, since he wouldn't care at all for all that architectural glamour. If he would, then his teachings wouldn't mean much.
Indeed, so many things, small and big that are heavily pointing at the fact that everyone is interpreting god in their own way, and the whole religious paradigm - no matter which religion we may talk about - is fragmented between individual preferences.
God as an Individualized Concept
Please try to see my real point. I am not trying to "convert" anyone here, my sole message to everyone is that there are people in this world who are not just being "hostile" to religious belief, but see it from a very peaceful but different perspective.
No matter how much we would like to see ourselves as one big global congregation, we are in the first place individuals with a distinct mindset and emotional dynamics - so matters of god just have to be a subject to that intimate arrangement.
We are not talking about a default abilities attributable to the human species, like everyone seeing green as green and agreeing upon it. Rather, we are talking about a system of belief which is already fragmented into many religions - let alone all individual psychological differences which make us process the reality in different ways.
God simply can't mean the same to a Mafioso or a drug lord who bring their families to a Sunday mass - and to you, ordinary folks. Or, what does god really mean to a president who, after listening devotedly to a Sunday sermon issues an order for attack, resulting with countless deaths of innocent people - and then coldly calls it "collateral damage".
Which part of the commandment "Don't Kill" he failed to understand, we could ask - but we don't, because president is beyond god, and he decides about occasional "discount on the value of human life". We, loyal Christians, but more than that - loyal followers of our leader vote for him again at the next election (as we actually did, thank you for asking).
As I have been trying to make clear, I don't feel called upon to suggest to anyone what is a "right" - let alone the "only" way of seeing the matter of god and faith. Even if I could make a dent in anyone's belief, I wouldn't try to, because my somewhat undernourished ego doesn't need that kind of intellectual trophy.
Articles like this have a sole purpose to express the author's views, not to teach, preach, convert, or lecture. All of us on this planet are in a constant exposure to someone else's ways of thinking, and of itself it's very plausible, so we don't fall victims of a dogma.
So, as far as I care, let everyone keep following their own bliss, for whatever it does for them - I will do the same. Having in mind a vast variety of different tastes, this article, while not claiming to be educational, maybe could pass for entertaining - which would justify my time spent writing it.
This same variety of tastes is something I had in mind all along while thinking about all possible individual variables in interpreting god that - again, doesn't matter one bit without our giving it a meaning, just like this article doesn't.