Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thoughts On... Science & Religion Part 1

There are very few things that the bulk of the world can agree on. One of those things is the seemingly eternal battle between Science & Religion. For some reason, people believe that there is no reconciling the scientific method with a belief in the existence of God. And for a long time, I was convinced of the same thing. But then I read an article in a magazine (I think it was Time, but I don't remember for sure) about scientists finding God through their work.

In particular, there was a segment about a scientist who had spent a great deal of effort calculating the exact voltage of an electron. What struck him about his finding was how specific the voltage was. He tried working some standard equations with other values for the voltage and came to the conclusion that the universe as we see it today would never, COULD NEVER, have come into existence if the electron's voltage was ANY other value. To have that specific voltage arrived at through an evolutionary process of trial & error was a problematic premise and one that this guy was not able to entertain. Which led him to the conclusion that this value had to have been built into the electron. It had to be part of a design. And if that's true then SOMEONE had to have come up with that design. Who? Well, the only answer he came up with was God. Intriguing, right?

After reading that, I started thinking about the battle between Science & Religion. A lot of disparate ideas came together in that session (and others since then) and I realized that I never really believed that Science was at odds with God. The real battle is Science vs Human Arrogance. And THAT battle will NEVER end.   

Part 1 - Religion

Now before I give you the wrong idea, I want to get something straight. I believe in God. There is no doubt in my mind that God exists. However, I don't use my faith as an excuse to stop using my brain. Seriously! Those of you who know me, know that I am a very logical person. I cherish the ability to think and use that ability as much as I possibly can. My faith in the existence of God doesn't turn that part of me off or invalidate it in ANY way. In fact, God made me this way, so it would be an INSULT to God to NOT think and use the talents bestowed upon me. As such, the tenets that are normally attributed to God take on a slightly different meaning to me because I've taken the time to actually think through those tenets.

For example, God is everywhere. Do you really understand the SCOPE of that statement? Most people accept the statement that God is everywhere, but operate as if God only resides in churches. But if God is EVERYWHERE then God is there in your bedroom as you masturbate or have sex and call out to him (I'll deal with the gender thing in a moment). God is there as you beat your kids within an inch of their lives. God is there as you embezzle billions of dollars from the nation. God is THERE as you step in and stop a stranger from jumping in front of a bus. And if you want to talk to God, you can just start talking. Right now. He's right there listening to you.

Now, if God is everywhere, then it follows that God is seeing everything. So, God knows everything. Including the fact that you went back to your mistress after taking confessions so she can give you that blow job she does oh so well, or that you played with your altar boys after mass yesterday where you condemned homosexuals as agents of Satan, and you don't feel a DAMNED BIT SORRY for your actions. After all, if you were REALLY sorry about your actions you would STOP DOING THEM, wouldn't you?

Another point of contention is the gender of God. Women tend to believe that God is a woman, and men tend to believe God is a man. Here's what I believe: God created the universe. The last thing created was humanity, including all the traits of humanity. Like say, for example.... GENDER. God existed before the creation of male & female. Therefore, God is NEITHER man or woman. Using the term "he" to refer to God is just a peculiarity of language and of the English language at that. For all we know, people referring to God in Swahili use "it" when speaking about God. Fighting over the gender of God is POINTLESS... (By the way, this argument also applies to the "race" or "color" of God.)

Here's another tenet of faith: God created everything. Again, think about the SCOPE of this statement. Everything means everything... PERIOD. Not just everything GOOD. Want to talk to the source of all evil? Don't talk to Satan. Talk to God. After all, God CREATED Satan. That's right, God is Satan's FATHER. Why do you think Satan is the PRINCE of lies... Cause God is the KING! The disease that is killing your loved one? Yep, created by the same God you're praying to, begging him to save that very same loved one. Why is there evil in the world, you ask? Because our beloved God said so, that's why! (Granted the answer to that is a bit more complex, but I'm hoping you get the point I'm trying to make.)

While we're on the subject of God's creations, what kind of God would create a world that he has to constantly maintain? Watch, influence, manipulate, or judge over... Okay, the judgement part I can understand. But to have to constantly make sure that every living thing takes breath and flies off the ground every single time? Come on, that is simply poor craftsmanship. If humans can build houses that last hundreds of years, I would think that a divine being with the power and intelligence to create the universe we're living in, could create a universe that he wouldn't have to poke and prod every single instant of its existence to keep it running. The universe exists and we live, not because He is pushing on my lungs and shoveling air down my throat, but because He SAID SO! And that's why I worship God.   

Speaking of worship, what happens if you pray to God and he says No? Everyone seems to think that God will answer all prayers with a resounding "YES!" But what happens when prayers conflict? When a pedophile priest prays that his favorite altar boy stays in his reach forever & that boy prays to get away from the priest as soon as possible? God answers all prayers, but some of those answers are "No". Are you still going to pray to God? I will, because I trust that whatever God gives me is what I need to become the person He intended me to be. Will I fuck up along the journey? Damn straight I will. Will God forgive me? Good question... I don't know. Why don't I know?

Because, in order for God to do all the things that He has to do, He has to have an existence INFINITELY beyond anything I can experience. How in the name of all that is holy would I, a simple human, be able to PREDICT what He will do? I have no idea if I'm saved or not. I have no idea if I'm even FORGIVEN or not. And I won't know until I hear it from God Himself! As for the rulebook(a.k.a. The Bible), why would I trust that? The language that it was originally written in isn't even SPOKEN anymore. Not to mention that there have been slight errors in translation (as well as blatant revisions! Check out the Politically Correct bible if you don't believe me!) over the two THOUSAND years (at least) that the book has been in circulation. Not to mention all the texts that might have relevant information that WEREN'T included in the bible. Plus, the bible itself states that even the enemies of God can use the holy scripture against you. Even the Devil himself used the Word of God to tempt the Son of God during his trials. What does that tell you?  

You know what it tells me? The bible is SUBJECT TO INTERPRETATION! It's not a literal truth. In fact, it's actually ESSENTIAL that the bible NOT be a literal truth. Because if it were, then it would be concrete proof of God's existence. If you have proof, why do you need faith? Therefore, I can hope and pray that I'm saved (and I will operate on that assumption), but until the gates of Heaven open to let me in, all I have is faith. There is no guarantee that I'm actually saved. And like the bible being a literal truth, to have that guarantee would go against the whole point of faith, don't you think? Not to mention that the fact that the bible is open to interpretation allows for our understanding of the Word of God to adapt and encompass all the myriad complexities we discover in this universe as we grow older and more mature in our society.

The Church has hundreds of people (possibly thousands) dedicating their lives to reading the holy texts and figuring out the meaning of the words, not just for language translation but to attempt to fully understand the message of God. And that's just for what God SAID!! Now, practically every religion on the planet agrees that God created the universe. If the Church can spend hundreds of years learning and interpreting what God SAID, why the hell are they giving crap to the people who are spending JUST as much time trying to understand what God actually DID??

I'm not attacking God. I'm not attacking believing in God. I'm not even attacking organized religion. (Believe me, there is enough ammunition there for me to go on for DAYS) Belief in God has allowed for a great many things, and has given great comfort to many millions of suffering people. What I'm trying to get you to see is that believing in God does not excuse you from using the complex and powerful brain that God saw fit to give you.

1 comment:

  1. This was a really good read. Very interesting. I personally believe that science is God. That God is science. Or, in fact, that science is the language God speaks, the potential energy of His actions. I'm an agnostic theist. I, too, believe in God . . . but I temper that belief with the idea that we do not know Him. Nor are we capable of such. In my view, nothing mankind has thought up encompasses God. All religions are wrong. All holy texts are frauds. God is none of those things, He's much more. He's unknowable.

    Also, He doesn't judge us. Nor, I'm not convinced, does He monitor every single little detail of our lives. Not because He cannot, but because: why should He?

    Were I to hazzard a guess, I think God is the spark that began the Universe. He is the set of instructions that burst forth with the Big Bang and orders all of Space and Time. But He is not humanity's parent.

    Oh, and it goes without saying, then, that I don't believe in Heaven or Hell. The idea of these places is quite silly, and so totally human in origin. But like you, I do believe God is everywhere and that you don't need a church (or even a religion) to feel that connection with Him. Does he truly listen to our prayers? I don't know. I suspect not. We are not all that important. Not individually, at least.

    These are my views, at least. I'm about as close to being an atheist as a theist can be, I suppose.