Thursday, January 22, 2009

God Is What Is, But What?

I have been tormented from an early age by a wonderment concerning God. Before my teenage years, I had come to some quite independent notions on the subject. I had the advantage of being raised in the Roman Catholic faith, a faith system that drives its more inquisitive young practitioners away due to its unremittingly secular focus, money, authority etc.

I have recently promoted “god” to “God” on my own initiative. Whatever it is, it exists, and it is worthy of respect. Even if it is only a mystery at the end of the universe.

As part of this recurring consideration of life, the universe and everything, I am reading “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins. I just started, so no reasoned examination of the work may yet be forthcoming. It may never be: Dawkins has a much more capacious mind than I do, and has inquired further than it will ever be my inclination to do. But I have read enough to recommend the work. So far I have learned that I am a “deistic atheist,” not a “theistic atheist.”

Even if it is only to learn more about our “Founding Fathers,” the book is a good read. For most of them, religion was a toxic waste to be handled with great care. Even mild-mannered Ben Franklin said that “lighthouses are much more useful than churches.” Not, by far, the “Christian Nation” that today’s moronic adherents blandly claim. Relax, I don’t mean you, keep reading.

I make more allowances for faith than Dawkins does. I respect it in people who possess it, as long as it does not become a fever to them, and as long as it does not make them want to kill me, or force me into thrall to their ideas.

I have therefore a great respect and affection for many members of the various mainline Christian sects, the Presbyterians, more so the Episcopalians, and including the Church of Christ and most Baptist sects. Even the Catholics I tolerate pretty well, there are many who evince a genuinely Christian and compassionate lifestyle. It’s just to the cultists that I deny my affections, the mega-church fanatics who substitute hate and fear for love, the “God Hates Fags” crowd, the “you’re not going to heaven” crowd.

But God, it’s all about God. Let’s all love God, and ourselves, and each other.


Anonymous said...

If you can't stir up a discussion or two on religion, dang, hang it up man!

Rory Cripps said...

JEEZ FRED! "Mild-mannered" Ben Franklin? That dude probably dipped his wick in more honey-pots than I (I don't know about you) could ever hope to imagine! How can anyone that experienced that be mild-mannered? That St. Agnes girl (remember those short skirts?)open can of fresh,moist, all-American fish, staring me in the face, confirmed my belief in God a long time ago. And from then on, I had no doubt that I lived in a Christian Nation, HA!

Anonymous said...

Any belief in God, theistic or deistic, requires faith. I don't think it is possible to connect atheist to eithier term. By definition atheisim is a belief that God doesn't exist. No?

I had the misfortune of being raised Catholic. I was one of those inquisitive minds that was punished, and labeled a heritic by about second grade. It was very difficult for a young child to accept the all loving God I kept hearing about, when the teachers of Christ were a bit sociopathic.

I lean towards the side of being an agnostic. (It is impossible to know if God exists). If God does exist, is the force internal or external in nature? I would think the force of God emenates from within each and every one of us. Good deeds, kindness, etc. all come from ourselves, whether one believes , or has faith, in a God.

fred c said...

I absolutely don't believe in an interventionist God, no answering prayers, no mindreading, no miracles, that shit is right out. But I enjoy thinking about what Douglas Addams called life, the universe and everything. I'm more of a philosopher than a scientist, simple thinking is fine for me. But I'm pretty sure that even the scientists are ten-thousand years away from approaching the questions of ultimate regression: where did all this come from? Didn't it have to come from somewhere? Or besides our failure to understand this-where is there another no-where out there, a nothing-where, where stuff can come from?

My God is simply an acknowledgment of these ultimate mysteries.

Anonymous said...

Just because *you* don't know or understand the physics of the cosmos, Fred, doesn't mean No One does. Stay a self-appointed "philosopher," and leave science to the Scientists, please.

fred c said...

The scientists can have science, but please note:

At the present time, no one, scientist or not, understands or claims to understand the physics of the cosmos, more than a little bit anyway.

Be careful before you disagree!

Anonymous said...

Have you never read anything by Stephen Hawkin, not to mention Carl Sagan? To say scientists know "just a little bit" of how the cosmos works just shows the narrowness and shallowness of your scientific education, Mr. Fred. But then, that you makes you about average when it comes to the typical American's level of scientific knowledge. Which is to say, piss-poor.

fred c said...

You are too quick to judge, my friend, and that puts you at about the national average for common sense, which is, after all, piss-poor.

Our difference is this: you look at the half-full glass and say, oh! look at all the wonderful things our scientists have learned! I am not so ignorant of their achievements as you may assume, but I look at the glass and say, oh! look at how much our great scientists have left to learn!