Outlooks

Let the reader note that as I write here, I am more likely to properly express what I think than what I feel. If I were to attempt to express how I feel about it, I would not succeed.

Now, as to things that people can believe. There are only so many things you can believe, and I have serious problems with all of them.

There is no God

While I don’t have any evidence (where “evidence” is something that one distinguishes from everyday experience) to prove that there is any sort of a God, this statement seems, to me, vastly overreaching. I am aware of the common lazy materialist retort that the appearance of design and purpose can be explained by such and such evolutionary adaptations in human beings, but I have always found this–and continue to find it–quite stupid. This seems to be nothing more than a story that people tell themselves in order to give this all a comforting sense of narrative that leaves them with some control. I am not content to observe that the things going on around us can be causally linked all the way back to some inscrutable beginning of time and space–as if we have whittled existence down to a few unsolved problems. In my mind, this makes it seem all the more troubling, and all the more like something done on purpose. We do not merely lack an explanation for the origin of the universe, but why the laws (which have no good reason for existing) inherent in such a universe produce sentient beings. This ludicrous, oft-recited analogy of an indefinite number of dice rolls producing a very lucky stroke (and a bewildered winner thinking he must have been divinely selected) does nothing. It presumes the existence of dice, it presumes the existence of the rolling of the dice, and it presumes that it is possible to roll a human civilization Yahtzee at all–all so that Greta Christina can come into existence, blog about the Yahtzee, and pop back out of existence. I cannot accept this. To my mind, none of this stuff should be here at all. This should not be happening. But since it is happening, I always found it more satisfying to presume the existence of a transcendent Mind, or “Being,” as an explanation for the whole thing (not merely as a first cause), rather than the existence of senseless, lawless laws of physics that, effectively, have the peculiar quality of studying and experiencing themselves.

The problem with believing in some definition of God, however, is that you have to believe something about this God. And what?

There is a God, but He is Not Interested in Human Affairs

I’m not sure how anyone can say this with a straight face. If there is a God, then this God is responsible for making us, and he damn well better be interested in human affairs, or he could have (might I say would have) left us out of it. Some people take the liberty of pointing out that we are “insignificant” in the grand scheme of the cosmos. Despite what what your elementary school training may have taught you, physical size has nothing to do with significance. I am inclined to believe that we are alone, and that we are quite possibly the only game in town. This idea that we are a mistaken ink blot in the corner of a cosmic painting that was created for some other reason is repulsive to my mind. I did not ask to be here, and if there is a painter, I feel quite strongly that it takes a little more than a slip of the wrist to paint me into this chair.

There is a God, but His Purpose is Concealed from Us and He Perhaps even Hates Us

I never used to consider this a possibility, but I now sometimes fear that it might be the case. My problem with this is similar to that above. If there is a God, he should leave us something–anything–to latch on to. Even one little inkling of what we’re supposed to make of all this, what we’re supposed to do, or what we’re supposed to hope for. For God to hate us, it seems as if we should have had the opportunity to earn it.

Certainly, it makes even less sense that there would exist a God, but that none of the world’s extant religions (whose chief concern is the search for God) would be remotely correct.

There is a God, and he is the Christian God

Almost all the experience and evidence in the world seems to point against this being the case. Ironically, the Christian conception of God involves a great deal of deception and blinding on God’s behalf (one must become like a little child / the wise are blinded, but the truth is revealed to little children / etc. etc.), but it would appear that if this is indeed what’s going on, he has blinded pretty much everyone on the surface of the earth, myself included.

There is a God, and he is Allah

A read through the Koran tells me that Christianity preceded, and profoundly influenced, Islam.

There is some Other Kind of God

It only gets worse from here.

Nobody Knows

While it may be true that nobody knows, being totally unaware of the truth does not prevent something out there from being true.

This is, in short (and devoid of all true exploration of the subject) why I have a problem with all of the simple responses to the God question.

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4 Responses to “Outlooks”

  1. “I always found it more satisfying to presume the existence of a transcendent Mind, or “Being,” as an explanation for the whole thing”

    Whenever this comes up I have to ask, “What created the being?”. I can already think of a few response to that but I’m interested in yours.

    And I think you did a lot of expressing your feelings, perhaps more so than thoughts, in this post (sorry if this was not what you intended).

  2. >> Whenever this comes up I have to ask, “What created the being?”.

    You’re thinking causally, which may not be so applicable to this question, particularly in the case of pantheism, panentheism, the God of Spinoza, etc. And if you do think causally, the fact remains that you are stuck with something uncaused. It is much different to posit such a being than to simply posit a universe. The extent to which you satisfy Occam by removing one causal step is balanced by a change in the nature of the situation. In one case, we are here, and we are self-aware, due to a freak show of interlocking things that simply happen to exist. In the other, we are self-aware because we possess a property inherent in the ultimate cause.

    Hmm. Perhaps it may seem that way. But those were simply my feelings about these specific thoughts, rather than my feelings about the whole thing. I find it unreasonable to accept that we are “just here,” to the exclusion of any definition of the word “God.” I find it unreasonable to believe in a God who would bring humans into existence without communicating with them, or certainly who would leave us in the sorry state we’re in. And I also find it unreasonable to make the Christian view (or any other view) work in the way that people, today, are making it work. These are my plain thoughts on the matter, prior to any intense examination, but they are tempered with a certain amount of emotion for the sake of asserting how unreasonable I think all these options are.

  3. Perhaps a god created a dysteleological universe, like this one seems to be, and wiped itself out as an accidental byproduct of the governing laws it fashioned, thus leaving us holding the Potato of Fate. Perhaps we’re on the backs of four elephants, who in turn stand on the back of a turtle. Or maybe it was the FSM. Or a Russel-Teapot particle that expanded from a singularity, -14.3 BYA, which would explain the British penchant for tea and long-windedness. Perhaps a lot of things. Probably just one thing. Might just be that that one thing is the thing you find the least aesthetically appealing; the thing that makes you rend your tunic and wonder what the point is.

    “These are my plain thoughts on the matter, prior to any intense examination, but they are tempered with a certain amount of emotion for the sake of asserting how unreasonable I think all these options are.”

    Which part of the preceding list of unreasonable propositions are you going to examine? Why, exactly, are they unreasonable?

  4. One thought that has occurred to me is that we are an attempt by a supreme being to shatter his consciousness and forget about his own existence. But he is slowly waking up, much to his own chagrin.

    I am not necessarily going to write about my examination of these ideas on here. But I explained above why I find those options unreasonable. Clearly you don’t find them all reasonable; you probably only want a better explanation of why I am bothered by the cut-and-dry statement “there is no God.” In which case, I’ve said it plainly: it does not seem to me that all this should exist, much less be orderly, much less stack up to become aware of itself, etc. etc. without something that fits the definition of “God.” I find this unreasonable, in that it does not seem like a *reasonable* thing, that is, “based on good sense.” We are not sitting in some abstract Chair of Archimedes when we talk about these things, from which we move the world. We are the thing, talking about itself. I find it unreasonable that the thing should cause itself so much trouble over the question, if the question is a question about nothing. We do not have the power to talk about nothing. We do not have the power to invent anything that was not already inventable.

    This being said, I do not assert thereby that there is a God–only that I have trouble denying there is a God. In the same way, I find myself unsuccessful in my attempts to identify or justify the existence of a God, for reasons that I imagine you are more likely to empathize with.

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