Tuesday, June 17, 2003

One of my contemporaries has posted his thoughts to my guestbook. Here is a copy of the entry:

"God is an interesting concept and all. But, in the end, he is extremely illogical. Therefore, to prove my point, call upon the powers of time and space...ah, scratch that. To paraphrase the immortal Douglas Adams...God is nothing without faith, and the majority of humans beings need proof in order to have faith. However, there is no need for faith in light of faith beacause the proof makes faith moot. Therefore, God's response is "Oh, I hadn't thought of that" and he promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

"On a more serious note...I think that the being Christianity thinks of as God, on one level of thought, is God. However, on another level of snetience he maybe interpretted as a series of natural occurances of anomalies of nature that resulted in the big bang and the creation of Earth. For some, God DID create Heaven and Earth....but George Burns saids it best: "When i woke up this morning, the Trojans were still fighting." So, my point is that all points in and of themselves are valid intepretations of our existance, what is 'real'? To paraphrase Morpheus:
What is real? How do you define real? If real is what you can taste touch see or feel, then real is merely a series of electrical signals interpretted by your brain.

"Reality is shaped by our perceptions. And sadly, a person who has already 'made' their decision to "think in a box" has just limited to themselves to that one train of thought and are immediately biased to infinite array of possibilty. I do not deny the validity of your point of view...however, I think because of your view you deny everyone else's point of view by default.
That's what infuriates me about religion. Only oneperson is right and the rest should be burned or converted. If your 'god' was so benevolent, why didn't he get off his cloud and save the condemnation of millions of innocent lives because of the inhumane brutality of groups hunting "different' peoples? Or what about the thousands of Crusaders who sliced up the infidels in the name of the Grail? How benevolent is a lord who preaches for his childeren to convert people regardless of whether or not they want to listen? If they come to God...so be it. But I am disgusted by the arrogant preaching of even the most kind hearted and decent souls of our planet...I turns my stomach everytime I'm forced to listen to the holier than thou and "well I know where I'm going when I die" responses to every argument that can be mustered?

"I do digress. In short, I think that Christianity is a valid way for people to cope and bring order to the insane tendencies of life...by I'm not going to debat the nuances of a life preserver compared to buoy while I cling for dear life in a howling gale. I do think, however, you are one of the most decent human beings I know, so please take no offense to my ranting.
On a lighter note, is Reverand Lovejoy of the Simpsons telling the truth when he says; "technically, we're not even supposed to go the bathroom....." ???? "

I promised that I would respond, and have. Let’s rock.

First, you have terribly misquoted Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The “puff of logic” to which you refer involved not man’s supposed desire for proof, but rather the fictional Babel fish. The Babel fish supposedly proved the existence of God because it could not possibly have evolved. With God thus proven, the need for faith disappeared. And because God supposedly required his believers to believe out of faith and not proof, God could not exist. Even the Hitchhikers Guide, you may remember, reported that people called this notion a bunch of rubbish.

Second, I am thoroughly sick of the idea that perceptions shape reality. Perception shapes perception. What we see, hear, think, etc. shapes our worldview, not the world itself. Reality is real, and perception is how we experience it. This makes perception important, but it does not mean that we cannot be wrong in our ideas about the world. Refer to the truck example in my March 30 post. I would much rather limit my thoughts to what is real rather than letting my mind swim about considering infinite possibilities, undisciplined. This is not to say that I should not think; it means that I should, and hopefully reach a conclusion of some sort. Considering infinite possibilities means considering a lot of garbage, along with the plausible, useful, and generally worth-thinking-about. It is difficult to say where those limits lie, but I will say that I will spend more time considering how to comfort a friend in mourning than I will spend considering whether or not they are real.

I agree that religion is often quite infuriating. There have been many atrocities committed in the name of God. God is not for any of them. Arrogant preaching is not to be tolerated. Holier-than-thou types are misguided. The Crusades and the Inquisition were crimes against man and God. As to a given religion thinking it is the only way to God, consider this: what if it’s totally true? In the case of Christianity, if it is true, then everyone should be converted. Again, if the words of Jesus are true, then it is very, very important that they be told to the entire world. However, no one should be forced to convert. Come to think of it, how could someone be forced to believe something? Ask anyone who has had religion pushed on them what their response has been, and they will tell you a story about rebellion and lasting bitterness. People must make their own decisions about what to believe. According to Jesus, it is merely part of His followers’ duty to spread the word. He tells us to be kind, gentle, and wise about it, make no mistake. Some people (myself most assuredly included) have trouble following those guidelines.

Some people think of religion as a crutch, merely something for damaged people to lean on. In a way, I agree. Only, I say everyone’s damaged, and everyone genuinely needs a crutch to lean on. We need God’s help. Of course, we need to remain thinking human beings while we’re involved in religion.

I can’t recall a single accurate statement Reverend Lovejoy of The Simpsons has ever made about God. But then, maybe that’s the point of the character.

Finito. Ole.

I shall continue my discussion of Christianity from my last post next time.

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