The hold of the God concept on the human mind is easy to understand. Basically, it is a product of the human mind which has evolved over the course of human existence. This mental product is very real with real world consequences.
In the face of incredible natural forces such a belief was likely very reassuring in offering simple explanations: e.g., God did it, The Devil did it, the Lord works in mysterious ways (a “cop out” that explains everything and nothing). Likely such
beliefs helped to form communities of shared beliefs fostering more power over the environment. Fictions, stories, and half-truths work; they are simple and persuasive for the majority of people.
Science by contrast is skeptical and has intellectual and moral standards that work to reveal reality as it really is. It operates on the basis of theories and models which require considerable discipline, mathematics, and precise testable statements (a “calculus”) that is not so easily evaluated by the majority.
Author and physicist Victor Stenger in his best-selling book, God: The Failed Hypothesis strikes at the very core of God as an external reality in showing the universe to be basically undesigned. Interestingly, he also noted that the total energy of the universe sums to ZERO. Stenger reviewed biological and psychological findings about God being only present within our minds/brains. He also maintains that the absence of evidence in God in time becomes evidence of the absence of God.
George Murphy’s The Cosmos in the Light of the Cross argues for a hidden god. It reminded me of a recent observation by a friend with a beautiful backyard who could not believe that I did not view it as evidence of God.
Sorry, her evidence of god was only evidence of nature itself! This is a much simpler truth and reality which we can explore deeply and widely.
Great stuff, thanks for sharing this.
Your writing reminded me of a guy I saw not too long ago on TV. I believe he was a surfer. He was talking about how a shark bit his arm off up to his shoulder. He thanked god for sparing his life. My immediate thought was, "God saved his life? Sure, just before he let the shark bite his arm off!"
That's an excellent letter, Bob. I especially liked the description of "the Lord works in mysterious ways" as a "cop out."
The neighbor who believed their beautiful backyard was evidence of God is a common example of people's rationalization for God. It is more comforting to believe that there is a God who will take care of me than it is to think about the countless millions of people in agony due to starvation, disease, mistreatment, and many other problems. That form of belief in God is too much about "me" and not enough about "us."
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