I’ve been thinking about God recently. Considering my previous ideas about God and religion, some of you may find this amusing. I hope you will read on anyway. I really have been though, thinking about God and religion. At the least, it’s a fascinating subject and one that I have been enthralled with for most of my life. We humans are curious creatures, we have this insatiable need to have an answer for everything. It’s why we have science, why we explore. While I am no different, I don’t believe all science and exploration is good. Discovery is a violent act. Every time we involve ourselves in discovering something new, something else gets changed or destroyed. Take for instance the discovery of oil. Look at all the good oil has done for our advancement as a species, and all that has been destroyed by it. And yet we continue to seek. I guess it’s our nature.
I have sought answers to the question of God for most of my life. I’ve read the Bible cover to cover, twice. Not only reading it, but studying it to find an answer to the question that has plagued me always; is God real? I have yet to answer that question definitively. I have however, answered a number of other questions along the way. Sometimes I lay this aside, sometimes for years. And then I get a niggling at the back of my mind that says, maybe you should look into this again. That’s where I’m at now.
God, is many things to many people. Referred to as “He” for centuries, I’ll do the same for continuity. It’s just a pronoun to use for reference. I’ll start out with this statement: I think religion has it wrong. The holy books of the big three, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, show God to be and entity of many qualities. Here is where I think they go wrong. Say that God created everything there is. The way that I understand science tells me that everything is made of matter. Matter (in the case of animals) consists of atoms grouped together into molecules, grouped together into cells, grouped together to make living, breathing humans, animals, and plants. Matter is also rocks, bacteria, etc. Variations in the atoms produce variations in the matter. As long as humans have been studying life, we still know little about it. When we create, we create poor imitations of life, at best. We have no idea how the atom actually came about. It is a marvel way beyond our reach or understanding. It’s possible that it always will be.
My theory is that an entity (God) that has the will, the resources, and the ability to create atoms and molecules, etc. and form them into living breathing animals and humans, has to by definition, be way beyond our capability to understand. The creator, has to be greater than it’s creation. It just doesn’t make any sense otherwise. We cannot conceive of a God who could do that. We just can’t. And therefore how can we describe him? How can we believe that God is subject to base human emotions like, jealousy, envy, anger or happiness? How can we know if our God is good or evil? How can we know if the concepts of good or evil even have any meaning to a God we can’t conceive of? I think the answer to that question is, that we can’t, and that’s why I make the claim that religion has it wrong. Religion describes God in many ways. We believe we know him, we believe we can have a personal relationship with him. I think it is comforting to many to feel as if we know our God rather than thinking God is this mystery that could be way different than we want him to be. I think we have created God in our image.
Our image of God as a grandfatherly, venerable old man who cares for us is a comforting image to carry around. And we could after all, be completely right about it. But the truth is, how do we know? The truth is, we don’t know. And that’s scary for a lot of people because we have this desire to have answers for everything, and that’s why we think of God in this way. I believe religion couldn’t find the answers for what it was seeking, and settled on something comfortable. The science of God can only go so far and then it hits a wall. Dead stop.
As with any science, clues can be found. This is why I study not only Christianity, but other religious beliefs as well. Ancient history, customs and the culture of ancient people all give us clues about what life was like for early people, back when religious ideas first came to be. Trying to get into the minds of people who lived thousand of years ago and find out what the were thinking is fascinating. And I think it’s important that we know some of these things. We should know where our beliefs come from and that will help us know why we have come to believe what we do. You have to know yourself, before you can know anything else.