The Nature of God

25 02 2010

I promised you that I would tell you truth, and that truth, like good pornography, was easily recognizable when you saw it.

For a long time now, I have been talking about religions as being a central myth with associated rituals by which you can comfortably live your life, and by which you can gracefully accept your death.  I’ve spent a lot of time in religions during the course of my life, and I went there, as so many people studying religion do, searching for truth.

Here’s the truth: in any exchange where money is sought, there is a buyer and there is a seller.  The buyer’s job is to determine whether they want to buy what the seller is selling, so the work comes on the seller’s side.  The first thing the seller has to do is to see what need can be filled, and fill it.  If there is no need, the seller must create it.  Once the seller has successfully created the need, he must work to see that he has the largest marketshare, and that he develops a brand that people will be loyal to.  One more thing.  To get the maximum profit, sell something that has an infinite supply that is free.  Think about it: if you could sell something that you paid nothing for, how much money could you make?

I suppose that depends on what you’re selling.  Imagine that you’re selling a big invisible thing that would never argue with you no matter what you said about it.  Imagine giving that big invisible thing a big carrot, like eternal paradise, and a big stick, like eternal damnation.  Imagine making a set of rules and guidelines that allowed you to punish your adversaries, say, by burning them alive.  Imagine that your brand was so powerful that global leaders came to you to ask you, please, to allow them to rule their countries, but that you maintained veto power over everything they did.

Here’s the thing.  The God that religion sells does not exist.  Not only does it not exist, but the very existence of it, as it is described is nonsensical.  There’s a big invisible, omnipotent, omnipresent being out there which is so powerful that it created the universe and everything in it, that sends fires and floods and famine and plagues to places that offend it, but that still needs YOU to do its dirty work for it, to kill people who believe in other big invisible, omnipotent and omnipresent beings.  Who also creates entire populations of people that it doesn’t like that it wants YOU to go and crush, and that has laws that have to be written down that YOU have to enforce.  Well, that’s just silly.

What’s really ballsy is that these religions are so comfortable that you won’t see that they’ve created this being out of thin air, that they’ve taken the drapes down and shown you how to do it so that you can do it to your own children.  So, every December, there’s a big old white man with a beard who comes and gives out gifts if your children were good and coal if they were bad: a very thinly veiled metaphor for God giving heaven to the good and hell to the bad.  In fact, there’s a great deal more proof of the existence of Santa Claus than there is of God.  Children can see him on the street corners, ringing bells.  They can send him letters.  They can go to Macy’s and sit on his lap and tell him what they want, and, miracle of miracles, he delivers them, right into their very house on Christmas morning.  Yet, we expect our children to figure out, in the face of overwhelming emperical evidence to the contrary, that Santa doesn’t exist.  It is a mark of maturity when kids stop believing in Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny, and the myriad of other creatures we create for them.  And yet, they are still expected to believe in God?  How does that make sense?

When I was studying Christianity, and reading my Bible cover to cover, from Genesis to Revelation, over and over and over again, I was struck how little Christianity bore any resemblance to Christ.  In fact, the church leaders of the day had real problems with Jesus saying stuff like not to pray in the synagogues like the hypocrites do, rather to pray in their closets.  And yet, the moment he was out of the way, they had no problem recognizing him as God and changing his message out from under him.

This is not to say that Jesus is not God.  He might be.  In fact, all the miracles that he performed, I’m not saying he didn’t.  I have no problem believing that whatever is in the red letters was actually said by him, and that the miracles he performed actually happened.  And, if there was a religion out there that actually did all the things he asked (visited the sick in the hospitals, fed the poor, clothed the naked, housed the homeless, ensured that the prisoners were well tended to, looked after the lowly), I’d have stopped my search long ago.  But the religions which claim to follow him most closely tend to behave in ways that are very unlike him.  And the political parties that cleave unto him are the ones which most punish the sick and the poor and the homeless and the prisoners and the lowly. 

Is Jesus God?  That’s up to you to decide for yourself.

Because God is what you believe it to be.  If you believe it exists, then it does.   And if you believe that no God exists, then, no God *does* exist for you.  There is a saying that if God created Man in his own image, we have more than returned the favor.  In fact, the God you worship is a reflection of who you are.

I had a thing up on my Facebook page for awhile that, if God was what people proposed him to be, that there was a God out there who was an angry old white guy who wanted to keep women in their place, beat up gay people, smite people who didn’t look like him, and generally just wanted everyone else off His lawn.  Of course, this is a joke, but if you hear people on the Christian Right preaching, that’s exactly what God sounds like, and, for them, that’s what God is.

There is a way that God can be everything that people say that God is.  Imagine, for a moment, that it is possible to imagine the sum of all matter and all energy, all life, all emotion and intellect, all communication and thought.  Would that be an infinite and invisible being, all-knowing, all-seeing?  Would that being survive the eternal universal expansions and contractions?  Of course it would.  Would it want to ease suffering and misery?  Maybe.  Would it step in to stop it?  No. 

The problem with a God like that is that any God which embodied both Hitler and Gandhi is not one which could be thought of as being 100% good, because it would be as close to true neutral as one could get.  All the positive and negative charges would balance out, and so, it would not be the kind of God one could take solace in.

God has to serve the purpose it was created for, and, so, one must create the God one needs to fulfill one’s own needs.  Again, the God you create, the God you worship, the God that guides you, must be the God you want it to be.  So, go, create your own God in your own image.




One response

25 02 2010
mette damgaard

You leave not much to debate. You’ve partly right. You are right 😉 Then I will connect you with, your own words:

“God has to serve the purpose it was created for, and, so, one must create the Good One Needs to fulfill one’s own needs. Again, the good you create, the God you worship the God that guides you, must be the good you want it to be. So, go, create your own God in your own image. ”

See it was well written. Now I’ll go out and create “My own god”, in my own image …. but God is dead … so it must indeed be a substitute!
“What will you do tomorrow ? you may be the temporary worker?? Thanks in advance from “Tante Mette”

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