My relationship with God has always been a complicated one.
I have gone from being a Methodist, to a Buddhist, back to being a Methodist, to being an Atheist, to now, being complicated.
That’s what I tell people when they ask me what my religion or politics are. “What are you?” I’m complicated. I think that’s a more interesting answer to be honest.
But I digress. As far as my religious and spiritual montages of identity go they have all been the result of one thing, my evolving concept of what is “God.”
I have said before that I believe in God, as a concept, not as an actual existing being. God exists as a concept because every culture has an idea of what God is and a word for what God is. The Muslims say “Allah,” the Egyptians said “Rah,” and others say “whatever.” It has been this way since the dawn of civilization. There has never been a society without a word for God and a concept inherent to the culture where there are one or more Gods.
Yet this is where it gets complicated. I am a man of science. Science offers us the true answers of the world’s mechanics, not some book that is being taken less literal each day. The more science seems to fill the gaps, the more it seems we try to save our religions. We say it was supposed to be a metaphor and not taken literally. Of course! Who didn’t see that the story of Adam and Eve was just an allusion to our Pangean ancestors?
No, no, I must not be cynical. There is validity in the metaphors in religious texts, these metaphors became the laws that dictated society.
Yet there is validity in the statement that religion is just here to fill the gaps of shrinking scientific ignorance. So there is validity to sciences inherent idea that there is no literal or conceptual God, that there is no inherent meaning to existence. This is the issue with science, it is the answer to how but it will never be the answer to why. The why doesn’t concern science and this is where our logical minds fall into the trap of searching for our human existence.
I am a man of science, however to just say life is inherently meaningless? How is that any less shallow than just summing everything up to a bearded man in the sky?
I feel the more we know the more we will want to know, each answer will only bring more questions. Yes, our scientific ignorance will shrink but our need to find meaning will only grow. This has already begun. Faiths are either spiking in popularity or shrinking with embarrassment because of the seemingly growing number of willfully ignorant extremists. People seek their meanings and identities through brand name products, celebrity worship, and euphoria maximization with effort minimization. It is because the placeholder that was religion has left them by the wayside and the cold heart of science has left them feeling empty and alone.
I stand by this, I am a man of science but emotion is what will save humanity. To say that life is just meaningless is just as shallow as personifying and universalizing god. God is something our minds cannot comprehend, and truthfully never will, the more we know the more we will ask ourselves or try to prove to ourselves that some kind of universal binding concept, spirit, idea, or matter, unites us all. If existence is truly meaningless then we must do everything to give our lives and each others lives meaning. Our meanings are within our own power and it is within our own power to give each others life meaning.
In the words of Charlie Chaplin, “We think too much, and feel too little…Do not give yourselves over to machine men, with machine minds.”
My machine mind kept me alive all these years, but it has since broken down, and I am glad. I swear off and abandon my machine mind, I leave it at the junk yard and I shall never turn back.