“I don’t believe in God Lees”
My god-son, seven years of age, announced this as I gave him a hug hallo.
I asked him why.
In summary, his religious teacher at school had dished out the dogma of ‘you’re a sinner and god loves you so he sent his one and only son to suffer horrendously and be crucified’ so now you have to be grateful by being good in the ways we say.
Cal, though only seven, already understood that he was not a sinner.
The whole story appeared so ridiculous to a child of 2010 who hasn’t been brought up with it, that he logically concluded there was no such thing as god. His mum didn’t believe, but he knew I did though I call it a completely different name unrelated to institutions.
“I wouldn’t believe in god if that was true either honey. But that doesn’t mean there’s no such thing as god.
Cal looked confused and I pounced on him with a tickle attack. The wrestle that followed put a halt to our theological discussion. As I left I reminded him to keep an open mind. He looked at me with disbelief and I laughed. He was only seven!
But on the way home I was cranky.
I unequivocally believe, based on all of my experience and theoretical research, that the spiritual search is an essential part of emotional/mental/physical health.
I do not mean the acceptance of Roman Catholic dogma. I do not mean the acceptance of any dogma of any group of any people to be frank.
I mean the individual personal search that deals with questions related to our consciousness, our potential evolution, pre and post ‘human’ experience, whether we are the pinnacle of conscious evolution and if not who what why when and more, is any of it related to our existence and to all of this, does it have any relation with the ‘here and now’, what happens after death… questions questions questions!
This is important stuff simply because it is a part of our reality!
To shut down this questioning process in a seven-year old child with interpretations written for people pre-Galileo is…ummm…well, it’s not right I don’t reckon!
Let me say clearly I have no wish to offend anyone’s personal attachment to their theology. But I also believe that religious teachers and hence religious leaders must awake and realize their theology needs some growth. The God explained to Cal requires some parenting classes at the very least.
But none of this means that therefore there is no such thing as god or a higher, better, more evolved entity, energy, thingy that is somehow related to us!!
And atheistic scientists are just as guilty (if not more so due to their claims of ‘expertise’) of closed-minded unsubstantiated statements as Cal’s Religious Teacher. Let me explain (references provided upon request).
PZ Myers, biologist, Richard Dawkins, zoologist both hold positions of influence in our society. And I quote;
“If only God could vanish in a puff of logic we’d all be done here.” (Myers 2010)
Now ignoring the clear emotional bias and assumptions here I would like to apply that method of logic to his and Dawkins following arguments because they based them on Myers following quote;
“The mind is an engine…”
These first five words are absolutely scientifically in error. Any scientists worth their salt will tell you we understand so little of our brain, use less than thirty percent of its potential, and, have yet to even define the concept of mind let alone be able to make such a blanket statement about it and present it as fact!
What we can say though is that the concept of ‘mind being akin to an engine’ or ‘computer’ went out along with (or should have) the concept of ‘separateness’ (Newton & Descartes) in the early twentieth century with the discovery of quantum physics!
Even current ‘academic’ Philosophers have joined this habit of blanket statements presented as fact followed by their pondering upon these facts when the basic fact is in error.
For AC Grayling, Professor of Philosophy in England and Peter Singer, Aussie Philosopher and writer, this error is in confusing the search for ‘god’ with religious dogma and rejecting god therefore. Just as my God-son Cal did. Even my favourite radio journalist Phillip Adams has me groaning when to he uses institutional dogma to rationalise atheism.
Here are the facts.
Religions were created by man for mans intentions. History clearly shows us that the formation of dogma was based on mans intention to gain numbers and hence power, otherwise, for example, the New Testament would contain over one-hundred and fifty books instead of the twenty or so it has depending on how you count it. Or at the very least, there wouldn’t have been burnings and deaths to rid the community of all ‘non-chosen’ writings.
But we also know that as literature, the ‘spiritual and philosophical’ writings/oral across history hold deep beauty and meaning if pondered from the symbolic, parable perspective that has no one truth but many at different times.
More, to pretend we have the whole concept of pre-life, post-life, consciousness, and god all figured out is fantastical and just plain incorrect!
My point oh patient reader is that I think it important that we beware passionate experts who make closed statements in science, in theology, in philosophy, be they educated or not, about what god is or not and what we are or not.
Instead of teaching our kids such dogma, lets teach them that just about every day we are learning something new that makes all previous knowledge in that area redundant. It is truly exciting how fast science is moving in some areas and what the discoveries will add to our understanding. Quantum Physics alone is mind-blowing.
Let’s teach them about the new discoveries that are there to be made.
Let’s teach them of all the wonderings of mankind from across all cultures and times.
Let’s teach them all the different ideas that exist about our beginnings, middles and endings.
Let’s teach them to rejoice in the very miracle of life and in their own unique ability to ask questions. And oh lets encourage the ability to ask questions and then better questions.
If I could have explained a forty-seven-year journey to a seven year old kid I would have said Cal, what I’ve learnt is like Socrates said, most experts are just tooting their own horn. But read the expert and read the fool because each is unique in their perspective and hence will add to yours.
Regarding God; I know there’s something there. But that’s my knowing and you must find your own.
I reject Christianity, specifically Roman Catholic dogma, and can provide a well organised defence of this rejection. The Jewish God is at the very least a god for the ‘chosen people’ and I’m clearly not one. Most other religious texts I have studied and find interest even inspiration in all.
Jesus, Mohammed, Krishna, Buddha, all appeared to have a wisdom deeper than the norm and all have shown a different way when the ‘norm’ was suffocating growth. I think that’s what Jesus meant when he said he was bringing upheaval not peace; a quote that has been traced and found likely to be genuine.
But I have learnt that one must strip away the impact of ‘interpretation’ before one can even hope to see their words and even then its through the misty clouds of time and culture.
But using me mate Socrates again, and applying the tried and true Socratic Method there is no evidence to state there is no such thing as God and there is no evidence to state there is such thing as God.
There is massive evidence however to suggest we have unknown potential. Captain Kirk was wrong; space is not the final frontier for like the mind we know only a miniscule amount about the universe…even its size. And in not knowing the universes size we cannot know our own size.
And there’s massive evidence to hypothesize that the ‘idea’ of a more evolved consciousness than us that we have labelled ‘God’ has merit given firstly the constant conceptualization of this thing over all time and known history, and the more recent awareness of just how enormous (hence how tiny our knowledge) the universe actually is.Can we truly be the most evolved consciousness in an endless universe?
To not see then this idea of God as important is…well ignorant really. And the current attempts to label this as a now ‘unnecessary evolutionary trait’ have so far fallen terribly short.
Cal my delicious god-son, encompass all knowledge. Even that which you may reject at twenty, because it might actually make sense when you’re forty.
And along the way keep in mind the profound truth stated two-thousand-five hundred or so years ago by Socrates; “I only know that I know nothing”. Given our slight increase in knowledge of the natural sciences I think now he’d say, ‘I only know that I know one percent’!
It is in the sharing of all knowledge, but more, the sharing of questions that discovery occurs and that is human magic!