Thursday, July 10, 2008

Where I Would Look For God -- Faithwalk #3 (Feb 08)

After discovering that I’m a non-believer, many religious adherents have told me that I need to read the Bible (or the Koran, Torah, Bhagavad Gita, etc) to gain an insight into the “mind of God”. But I have read the bible (and portions of the others) and I don’t see any of them as a realistic testament or autograph of an all-powerful deity. All of the testaments, holy books and other religious sources have the same single flaw – they were all written by humans (who are known to often be in error). Unlike those texts, the evidence of the universe hasn’t been lost in translation, altered by bias or misplaced by history. If anything could be used as a “sourcebook” for a god, the universe is it.

Although I don’t think there are any gods, that doesn’t mean I don’t keep an open mind about the possibility. Were I to decide to search for such an entity, I wouldn’t look to ancient writings of pre-scientific peoples for the answers – I’d go to the one unambiguous and untrammeled-by-humans source, the rest of the universe. Unfortunately, I’ve never encountered any unambiguous and definitive evidence that says “there is a god”. What I have seen are structures, phenomenon and events that arise from well understood naturalistic processes over long ages of time. From the Big Bang onward, the processes and events of nature are fully sufficient and well documented enough to provide a reasonable and nearly complete explanation for how the universe developed, including the development and diversity of life on this planet.

I am not trying to denigrate any particular belief or religion – I just personally don’t find that any are compelling or true enough to warrant my acceptance as “the way”. I don’t claim to know the full truth or all the facts about what is “beyond” the universe, but then neither can anyone else claim such knowledge. Humans are finite and fallible, and no one can claim to actually know “the mind of god”. I trust only as far as the evidence warrants, and I have not seen evidence or support beyond wishful thinking, personal desires and bias for any religion or belief. No, if I am going to look for a creator of the universe, it’s not going to be in the writings of ancient peoples or the religions they inspired. Instead, I will search in the expansive starry fields of the night sky and the unbelievably queer turnings of infinitesimally tiny quanta.

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