“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God“. John 1:1
Constant debate flourishes over the existence of a creative super-natural being or a creation by a super intelligent essence, with limitless power, which is present everywhere at once, can do anything, always existed, understands our every thought, and judges us for those thoughts and actions.
This and other stories were taught from our childhood, with the additional wrinkle, if you don’t believe in this super natural being, you are going to burn in a lake of fire, in a bottomless pit. There is one free pass, which can be used at any time, doesn’t matter what you’ve done, raped, pillaged, plundered, even cheated the IRS, (well maybe not the last thing – but all the others). You can avoid the fire burning you up forever, and join the group which sings, walks around without a care, includes around the clock mirth and joy, and no money worries. Oh, what’s the catch to get in with this happy group? All you have to do is say you believe in someone that was sent by god, who was really god, (cleverly disguised as an ordinary man). Someone who felt immense compassion for every human that exists, both before his arrival, during, and after he left the planet.
This all encompassing compassion has an incredible, almost unbelievable, (remember you have to believe in it for any of this to work), plan, whereby if you believe, no matter what you did, (recall the previous condensed list), you don’t have to go to this bad place, you get the good place to live – forever. Valhalla!? No, not that story, this is an updated story with stronger, better characters with less drinking and pillaging.
So what happened to this man, sent from himself, to eliminate the conundrum he first created? Well, it seems he lost out in a popularity contest with this really bad prisoner. The Romans (you know the fellas who dressed in togas), thought he was a bit of a nuisance, and gave the villagers a choice; punish the bad guy, or punish the guy who wears a robe, has long hair, beard (just like we’ve seen in many pictures), who traveled the region saying, he forgives you, treat everyone fair, and by the way, I’m the guy who created you as well as the ground you stand on.
So what do these well-informed villagers decide? They say hang the guy who makes all of the grandiose claims and let the criminal go free. If that wasn’t a bold enough story for you, this person is killed through a crucifixion, (not a particularly easy way to die), and he’s alive 3 days after his death and says, everyone who believes this story, is going to get a great retirement plan. Each of you will come back to life at an unspecified date, if you just believe in me and this incredible, no strings attached offer. Call it our lay away plan.
This storyline is taught by American society through a book called the Bible, which represents the words of this supreme being, referred to as God. Some will argue the Bible is literal without embellishment or alteration from the essential facts. There are a lot of variations in interpretation, including diet, clothing, beard or no beard (at least for men), who’s in charge, who leads, who follows, who pays and who collects, and a lot more rules than just the 10 or so which they started.
If you were born in another part of the world, you might call this supernatural by another name, like Allah, and use a different book of reference than the Bible. You might also be inclined to believe this entity has a gender. Some insist the entity is a person and is definitely male (they have it on faith from an inside source). Others insist the entity is female, because after all they know what it’s like to give birth to offspring who cause a lot of pain. If you don’t like the part where your life is restored to its former glory, you can find religious texts that say, you come back again and again, as someone else. Some religions give more leeway on reincarnation and say you can come back as an animal, like a cow. Wouldn’t it be interesting for those who currently abstain from pork, if they came back as a pig?
Many scientists claim there was nothing supernatural in the creation of the universe or life. They think they have a better story.
Through a chaotic beginning, billions of years ago, extremely condensed matter exploded and expanded at unimaginable speed. This resulted in the eventual formation of stars and planets over billions of years. During this expansive changing period of time, simple life forms began. Eventually those life forms mutated into something more capable of survival.
Some people claim, if science doesn’t understand something, God must have done it. That is an argument which basically says, if we don’t know something, then we can fill in the knowledge gaps with a universal super natural entity of our own choosing. Argument over these “gaps” has become less viable, because they have been slowly filled in over the past few centuries. Our collective scientific understanding has filled in these gaps.
Lawrence Krauss, in his book, describes experimental observations and new theories that demonstrate not only can something arise from nothing, something will always arise from nothing. This expanded theory of evolution includes the discovery of the Higgs boson particle.
“The constants of the universe indeed allow the existence of life as we know it. However, it is much more likely that life is tuned to the universe rather than the other way around. We survive on Earth in part because Earth’s gravity keeps us from floating off. But the strength of gravity selects a planet like Earth, among the variety of planets, to be habitable for life forms like us. Reversing the sense of cause and effect in this statement, as Metaxas does in cosmology, is like saying that it’s a miracle that everyone’s legs are exactly long enough to reach the ground“. “We have discovered many more planets around stars in our galaxy than we previously imagined, and many more forms of life existing in extreme environments in our planet than were known when early estimates of the frequency of life in the universe were first made. If anything, the odds have increased, not decreased“. – L. Krauss
Is there sufficient evidence to determine whether creation was initiated/guided or controlled through an intelligent entity? Are the scientists who garner the most attention, correct in their assumptions? According to many of them, Richard Dawkins comes to mind, it’s all a matter of selection of the best of any life form. Through natural mechanisms, inorganic compounds combined forming the simplest of life forms. No outside guidance other than the elements and organisms combining and through improvements in offspring, “natural selection”, only the strong survive.
It takes significant explanation to describe how some elements and compounds remained in their most basic state over the billions of years while still supporting new life forms that evolved into a vast array of life as we have today. It has been said that 98% of all life forms have gone extinct in order for us to be where we are now. Some would argue that we can’t afford for any life to become extinct, yet all along, nature has been performing the deed, destroying these simple to complex life forms, millions of years before humans were present.
When police conduct an investigation, they are led to believe that a preponderance of evidence leads them to how and by whom a crime was committed. Evolutionary science postulates a huge explosion started the process that has transpired over billions of years. All of the necessary conditions for life to exist happened through the complete natural trial and error, to the point of where we are now.
Religions of the world, have their own origination stories along with deciding who are the key people. Some religions have different figure heads, claiming only theirs are the truly divine. Some believe there are multiple Gods. The stories of Jesus Christ in Christianity, are far-reaching and there are only four possibilities. He was either a liar, mentally ill, a legend enhanced over time, or he was telling the truth.
There have been numerous adherents/witnesses, not only to religious beliefs, but also monsters, aliens, ghosts and other paranormal activity. We have over the decades, intelligent and clever people, who through their training or profession, have found numerous rational explanations to the claims and seemingly impossible accounts. Is it possible there’s such a thing as life after physical death? Some people insist in their near death experience. There’s another explanation for that too. Those who have gone through a loss of blood to the brain, found they have experienced out-of-body sensations with attending hallucinations or visions.
None of the physical evidence found assert positively that God exists and in what form. Does this necessarily prove there is no god? Some would say yes, while others insist there’s much more to this life than what we can perceive through our 5 senses or examine in the massive space beyond our planet. Many people believe they have experienced things, almost silent messages which have protected them, given foreknowledge of an event or death. There’s nothing quite so traumatic as losing a loved one. One minute they’re with you, and the next, gone. The body changes in that moment. It’s as if someone was there, then left that body behind. Again, this could all be part of our imaginative mind.
Beyond faith; who is Jesus? Is Jesus God? I don’t think those questions can be answered by anyone other than yourself. Certainly this rather critical view of faith / religion isn’t going to alter your thoughts. Some people are more intuitive, while others are more analytical.
If anything, I hope it enhances your continuous quest to know things beyond what you understand today. Giving into the notion, that all questions have been answered, either scientists have all the answers or the leadership of a religious organization know better, and you don’t need to explore any further, is a mistake.
My experience with religious affiliation has been positive in some instances and a sham in others. The unification of people from different backgrounds, working together voluntarily on behalf of supporting each other as well as taking the time each week to examine your own life, is beneficial.
I realized I have a lot more to say on this topic, so please read Part 2 in another post.
What do you think? All responses are reviewed before being posted, so please keep it civil.