Humans have contemplated their reason for existence for eons. The rise of human collective knowledge wasn’t necessarily based on objective studies or provable criteria. Many people pondered things unknown, and believing those things were in the realm of intelligence beyond their own, fabricated deities associated with those areas of immense power, or an age in the distant unknown past, or unforeseen future.
Our significance, our self importance was now defined by our ability to understand the mind & will of ‘diety’. We were given explanations for things we don’t and can’t know, by people claiming greater knowledge and insight than ourselves. We attached our beliefs to their explanations and convinced ourselves, by their routine communication, that we could understand our life’s journey and tying it to the eternities.
This was of extreme importance as we developed attachments to people and animals, which at their demise, we were left with grief. Our losses could become temporary, as was all of our lives.
By special social & codified procedures and behaviors, we could rejoin all those we love. Conversely, all who we knew, who were unruly, unmanageable, or vile could be cast into eternal torment. This seemed perfectly reasonable to pre-bronze age cultures. Should those same ancient beliefs be particularly important today?
The fictional character in the play & movie, Harvey – Elwood P. Dowd: “Well, I’ve wrestled with reality for thirty five years, Doctor, and I’m happy to state I finally won out over it.”
Among the greatest of unknowns, what happens after we die? Mystics, Shamans, Clairvoyants, and Prophets arose among them, to explain the gaps in our knowledge. Eventually, those oral stories found written form, and once structured to a language that could be passed to future generations, these words became codified.
Knowing the will of god is an interesting exercise.
It goes something like this…
Historical context & symbolism
The Thinker (Le Penseur) by Auguste Rodin. Originally named The Poet (Le Poète)
You read from a collection of very old texts, connected together by a common theme, a god and various interaction with humans.
You read an interpretation of what was once an oral story, which later was written down and passed through several translations. The interpretations of these writings are frequently contested by another group or individual who claim, they understand what was anciently written, better than someone else.
Many of these written words contain stories when looked at with reasonable precision either contradict, or explain ideas that make little sense to contemporary culture, and in some instances, are foolish. Not all are wrong ideas, so there’s often ‘cherry picking’ going on for the least offensive or minimally ridiculous.
Then, the devout person prays to someone they can’t see, or hear, but insists this imaginary person is real, and answers prayers. On average, using the least scientific or objective criteria, the imaginary being is attributed credit for things when they turn out in the way the person praying, desired. Often, things don’t turn out in ways the individual had hoped for, but attributes that to the mysterious nature of god’s will. You know, the one in which they said they knew and were banking on to justify their reasons of belief.
It’s quite possible there’s another god figure. One in which things were set in motion and then left to themselves to manage or act upon by outside forces. Of course, you can’t have it both ways. Either you have a concerned, passionate, all powerful, all knowing god, or you have a god that is capricious, uninvolved, letting people do what they want, permitting disease, pestilence, natural disasters, horrible depravity by other humans, unintended consequences, random outcomes in spite of human desire, and allowing the rules of physics to do their normal stuff.
Which is the god you know? The all caring, all knowing, all powerful, involved with humans and their myriad of wishes, or the uninvolved, laissez-faire, super being from a distance unknown?
You pick, you decide, but either one makes little sense. No matter how hard a person searches or acts in “faithful” ways, unless they just ignore what’s truly occurring, pretend that outcomes of life activities are measured and directed under a super being, and ignore accumulated science and understanding of how things really work, it’s a fruitless exercise.
My conclusion is, unless I wish to surrender my values of reason, objective intelligence, and ignore contradiction, then I may recognize value in established myth.
I believe I live a more productive and happy life without tying myself to a confusing set of rituals, myths, and paganism.
If I’m wrong, and god is this loving and compassionate being, he, she, or it, has had many opportunities to achieve an equitable, understandable, reasonably clear method of helping me to realize they exist. It needs to be more than a feeling. People have routinely acted on their feelings, not only were they often wrong, in some instances their ‘inspired feelings’, were harmful to themselves or other people.