For those younger or straighter or way over there on the right, above is a Terry Gilliam (Monty Python) image of the supreme being. Didn't want to get anyone confused early on today. You should select your own imagery for the personage of god or God for today's discussion.
Back at the end of June, I did a link dump and one of the items I tossed out was a Conversation with God. Some of you read it, many did not. The article contains an interesting and perhaps off-beat reflection on who or what the deity is or might be. I do recommend the article, I can wait here if you would like to read it now.
No really, I can wait.
O.K. maybe later, shall we continue. I would like to discuss just one aspect of the thesis put forward in the Conversation with God. This comes about mid-way in the conversation, when the human ask about prophets:
[man] ‘OK, so what about our more famous "prophets"; Jesus of Nazareth, Moses, Mohammed…’
[god] ‘hmmm… sadly misguided I’m afraid. I am not here to act as a safety net or ethical dictator for evolving species. It is true that anyone capable of communicating with their own cells will dimly perceive a connection to me – and all other objects in this universe - through the quantum foam, but interpreting that vision as representing something supernatural and requiring obeisance is somewhat wide of the mark. And their followers are all a bit too obsessive and religious for my liking. It's no fun being worshipped once you stop being an adolescent teenager. Having said that, it's not at all unusual for developing species to go through that phase. Until they begin to grasp how much they too can shape their small corner of the universe, they are in understandable awe of an individual dimly but correctly perceived to be responsible for the creation of the whole of that universe. Eventually, if they are to have any hope of attaining level two, they must grow out of it and begin to accept their own power and potential. It's very akin to a child’s relationship with its parents. The awe and worship must disappear before the child can become an adult. Respect is not so bad as long as it's not overdone. And I certainly respect all those species who make it that far. It’s a hard slog. I know. I've been there.’
I know a couple of references in there, like 'level two', require a second reading of the article but what impressed me most was not the rather simply idea that religions as we know them are immature expressions of basic human thought but more importantly that we have available to us now the resources to move beyond our philosophical adolescence. The "quantum foam" as he calls it. We or rather the religious believers of our species simply put the wrong labels on all of this. These labels have the singular quality of diminishing the potential of the human race. Baseball players point to the sky god when they cross home plate, but not when they strike out. Every success in life is attributed to god's will or his mercy but failure -- well that's our fault for not seeing his divine plan.
It, the big It, the great answer, what it really is all about doesn't come down to any "One Thing." However, recognizing who we are and not fobbing our potential off on the divine kindness of some mythical entity would be a good place to start.