Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Oh, God...

Most people's conception of God is silly. They imagine God to be some kind of supreme intelligent being who created the universe and laid down laws to govern our lives. We don't know that this kind of God exists, though the faithful insist that they do. People believe in such a God because they feel the need to -- it's a feature of their psyche.

They'll try to rationalize their faith through reason and logic. But you cannot prove nor disprove God's existence. I laugh whenever anyone says that the proof for God's existence is all around you -- the beauty of the cosmos...the intricacies of the human body...the complexity of our ecosystem and biosphere...the perfection of physical laws...the power of love.

To our minds, these are truly wondrous things, and it is natural to associate them with intelligent design. But this natural association is merely a reflection of our very limited intellect and our very limited experience. There is no logical reason why our perception of beauty and complexity and perfection should demand a causal explanation. It's like saying that the perfection of mathematics requires the existence of God, or that the crystalline structure of diamond means someone made it happen.

The mere existence of order does not imply divine creation. The orderly juxtaposition of carbon atoms does not need a God.

Our perception of different orders of complexity lead us on an erroneous intellectual path. If something is sufficiently complex, according to our appreciation, then it demands a creator.

The human body is more complex than an amoeba. An amoeba is more complex than a diamond. A diamond is more complex than a water molecule. A water molecule is more complex than a hydrogen atom. Where do you draw the line? By our reasoning, any degree of complexity implies God's existence.

It's a specious argument. Only in a universe without any kind of order could believers say that God does not exist.

There is no place for reason and logic in religious faith. Your beliefs stem purely and exclusively from your feelings. The only question that remains is: How valid are your feelings?

What feelings drive us to believe in the supernatural?

If it's fear, then I question the value of the subsequent faith. Fear of death. Fear of the afterlife. Fear of punishment. The flip side of the coin, of course, is that God can allay these fears by offering you eternal bliss, but only if you follow His rules to the letter. Don't sleep with your neighbour's wife. Don't use a condom. Don't whack off. Don't worship any other idol. Keep the Sabbath holy.

Can anything good come from fear?

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