The Real God

The Real God


How much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of Creation? What in the world was running through that warped, evil, scatological mind of His when He robbed old people of the power to control their bowel movements?
~ Joseph Heller (born: 1923-05-01 died: 1999-12-12 at age: 76)

Introduction

The religions of the world disagree on the nature of God and even whether God exists. How do you know which is right, if any? Let us humbly admit we have no way of knowing for sure. This essay is a set of suggestions on what to do in this situation of doubt.

The Nature of God

But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
~ Job 12:7-9

Traditionally we have taken our images of the nature of God from the dusty minds of men long dead. There are other places to look. If we define God as the creator of the universe, then the creation is ripe with clues to the nature of God. Even an atheist can work with this definition of God. God, when defined as the creator of the universe, may be a scientific principle or even the null set. With that definition, God need not necessarily be good, infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, intelligent or even conscious. The universe is very impressive, even the tiny bit of it we have explored so far. Therefore it is safe to say that God, even when defined this way, is impressive and awe-inspiring. You can make guesses about the temperament of an artist by studying his paintings. Similarly you can make some guesses about the nature of God by studying His style in doing the creation.

One of the most improbable depictions of god is the psychopathic sadist pictured the old testament. The universe is far too orderly to have been created by a lunatic like the god Jehovah. But what about some other candidates?

God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.
~ Voltaire (born: 1694-11-21 died: 1778-05-30 at age: 83) [François Marie d’Arouet Voltaire]
For some reason, whenever people think about God they get a pained expression as if someone had poked a broom up their ass.
~ Anonymous
But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:
Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
~ Job 12:7

Generalisation About The Nature of God

"I can understand why people believe in God, Jacob, I just can’t understand why they are not trying to kill the motherfucker."
~ Spider Robinson (born: 1948-11-24 age: 65) character Doc Webster, about to die of a brain tumor, Callahan’s Con.

What might you guess about the nature of the creator from examining the creation?

If oxen and lions had hands and could paint with their hands and produce works of art, as men do, horses would paint the forms of the gods likes horses and oxen like oxen. Each would represent them with bodies according to the bodies of each. So the Ethiopians make their gods black and snub-nosed; the Thracians give theirs red hair and blue eyes.
~ Xenophanes of Kolophon (born: 570 BC died: 480 BC at age: 90) 530

Hedging Your Bets

What if the Muslims are right, and the Qur’an is the best description of the real God, and he calls Himself Allah? What if the Buddhists are right and the there is no one, divine or otherwise, who created the universe? Everything that exists arises from a myriad of interdependent conditions without beginning or end. The closest the Buddhists have to grasping at god with our limited minds is to think of the void. What if the Jehovah’s Witnesses are correct, and their booklets are actually the closest you can get to God’s will? What if God is so utterly beyond human comprehension that any description in words is a pathetic joke? What if the universe itself is far more marvelous than we ever dreamed, and it is capable all on its own of God-like actions such as creating life?

You can call God, The Real God, addressing by title rather than by name. You can’t then be accused of worshipping the wrong God. The real God, (or the creator God) is defined here as the creator of the universe. We might just as easily have defined the real God as the sustainer of the universe, or the destroyer of the universe. For the more pragmatic, we could have defined the real God as that which answers prayer. These alternate definitions may or may not refer to the same entity or principles.

Temporary Assumptions

People usually learn their beliefs about God from their mothers. This is why the beliefs are held with such irrational certainty. People are sure their religion is superior to all others even if they have no exposure to other religions. If one religion truly were superior, how could it be nearly all Americans believe in Jehovah, and the Thais in the Buddha, and the Iraqis in Allah?

Given that we can’t honestly be sure, what would be some conservative working assumptions? Not all religions and ethical systems are this strict, but few would condemn you for the following extra diligence.

  1. Until there is substantial evidence to the contrary, assume God considers all species important.
  2. Until there is substantial evidence to the contrary, assume God does not particularly favour man over other species.
  3. Until there is substantial evidence to the contrary, assume God wants the natural world left pretty much as He created it.
  4. Until there is substantial evidence to the contrary, assume God wants you to avoid harming other people just because they have differing religious beliefs from you.
  5. Until there is substantial evidence to the contrary, assume God wants you to care for your body with proper nutrition and exercise.
  6. Until there is substantial evidence to the contrary, assume the best way to ascertain the nature of God is to study the entire creation, not just religious scripture.
  7. Until there is substantial evidence to the contrary, assume God would prefer you to seek win-win solutions where the needs of all species are considered.
  8. Until there is substantial evidence to the contrary, assume you can determine the morality of an act by thinking about its effect on the long-term comfort and survival of our species and the planet as a whole.
  9. Until there is substantial evidence to the contrary, assume you should fight injustice.
  10. Until there is substantial evidence to the contrary, assume you should refrain from deception, dissembling and lying.
  11. Until there is substantial evidence to the contrary, assume you should keep your agreements.
  12. We never know for sure.

Jehovah

If God had penned the bible, it would be as beautiful as a sunset. It is nowhere close.
~ Roedy (born: 1948-02-04 age: 66)
The nature of the universe has by no means been made through divine power, seeing how great are the faults that mar it.
~ Titus Lucretius Carus (born: 94 BC died: 55 BC at age: 39)
I find Jehovah one of the most ridiculous of all the depictions of God. On one hand he is extremely parochial, God only of the Jews, favouring them, even going so far as to choose to take the form of a Jewish human. The favouritism is so preposterous he even breaks his own rules about theft and killing, telling his chosen people it is ok if they steal others’ land or murder their rivals. On the other hand, he is supposed to be god of the entire universe, including all species everywhere in every galaxy. The more abstract Islamic portrayal of Jehovah as Allah makes more sense, but it too is still far too parochial to be taken seriously. The gods people create are like cartoon superheroes, simple exaggerations of themselves. The real God would have to be of another order entirely. It is clearest when you examine the Odinist white supremacists what this god business is really about. It is so losers without any accomplishment of their own can feel superior to others. It is not a serious attempt to understand the universe.

Profound Irresponsibility

Religion often makes people profoundly irresponsible. They imagine God will get them out of any scrape. They imagine God would not let global warming get out of hand. God would not let our pollution rise to such levels it chokes us to death. God would not let them starve to death or catch HIV (Human Imumuno-deficiency Virus). But the real God seems to act very much like the God played by George Burns in the movie Oh God, who said, "I gave you what you needed; you can do it." and then washed his hands in disgust at what a mess humans had made of earth.

I have never once seen God bail anyone out of any dicey situation. The last reported time was Moses and the parting of the Red Sea, and now the historians tell us the story of Israeli enslavement was a crock — implying that so was the parting of the Red Sea.

God certainly turned his back on the slaves, on the Jews in the concentration camps and on the children of Iraq.

Yet this myth persists by constant repetition that God will unfailingly come to the rescue.

There is nobody here but us chickens when it comes to rescue. We have to get ourselves out of our own scrapes. Contrary to popular opinion, religion is the last thing we need to make this a better world.

The other irresponsibility problem with religion is that it leads people to imagine that life here on earth is unimportant. What counts is the eternal hereafter. There is almost no evidence there is an eternal hereafter. Even if there were, surely looking after earth properly would be good practice for looking after heaven.

Do you really think if there is a heaven, they will let the slobs in who trashed a planet and deliberately wasted its resources?

Atheist Q & A
CCism
Combating Kristianity
Did a god write the bible?
evolution/creationism quotes
Is There A God?
quotes from Christians
reader feedback on this essay
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The New Ten Commandments

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