Astute readers will have noticed that the far bulk of Truthopia has been concerned with elaborating and investigating the fight between Creation and Evolution. The search here has been for the Origin of Man, and these two ideas are the basis for most, if not all the philosophy and science concerning this origin. We have considered them each individually, weighing their claims against the facts the best we could, we have even considered some hybrid theories which have attempted to reconcile these two often opposing points of view.
Classically, this debate is one centered around theism versus atheism, in other words, God versus No God. What Man is and what he can be, as well as what he will become, is handled differently by theorists depending, more often than not, on their standing on this God question. Stereotypically speaking atheists prefer Evolution and the Big Bang, while of course Theists of all kinds prefer Creation. Thinking Creationists have taken things further, and established an evolutionary element into Creation, and thinking Evolutionists have likewise buckled under and added mystical or spiritual elements to their Evolution. What becomes clear, considering this historical development, is that what God is – and what the concept “God” can mean – has a direct bearing on the theory offered by the theorist.
It hardly needs to be stated that, depending where in the world one lives, God is represented differently. In art, in culture, in academia, in language, as well as in religions and churches, God can and does mean many different things. This chasm of discrepancy regarding The Almighty is arguably the single main reason for most cultural disparity and hostility throughout known history, an inanity which continues to this day. The fighting now not only occurs between atheists, theists, and agnostics, but it has extended its hostilities to sects WITHIN each individual faith. So, for example, Catholic Christians argue with Baptist Christians, Sunnis disagree with Shi’as, Mahayana Buddhists conflict with Hinayana on doctrines, orthodox Jews debate Kabbalah-based Judaisms. Considering the underlying nature of all religions this behavior is absurd.
I suggest that the main reason for all this continued conflict, apart from, of course, regional bias and similar cronyisms, is because people no longer know God intimately. I don’t allude to this “intimacy” as some immaterial contact or spiritual mumbo-jumbo or, even “heartfelt” kind of way. What I mean is that their information about God comes from only these outside, conflicting, and often ridiculous and/or hypocritical sources. What most people know of God comes from indoctrination received, through the religion of their youths and the immediate culture of their upbringing. Like playing in the third person a religious game meant to be first person, instead of being something internal and spiritual, embracing and professing doctrines universal and inclusive, “religion” has become an outward, even showy enterprise consisting of an overriding, and decidedly nonreligious mentality, of “us” versus “them.” Under this system God is not really impartial, as He should be, but rather, given this type of usage, He becomes a tool for patriarchal control.
In summary, it is my belief that God is singular and universal, and what passes as “organized religion” is, at best, a congregation of people with like ideas regarding what God might be or might want. At worst, all religions are wrong, lies, or recipes for domination, all things God never would allow. Here are some things to know about “my,” better to say “our” God:
1. God knows everything and is everywhere (omniscience and omnipresence). You cannot hide and your are never alone.
2. There is no need to pray except for giving thanks. See #1.
3. God doesn’t prefer one “type” of people to another. God does not condone war in his name.
4. The only evil God allows in the world is that necessary for the good (apparent evil) and that performed by man.
5. God has given Man and Man only the powers of Creation and Free Will.
6. What is right and wrong to do in this life is already known in each sane person’s heart. Laws set by man attempt to codify this knowledge in the form of law.
7. What has been handed down as “10 Commandments” can be seen as the first attempts of Man, by the use of metaphor, to express or communicate this inner sentiment.
8. God is not a prudish Puritan-type, he is the encapsulation of all possible human emotion. Your emotions are God’s emotions.
9. Sex, altered consciousness, dancing and even naked beauty, are all not rejected by God but, on the contrary created by him, and enjoyed similarly by him. See #8.
10. God is not a fire-breathing bestower of after-life punishment. God is best seen as a knowing father, who might punish but in the end never do anything to eternally damn a soul He created.
I could extend this list unnecessarily, in effect creating yet another set of doctrines also vulnerable to criticism and bound to be inaccurate. The point is simply that God is, if nothing else, non-sectarian. As to how religious a person is, or how righteous he can be, that has nothing at all to do with attending a church or subscribing to any certain creed, It is individual.
Let’s now take a quick look at the general religious philosophical positions as classically conceived.
Atheism Versus Theism Versus Agnosticism
These three terms are meant to encompass every possible outlook concerning God. They are worth explaining a bit individually.
Atheism is the belief that there is no God. According to this view, Man has arisen like every other creature, through a slow process driven mostly by chance and classic evolutionary principles. No God gave the order or orders the process, and no God exists to judge the wicked or bestow grace upon the good. Contemporary Man is a product of his parent’s genes and the force of culture, and ethics is based on utilitarian or democratic principles (at best) or the whims of a ruler or written law (at worst). Interestingly, practicing atheists are usually very rational and often more moral than those who believe in a God, and this problem with hypocrisy within religion is one reason many reject completely the idea of God. It is a true case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, as we shall soon see. This position can also be seen as generally irrational, as “forces” and “matters” of often etheric and purely theoretical constructs are fabricated to account for discrepancies and otherwise impossibilities in the atheistic systems. Ethics here is democratic or utilitarian at base, although a “natural law” could be defended assuming a system rejecting “god” can accept “Nature,” a concept at least as vague in meaning as any God. Depending how one looks at it, Buddhists can be considered either atheists or deists.
2. Theism / Deism
Theism is the belief in a God that personally sees to every individual, while Deism is the belief in a God who runs things but might not have a hand in each and everyone’s livelihood. If Theism is the philosophy that God’s hand guides everything intimately, Deism is the philosophy that God’s hand started it all in a motion that does not necessarily require constant intervention. All Christianities, Muslims, Hindus, and Hebrews are such believers, and even Deists like Thomas Jefferson and John Locke (and arguably, Nietzsche and Hegel…), who have more or less rejected a “personal” God, nevertheless believe in a God as the cause of all things. Even Polytheists, like the old Greeks and Romans, and to some extent the Hindus and Africans, are Theists, or at least Deists. One can cite the Muslim creed, which, while it believes its own tenets the best of all, has more respect for its adversaries the Christian, and even the Jew, than for one who has no religion at all, the infidel. It becomes clear that “God” is not so much the problem as is the idea of religion, which can and does mean different things to different people.
Agnosticism is the belief that God does not exist as currently defined, but that the idea could be entertained if new evidence comes to light. It is, quite literally, a compromise position, held mostly by those who would rather not believe, but who want to cover their asses just in case He does exist. Philosophically it is a weak position, one could argue it is not really a position at all. It is the ideological equivalent of sticking your head in the sand.
The meaning of God and the meaning of religion are thus two important definitions to establish. What is true is that “good people” believe all these theories, but many believers of these theories are not good people at all. There is nothing you can find there. Let’s try to define these terms then, best we can, so that we can all be on the same page.
God, I believe, is singular, and there is only one for everybody in the world. This God does not prefer white over black or black over yellow or yellow over red. This God is one but many, as being God He can and often does multiply himself, change His gender, perhaps even His destinies. He can be, and is, both male and female. His justice is equal to all, He has no favorites in any war, nor does he have a favorite son or child onto whom he bestows greater gifts. He is a fair father, and treats all his children equally. He is black, and white, and every color in between, he is all human colors. He feels rage as well as love, feelings reflected in his creations. He likes it all with this variety, hence it is as it is.
Most problems with the idea of God occur because some group or ruler manipulates this God-idea to be favorable to that group. This in turn causes other groups to take exception, and reject that God, or create one of their own. What they do not know is that THERE IS JUST ONE God, and the problems are not with God but with those who manipulate this God idea. In short, most problems with the idea of God come from those NOT against God, per se, but rather against what God is said to desire, or the human iteration of God’s plan. If God is said to despise abortion, for example, and someone is getting or has gotten an abortion, the inevitable rejection of God comes because of the disagreement with what God is said to desire, in this case, no abortions. If and when the church ever says “abortions are OK,” then many who had rejected the church for this reason would return. Too many have rejected God because of what the church has rejected. Technically, though, in this case, abortion on demand is murder, plain and simple, and it is wrong for that reason alone. This does not mean someone who has had an abortion is condemned to eternal hellfire, which in all likelihood is just another product of that prejudicial and regional, and sometimes too creative, human imagination (phantasia). See our rules about God above. You will somehow be punished, you will somehow learn, and you will somehow progress, nevertheless. You are still a child of God and your obliteration or eternal damnation is nothing any sane father could endure.
There are many reasons atheists give for the rejection of God. The first is God’s apparent willingness to let evil exist. This can be answered in two ways. First, as Aquinas said, evil is in some sense necessary for good to exist, As it only can be known by what it is not, the good needs evil to distinguish itself. If nobody died, nobody would appreciate life. Second, one could argue that while God might tolerate evil, He does not create it, this being the consequent of giving Man free will. Unlike the animals, who are told what they can do, and have severe limits placed on their liberty (at least apparently – no lion ever tries to act like a beaver, or vice versa, and no spider builds a dam just to change up), Man has by grace been given God-like powers, to create as well as destroy. In fact, one could almost see this liberty as a punishment, for having these God-like abilities Man has found himself more often than not creating things without proper foresight as to the consequences of the creation. By my view, backed up by some esoteric history, Man requested to be like God and not like the animals, and he has, as we have already said, been given what he asked.
When people say such things as “Why would God let (X) happen?” or when they look at some corrupt priests or hypocritical “believers” and say “if they are people of God I do not want to be like them,” these people are having issues NOT with God at all, but with the interpretations of what God is. If you were to tell such non-believers that God never demanded any such things, or that it is not religion that is responsible for corrupt priests, but rather human free will is the cause, then I think the amount of atheists in the world would shrink dramatically. Problems with God are never really, I have found, problems with God per se, but rather problems with doctrines levied and lobbied for as being in line with God’s wishes. This is what happens when you mix God and politics, since early times a known path to victory. In actuality, God gives, through freedom of choice, Man ultimate rule over himself.
The problem, more precisely, is that since at least 3000 BC Man has found it necessary to put into God’s mouth all kinds of words, and into his actions, all kinds of deeds, without knowing a lick whether it is true or not. 5000 years later, we have so filled the Books of God’s Words with human, often prejudiced, often ignorant, often self-serving and speculative information, and tried to pass it on as “what God wants,” that many have seen the charade and so become the otherwise inconceivable atheist. For, really, how can one sow one seed, or create and raise one child, and not bend down in respect to all the truly God-like miraculousness evident everywhere. This awe is natural, and with it comes the idea of the power responsible for it. This is by nature. Culturally, however, we give other names to this awesomeness, to the quest for Love implicit in most hearts.
So, by human beings doing things in the name of God, and claiming they know, whether by revelation or Divine Right, what it is God wants, we have the Holy Books that are the cause of most of the religious trouble in the world. The God becomes OUR God, or the God of only the select. What should be US when it comes to things Godly, it becomes US AND THEM, in direct opposition to any true fathering. Does a good human father prefer one of his children over another? Does a good father ask his children to just stay home and stare at him all day, bestowing praises upon him? Would a good father tempt his child with all sorts of sumptuous delicacies and even bacchanalian opportunities if he intended they not be enjoyed? Which father does not want to see his children treated fairly, or see his children without having fun, or expect celibacy?
No, this, what the Hebrews say, what the Christians say, what the Buddhists and Hindus and Muslims and polytheists say, is not God. True, each and every one of these religions, and their spinoffs, contain within them the germs of true God and true morality, known by the heart by every sane living soul. False they are the paths to God. These organized religions are merely attempts as communicating via GPS what is already known and written on the map of the heart, and weaved into the fabric of the soul.
Toward A New Religion
Such a prospect as heads this section should not be misconstrued. I am not calling for a new religion in the sense of being just another ism like what we already have. New religion must be non-denominational in every way, not aligned with a time or place or even specific group of beliefs. It must be merely simple acknowledgement that God is everywhere, knows everything, and can do anything. We are, moreover, always being watched, and never really alone. Keep in mind that everyone will die from this Earth, and what you have is a very simple religion that may use as one rule only the one that says treat everyone as you want to be treated and do what you expect others to do. Ethics is about fairness and justice. Justice is about truth. Aesthetics is not prudish but not demeaning or unnecessarily depressing. Knowledge is about truth and not about number of adherents or popularity or mob rule. Politics is about who the best is, who is most capable of doing the job of leading. Prayer is about giving thanks only, and accepting the rest stoically, as necessary to the progression and general course of things. Prayer for things is to be seen as unnecessary, since God knows what you need already. God is existential, and can appear in your mind for reference in colorful robes or plain white, as even how God Himself is made to look He leaves entirely up to you.
It is your decision. Perhaps it is this that has kept too many from discovering the true God. The decision to believe at all is one God gives, perhaps the biggest reason of all to accept such a trusting father. What is right and good is written on the souls of men, once it is discovered there is no choice but to stand in awe at the miraculousness of that revelation, a true revelation perhaps too many never have. It is true that, through bad parenting, a misdirected society, shoddy schooling, mass media, the deification of money, and lack of real ethical learning, this inner knowledge has too often, in certain individuals, become suppressed, or ignored, or even buried. The new true religion must seek to, first and foremost, unearth this innate knowledge from those who have long buried it, and to foster it in all the coming generations. Conflicts between what one knows inwardly with what one is told or taught outwardly further causes stress and anxieties, and concerning these latter perhaps never have they been more epidemic in scope. It has reached the point where many don’t even bother looking inward, maybe from having been beat down by society at every attempt to go by those guts. Guts, really, is what it’s all about. Being righteous, being religious, loving God, without the old religions. This is the stuff out of which any new religion must be made.