Monday, March 24, 2008

Life, the Universe, and Um ... ?

After my short history of, and forecast for The Universe, an addendum: While science is wonderful as a tool, it is also limited. An acknowledgment of the limit here:

Posit the Big Bang (the Sudden Flash). Fine. Science takes us back to that.

What was there before that? In a universe where things have a cause-and-effect relationship, even though sometimes we haven't figured them out, you hit the wall. What caused the Big Bang? Science has no answer.

Religion says "God."

Or is our universe naught but a button on a giant's waistcoat?

Here, we are into the realm of magic --- or an infinite series, which is its own kind of magic, no matter that you call it mathematics. And yet, all things we know have beginnings and ends, including our universe, and if there was a beginning, how did it happen? If the buck stops at God, if God is eternal and has always been there, it's beyond my mind's grasp, but it is no more so than the infinite series. And a creator seems so much more ... elegant to me. So I'll go with that. No proof, but I don't expect any. If you have proof, it wouldn't be faith, it would be fact ...

I think whoever created the universe went off to conduct other business. I don't think God is a hands-on manager, certainly not given how screwed up this planet is; that we are instead left to our own devices. But that's just me, and I am not one to gainsay another's faith. You believe what you believe, not a problem for me, more power to you. As long as I am not required to walk your path when I am happy on my own.


Todd Erven said...

That's why I don't understand the people who are down on others that believe in a god or spirits or magic. To say that it's ridiculous to believe in god and yet they must believe in some sort of infinite substance/matter? Both seem ridiculous because our minds can't comprehend either.

I choose the god option because I like that one better. Better story with probably a better ending. Plus, how boring would life be without religion to muck everything up?

Steve Perry said...

Oh, I can understand it. Some stories resonante more than others; some call, some repel, and some you just shrug and say, "Yeah, okay, sure."

You pay your money and you take your choice.

I'm live-and-let-live. Where I tend to have problems is when somebody feels compelled to save me when I don't feel lost; or when they export what they believe using the sword or the rack, and if a few folks have to die? Well, God will know his own. Doesn't go with live-and-let-live.

But I was talking very general, not specifics. I think most religions have a piece of the truth. I haven't come across one I think has it all. And I have looked ...

I also think that the core truth in a lot of sects has been perverted into something it never was, nor was intended to be.

When people start talking about what kind of truck Jesus would drive, I think maybe they might have banged their head against a door somewhere.

Bin Laden has nothing for me. Nor does Jimmy Swaggart ...

Todd Erven said...

I agree. I was speaking of generals as well.

I'm very down on certain sects of certain religions. Not because of their belief in something supernatural but because of the way they live that belief.

I was addressing more the "How can you believe in a god? That's stupid." bit that I hear quite often.

While one story resonates with me more than another, I'd never dismiss someone's belief outright. That's arrogance incarnate; if you ask me.

Steve Perry said...

I can see that many of the faithful have come to where they are by a long and hard road, and while I can respect the effort, there are some beliefs that are so alien to what I know about the world I simply cannot connect to them.

At the risk of offending any Christian Scientists in the crowd, let me say I find this sect's offerings vile.

Both my mother-in-law and sister-in-law died of breast cancer and I am firmly convinced that, had they been medically treated early enough, they would have had an excellent chance at survival.

No guarantees in life, but the odds would have been in their favor. We'll never know.

It was their choice, and I believe it killed them; more, it caused my wife grief I cannot begin to convey, because nobody could even admit or talk about it. And, of course, they were blamed for a failure of faith, because otherwise, they wouldn't have died.

So not only do I not believe in it, I can't tell you how despicable I find that.

This doesn't come from arrogance, it comes from watching people I knew die. Of sitting up nights with a woman who had cancer that had spread so much by the end she was hallucinating monsters coming out of the walls.

I'm not much on people handing poisonous snakes to children. You can sacrifice a goat if you want, but I'm not admiring of a God that demands your first-born. (Even as a test of faith, this one is iffy. I understand that it's a parable and not literal, but I have children, and if God told me I had to kill one to prove my faith, I'd tell Him to go fuck himself. If he struck me down for it, well, I wouldn't want to live in that kingdom anyhow.)

A lot of the New Testament resonates with me. A lot of the Old Testament does not. I don't begrudge people who follow it; I simply cannot.

Todd Erven said...


You're not dismissing someones beliefs outright. You know quite a bit about it, its good points and faults. Then you make a decision calling it bunk.

That's not arrogance. Thats your informed opinion.

While I try not to dismiss outright, there are a few religions that I have dismissed after much thought and research.