I tried replying to the comments yesterday. In fact, I wrote for about an hour, stupidly doing my work in the comments window. Of course, blogger burped and I lost it. They are great questions, and some of it lead to what I wanted to discuss anyway.
Just because gods come into existence doesn't mean we must either worship them or follow their commandments. My idea that they must evolve from an infinite meta-universe makes no comment on just what they are. They could be any of the following things:
This doesn't even approach traditional definitions of God such as omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, omnipotent. Every single one of those characteristics are points of seperate discussion, and they have been argued for millenia.
The suggestion was made by ex utero that it is arrogant to believe that such beings as would evolve into gods would ever bother with us. It may be inappropriate to believe that all such beings would pay attention to us, but I do not think it egocentric to believe that some would, in much the same way that some of us pay attention to different species on this planet. Making such an assumption does not make humans a special case, because it does not exclude any other intelligent or even non-intelligent beings from the same attention.
Ex utero also proposed an interesting question: "Would I care to believe even if God were real and all the facts in the bible were historically accurate, but there was in fact no after-life and that death were final?"
The no afterlife god of this proposition is malevolent, for if this is truly the god of the bible and that god is lying to us about the afterlife, then that is not the only thing going on. For that god of the alledgedly historically true bible does have power great enough to create an afterlife even if there was no natural one, or is lying about the power he has. To not give us an afterlife and then lie about it is, in fact, not a god I could believe in or worship. However, the bible=historically true/there is a god/but no afterlife proposition has a variety of logical problems with it, and it has even more inconsistencies with the doctrine and facts of my own religion, such that I, myself, cannot consider it a sufficient reason to reject a belief or worship of God.
I had a very similar question I proposed to myself once: Would I regret having lived my life believing something false and basing a lifestyle on that if, in the end, death were final?
My answer was different from ex utero's. I decided I would not regret it. Why? Because my lifestyle had honor and goodness, the standards it held up to me were worthy to keep me always striving to become better than I am, and the philosophy it was based on had pure love at its core. In short, I do not act in order to gain heaven by divine decree after I die; I act in order to create heaven where I am. I have been, and I will be, but where I am now is the only thing that can be acted upon. This is true with or without an afterlife.
It is clear that the difference in our approach may have something to do with the religious backgrounds we came from, but I do not want to address that right now.
When I wrote of my "careful construction" that bothered Sarabeth, I did wonder if I should refer to it in this way or not, and opted to go ahead despite cultural references such as 'house of cards'.
We all construct our beliefs using our experiences and knowledge. Some of us humans take no thought to the process; letting 'memes' (for lack of a better term) and our reactions lay where they fall, unquestioned, their construction being a pile of whatever came by. Others attempt to put this information together to create coherancy, but may lay bad foundations or no foundation at all, or use poor materials, or do not measure properly. And others may be very exacting, but still find that a material they used was defective, so that they must now go in and replace it throughout their construction. We will always find new technologies, better methods, and better things to build with, so that our construction should never be considered complete. Of course, I couldn't get all of that information in, but that was basically my idea.
And finally, MommaTN, thanks for the kind words.
Next, separating emotional motives for belief or lack thereof from reasonable motives.
Granola is a mix of things: grains, nuts, bits of dried fruit, maybe some coconut. There's some fat in it, and it's a good source of fiber to keep those arteries and colons clean.
Portrait of me courtesy of Donola.
All content copyright 2006 Ami Chopine