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God

  • "True religion is the life we lead, not the creed we profess. "
  • ~ Louis Nizer, American lawyer, 1902 – 1994
  • "Blessed is he who carries within himself a God, an ideal, and obeys it. "
  • ~ Louis Pasteur, French scientist, 1822 – 1895
  • "A beautiful child, only a few weeks old, suddenly dies of a strange pneumonia in its little bed; cancer or rabies brings anguished death to the innocent and the needed; normally beneficent fire leaps out in red anarchy and incinerates a family in the night; earthquakes devastate Lisbon or San Francisco; pride of power puts the pistol to the heads of thousands of the noblest sons of Poland in Katyn Forest and tries to shovel them down under from the knowledge of man; Keats dies, abandoned by the shallow, futile woman he loved, and seemingly ignored and lacerated by the men who rule his day; right seems forever on the scaffold and wrong forever on the throne: How, then, in such a world, can there be a God both all-powerful and all-good? "
  • ~ Edward Merrill Root, American poet, 1895 – 1973

Insane World

People view God, whatever they conceive it to be, as omnipotent and benevolent, and God’s creation, people, as obviously flawed. While people fight with one another, and cast endless aspersions on other people, they continue to praise and worship a perfect God.

Yet if the creator is perfect, why is its creation so flawed? Why is life, in its most “natural” state, nasty, brutish, and short, to borrow the famous phrase of Thomas Hobbes. It has taken millions of years of evolution, and an infinite amount of human labor and persistence, to raise mankind from a brutal and primitive existence. Prior to man’s development of science and technology, daily life was dominated by hunger, disease, natural disaster, and early death. Most children died before reaching adulthood; the vast majority of human labor was oriented toward the backbreaking and mind-numbing search for the basic necessities of existence. Even in the modem world, the most basic realities have not changed — a newborn baby, without the assistance of other humans, quickly dies. Brutal cold and stifling heat, constant hunger and thirst, an endless variety of health problems — unimproved by man, nature is much closer to resembling Hell than Heaven.

Living Sanely

Perhaps God, or nature, or whatever force is responsible for the creation of humans, is neither omnipotent nor benevolent. Perhaps the force responsible for the creation of mankind is itself terribly flawed, an assumption which might seem very reasonable, given the flawed nature of its human offspring.

People need to see God as a perfect force, in the same way that a young child believes its parents to be perfect. But as people learn more about the complex workings of nature, we might experience the same awakening as a maturing child in regard to its parents — the sense that the creator is neither completely good nor completely evil.

If God is the parent of mankind, perhaps we should model ourselves after the best aspects of the parent and improve its failings. Ultimately, we should surpass our creator, and try to become something that the creator is not — purely good. We would thus rise above the circumstances of our creation, in the same way that each child should try to be a better person than his or her parents.

Focus

Rather than battle each other, mankind should be unified by realizing how far we have all come from the terribly difficult and imperfect circumstances of our creation.

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Chapter 2 of 35