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What If God Is Sick & Tired Of Our Arrogance?

Do you ever see a headline in a newspaper or at a site online which catches your attention, but for some reason you just can’t convince yourself to read the content? I saw one of those headlines yesterday and while I didn’t succumb to reading the article at that moment, I broke down and read it today.

As to why, well, initially I wasn’t completely sure…perhaps curiosity…ma ybe boredom with the lack of other eye catching news…but then I took the time to explore what the headline said that turned me off…as well as led me back to the article. Following the title and some relevant excerpts below, I’ll attempt an explanation.

Dutch Bishop: Call God ‘Allah’ To Ease Relations

AMSTERDAM - A Roman Catholic Bishop in the Netherlands has proposed people of all faiths refer to God as Allah to foster understandin g, stoking an already heated debate on religious tolerance in a country with one million Muslims.

Bishop Tiny Muskens, from the southern diocese of Breda, told Dutch television on Monday that God did not mind what he was named and that in Indonesia, where Muskens spent eight years, priests used the word “Allah” while celebrating Mass.

“Allah is a very beautiful word for God. Shouldn’t we all say that from now on we will name God Allah? … What does God care what we call him? It is our problem.”

A survey in the Netherlands’ biggest-sell ing newspaper De Telegraaf on Wednesday found 92 percent of the more than 4,000 people polled disagreed with the bishop’s view, which also drew ridicule.

First, a bit of background. The climate in the Netherlands has been rather volatile since the death of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. Van Gogh’s work was critical of Islam and his murder, viewed to be an act of retaliation, increased tensions with the immigrant Islamic community.

The comments of the Bishop were intended to be a conciliatory gesture to the Islamic community and I don’t doubt his sincerity. Unfortunatel y, the irrationalit y which permeates the circumstance s leading to the Bishop’s remarks comprise the basis of the angst I experienced when first reading the headline.

With nary a thought, I knew if I read the article it would not only lead to frustration, it would serve to remind me why I find religion to be such a baffling exercise in contradictio n as well as a perpetual source of human conflict. Having now read the article, I can attest to the fact that it easily met my stated expectations .

Here’s my dilemma…and perhaps someone will be able to offer the insight necessary to unburden me. Let’s assume that the Bishop’s followers…no  , let’s go so far as to say that all those in the Netherlands who currently use the term god…suddenly acquiesce to the use of the term allah. With that assumption, would those who believe in the tenets of Islam suddenly shed their animosity towards other religious persuasions?

Conversely, if all those who profess an allegiance to Islam in the Netherlands suddenly conceded to use the tern god instead of allah, would the anger directed at those who embrace Islam suddenly evaporate?

I’ll answer my own questions. In both cases, I would respond “of course not”. In providing this answer, I point to the utter insanity that exists with regards to religious beliefs. Here’s the point…on some hypothetical level, most people would assert and agree that there is only one god or one allah. At the same time, the actions of the majority of religious people suggests that there must either be numerous gods or allahs, or that a majority of the world’s population undoubtedly believes in false gods or allahs.

Even more perplexing, each religious group is certain of the infallible nature of their belief in their god or their allah…which also means they are certain of the invalidity of the beliefs held by the remaining majority of human beings. In holding this view, the world therefore has numerous minority populations who are convinced that they are justified in condemning all others, justified in their efforts to impose those laws that support their beliefs and nullify the beliefs of their adversaries, and justified in pursuing and prosecuting plans to prevail.

So in the end, while I commend the effort of the Bishop to be magnanimous, I wouldn’t hesitate to bet the farm on the following. If you put the Bishop in a room with a Mullah to discuss religion and tell them they may not leave the room until such time as they agree on one god or one allah…and of course that also means they must agree that there can only be one set of values or mores for living a proper life…the two of them will never emerge from that room. Further, if the door to that room does open, it will likely mean that only one of the two men remains alive and able to emerge…and he will do so while espousing that the one true god or allah had granted him the strength to prevail.

As such, I don’t know how to conclude anything other than the fact that civilization has and will always be on the verge of utter chaos and constant conflict. When I acknowledge that thought, I find myself more convinced that god or allah are nothing more than creations of the human mind designed to enable one man to negate another.

Lastly, as a person fond of logic, reason, and rationality… I find myself imagining what a god or an allah might be thinking…wer e he or she to actually exist…as he or she watched us humans interact. In that exercise, one would be hard pressed to reach any plausible conclusions.

Let’s start with the assumption that god or allah has a sick sense of humor and we’re simply here for amusement. That would mean that he or she has devised a world such that his or her existence will remain unproven to us humans because he or she has chosen as much. In this model, the amusement would arise when he or she whispers clues into enough ears to pit us all against each other. The amusement would presumably emanate from us remaining in conflict on a perpetual basis. Unfortunatel y, as an all knowing being, we wouldn’t actually be amusing because god or allah would already know what we were going to do. Therefore amusement fails as an explanation.

Two, if we believe that god or allah created humans…then he or she would have done so with the full intent that we be imperfect since he or she, in his or her perfection, could have made us perfect. Therefore, if one were god or allah…meanin g one is all knowing…crea ting imperfect beings while knowing the outcome of said creation would ultimately serve no purpose. It couldn’t entertain because he or she would already know the script. So what other reasons might explain our creation?

If we assume we are the product of a deity’s creation, then his or her creation would never become perfect of its own volition since it would have been knowingly created with chosen or selected flaws. That would mean that he or she would have to fix us for us to serve any meaningful purpose in our association with a perfect being. If he or she intends to enact the fix…since we humans could not do so by design…becau se if we could, we would have to already possess the capabilities of a god…then why hasn’t he or she already affected the fix and what reason would suffice for him or her to keep us around in a perpetually imperfect state? I’m not sure there is an answer that makes sense.

Further, if we assume that he or she is gradually revealing more answers to us over time…then that would have to happen through god or allah’s selection of certain individuals since we wouldn’t possess that ability innately. That means that those of us who were not chosen would actually serve no purpose and we would always remain reliant upon the ability and willingness of those chosen to know more, to share it with us.

However, in our imperfection  , we would never understand what god or allah had revealed to the chosen few; we would have to believe them as a matter of faith. However, since god or allah already knows our imperfection s, god or allah would know that we were incapable of knowing how to decide what we should believe as a matter of faith. Therefore, making some people capable of understandin g more and providing them clues or knowledge would do little more than fuel controversy and conflict.

In other words, our enlightenmen t would ultimately still have to be given to each of us by god or allah electing to alter the imperfection s we were created with. That holds true if we’re to receive enlightenmen t as a matter of faith through others or if we’re each to be given more knowledge directly from god or allah.

In the end, we humans cannot explain or understand the notion of a god or allah outside of our human existence…wh ich leads us to define god or allah in human terms and which means our perceptions will always be flawed. At the same time, in our imperfection s, we will always disagree as to who is more right. Moreover, logic tells us that our imperfection s will preclude any of us from ever being able to prove what we believe to be right.

Therefore, in our efforts to define god or allah, we actually insult the very god or allah we think exists. When we presume to know god or allahs intentions, we diminish god or allah by falsely elevating ourselves. Knowing as much ought to instruct us to spend our time understandin g each other and making this existence as palatable as humanly possible…for all of us humans.

If there is a god or an allah, he or she would already know that such a goal is the noblest practice and the highest pinnacle we can achieve with the abilities he or she had provided to us. I’m not sure any higher being would be amused by our preoccupatio n with assigning them a name…let alone an identity of our human making. Perhaps its time that we humans focus on that which is within our grasp?

Cross-posted at Thought Theater


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9 Responses to “What If God Is Sick & Tired Of Our Arrogance?”

  1. Organized religion is a tool of control, pure and simple. For an individual to have a spiritual connection, whether that be towards an omnipotent being or to the laws of nature, does not require the dogma and ritual of organized religion. It merely requires introspectio n and a desire to act according to the morality chosen by the spiritual journey. We can hope that such actions do not run afoul of social laws, but when they do, we have human moral codes to handle those matters.

    I am not religious. I have no faith that an omniscient being created us or watches over us or seeks out specific humans to relate ‘the word’ to. But I don’t seek to convert or kill anyone whose views differ from my own. Sadly, throughout history, religion has operated in a different fashion. Perhaps this basic hypocrisy is key in my disregard for the institution of religion.

    But let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that I am totally wrong and there is indeed a God. If that were the case, and if that diety indeed created such a up race as humanity, I would have to hold its own morality in contempt. For what reason would it create a race of malcontents, intent on destroying each other over such simple, nonsensical things as how to worship said diety? It is absurd in the extreme. Much better to merely create animals who roam, eat, and shit- at least they could offer some form of creative pride. Humanity is a species that is hard to be proud of, from a creators point of view.

    No, what God is called is irrelevant, except to continue to stoke the flames of religious discord. Much better for an interfaith agreement to disregard the beliefs of different sects and get on with making your own (and your fellow believers) life better here and now. Let them agree to disagree, let them agree to live and let live (so long as atrocities are not being committed against others), and let humanity move forward.

    Sadly, religion is humanity’s last great foot in the species’ past, and one that hasn’t yet been dragged forward. Until it does, mindless, wasteful travesties will continue to plague humanity- all in the name of a being that can never be proven to exist.

    It’s like fighting over the name of a shade of blue. Who really cares? It’s blue dammit, move on! (See- I didn’t even threaten to kill anyone for disagreeing.  )

  2. Ken,

    In truth, you and I are in complete agreement. Notwithstand ing, in my refusal to concede what remains of my idealism, I’m always looking for ways to change minds or at least open some of them to more possibilitie s.

    In writing this piece, my hope is that people will think beyond the preconceived dogma which I would contend poisons the well. At times, I find it ironic that I spend so much time and energy thinking about the concept of god and the institution of religion…giv en my status as a non-believer .

    By continuing to share my own experience, I must think it has the potential to trigger more thought and therefore more consideratio n…considerat ions that include the notion that we may not need god to be kind, considerate, and loving beings…and even the possibility that we might better serve our shared humanity without the construction of god or religion.

    In attempting to broach such potentialiti es, I have to try to avoid my natural propensity to pessimism. Strange as this may sound, logic tells me I’m fighting an uphill battle…which must mean I have faith in something.

    Truth be told, I remain convinced that all of our dreams and all of our hopes could be realized if we simply embraced the power of our shared humanity…gra nting that concept the sanctity we, in my opinion, so foolishly expend in our efforts to prove the existence of a higher being.

    In the end, if we abandon our faith in the potential of humanity, in favor of wagering what faith we can muster upon an imaginary being, have we not already lost the battle?

    Thanks for the dialogue…muc h appreciated.

    Regards,

    Daniel

  3. Ken blasts the human race in this paragraph:

    “But let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that I am totally wrong and there is indeed a God. If that were the case, and if that diety indeed created such a up race as humanity, I would have to hold its own morality in contempt. For what reason would it create a race of malcontents, intent on destroying each other over such simple, nonsensical things as how to worship said diety? It is absurd in the extreme. Much better to merely create animals who roam, eat, and shit- at least they could offer some form of creative pride. Humanity is a species that is hard to be proud of, from a creators point of view.”

    When a male lion take control of a pride from another male, he will kill the cubs of the previous leader. Sometimes the females will take their own male children and kill them themselves before the new male can get to them. Are these the animals that that you say are so much better than man? Nature is replete with cruel treatment. Man is pretty easy going compared to many.

  4. And when a man comes along and shoots the pride leader to put his head up on his wall?

    Tos, an animal doesn’t know what “cruel” is. We humans are supposed to.

    JMJ

  5. JMJ

    “Tos, an animal doesn’t know what “cruel” is. We humans are supposed to.”

    How do you know?

  6. Jersey thanks but that wasn’t my comment.
    Anyway I will add my 2 cents in. Who said humans are supposee to be perfect?
    My summation of this post is just that it more appeasement to a group who we are so afraid to offend.

  7. Well, Tos, I am of the school of thought that people are in fact animals, just animals who happen to have large brains. The “supposed to” comes from people like you. Some other animals - chimps, whales, dogs, pigs, etc - probably do have rather acute senses of ethics, but, as you say, we don’t really know for sure.

    JMJ

  8. …and manapp…

    JMJ

  9. God exists only in the minds of men. Only mankind is responsible for the damage he has done to the world and universe. Myths are fun to read , but the Koran and the Bible are dangerous tools as evidenced by the destruction they have brought.

    If a benevolent entity existed don’t you think he would of killed us off a long time ago? After all we have failed in nearly everything with the exception of advancing our technologica l expertise. At what cost?

    Uncountable wars and destruction of flora and fauna. The depletion of the ozone and the resultant global warming. You may all think I am nuts believing religion is responsible for the majority of mankind’s problems.

    I believe I am among the sanest people alive. I recognize the foolishness that has occurred in the name of one god or another. Even the bible predicts our ultimate demise will be due to an apocalypse like a nuclear war.

    My fear is it will be too late to correct all the hatred religion has fostered. Religion is like a festering wound waiting to burst and spill its contents onto all living things.

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