How much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of Creation? What in the world was running through that warped, evil, scatological mind of His when He robbed old people of the power to control their bowel movements?
~ Joseph Heller (1923-05-01 1999-12-12 age:76)
But ask now the beasts and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
~ Job 12:7-9
Traditionally we have taken our images of the nature of God from the dusty minds of men long dead. There are other places to look. If we define God as the creator of the universe, then the creation is ripe with clues to the nature of God. Even an atheist can work with this definition of God. God, when defined as the creator of the universe, may be a scientific principle or even the null set. With that definition, God need not necessarily be good, infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, intelligent or even conscious. The universe is very impressive, even the tiny bit of it we have explored so far. Therefore it is safe to say that God, even when defined this way, is impressive and awe-inspiring. You can make guesses about the temperament of an artist by studying his paintings. Similarly you can make some guesses about the nature of God by studying His style in doing the creation.
One of the most improbable depictions of god is the psychopathic sadist pictured the old testament. The universe is far too orderly to have been created by a lunatic like the god Yahweh. But what about some other candidates?
God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.
~ Voltaire (1694-11-21 1778-05-30 age:83) [François Marie d’Arouet Voltaire]
For some reason, whenever people think about God they get a pained expression as if someone had poked a broom up their ass.
But ask now the beasts and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air and they shall tell thee:
Or speak to the earth and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
~ Job 12:7
"I can understand why people believe in God, Jacob, I just can’t understand why they are not trying to kill the motherfucker."
~ Spider Robinson (1948-11-24 age:68) character Doc Webster, about to die of a brain tumor, Callahan’s Con.
What might you guess about the nature of the creator from examining the creation?
How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant? Instead they say No, no, no! My god is a little god and I want him to stay that way, A religion, old or new that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.Staring at the grandeur of the universe and the pathetic description of God in the Bible, where God is depicted an a petty, peevish old grandfather, I would have to call the Bible an insult, even if God (the creator of the universe) turns out to be only a bunch of equations.
~ Carl Sagan (1934-11-09 1996-12-20 age:62) The Pale Blue Dot
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous, proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
~ Dr. Richard Dawkins (1941-03-26 age:76), The God Delusion chapter 2
If oxen and lions had hands and could paint with their hands and produce works of art, as men do, horses would paint the forms of the gods likes horses and oxen like oxen. Each would represent them with bodies according to the bodies of each. So the Ethiopians make their gods black and snub-nosed; the Thracians give theirs red hair and blue eyes.
~ Xenophanes of Kolophon (570 BC 480 BC age:90) 530
You can call God, The Real God, addressing by title rather than by name. You can’t then be accused of worshiping the wrong God. The real God, (or the creator God) is defined here as the creator of the universe. We might just as easily have defined the real God as the sustainer of the universe, or the destroyer of the universe. For the more pragmatic, we could have defined the real God as that which answers prayer. These alternate definitions may or may not refer to the same entity or principles.
Given that we can’t honestly be sure, what would be some conservative working assumptions? Not all religions and ethical systems are this strict, but few would condemn you for the following extra diligence.
If God had penned the bible, it would be as beautiful as a sunset. It is nowhere close.
~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:69)
The nature of the universe has by no means been made through divine power, seeing how great are the faults that mar it.I find Yahweh one of the most ridiculous of all the depictions of God. On one hand he is extremely parochial, God only of the Jews, favouring them, even going so far as to choose to take the form of a Jewish human. The favouritism is so preposterous he even breaks his own rules about theft and killing, telling his chosen people it is ok if they steal others’ land or murder their rivals. On the other hand, he is supposed to be god of the entire universe, including all species everywhere in every galaxy. The more abstract Islamic portrayal of Yahweh as Allah makes more sense, but it too is still far too parochial to be taken seriously. The gods people create are like cartoon superheroes, simple exaggerations of themselves. The real God would have to be of another order entirely. It is clearest when you examine the Odinist white supremacists what this god business is really about. It is so losers without any accomplishment of their own can feel superior to others. It is not a serious attempt to understand the universe.
~ Titus Lucretius Carus (94 BC 55 BC age:39)
I have never once seen God bail anyone out of any dicey situation. The last reported time was Moses and the parting of the Red Sea and now the historians tell us the story of Israeli enslavement was a crock — implying that so was the parting of the Red Sea.
God certainly turned his back on the slaves, on the Jews in the concentration camps and on the children of Iraq.
Yet this myth persists by constant repetition that God will unfailingly come to the rescue.
There is nobody here but us chickens when it comes to rescue. We have to get ourselves out of our own scrapes. Contrary to popular opinion, religion is the last thing we need to make this a better world.
The other irresponsibility problem with religion is that it leads people to imagine that life here on earth is unimportant. What counts is the eternal hereafter. There is almost no evidence there is an eternal hereafter. Even if there were, surely looking after earth properly would be good practice for looking after heaven.
Do you really think if there is a heaven, they will let the slobs in who trashed a planet and deliberately wasted its resources?
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