Wednesday, February 4, 2015

My idea of God, on the week when Stephen Fry-ed it up...

Does God exist?  

Imagine four men at a dinner table, each blindfolded.  One tastes turkey and swears that it's chicken. Another tastes chicken and says he believes it to be turkey.  The third eats lamb and thinks that it is beef, but he is not sure and begs for us to tell him.  The fourth refuses to eat what he can't see.

Neither of these men are fully aware.  The first three at least get to eat.  The first two are sated, despite being wrong.  The third spends dinner time being anxious and doesn't enjoy his food.  The fourth feels principled, but hungry.

Religion is that blind food test. God may be chicken, lamb, turkey or any other kind of meat, but at least he will fill those who are hungry enough to blindly eat.  

Does language matter?

God is also a three letter word.  Someone at some time in history had to label the concept.  Once you name it, you limit it to human experience - and if God exists at all then surely it is in a realm far beyond human experience.  The ancient Japaneses text, the Tao Te Ching, starts by saying that the 'Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao'.  For this, you can read:  'The God that people speak of is only a limited version of God'.  In other words, we cannot describe this in words.

So language does matter, but what matters more is the knowledge that language is limited.  

How language is killing God.

Speak to most people of a reality beyond language and you will get some funny looks.  Yet, I bet if you ask the holiest and wisest priest or Rabbi to describe heaven then you will only hear vague and evasive answers.  The more foolish of them will be the clearest.  Vague and evasive language does not point to the falsity of heaven, but rather to the pointlessness of language when it comes to describing that which cannot be experienced in human terms. 

It is better to be vague and evasive that being certain as far as describing God.  A certainty of language is simply false language when describing that which cannot be described.  

These days atheists are pitted against 'believers' in a battle of reason versus passion.  This type of argument is pure theatre and hardly serves a human being on his or her journey.  For starters, which God are atheists meant to actually argue against?  The God that created the world in seven days, or the divinity that exists within each of us?  The world is a complex and nuanced place and there are many different concepts of God, many different religions and many different spiritual journeys.  God is not a man with a white beard, sitting on a cloud. 

There may be God, there certainly is Good.

While we live in this world we will never know for certain whether a 'next world' exists.  So why worry about this?  What we do know for certain is that 'Good' exists.  As does 'evil'.  You may call 'Good' God, and you can call Evil 'Satan', who cares - it's only language, if it helps you to taste chicken when it may be turkey then go ahead and eat.
Good can be described as 'that which serves for the better of all', evil is 'that which does good to none'.  Everything that falls between these two absolutes can be a mix of good and evil and herein lies the conundrum of human life - you decide.  In Christian terms, you were give free will.  In the more clear-cut cases it is easy - choose that which does good to all. However, there are times when you must choose that which does most good, but does harm to some - you will need to justify this to yourself and live with the decision.  At times, you will choose that which does good to none - you'll do this because you are human and deeply flawed, and this will hurt you immensely.