Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The most inconvenient truth of all

Much discussion has arisen from Al Gore's pet project, which culminated in the book and movie entitled, "An Inconvenient Truth." The 'inventor of the Internet' wants so badly for us to believe in his cause, but I suspect his motivation is more for generating research funds and political publicity, than actually saving the world. Just like so many other tree-hugging polemics, he is attempting to save our collective skins under the guise of the more altruistic goal of saving the entire planet.

I find it hard to believe that there are still persons out there who think the planet can't survive the influence of our species. Long after we're extinct, this planet will continue to adapt and generate life. It's obviously designed to do so, and withstanding known past catastrophes that are reflected in the geological record, it will most likely continue to do so, with or without our assistance.

Rather than throw in with the silly global warming debate, I will instead point out a more inconvenient truth in daily life; perhaps the most inconvenient truth of all in modern western culture:

God.

While God is not a truth in the sense of a tangible object or entity you can point to, God is a truth for many people in the way they perceive existence and reality. The existence of this belief itself does not automatically make God a 'physical' fact; one can reasonably admit this simple conclusion.

But the place God currently occupies, in the minds and lives of individuals living in modern western civilization, seems to be more one of uncertainty and embarrassment than comfort and joy. In other words, modern mental attitudes are becoming less and less amenable to the existence of a higher power.

There are possibly many different reasons why this phenomenon is occurring, but I think it actually comes down to one.

Peer pressure. No one wants to look foolish when the official authorities of science and intellect keep harping on the same line over and over again: that all the physical evidence points to nothing out there but random chance and blind evolution.

So God, once a foundation for purpose, existence, wisdom and moral clarity, has slowly drifted into the role of childish fantasy and cosmic boogie man. Our new, popular approach to meaning in life is based entirely on the physical 'facts,' because we've been told by state-sponsored experts for decades that only a child continues to believe in Santa Claus after the true origin of Christmas gifts is discovered.

The facts are all summed up by simply observing that you can't produce evidence of God in a lab. Of course, assuming things are not there because you can't see or measure them has never been exposed as spurious before; humanity, without benefit of special technology, has always known about bacteria, the complexity of biological cells, quarks, photons and dark matter, right? Wrong.

Don't we all feel so much more comfy knowing that we're better off with the ugly truth: that God is a delusion? Aren't we better off now that all those through history who were inspired to great acts of altruism and self-sacrifice for the sake of others have been exposed as foolish, silly people who wasted their emotional and intellectual lives on a ridiculous notion like God?

Wouldn't the world be better off without the horrible institution of religion, when we all know what happened during those heinous crusades or on 9/11? Especially when we've got other, much more successful atheist mass-murderers to look up to, such as Hitler, Mao Zedong, Stalin, Pol Pot... name your historical atheist dictator. All the atrocities of past churches can't really compete with these maniacs' bloodshed, but that's not what the average atheist would have you believe.

Why is it such a stretch of the imagination to put on our humble hats and admit that although the existence of a higher power is currently impossible to physically qualify or quantify, that we might simply be technologically lacking in the ability to do so? In all our amazing accomplishments and self-congratulatory arrogance, have we lost touch with the fact that we still don't know everything?

I submit to you that the atheist's objection is not based on physical facts at all. I think it comes from a desire to avoid the 'inconvenient truth' that there is Someone in charge of it all, and that one day, every one of us, regardless of earthly stature, will have to answer for what we've done to ourselves and each other. Ultimately we'll have to answer for what we've done to the aforementioned Someone, by our ever-increasing intentions of purposely ignoring the wisdom that the rest of the 'educated' deem as foolishness. Behind closed doors, is it truly only the victim who is offended?

"What kind of God would make such an imperfect world?"

This common objection to the possible existence of a creator god is stunning in its poor logic. The logic is entirely based on the assumption that God must create a perfect world, and furthermore that this perfect world must conform to our human notions of what a perfect world would be.

"What about all the suffering in the world? All the unfairness?"

I don't have conclusive answers for those questions. Easy answers to those questions tend to sound like products of tunnel vision. I will say though, that the vast majority of the suffering in the world is obviously caused by how we treat each other. The rest of the unfortunate suffering of those we deem 'the innocent,' is as confusing to me as anyone else. However, I fail to see how that same suffering is indisputable proof that God cannot exist.

Some people in the world go beyond just believing that God exists, they attempt to obey God. Too bad for them, I suppose, because obeying God in the 21st century is synonymous with being an ignorant sucker. And no one wants to be thought of as an ignorant sucker.

The 'joke' has to be on somebody, but I'll tell you one thing: I'm not going to let a bunch of arrogant know-it-alls turn me away from Something that ultimately gives life meaning. Opt for cynicism, spiritual vacuity, depression and mollifying psychoactive drugs instead? No thanks.

I prefer to do my own thinking instead of having it dictated to me by the opinions of others, popular or not.

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