Sunday, May 27, 2012

In the Region of Religion

The first requirement I have of a deity is that they are able to fight their battles. I'm not surrendering any of my time or devotion to a creature that is too weak and too uncertain to exact whatever revenge or wrath he/she/it deems appropriate.
If we humans are too weak-willed to arrive at our own salvation then at least give us a god that commands respect. You can wield lightning, you have no use of human vassals attiring themselves with explosives and randomly killing people in your name.

The second requirement of a deity is that they are all knowing. I want evidence that the Lord of the Holy Book knew of microbes and mammoths, even though the tribespeople lo those millenia ago did not.

The third requirement of a deity is that they are all wise. I don't want to be able to revel in the pure and sure knowledge that my moral code is Better than His. I want to continually gain succour  and have my questions answered if I'm going to give up my free will and independence.

The fourth requirement of a deity is that they are benevolent. If they are not, they might indeed bring me to account when I pass to their domain but at least I will have lived a better life on this plane before The Great Gender Indeterminate gets to judge


The problem I have with the Holy Canon is that too much of it is either harsh and reflective of barbaric times, seems increasingly out of step the more time passes. But more than that, the accounts read like myth. I don't mind the whole World Tree of Norse and Saxon legend because it is fascinating to glimpse at early understandings. The account of the world being created in a week or all the animals being loaded on a boat for forty days and forty nights reads the same way Galahad's relating of the troll under the bridge does: fine as allegory, instructive as myth, but contradicted by the facts.

If you are going to raise the argument that a day can be as a millenium for the Creator then already from the opening passage you're being told not to trust that an ordinary reading of scripture won't yield a misapprehension.
The laborious counting of genealogy is quite bizarre on the face of it if it was constructed by a cabal of tricksters, as this aging of the Earth is wildly out in its figures; more and more fossils are unearthed, more confirmation of the accuracy of carbon dating, more bridging of species thus confirming Darwin. All that begatting and not within a ichtyosaurus's coo-ee of the real age of the planet.

The problem with giving credence to the flood myth is well articulated by Richard Dawkins when he cites the case of Australian marsupials. How is it that there is a great commonality of creatures particular to a far off land. Why did they all decide to journey together from Mount Ararat and not stop at pasture somewhere along the way?

This reeks of myth as does the Tower of Babel tale of how people came to speak languages and not understand one another. It is quite clear that the linguist's explanation of language families altering with proximity is far more verifiable and consistent across the data.


I've derived my own spiritual awareness from reading across religious disciplines but I also quite agree that there is an element of feeling and experiencing that goes into it normally. My insistence on accepting a certain pagan sensibility is qualified by applying a litmus test to any undertaking, as to how something may serve my obligation to a wider net of experiential. And when it comes to the law of the land, that is best grappled by philosophers and scholars of the potential conflict any decision inspires.


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