I was raised under a Catholic roof and attended Catholic schools. I guess by about grade 3 I was having conversations / debates with the Nuns about what I saw as illogical and contradictory assertions and actions with respect to what was written in the bible and the new testament. Over the years since then I have studied a variety of religious faiths and come away with some useful techniques of philosophy and views of morality.
You'll notice that I didn't say theology.
You see I have come to feel that while there may be such a thing as God I believe strongly that such a concept is beyond the true comprehension of humans. Thus anyone who tells me that "they know god" is in my view really telling me they have lost sight of this.
I don't know god any better than the next person, so if you were looking for that sort of answer then you're reading the wrong blog post. Today I just wanted to make a point on my view on the origins of god in the minds of humans. People believe that god created them. I'm not saying that's wrong, but I am of the view that the situational reality of people shapes how we can attempt to comprehend such a thing as god.
My view is that if there is a thing we can think of as God then god does not really interact with our lives in the way that people like to think. Personally I have seen nothing to make me sure that there is a god at all. I neither deny the existence of god nor preach that god is [insert your personal faith ideology here].
God is there to nurture you when you are weak, support and nourish your soul and protect you from harm. Perhaps also god will punish you when you stray from "the true path".
People around the world seem to have an amount of commonality in this perception and it is often used as evidence that there must be god because so many peoples independently created the same concepts.
Its an interesting argument and one which has lead me to my philosophy of where the ideas of god come from.
God is from our memoriesWe all have memories of things. Many of us can remember things in the past with clarity, others with less clarity. Often the less clear the memory and the more emotive it is the less able we are to recall it without some "memory cue".
If as an adult you walk into a shop selling a food that smells just like something your grandmother made as a kid, you may have sudden flashes of memory. Sounds, smells and long forgotten things (or so you thought) come flooding back to your mind. You remember.
Humans are always forming memories. From the youngest times in our lives we are piecing together the world and coming to terms with it. At our earliest developmental stages we have no concept of language, yet we feel and experience things. We learn and remember things without knowing what to call them. This makes recalling them almost impossible.
From the earliest times in their lives all humans experience discomfort, hunger and frustration. A decent parent knows the sounds their baby makes to identify the "bored cry" from the "wet nappy cry", and go to help their child.
I feel that it is this act which starts the memories off for there "must be something out there that picks me up when I am down, feeds me and nurtures me".
Yep it was mum or dad.
I feel that this totally common thing, common to almost all humans, forms the basis of why we believe so strongly that there must be a god out there to look after us.
For those who believe in god, when god does not look after us we seek to explain this in reasons like:
- it must be punishment
- it must be an opportunity to learn
- god is testing me
- god wants me to be stronger
- I am clueless on this one, so it must be part of gods greater plan that I don't understand
There have been many things which have "gone wrong" in my life. I could seek explanation for them, search for reasons for them or turn to religion to have someone tell me the reasons for them. The death of my most beautiful Anita was the real test of my views in this respect. There was no plan, there was no greater good, it was just shit. I think it had nothing to do with god. God was not punishing me, giving me any guidance or testing me. If you can see that then ... well good for you, I can't.
However as a human I can either be destroyed by it (such as by killing myself with the grief or perhaps by dropping my bundle and going gaga) or I can pull myself together and move forward. I am trying the latter.
It has been the wisdom of the writings of humans that have gone before me which has gifted me with the insight and experience with which to cope with my personal tragedy. It has not been "god holding me in his hands" (which I would have been happy for let me tell you) which has seen me through and is seeing me through this.
This is not to say that I am against the view that there is an afterlife, its just that we can know so little about it that all that we can do is speculate. Then it comes down to "who wins the speculation arguments" ... in my experience that has got little to do with faith and lots to do with politics and power.