The God Illusion
It's Easter, and so I have had to tolerate the incessant religious music on Radio 3 - most of it a dirge. Despite the best efforts of Richard Dawkins and his ilk, the majority of the planet still believe in a God of some sort. Dawkins has a scale which he uses to determine the degree of your belief. The scale is from 1 (certainty he exists) to 7 (certainty he does not exist). I would put myself at a 9. But, so one Facebook commenter put it, that makes me a believer. Ha ha, nice one.
The reason I put myself as '9' is because I not only have certitude God does not exist, but think those who believe he does should in some way be censured.
We are indoctrianted as children. The beliefs of our parents (and to some extent our teachers) are passed on to us. I was lucky, my Mother, in particular, did not have me christened, I attended no Sunday School and the only religious education I had was at school. I have never read the Bible or attended a church service, except for my first marriage because my wife and her family wanted it (I had to lie to the minister that I would keep an open mind for him to agree to allow the marriage in his church). I have also been keen on science throughout my life.
There seem to me to be two types of Gods. The first are the sky fairies that run from the Roman to Greek Gods through to today's less imaginative versions. This is the most ridiculous version and it is clear from history that these Gods are invented to explain 'magical' events from droughts to volcanoes to solar eclipses. As science advanced we have found alternative explanations for these events that don't require a bearded man on a cloud. The second lesson from history is God was created as a form of control over people and what better way to do this than to offer a way around death. No one wants to die as it reduces our lives to inconsequence, so why not offer immortality (assuming you follow a few basic rules and contribute the little you have to make the church rich). Personally the vision of Heaven that is created is little different to that of Hell, but that is just me. This human constructed God is so easy to discredit, yet here we are. I think it was Ricky Gervais that said, if we were to burn all books, in a thousand years' time we would have another Bible, but the stories in it would be completely different to the version we have now. The science books, however, would be the same. The fact that we are still having wars over which version of sky fairy is better is, frankly, an embarrasment, and probably the top reason why mankind is better eradicated.
But there is another God, and this why Dawkins only, I think, only rates himself as a '6' on his scale. This is the God that created the universe, and the reason that he has that little uncertainty is because we have just that. Science is not all-knowing - it has unanswered questions such as, what came before the Big Bang. It lays us open to the suggestion that someone created everything. But the same argument about what came before the universe and how was it created from 'nothing' can be directed at the God argument. If he did create the universe, who created him? In other words, God does not solve the problem. You may wish to believe everything we can detect is just a giant simulation run by some being, but if you do believe that, then you have to answer to inevitable questions about Him (or Her or Whatever). God is not an answer to anything. As such, why invent him, it just complicates things.
As I am not a scientist I don't have to allow that uncertainty in any proclaimation I may make. Hence my '9' score. To me, there just doesn't seem any reason for a God to exist, there are much better, more elegant solutions found or to be found. The first version of God is plainly a human invention because of how flawed he is. The Bible stories are so clearly 'of their time', yet if God is who religions purport him to be, wouldn't the Bible mention time dilation or the fact there are more planets than are visible to the naked eye.
One last argument, is not about God's existence, per se, but is an accusation that my life must be empty - without a sense of wonder. Well, one glimpse through a telescope or microscope (neither mentioned in the Bible) and you have that sense straight away. And it's real, which surely is even more wonderful than anything imagined. Religion is like masterbation - it seems like the real thing, but in fact is far from it.
We generally ridicule people who have been abducted by aliens or who believe in ghosts. My extra two points on Dawkins' scale are because I believe we should start to ridicule people who believe in Gods. Clearly, these people are not right thinking and should be prohibited from jobs of responsibility such as government positions or flying airplanes. Anyone who scores less than '5' on Dawkins' scale should be culled. Then perhaps humans might stand a chance of surviving beyond this century.
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