My family thinks I am an atheist just because I have different beliefs. I am definitely not. At issue here is what one thinks the nature of God is. That is what this article is about.
So much confusion exists on the subject that it is hard to know where to begin. Let me tell you my story.
I was raised as a Christian in a small rural community. It seemed that all of the world should believe as I had been taught. But by my late teen years, I began exploring other ways of thinking. I visited many churches of different denominations. All of them had people of good character. Still,something was not right in their belief structure. Things they believed just could not be true.
Consider the root belief of the world's three major western religions. What Christians call The Old Testament is in fact Hebrew and later Jewish folklore. For the 1400 years from Adam and Eve, to the time of Moses, the stories were passed-on orally. Sincere and pious people will attempt to pass their story honestly. However, over many generations accuracy will almost certainly suffer.
Is the Old Testament the history of the human race? Absolutely not! Fron genetic tests, we now know that the migration of our type of humans out of Africa beginning 70,000 years ago near the end of the last ice age. The Old Testament is one tribal group's tales. It is not the history of the human race.
That being said, the Old Testament deserves some respect. Despite its historical shortcomings, there are morality tales worthy of note. Some of the lyrical phrases are outstanding. The words of the King James Authorized Version of the Bible are largely the work of Tyndale and other writers of the first English bibles. See Tyndale`s Bible.
What are we to think of Jesus? Of the three major religions of the world, one thinks of him as divine, another as a prophet, and the third as one of our own who became famous. My thought is that he is a most singular person ourside of his time and culture. Where most of his culture thought of retribution for experienced wrongs, he taught forgiveness and love. We have no writings from him. It is likely that Jesus was not literate. After all, if the stories are correct, he grew up as the son of a carpenter in a rural town.
The same applies to his fisherman followers. What we know of his execution has come from the Roman historian Pliny the Elder (23 CE- 79 CE). Otherwise, all of what we know comes from documents written 30 years and more after his death. The Roman, St. Luke, and Saul of Tarsus, St. Paul, who became his strong advocates never met Jesus.
The rash of imaginary and bogus tales became so vast that in 325 CE the emperor Constantine formed a counsel to sort them out. This is when these tales were separated into the New Testament and the Apocrypha. The rest were discarded.
But was Jesus divine? If the surviving stories are correct, he told us who he was. He referred to himself as the son of man.
So,where does that leave us? There is one common theme that I see in all religions. That is the similarity that their god has to actual human behavior. He or She can be angry, vengeful, benevolent, forgiving, willing to tinker in human events, punish evildoers, and reward the righteous. Most have the promise of an afterlife. For them, there is hell for the bad and heaven for the faithful. Where do these thoughts come from? For them, God is an anthropomorph of the human condition. That is to say, god behaves like a human. Can this be true?
My view is that god is not like a human. God is not a "he." God is not a "she." What is left is that god is an "it." I know this is not very satisfying. But, there you have it. Read on.
Let me tell you my fable. It satisfies me. I don't represent that my fable is true. It is just a way of explaining what I have concluded.
The universe consists of vast areas of clouds of dust and debris. It also contains of over 100 billions galaxies. Each galaxy can contain many billions of stars. It has exploding stars, red giant stars, black holes and colliding galaxies. These are all interactions between simple molecules. What the universe does not have is a way of experiencing itself. This is where we come in. God experiences itself through sentient being like us. We are the eyes and ears of god.
Put another way,