Friday, May 11, 2012

Progress: I no longer want God to exist

I was going through some of my old writings from a time when I still believed, or wanted to believe, in God. While I don't want to label my earlier sentiments as "pathetic," I do see significant growth in light of my current views. For example, I no longer wish for there to be a God. If he does exist, he is a really messed up frakker, and I'm not sure I would want anything to do with him. I wrote this short essay after watching The Island.

What’s “God”? Well, you know, when you want something really bad and you close your eyes and you wish for it? God’s the guy that ignores you.  
                                                                                    -From The Island (2005)

            I know the pain of being ignored by God only too well.  All of the rationalizations for God’s silence are simplistic and ultimately hollow. 

            One of the worst is “God only works through other people.”  On one hand, this makes sense.  God wants to teach us to be charitable.  By not answering everyone’s prayers through supernatural providence, God ensures that his children have to help one another. 

The problems with this line of reasoning are twofold.  The first is an empirical failure.  All of the help rendered by humankind is a proverbial “drop in the bucket” compared to the sum of human misery.  Millions suffer daily with hunger, disease, and poverty, with no hope that God’s luckier children will intervene.  Thus, God’s inaction only serves to torture a large segment of humanity.  The failure of the rest of us to render assistance condemns us for our lack of charity.  Hence, God’s plan only serves to torment and damn most of his children.

The second problem is that not every need can be satisfied by others.  My personal experience in this area has made me an expert.  Some people, I am convinced, have an innate need to believe in God.  Others could simply care less.  Even more alien to me is the fact that some people do not want God to exist.  I have no means for comprehending the latter two categories of people.  Their thinking is utterly foreign to me.  I only know how it feels to have an overpowering desire to believe in God, but lack the evidence to make such a belief reasonable. 

            To a rational person, the desire to believe in God is not something for which others can render much assistance.  People can lend moral support, bear witness to their own revelations, and offer logical arguments, but, ultimately, God as to bridge the gap between his transcendent reality and our materialistic one.

That he has done so for some lucky people  (prophets, gurus, etc.) has been attested to by many.  However, I am at a loss to understand how the subjective experience of other people can substitute for my own.   It is one thing for me to be able to evaluate my own experiences and decide whether they are from God.  It is quite another to be able to evaluate another’s sanity and commitment to the truth.

In a way, I feel like Tantalus, being forced to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches.  Whenever I reached for the fruit, the branches are raised.  Whenever I bend down to get a drink, the water recedes.  Tantalus was being given the gods’ ultimate punishment.  How else can I interpret my situation?

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