GOD!

 

GOD

 

As an ordained Minister of both the Church of Spiritual Humanists AND the Church of the Universe, (neither of which, happily, seems to preclude membership of the other), it behooves me now and then to turn my thoughts towards God, and to share the results of my meditations with you, my readers, for your Spiritual edification, no matter how much discomfort the process may cause us.

So, the Easter rush is over, the crowds have all gone home, let us then take a moment to consider God.

Fortunately for our Enquiry, we in the Church of Spiritual Humanists believe in using the Power of REASON. This should give us a tremendous advantage over all those other Religions limping along just using Faith. Perhaps we should begin with a few Frequently Asked Questions..

 

Q.Who or What is God?

“God is a concept by which we measure our pain.” John Lennon said that once. Quite frankly I’ve never had the faintest idea what he meant and I suspect he didn’t either, the pretentious acid-raddled fool. Maybe he just liked the sound of the sentence. Or maybe it was just all that Primal Scream Therapy he was doing at the time.

Let us turn instead to the Concise Oxford Dictionary (1958 edition) for Enlightenment.

Somewhat more helpfully we are informed that a god is a “Superhuman being worshipped as having power over nature and human fortunes” (several Caesars qualify under that definition). But we want the original founder and proprietor, the big G himself. Here we are informed that God with a capital G is the “Supreme being, Creator and Ruler of the Universe.” Well. it’s a definition but it doesn’t tell us much. Who created the Universe?-God!-Who’s God?-the Creator of the Universe. And round we go.

People have ascribed a lot of characteristics to God in the past, (omnipresence, omnipotence, Perfection etc), but frankly they were all just liars, deluded or guessing. Gods’ motivations and appearance are unknown. For all we know God is like a giant Manta-ray that mindlessly goes about laying universes for eggs.

Q. Is there a God?

We’ll assume for the sake of argument that there is. Science has traced existence back to the Big Bang but the cause still remains obscure. A Creator, who we’ll designate as God, is as good a theory as any at this stage.

Though then of course you get the question “who created God” and your off down that hall of mirrors again. I mean if the world is sitting on the back of an elephant that’s riding on the back of a turtle, then what’s the turtle standing on? etc.

Perhaps I should mention at this stage that I myself align with the Animist traditions, and frankly we Animists don’t have a lot of time for God. Sure a lot of us will acknowledge a Supreme Creator god’s theoretical existence, but consider Them as being too remote to have much bearing on events down here on Earth. Rather, we’re more concerned with maintaining good relations with Ancestor and Nature Spirits. A harmonious balance between Tribe and Totem as it were.

Q. What about about Montheism

The problem with Monotheism is it tends to be totalitarian in nature. Its not enough that they believe there is only One True God, everyone else has to believe it too. Or suffer the consequences. From Akhenaten to Elmer Gantry, there’s always some fanatic montheist calling down Hellfire upon the Unbelievers. Hence pogroms, crusades, jihads, witch-hunts, Inquisitions and mass forced conversions. Etc ..Monotheism is generally a product of extremely hierarchical societies and when allied with state power acts as an instrument to reinforce the position of the ruling classes. The whole “Divine Right of Kings” & “Gods Regent” on earth trip. Constantine realised that the Roman Imperial administration and Christianity were made for each other and look at the happy results.

Q. Does God intervene personally?

Seems unlikely. Best available evidence indicates the Creator is content to let the mechanism follow its own course and is not apt to suspend natural laws for our benefit, (biblical claims of unsubstantiated miracles like “stopping the sun” to the contrary) God does not micro manage.

There is a contrary school of thought, however, that believes in the “Computer-game” Analogy, where God, like a caffeinated teenager, takes an active interest in local events, intervening constantly as They play some obscure Cosmic game with unknowable rules to some Conclusion we could only dimly perpend. Perhaps they’re playing against their friend, the Devil. This is not a new theology. The world as a battle ground/stage for a cosmic conflict between Good & Evil has been a popular theory since ancient times. Mere Cyber Manicheanism dressed up for the modern age. You can see its attractions. It gives a mundane existence a whole new level of Drama.

 

Indeed my daughter and I like to play a computer game called “Black & White” where you, the player, takes on the role of God. Amongst your many powers you get a giant Mythic creature to train, a sort of minor attendant deity. This demi-god’s personality & powers develop as you train it. You can make it a beneficent, healing deity, or make it a warrior malevolent deity, and it will go on to act independently of your supervision, performing actions compatible with its personality traits.

This creature is actually in the Guinness Book of Records as the most complex Artificial Intelligence ever in a computer game. In the game your creatures’ learning capacity increases from 7K to500K. “This is the first time” the good book of Guiness tell us, “that a computer game character has been programmed with such empathic learning abilities.”

The first, but no doubt not the last. There will be others, each more complex than the last. Just how “intelligent” we can make such Artificial intelligences is something perhaps only God can tell us. At what level does sentience set in?

Speaking of games & God, on a completely different level, my daughter and I used to like to play the “Lightning Game” when she was young. Basically, whenever there was a lightning storm, she’d encourage me to go out in the front yard. There I’d dance around and taunt God, daring Them to strike me down with lightning, while she cowered in the doorway, gleefully watching my blasphemous performance. Yes, she’d giggle with a sort of terrified joy, while I jeered at every missed strike.

“Not even close, Old man! I’m over here!” I’d shout.

Eventually we’d get a lightning strike close enough to make us both jump and I’d change my tune and pretend to be terrified.

“No! NO!”, I’d cry,” Don’t take ME! Take the girl! She encouraged me to be disrespectful! She’s the Evil One!” So saying I’d run towards her and make a grab at her, pretending that I was going to drag her out into the yard to face God’s wrath.

“Noooo!!” she’d squeal (little coward!) and run off into the depths of the house to cower behind her Mother, who’d just Tsk Tsk, shake her head, and say with her little smile, “You’re really asking for it aren’t you?”

Ideally one should be methodical and taunt a different God each time, and see if any care to demonstrate their validity. Now some sophists might argue that God didn’t strike me dead merely because I’m so insignificant and They have better things to do with Their Time, but this was precisely my point in the first place. 

Q. Does God disapprove of dancing and lipstick?

No. And anyone who says otherwise should be fed LSD and buried in a box with the bones of John Lennon.

 

I wander down the back yard looking for God. They’re not there, but everything else looks so wonderful today I don’t care. All around me are trees and plants and leaves bursting with green, and the sky is blue and the dragon flies dance around me and the bees hum and the bush turkeys strut about and my cat yawns and stretches in the glorious sun.

All around me I can feel the Great Life Force enfold me in its Web. I wonder at the beauty of the world. I wonder at my wonder! What an amazing thing sentience is, eh Friends, despite all the Suffering that goes as its corollary. (Sentience not just a human monopoly-I have seen sentience in chickens, cats, rats and insects).

What a mystery that our brains should produce our keen awareness, our constant questioning. More than anything I just like being alive and thinking and feeling my brain work and looking around me and wallowing in the aesthetic sense I’m blessed with. I watch the fat yellow Moon rise in its glory and I am stunned. The great trees spread their branches across the sky and I marvel. Why do I see green instead of a band of electro magnetic radiation and why is it so beautiful? There are many mysteries.

In this Eternal moment the answers aren’t really important. I am what I am, and that is enough for Now.

***

PS. Apologies to John Lennon. Love your work man, I’m just fun-ning with ya.

***

***

The Reverend Hellfire is a practising Performance Poet and an Ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Something-or-Other, and some other mob as well, forget their name..not Rastafarians exactly but I think they smoke a lot of pot.

***

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~ by reverendhellfire on April 15, 2012.

6 Responses to “GOD!”

  1. Good one, Reverend H! It deserves a wider readership…

  2. LOL, the Lennon quote is a bit weird.

  3. John Lennon even admitted it. When a dazed acolyte was discovered on the grounds of Tittenhurst Park, Lennon came out and spoke to him. The guy was talking about how cosmic the words were on Abbey Road and John replies basically that he was just having fun with words.
    I even found a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUUvw-kOPtQ
    BTW Rev, I like your attitude to Lightning 😉

    • yup, you just can’t trust these arty types. Apt to say anything.
      As to the Lightning Game-it got the adrenalin going alright but I always took care to remove all metal objects from my person first.(just improving the odds.)

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