Space isn’t big enough for: God

Yes, you heard it here first.  As infinite as outer space is, and as powerful and willfully teeny tiny any god can be, there is no room for it.  Or him.  Or her, as the case may be.

The further we look, the more galaxies we find.

Are you shocked?  Are you a true believer who also has dreams of seeing humanity colonize the big bang?

Then, consider this.

 

God, or gods, or powers that be, are fine and dandy when you need to explain the unexplainable to those who can’t handle much explaining.

God is great for kids.  God is great for people who don’t have time or energy for deep thoughts.  God is great for trying to keep families together, especially during times of crisis when everything seems to be going wrong.

On Earth, that works fine.  There is time for those kids to grow up and find their own answers.  On Earth, even if every last possible thing goes wrong for a family, they still have themselves, and at the very least they still have air.

Those don’t come free on the moon, or anywhere else in space.  There is no time for anyone to pray that a solar flare might miss.  The stakes are much much higher than they ever have been for the human species.  Anyone who thinks they can mitigate the risks by taking time out for prayer is fooling themselves.  And by association, increasing the risks for everyone else.

To be clear, if a Moonster (or Lunite?) wants to pray on their own time, and invoke a deity on the sly, that’s their business.  It’s not like god will be outlawed.

But anyone who is hoping that the almighty intervene in lieu of doing actual work to protect the colony, that’s what this is all about.

The colony is going to be filled with the smartest people this planet can collect.  And if they can’t make it on their own, then there isn’t a god on Earth who can make up the difference.

Strike me now if I’m not telling the truth.

Amen

 

Forward this, three.

These last few weeks I’ve pointed out the increasing prevalence of “forwards” based on fiction.  At the same time, there seems to be a lack of active skepticism in our society.  All of this is being undermined by one incredible force; the momentum of entertainment.

In the beginning, there were gods.  Many gods.  Gods existed in the wind, the fire, the tree, and the sun.  We have gotten smarter and more sophisticated since then, and today we have fewer gods.  Some religions claim to only have one, but that’s a topic for another day.

Yet, in all practical terms, our society worships many gods.  These are the gods that appear on the altar we call TV.  They are beyond beautiful.  They are beyond reach.  Their words are music to our ears.  And we believe everything they say.

In reality, these are entertainers.  They are chosen from the ranks of many beautiful people based on their ability to talk, to look attractive, and to mesmerize us with any words it takes to make us feel better about ourselves.  If you’re a “bleeding heart liberal” then you’ll want to listen to someone who makes you feel better about your taxes helping families in need, or children getting vaccinations.  If you’re a “freedom loving gun-toting conservative” you’re going to want to hear about the evil socialist president and his equally evil sidekick, Hillary, and how the military is being decimated.

The point is that we believe their words, all their words, without digging deeply into what are facts and fiction.  It’s very possible one family is being helped by our taxes, but is it the best way?  How many families are there, and are we indeed teaching them skills and values necessary for them to become self-sustaining?  It’s also likely that the military is being decimated, but is this a surprise?  Our two-war military has been on a buildup schedule for many years, and Pentagon planners have known a draw-down is inevitable.  Is it a bad thing?  Our military spends a lot on very dubious programs.  Are they the first to go, or is it a form of corporate welfare meets pork barrel?

If you bow to the TV on a regular basis, and believe the words of your idol, then that is your god.  As a serious student of behavior, step out of your body and watch yourself.  Is that entertainer the god you want to follow?  Or would you rather follow your own conscience?

So take a bow.  To yourself.

 

King on making a better world

This is from Dr. King’s book, “strength to love.”  I highly recommend it.

From the last paragraph in the Chapter / Sermon called “Our God is able” he says…

Three nights later, our home was bombed.  Strangely enough, I accepted the word of the bombing calmly.  My experience with God had given me a new strength and trust.  I knew now that God is able to give us the interior resources to face the storms and problems of life.

Let this affirmation be our ringing cry.  It will give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future.  It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom.  when our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a great benign Power in the universe whose name is God, and he is able to make a way out of no way, and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows.  This is our hope for becoming better men.  This is our mandate for seeking to make a better world.

 

et tu, Neal?

Cosmos 2.0 has begun, and like the Olympiad, it heralds a new dawn of entertainment.  Whether it also ushers in understanding is another question.  On this day that we celebrate and respect religious worship, does it seem odd that Neal deGrasse Tyson should appear just before the altar?

Now that 34 years have passed, Dr. Tyson is taking up the mantle of Carl Sagan and teaching us about the wonders of the cosmos.  In so doing, he’s touching upon some significant events in our intellectual history.

A tragic character chosen in Episode One is a priest named Giordano Bruno.  Now poor Mr. Bruno didn’t do well as a priest, ostensibly because he had a great revelation about the infinite cosmos.  He tried to tell others, but the Catholic church took offense.  Somewhat unwisely he returned to Rome where the church gave him a warm welcome – and goodbye.  They burned him at the stake.

It’s not quite true, unfortunately.  The stake part is, but let’s say that the show took poetic license in telling the story.  You can read the details here.

The details aren’t quite important for today’s post, because my question is this; why do you think the Church felt threatened by Bruno’s crazy ideas?  That they were crazy is beyond doubt, because any idea that isn’t shared by more than “a lot” of people has to be crazy.  That’s the whole definition of crazy.  The fact that he would eventually be proven right, centuries later, isn’t important.

There’s a good chance that you, too, have a deeply held model of the universe.  It might have a god, or a GOD, or a whole pantheon of gods.  For all I know it may center around a black hole.  However, I ask you, why is it that (for most people!) it’s such a sensitive topic?  If someone comes along and says “Your view is wrong!” what does it matter?  Why do you care?

Why DO you care?

 

 

God. First.

Sunday is a good day to discuss religious topics in a behavioral context.  In fact, any day is as good as another, but Sunday works for me because it’s at the end of my workweek and it’s the ‘religious’ day in the context of how I was raised.

Saturday is fine, as is Friday.  Technically, it seems that for those who are sufficiently religious, every day should be a day of worship.  But there’s the crux of it – worship what, exactly?

Let’s worry later about who / what / if we worship anything in our modern age.  For now, let’s hit the back button on our magic history browser and ask what our great great grandparents were worshiping in their day.

Even if you are an ardent follower of a modern religion, you know that there was a time “before” your god came around to enlighten your people.  Before that you were heathen, and you worshiped the “wrong” god.  Presumably those people also knew there was a time before, and so on.

Eventually we will come to a group, a tribe, perhaps even a clan with a chief.  And this clan went about without any god.  The didn’t have a god, because, before their clan, there was no group that needed god.

Then, whether you think it revelation, or necessity, or inevitable, they needed god.  Where did they find god, this First Clan?

My guess is that they looked up at the most important, regular, and life-giving object in any human’s existence – the Sun. (And this is a pure guess, Gentle Reader.  Everything before here is straightforward logic.)  Yes, the Sun was God number One.  It’s big.  It’s bright.  It gives light.  It gives life.  It pretty much does it all.  Even today we know that the Sun is the only thing that makes living on Earth bearable.

There’s evidence from anthropology that this is likely, and we do know that ancient civilizations also tend to focus quite a bit on the sun.  So, as students of behavior, the next time you respect your god, or the next time you look up into the sky, think about where it all began.

Up there.