Religion – one of those taboo subjects. Don’t bring it up, whatever you do – religion divides us faster than any other topic of conversation. That’s a shame, because it can make for some fascinating discussions! But in the final analysis, we can’t help what we believe, and I believe in God. Sorry, but I’m no more ashamed of that than I am of my belief in ghosts or UFOs and God knows what else.
I’m a Christian. “Oh no! Not one of those!” Well, no – I’m not one of those, if by “one of those” you are referring to the standard-issue Christian. I could care less what you believe in. No offense meant by that, but it just doesn’t matter to me. I embrace all people because I was raised believing that was my Christian duty. Muslims, Budhists, Catholics – even Atheists – it’s all good with me. I just don’t see my personal views as important beyond my self. I don’t feel the urge to judge people, or pre-stamp their thickets “heaven” or “hell.” I don’t define sin for the world, I hope everyone has a fantastic sex life, I’m against capital punishment, war, letting the poor starve, withholding health care from sick people, and I frankly don’t understand all this pro-life stuff. Just being honest! I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I’ve never seen it as my duty to convert the masses, and I would hope you would return the favor.
But I keep hearing from paranormal enthusiasts that all the latest science is proving religion to be dead, and that mystifies me. They tell me that the idea of alternative universes, dark matter theories, evolution in general, brain research, sub-atomic dimensions, and the extreme vastness of the universe have all made the idea of God quite obsolete. They tell me the very concept of a God is too small to encompass all of this; that if I accept the truth of science, and all its ramifications, then I can’t possibly believe in any God.
Well, of course, I accept science! But to me, God is science, pure and simple. He is the inclusion and embodiment of such a deeply creative genius that you’d have to call it Holy. The scripture of every major religion on earth suggests that God is everything – all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-wise. What does it matter that the scriptures have been edited and rearranged, or that people misinterpret the passages. The truth of this universe is God’s truth to me, and I just don’t understand why we have so much trouble accepting the possibility that a creator by any name would have no difficulty accomplishing the creation.
“Yes, but there’s no proof.” That’s true. There is no proof, so I’ll just believe – that works. I am reminded of a story I once heard about Benjamin Franklin, who was not known to be especially religious. In fact, by today’s standards, he might have earned the titles of heathen, hedonist, and Agnostic. And while Franklin was ambassador to France, he found himself in a discussion of the solar system with a young aristocrat of the opinion that the latest discoveries regarding space had ruled out the existence of God. Franklin was amazed, and he wondered how the young man could explain the solar system’s origin, and what we refer to today as the singularity – the beginning of everything?
“Who knows of such things. It just happened,” the young man proclaimed. Franklin quizzed him further, but ended the evening by inviting the young man to his apartment the next night for dinner.
Late into the night and most of the next day, Franklin proceeded to create an incredibly elaborate replica of the known solar system. Being a rather inventive individual, it didn’t take him long to fashion planets that would rotate, as they revolved around the sun. He was even able to include the known moons of the day, and applied the appropriate coloring. It was a marvelous achievement and the model was reportedly displayed for a time in the Louvre. Apparently, Franklin’s reputation for excellence and attention to detail was well founded.
That evening, the young Parisian arrived on time for what he was certain would be an elegant dinner with stimulating conversation. As he entered the apartment, he could not help but notice the elaborate solar system in all its glory and he began to make over it. Franklin seemingly ignored the comments and busied himself with the chores of dinner until finally, the young man cornered him. “Pray tell, sir. This is stunning,” he is reported to have said.
“You are referring to our solar system?” Franklin asked, feigning much interest in the topic.
“Why yes!” And assuming the workmanship was too involved for a man of Franklin’s age, he asked, “Where did it come from, sir?”
Franklin replied, “Who knows of such things. It just happened.” Well, the young man was well educated and reportedly went on to become Prime Minister or something. But it is reported that he learned the intended lesson that night and was never again heard to disparage God or His abilities.
I suppose that argument wouldn’t work in the science rich atmosphere of the 21st century, but I think the core premise of religion is exposed nonetheless. The heart of all religion is that nothing just happens, I think. There is intent behind the muse, and perhaps the singularity has a name. And that makes a whole lot more sense than hellfire and damnation any day of the week.