Friday, October 21, 2011

Towards godlike understanding of godlessness

"We're not religious," I said, "So we got married on a beach."

"But," she gasped, "Who did you get to bless it!"

I had half a mind to say nobody, because we don't believe in god, but this would have been a controversial and possibly hurtful fact to present someone with at a polite dinner party on a Thursday evening. Also, it was not strictly accurate.

So I said, "Our marriage was blessed by the presence of our friends and our family."

We were blessed by the sanction of our community. They gave us their blessing. They gave us permission to team up.

And perhaps that is our understanding of god. Could god be a personification of the community spirit? The sum total of all human feelings? The aggregate of all human consciousness that there ever was? The attitudes and values of our ancestors and contemporaries consolidated?

If this is so, then god lives in the passing down and adoption of the values of our predecessors by their descendants. And in living and adding to this body of principles, we become part of god. We are god now, and we will be part of god forever. In so far as conception follows from the love between a man and a woman, humans are human emotions made manifest. We come from god, we become god and we create god, in the attitudes we embody, we create, and which we instil in those we know.

If we are physically and philosophically part of god, then god cannot be separate from us, and cannot instruct us to behave in any particular manner. Our actions can only be informed by the values we have inherited from our ancestors and our current companions on this planetary adventure.

Of course many of those values may be couched in a narrative that presupposes the existence of a separate, all-powerful and omniscient god. This should not invalidate the value system, though.

And perhaps the Personified God concept serves a purpose in explaining the value system to children, who may later – to the extent they deem it necessary – shed the concept and separate the God character from the value system. After all, if god commands that killing is wrong, and you later decide god as an independent entity does not exist, that does not make killing right.

In fact it is humans, in the course of their history, who have decided that killing is wrong. And the God Concept was employed as a means, a vehicle perhaps, of delivering this learning. So it's not god who told us killing is wrong, it's us telling ourselves.

God is a cultural construct tied to humanity, and a consolidation of a compound set of values and attitudes that has evolved during our earthly evolution.

So we may say that far from us not existing without god, god would not exist without us.

But nor would we exist without each other. Physically, culturally or philosophically. And because we do exist, we have been able to, jointly and communally, create god. Because we are all god. In that sense, far from not existing, god is all that exists.

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