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In Search Of God - Without Religious Doctrine

Article By: joshua boyde
Religion and spirituality



In Search Of God … Without Religious Doctrine.
WARNING: This Article contains materials about religious topics which may be uncomfortable to some people.


Submitted:Mar 8, 2010    Reads: 132    Comments: 5    Likes: 3   


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In Search Of God … Without Religious Doctrine

By Joshua Boyde 2010

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WARNING: This Article contains materials about religious topics which may be uncomfortable to some people.

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Contents

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1: Disclaimer

2: Prelude

3: Terms & Definitions

4: In The Beginning

5: One Powerful Dude

6: Please Explain

7: Words Written By

8: Dissection Of Man

9: Leap Of Faith

10: Closing Comment

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1: Disclaimer

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This paper is not intended in any way as an attack on anyone's religion, church, faith, believes, or non-believes.

Nor is this paper intended to encourage, discourage anyone's religious believes, preferences, or status.

THIS IS JUST A THOUGHT EXERCISE.

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2: Prelude

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I can't honestly say I am a religious person.

Yes, I was born into a Church-Of-England family (i.e. Anglican Christian). ...[WIKI] Anglicanism forms one of the principal traditions of Christianity, together with Protestantism, Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy... But we were never a "god-fearing" people (i.e. deeply religious). I do admit that I did go to Sunday-School (i.e. children's religious school for half-an-hour before "boring" church) but this was really finger-painting to stories read out and hence is more akin to subliminal advertising rather than religious indoctrination.

"Boring" church; come on what else would most 3-7 year olds consider it to be.

After this short period I did not have much more involvement with organized religion. Though, my sisters did both go to a Catholic high-school; but that was the only high-school in town which had a good reputation with acceptable school fees.

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3: Terms & Definitions

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You could describe me as a "NPC"; Non-Practicing Christian.

But is that the correct term to use? I better try some others on for size before I commit to one.

Atheism - [Wiki] is commonly defined as the position that there are no deities. It can also mean the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. A broader definition is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist.

Hmmm; I think I do believe in "something", I don't know what I would call it. I better look up what deities mean.

Deity - [Wiki] is a postulated preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers, often called in some religions as a "god".

Okay now we're cooking; if I am an Atheist then broadly speaking I would deny the existence of god. I think I do believe in "something"; but a supernatural immortal being called "God", I am not sure about that.

So at the moment I would be classified as an "Atheist Non-Practicing Christian".

Think I better look for another definition.

Agnostic - A person who claims that they cannot have true knowledge about the existence of God (but does not deny that God might exist).

Hmmm; bit of a fence-sitter that one is. But that sounds more like me; though the concept of a supernatural immortal being sitting up in the clouds watching over us. I am definitely having difficulties swallowing that one.

Hence my current official religious status would have to be; a "Non-Practicing Christian Agnostic with Atheist tendencies".

Well it looks like definitions aint helping; I think I need to start at the beginning.

QUESTION: Do Atheists actually believe in something?

Ask an atheist if they believe in God, and by definition the answer has to be "no".

Ask an atheist do they believe in anything after death and many will answer with "nothing".

So for them; one minute you are alive and the next minute you are dead ... the big black nothingness.

Yet after your death things do continue on;

• there is the biological decomposition of the body that under natural circumstance would be returned to the biosphere,

• there is the impact of their passing on society (i.e. the grieving of family and friends),

• there is the impact on societies memory (e.g., Socrates, Aristotle, Galileo, Da Vinci, Einstein, Julius Caesar, Hitler, Napoleon, Mother-Teresa, grandma Mary and grandpa Joe).

So death may not be the end of the road in all respects.

Secondly if atheists believe there is nothing that comes after death then why aint they the biggest bunch of "burn the candle at both ends" social misfits and deviants. Hell there aint no consequences to their actions in the after-life so why not party like there is no tomorrow because there is not.

But they don't; why is this so?


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4: "In The Beginning"

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King James Bible ... "{1.1} In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. {1:2} And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

A bit to airy-fairy for me but I do digress.

King James Bible ... "{1:26} And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth".

Well the Bible definitely got one thing right; man surely does act as though they have dominion over this earth.

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5: One Powerful Dude

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Now I am not saying God does or does not exist. Though to do the proverbial equivalent of snapping ones fingers and creating the earth and the void surrounding it; that is one "big bang" of a finger snap. That would definitely make God one dam powerful dude.

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6: Please Explain

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Hmmm; I am sorry but to me the Bible text all seems to be a collection of airy-fairy simplified stories. That is; the kind of thing you would tell to a pre-school child and not an adult.

But them if I was an all-powerful supernatural being (definitely not saying I am), if I was then explaining "the meaning of life, the universe and everything" to humans from 2500 years ago I guess I too would have to revert to explanation through child-like stories and examples (and that is the moral of the story).

It would be like attending a Stephen-Hawkins-esk lecture on 'quantum-singularities and black-holes explained through string-theory and dark matter'. Now I would definitely be lost after the opening "good morning class".

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7: Words Written By

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Many people would definitely disagree with me here; but the Bible can't be the exact word of this all powerful being, because it would have to be so dumb-down for the simpleton population to understand.

Some will say; but God guided the writers' hands. To which I counter with, but you need to consider the intended audience.

It is not the intellect of the writers that is in question but rather that of the reading audience. These people of 2500 years ago (when these works were first written) from the perspective of combined knowledge and understanding were greatly inferior to today's population. Today's population will in turn be greatly inferior to those that come in another 2500 years.

Secondly for the original writer to be able to write down the meaning of this divine being's words (rather than just take down the words that were dictated) it would require the writer to have an intellect in the same ball-park as this divine being.

Sorry, I just can't accept this because it implies that these original writers were potentially intellectually on the same plane as this dam-powerful-dude (which some would consider blasphemy in itself), and what about the scale of the intellect required.

Come on, the best that you could hope for is the equivalent of getting a two-year old to replicate the Sistine Chapel.

Irrespective of how well the master-artist guides the child's hand the resultant work would still be a finger-painting when compared to the original artwork.

Thirdly this does not even take into consideration:

1. The dilution of the words due to translations from the original biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek.

2. The bible read today does not have the same contents as the bible written thousands of years ago. God only knows how many books and scriptures have been lost during the ages due to non-deliberate and deliberate actions (for example Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century AD). Hence today's Bible contents have been composed by men rather than this originating divine being.

Please watch you're religious zeal here because you could well be defending Church-sanctioned doctrines and practices over the original textual contents (of which potentially the majority has been purged because it did not fit with the ideals and concepts of the church leaders of the preceding ages and thus declared heretical, corrupted, and/or dangerous).

Hence I guess I need to look elsewhere rather than words written by mere-mortals; i.e. searching for God without reference to religious doctrine.

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8: Dissection Of Man

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From the King James Bible ... "{1:27} So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

Okay let that be the one and only Biblical reference from here on in. But it does raise a good idea; can God be found in man.

If we took a person ... Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man is just as good a place to start.

Statement: Take one healthy 'walking-talking' person.

Question: Are they human?

Answer: Yes

Statement: This person unfortunately loses both arms and legs in a car accident.

Question: Are they human?

Answer: Yes.

Statement: Unfortunately during this accident they suffered horrible burns to their entire body.

Question: Are they human?

Answer: Yes

Statement: So at this point this person does not look anyway human, but with the wonders of modern medical treatment this person is still alive.

Question: Are they human?

Answer: Yes

Statement: Now take another healthy 'walking-talking' person.

Question: Are they human?

Answer: Yes

Statement: This person unfortunately suffers a disease that over time causes each of their internal organs to fail. But with the wonders of modern medical treatment (and lots of money) they are able to have each of these failed organs replaced with artificial ones.

Question: Are they human?

Answer: Yes

Statement: If all of these previous inflictions were to befall a single individual then on an individual case current medical technology could deal with these. So it is not too inconceivable that in the not too distance future all of these inflictions could be dealt with at the same time. At which point you have a human brain residing inside an artificial body.

Question: Are they human?

Answer: Some may now say No, but if it was you under these poor-unfortunate circumstances you would definitely be arguing the 'yes' case.

So at this point the essence of the person can be extrapolated to be contained solely within the brain.

Now if this brain had the parts that are vestigial (not used) cut away, and then cut away the parts that have been individually damage but a person had survived. At some point after all this cutting the only thing that would remain is a pile of "goo" since the essence of the person has gone.

It is this point where the essence of the person ceases to exist that is of interest. Could this line of separation (for use of a better word) be called the "soul"?

If we accept this point (i.e. the person's experiences, memories, thoughts, feelings, and aspirations) as the soul then what would be a collection of these departed "souls"?

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9: Leap Of Faith

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Would it be too much of a "leap of faith" to consider this collection of departed souls; ummm ... "God" or a component of god.

Just a thought.

Thank you, and may you have a good day.

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10: Closing Comment

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There is nothing wrong with someone believing or not believing in a god (or a pantheon of gods) that is their choice and solely their choice.

The problem as I see it, is when the 'negative' characteristics of humanity is unleashed all because someone else believes and/or worships differently to others.

This was just a thought exercise.

Thank you





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