My progress on this website has slowed because I have been consumed with the desire to work on fiction. Sadly I cannot post that work here because I have something of a hopeless desire to see it published so that I may finally stop calling myself a writer when I actually have no career to speak of.
Nonetheless I enjoy the topics I cover on this blog and will continue to post new work when the mood strikes me, as it has now. This is partly because I have finally decided to speak on a subject I have long looked forward to writing on.
The title already says it, but for the sake of theatre I shall repeat it here:
Even if I knew god existed I still wouldn’t worship him/her.
That is a rather vague statement. Which god? What interpretation of god? What do you mean by “worship?”
The answers are: All of them, any of them, and I’ll get to that.
First and foremost in my mind I am a humanist. I believe all the accomplishments of our species are ours alone and we owe no other being thanks for that. We crawled out of that primordial stew as some primitive life form, we invented a means of communicating with one another, we created society, we have advanced technology so far that we went from rocks and sticks to sending men into space in giant hunks of metal. If you insist that there was some guiding hand pushing our species to these astounding feats then you belittle our own achievements, and I take umbrage with that.
It is not arrogance to think this way, it is pride, it is an uplifting perception of our future that makes one marvel at what we’ll do next, it is a driving ambition that lets us say to ourselves “It is not by someone’s grace that I will do great things, it is my responsibility alone so I will make no excuses for my failure and not resign myself to what some might call ‘divine plan’ if the road is hard at the beginning.”
What really irritates me about these claims that it is “god’s grace” when someone achieves success or society does something miraculous like find a cure for disease is that the supernatural is always conveniently excused when our progress takes a malicious bent.
Nuclear weapons? Oh that was someone twisting god’s gift of intelligence into something evil.
Hitler’s stunning successes in the midst of WWII? That was part of god’s plan we just have a hard time seeing the end goal.
Charles Manson? That boy just strayed off god’s path
Even tragedies that aren’t our fault like hurricane Katrina are excused as there is always some mysterious plan that we aren’t seeing that justifies all the atrocities going on in the world.
If there really is a divine plan that plays a direct role in the lives of men and this plan involves death, genocide, disease, and poverty then god is EVIL.
Allowing it to happen, and divinely causing it to happen are two very different things. Allowing it to happen lets us grow from the experience. Making it happen is causing problems we wouldn’t have had to solve if you hadn’t caused them in the first place
Yes, believe it or not, our human perceptions of what is right and wrong are valid and when you say murder is wrong, then you are right. If any person on earth had a plan that involved genocide he would be labeled a villain (at least by our modern sensibilities). For some reason many religious believe that because god is a being we cannot fully understand his plans that involve death are somehow justified. I don’t fully understand serial killers and child molesters, but I certainly don’t think that I should allow their actions to continue.
If my mind is too puny to see how things will be better when a directly interfering god uses tragedy to guide us then I hope it stays puny because at least it has a stronger sense of compassion and respect for life than this god’s.
Of course the god described above is only one of a thousand potential interpretations of god.
One of my favorite gods is the god that does not interfere with us. He created us and then let us do as we wish. I like this god. He does not take credit for our accomplishments and cannot be blamed for when we do wrong; however, I still would not worship him. Why should I?
He created my species, that’s nice. My parents gave birth to me but I do not get on my knees and sing songs praising them every week (though I suspect they would enjoy that). This god deserves respect, but that can be achieved with a handshake and nod of the head. Desiring anything more would make him/her quite vain and at that point I would lose the respect I once had.
In my opinion, the very desire to be worshiped makes one unworthy of it. This is why the prayer my father made us recite before dinner every night when I was a child annoyed me. Anyone who’s done these prayers knows that it’s mostly a long, overly complementary way of saying “thanks.” “Bless us oh lord for these they gifts.” Yeah, thanks for giving me food, except my dad bought it by working, and he got it from a store which got it from somebody else who killed/harvested it, but thank YOU just for making it exist. Why aren’t we saying a prayer to the animal that died so I can eat or the farmer who put in all those hours growing that tomato I’m going to polish off in thirty seconds? Enough with the groveling already, we are not such a slovenly bunch that we need to suck up to some otherworldly entity.
Another interpretation of god that I’m favorable to, one that I don’t think is very popular, is a god that is very like us. This takes the “we are created in his image” mantra to the extreme. This interpretation reads the bible and sees a god who created people because he was lonely, who lashes out because we, his friends, betray him, who feels guilty and tries to apologize through extreme measures, who on the whole is very flawed and vulnerable.
There is this common belief that because god created us and has powers outside our own that he is completely beyond our understanding and (for some reason) that means everything he does is right and we can never fathom his consciousness. The phrase “playing god” is always uttered in such revulsion, as if lightning is going to strike us down just for trying. Doesn’t playing god mean we are close to reaching his level and we have no reason to fear him/her? Just because it created us does not mean we stay inferior forever. I’m sure numerous people in the world grow up believing they have surpassed their parents, and many of them are right. Simply because we do not understand god does not mean we are inferior to him/her. The divine might be so much like us that it’s scary.
Ultimately I do not really believe any of these interpretations of god exist. These are what-ifs I propose and then give my reason for not worshiping them. My refusal to acknowledge god is not a matter of faith shaken it is a matter of principle. I do not believe our species to be subservient.
So what do I mean by worship? Anything that insinuates a being is far superior to us and demands we acknowledge it as such.
And truthfully I could have greatly shortened this post by simply saying what I mentioned earlier:
The desire to be worshiped makes one unworthy of it.
It is true for every god in every religion, and every interpretation of such. Some ask for none, and they are the perceptions of divine that I prefer. I respect them.
If there is a god that is irate that I do not go to church every week just to fall on my knees then let him be angry, let him tear my soul to pieces, let my afterlife be imposed with misery and torment. I do not so belittle my own intelligence and sense of morals that I will diminish what I believe right and wrong. If a god does condemn all my good deeds simply because I choose not to incessantly sing his praises then it is the evil one and I will hold that in my consciousness through my eternal anguish.