Conservatives and the Tree of Knowledge

While reading about Neil Gorsuch confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court, I started thinking about the Genesis story of man’s fall from grace.  Mr. Gorsuch defended  a Christian family business’s right to refuse to comply with Obamacare’s contraception mandate as this impinged on their freedom of religion. And I started thinking, do conservatives think they are better than their God.

In the Book of Genesis, God tells Adam and Eve that they may eat from everything in the garden, except for the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.  Notice, how God did not keep the tree away from them.  He just merely warned them against it.  If he truly wanted to control the lives of his creations, he wouldn’t have put the tree there.  After all this is the only way to make sure that Adam and Eve  would not partake in it.  But He didn’t do that.  He didn’t do that because He, according to those who believe in Him, gave us free will.  The same way, we as parents tell our children not to do something, and then they do it anyway.  Those children took their parents admonition and then decided whether they should follow it or not:  Free Will.

I’m sure, if there’s an equivalent of a God’s conscience, that having humans partake in the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, was against His.  However, He did not remove this option from his creation.  He simply admonished them to stay away.

Yet, religious conservatives do not follow this simple example from God.  If something goes against their conscience, they want to impose that view on everyone, denying  people the first right that their God gave to His creation:  Free Will.

So the lesson from the Tree of Knowledge, it’s not that it was bad or evil, but rather, that we as humans have choices.  Some good, some not so good.  God let us know by planting the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden, that we were free.  Free to make our decisions; free to live there forever without ever tasting the fruit; or taste the fruit and suffer for it.  But it’s up to us individually to make those choices and deal with the consequences from those choices.  If God did not keep the “bad” away from me, why should Father O’Rourke, or Pastor Campbell, or Sister Perez.

These religious leaders have it all wrong.  Their job is to guide their flock, not prohibit, or mandate their lives.

 

We Forgive You Lord

Pope Francis recently made a statement that the Church and all Christians should  “… apologize to the person who is gay whom it has offended,” and added  that they also need to “…. apologize to the poor, to exploited women, to children exploited for labor; it has to ask forgiveness for having blessed many weapons.”

Considering that most of the basis for the Church and Christian behavior toward this group comes from commands as given by God through the “divinely” inspired Bible (see   2 Timothy  3:16-17), then I believe it is the Judeo-Christian God who needs our forgiveness.

Am I an Atheist

In my 53 years I’ve gone from being ambivalent about God, to believing in a god, astrology, new age, Buddhism and even almost becoming a fundamentalist Christian, to finally realizing that there is no god.  Now to come to this conclusion, I had to do a lot of soul searching if you will, a lot of questioning and thinking.

First I had to ask the right questions: i.e., do I not believe in the existence of any god or god-like thing, or do I not believe in the Judeo-Christian-Muslim God.  Well, the latter was easy to answer:  No, I do not believe in the “existence” of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim God.  So by this I mean, I do not believe he’s real.  I think he is a mythological character concocted by the Israeli people and adopted by Christians and Muslims just like the Greeks had Zeus and the Romans had Apollo.  Yahweh, Jehovah is as real as those two.  And although Christ may have been a real character, he was definitely not born of a holy spirit and a virgin.  Nor do I believe that he died and resurrected on the 3rd day and rose to heaven.

But does this make me an atheist?  The  American Atheist organization defines atheism as a lack of belief in gods, which is no the same as disbelief in gods or a denial of gods. Agnostic, on the other hand, is defined as a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.  So an agnostic does not necessarily claim to believe that there’s no god, rather, they don’t claim to believe god is as it’s defined by the different religions; i.e., if there’s a god, an agnostic does not necessarily believe that this god answers prayers or does miracles.  They’re on the fence.  Maybe God is real, maybe he’s not.  Who knows, and basically, who cares?

So based on this I’m not an agnostic.  I can emphatically state that I don’t have a religious faith.  I don’t pray and I don’t believe in divine intervention.  And I believe that the gods of all religions are nothing but mythological characters.  But just because it is my belief that these gods are not real, does it mean that there’s no possibility for the existence of something greater than ourselves.  After all, no one (not a scientist, an atheist, a Buddhist, Christian/Muslim/Jewish knows with certainty what happens when a human being dies.  No one!  We know the body dies.  But does the mind die too?  We know the theories and we know the religious beliefs.  But the theory has not been proven, nor have the religious beliefs.  There’s all these quantum theories, which I cannot explain, much less claim to understand.  But a lot of those theories are as mind-boggling as believing in a celestial heaven.  It’s hard to grasp the concept; to wrap your mind around it.

Now, my belief in the possibility of an after-life, or the possibility of the existence of something greater than ourselves does not mean that were these to be true that they are necessarily better than what we have here on Earth or that this power is something that is there for us to summon for its help or comfort.  I just believe in the possibility that there could be something more beyond this Earthly life.  There’s so much that we humans yet don’t know or understand about life, our universe, our cosmos that to discount the possibility of some kind of existence beyond human death is disingenuous.  Now I know this could be my wishful thinking because the idea of going into nothingness is something that our human instinct of survival refuses to accept.  But at the very least, I want to  believe in something, cling to the hope that we do continue somehow.  Were this to be just a fantasy, well, no harm done.  If we die and become non-existent, I won’t feel the disappointment that there was nothing there after all.  And non-existence after life is better than the alternative.   I hope the atheists are right and indeed there is no god and no after life.  Imagine the horror were we to find out that Yahweh, Jehovah, Zeus, Apollo and the like are real.  We would all be at the mercy of fanatical, totalitarian, blood-thirsty, racist, sexists dictators.  And I’m talking about heaven.

So am I an atheist?  Maybe I’m a pseudo atheist.  I believe that there is no god as such, but cling to the hope that something better than this exists beyond this life, this earth, this world.  And that somehow that something is within our reach.  Is not faith..it’s hope.

 

 

 

Suicide

With the death of Robin Williams, there has been a lot of talk about suicide and prevention. And I wonder if we humans have it all backwards.  It is ironic that we tell women that they have the right to do what they want with their bodies; therefore, abortion should be legal and should not require the baby’s father’s consent.  We want to legalize marijuana and many other illegal drugs basically under the same premise: my life, my body, stop dictating how we should live.

Well, how about if we stop dictating how we should die.  Why is suicide necessarily linked to depression or despair.  In most cases, it probably is.  But that’s most likely due to the fact that we have stigmatized death and suicides.  We human act as if death is somehow avoidable.  Death is inevitable.  We have no control on whether we are born or not; but once here we should have control on our deaths.

Robin Williams was in his 60’s; had already accomplished probably everything that he wanted to accomplish in life:  he had a successful career, wife, children and was loved by many,  He now was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and he had relapsed into his addiction.  Suicide was probably a very rational decision by him.  Probably not one made by desperation or depression,  but by a realistic view of his life.  He wanted to leave this life on top while his success was still palpable.  Realistically speaking a cure for Parkinson’s is not around the corner.  At 63 and with his organs probably in bad shape because of alcohol/drug abuse, he weighed his future quality of life.  He probably did not want to see himself deteriorate to the point that he wished he were dead but would not be able to do anything about it.  After all, we are all going to die sooner or later.  So why not die sooner before living became intolerable and insufferable.  Before others wished you were dead because you had become a burden.

If we are encouraged to control our lives, why not be encouraged to control our deaths.  To have a say as to when and how we die?  Don’t get me wrong.  I think life should be lived to the fullest.  Carpe Diem if you will. I don’t think that the decision to kill oneself should be taken lightly.  If you’re young, healthy and with so much potential still ahead of you, please don’t jump off a building because your partner broke up with you or you lost your job or had any other disappointment.  But if you already have lived a full life, and your life will only spin downward, and you choose to die, you should be allowed to do so.  Settle your affairs, tie up all lose ends. Plan and pay for your funeral.  Be part of celebrating your life by choosing when and how to end it.  Have a “going-away” party while you still can.  Forgive all those you need to forgive and let everything go.  Live and die on your terms.

Are We Experiments from “God”

After reading this article, I started thinking about the Bible and how it says we were made in God’s image.  And I started wondering, who is God.  What if God was really some scientist in another world who was experimenting in creating life in a lab.  Just like we do.  What if all these thousands of years we’ve been worshiping a human, so to speak, not unlike ourselves. A living being who lives and dies.  That would burst a lot of people’s bubble.  After all, Jesus did say, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12 New International Version).  So if we can do even greater things, we can potentially create life without a man and a woman having intercourse.  After all, that’s how Jesus supposedly was made.  

What if years from now, we humans have discovered that life is possible in another planet; but getting there is not exactly feasible.  But what if we create lifeforms here, put it in a spaceship to land over there and let life begin there.  Potentially since this life form is clueless, we would be assisting from here in feeding them and basically taking care of their needs for a while.  Then those life forms, being primitive and what not would think that Earth is actually heaven, and we are angels with a supreme leader being God, their God.

Then of course, Earth being the “peaceful” place that it is, would have wars and dispute on who is to control this life in this other planet.  And the God who made it all possible gets all pissy and in order to secure his power tells these new life form that they would have no other God before them and if they do, they will be punished mercilessly and then goes out to carry his promise when they disobey.

Fast forward a little more, Earthlings go into another world war, essentially killing all life on Earth, and the new humans in that far away planet never hear again from God or his angels and just keep praying hoping that someday, they’ll make contact again.

Gee, I wonder….