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I'm back on this hobby-horse.

It occurred to me as I prepared side dishes for tonight's supper that my Christian faith supplies me with something that would turn out to be a great tragedy if my religion someday proved to be false.

You know that's not something I need to have a taboo against thinking about, right? Religion that isn't truth isn't very useful, is it? And so I need to keep my eyes, ears and mind open as to how true my religion is. And modern rational and scientific thought do have a bearing on all of that, don't they?

I know what my faith-based indoctrination says. I need to depend on faith, not sight. But frankly, what really exists, what is true, what matters has as much to do with the phenomenal universe around me as it does with Eternal Life. The nature of one is, I am taught, inextricably linked with the nature of the other.

But anyway, here's what came to me as I did the dishes: One of the teachings that the Judaeo-Christian tradition in which I was raised makes very clear is that we human beings did not come here by accident, or by circumstance. We were created. There is a universal purpose for us. Or at the very least, we are important to God, despite all logic. He put a living soul in us, breathed in life and consciousness.

We face a science of the universe that now teaches that circumstances favorable to life happened here, and may have happened elsewhere, according to chemicals that just happened to be present at the right time, under the right conditions to combine as they needed to. Life and all that it entails happened. A creative act by a higher entity was not necessary to initiate it, and is not necessary to explain it.

So now we go back to the issue of faith. I can keep on believing that some supernatural force (outside of nature, or outside of the non-deliberate forces combining elements in this immense universe) caused the series of events that culminated in life, and in my life. But I do so in the face of a supernatural force: a force that acts outside of any laws we have discovered to explain the universe. In fact, it hides from them. My faith-based upbringing, moreover, says that I shouldn't be too skeptical, shouldn't doubt. I shouldn't wonder why the laws of science haven't turned up a shred of evidence for the existence of God or Heaven. I shouldn't wonder why the reality of God remains philosophically neither provable nor unprovable.

I think I need more. Because life is kind of a mess right now, for myself and for all creatures that on Earth do dwell. Human beings have taken their sometimes religion-justified urge to dominate and expand, and now have jeopardized the planet with uncontrolled growth. Overpopulation is a problem, and the solution to that problem, I think, is vastly different depending on whether I believe that God meant us to be here. Also, the rich and privileged lord it over the poor, sometimes enslaving them to labor, and that's so tied into the advance of civilization that it's a challenge, I think, to figure out some more egalitarian, share-the-wealth idea that doesn't wreck most of what we've established in the name of Civilization writ in White Male Christian Capital Letters.

If this was circumstance, a variation on a probability-based matter and energy flow that's being played possibly in countless other locations throughout time and space, over billions of years and vast light-years, if there's scientific validity to that concept above and beyond our religious anthropocentricity (relatively short-lived in this vast universe), then I have to ask:

Have we kind of let such a circumstance get out of hand?

Such are the questions that a faith in something or Someone deliberately hiding from science leads me to ask.


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April 2013

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