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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Life, The Universe, and ?????

There is nothing like the death of a parent to get you thinking. I was already of a fairly philosophical mind. Most people use that phrase to really mean Fatalist, accepting whatever the world brings, but I mean that I want to get to the root of it all. The "Why's" of the matter.

Of course I live here in North Dallas, the fundamentalist Christian center of buckle in the Bible Belt. So there is no shortage of pat answers. I should here come clean about my own religious journey – from atheist to Christian to what now? I currently go to a Unitarian church which has the advantage that I can be one thing this week, and another the next, all within the scope of the non-doctrine that defines the UU beliefs. You have to make "beliefs" plural – there are a range of somewhat incompatible beliefs at this church, from Christian to agnostic, passing through Theist (believer in a personal God), Deist (believer in a non-personal god a la Spinoza/Einstein), and Buddhist (no beliefs about god at all) along the way.

I kind of like the universally accepting nature of the UU church, but have some difficulties with the “why bother” part on Sunday mornings. But Sally likes it, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 have made friends there. So we go, if not quite religiously.

Faith. Not an answer for me. Even during my fundie days I wasn’t big on faith. I want evidence. A real Doubting Thomas here, only no risen Christ has ever offered his open side for me to put my hand in. I have never believed the Bible is the Word of God – in fact it flat out says that it is not. Read the first sentences of the Gospel According to John – it is clear that John thinks that Jesus is the Word of God – not the Bible. The Bible simply claims that the Old Testament scriptures were written by men as they were moved by the Spirit of God.

The Bible is also too internally inconstant to be literally the infallible Word (did Judas hang himself, or did he fall over a rock?). No, at best the New Testament is a collection of remembrances that honorable men assembled sometime after the fact. At worst it a sampling of writings assembled and edited 400 years later to support a clerical structure bidding for power in the Roman Empire.

The Why’s are still a mystery. Is every person precious to an all powerful, loving omniscient Being? Then why the suffering and injustice? Is the only answer a Darwinist struggle to survive and nothing means anything except the continued passage of meaningless DNA? Then why Agape and the beauty and poetry?

Mmmm, still working on it…….

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