Friday, March 1, 2013
The Evolution of Knowledge and Belief
Thousands of years ago, man observed the great forces of nature and wondered if their was agency behind them. Thunder sounded like roaring expressions of anger from somewhere on high. He formed his theories God and began to think that God had an angry character. These original oral traditions were passed down through the generations until they became written. Eventually, these ideas of a raging God formed the underlying theory for the God described in the religions based on the Old Testament writings. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are all based on this ancient concept of the God who seethes with anger towards man, to the point of creating hell as a place of eternal torment for those who do not believe in one scripture or another.
As time passed and man began to seek ways to build a world of peace, his religions evolved towards ideas of a generally more benevolent God. The idea that God would burn people eternally began to be seen as just another of the plenitude of mans fables that have been passed down over time. Nobody takes Zeus seriously anymore, and as man becomes better educated, fewer and fewer are taking that old fire-and-brimstone angry God of the bible, Torah, and Quran very seriously anymore.
While it is true, many people today maintain a fear-based belief in the perfection of the scriptures and its fables of the angry God, those numbers have also been declining. The scriptures are now seen as a mixture of fable and history, punctuated by opinions as to the nature of God. At times man seemed to coerce his idea of God to support his endeavors in war, going as far as declaring that God had told them to attack and slaughter the men, women, and children of neighboring villages and states, the very men, women, and children that the God they professed belief in created.
Believers today are evolving their understandings of God. God is seen to be overwhelming benevolent towards man. While natural disasters and accidents of fate continue to trouble believers with respect to understanding the nature of a creator who would allow such things to happen, people are beginning to look at it from God’s point of view. For example, if you were God, alone, and it was your desire to create thinking beings that were free to express themselves and to think as they pleased, but who were free to choose death if they could not bear to live, and taking everything else into consideration, you might start to come up with a design not wholly unlike our world today. While there remains much to be discussed, the discussion is fully engaged and lively across the world. Religions and systems of belief are evolving before our eyes. We understand now that if God exists, God is very beautiful and loving towards man.
At the same time, the rationality of atheism is becoming evident for a growing number of people. Believers themselves are admitting that even if God exists, such God places no constraints on belief and has no objection to atheism.
God is no longer seen to be afflicted with the traditional human character defects of jealousy, rage and narcissism described in the fables and scriptures. People understand now that if God exists, and has existed for the great expanse of the eons of the universe, his wisdom must be overwhelmingly beautiful to behold, if one could but behold it. If God exists then everyone can see the decisions of God, the decisions that God makes every day, the decisions to create life in the form of newborn children and entrust them to humanity for raising. God is seen to be expressing great faith and hope in us in these daily decisions.
There are still countries in the world where belief in the fabled raging God is enforced with corporal punishment by state and local governments. This is very sad for those so enslaved, especially for the women and girls who are often denied education. The boys are also restricted as to the content of the classroom material, the government or culture requiring that any scientific material that is in disagreement with the scripture be forbidden or corrupted in some manner to come into agreement with the fables. This is true even in the free states of the world, where fundamentalist believers try to deny rational scientific education to their own children.
But today, these children who are fortunate to live in the free states have the internet. As social networks expand they are finding that they have each other. They are in discussions and learning to understand that their parents mean well, trying to hide scientific knowledge, but that their parents themselves grew up a bit confused by the fables of the angry God.
The youth of today understands that it is not an easy for parents to leave their lifelong beliefs, no matter how irrational they are finally seen to be. Once one has been forced to believe in the raging God, a fear based psychological state can set in that is very difficult to escape. The escape for fear remains the same path that it has always been: become educated, read, and learn. There is nothing at all to fear. If God exists, God is quite beautiful and benevolent; we know this by observing the decisions of God.
We are humanity. Created by God or evolved from the cosmos, we are standing beautifully in courage. We speak the truth today. We examine the scriptures of our ancestors and we teach our children how these fables began and how the world is changing towards a more rational state, where human knowledge is expanding around the world. Some day all men, women and children will be free, with rights and accessibility to full educations in the arts and sciences of man. Some will remain believers and some will be atheist but all of us will have reached a common ground of understanding. We can live in peace, and together explore the cosmos, if we can learn to be repositories of trust for one another, to be our brother’s keeper.
The next generations of man, who have yet to be born, will be born into a beautiful world of peace, because today, we, their ancestors, worked hard to make it happen. We began to bravely speak the truth to one another, to put away our childish fears, to stand courageous to ensure liberty for all people for all of time.