The Story of God – for George Rehema

Once upon a time there was a man who asked questions:

Where did the universe come from?

Some people said it was always here.

Some people said it came out of nothing.

The man was puzzled.

Everything has a beginning. How can the universe not have a beginning? How can it always have been here?

But if it came from nothing how is that possible? All the matter cannot just suddenly be created out of nothing, could it?

He went to ask the Holy Man (who lived in a very nice house and was worshipped by many).

‘Holy Man, please tell me where did the universe come from?’

The Holy Man said ‘God made it.’

That made sense.

The Holy Man added – ‘God has given me instructions. You must worship only God, you must wear these clothes, you must eat this food. You must behave this way. You must pray, fast and study the holy book. God has a purpose for you.’

The man went away. Everything was explained. God made everything. God told him how to behave. God had a purpose for him.

But the more he thought the more he came to realise that it wasn’t an answer at all. He went back to the Holy Man with more questions –

‘Who made God?’

‘Where did God come from?’

‘Where was God before the universe was made?’

‘Has God always been here?’

‘What is this mysterious purpose?’

‘Why are the moral codes given to us by God reflecting the values of the people the religion came from? Why are they racist? Why are they misogynistic? Why are they intolerant of homosexuals?’

The Holy Man had no answers to these questions and became angry.

And the man came to realise that the Holy Man’s answers were not answers at all. They just kicked the can down the road and provided the Holy Man with power and control. The Holy Man had invented God as an answers to questions that there was no answer to.

So the man went off and said to himself – ‘I do not know where the universe came from. I do not understand. But I have a life and I intend to enjoy it. I am a good person and I will continue to be as good as I can be not out of fear or out of promise of some future life but because I feel it is the right thing to do. That is enough.’

He knew the Holy Man was a charlatan.

Poetry – Worship

Worship

I’m going to worship the sun.

At least it is real.

I can feel it on my face.

I can see it in the sky.

The sun is not imaginary;

Not an invention.

It gives me light.

It gives me heat.

It gives me life.

I do not need to talk to it in a cave,

Or on any mountain top,

Or in any wilderness.

The sun appears before everyone.

It does not make demands on me,

Or gives me lists of things I must not do,

Or lists of things I must do,

Things I have to wear,

Things I must not eat.

The sun is kind it merely gives expecting nothing in return.

I do not have to pray to it to make it shine.

It just shines.

It does not know that I exist.

It does not care.

It does not threaten me with eternal torture,

Or promise me eternal pleasure.

It came from the same place as me.

It made the atoms of my body.

It will die like me.

I am happy with the sun.

It will do very nicely.

Opher – 17.4.2021

Just imagine for one minute that there is no god.

Doesn’t that make a mockery of all the fantastic effort and sacrifices people all over the world have made?

Yet we can’t see this god. He rarely answers our prayers – if ever.

Why is it that only a certain few people have ever claimed to have spoken to god and received instructions from him? And always alone in caves, up mountains or in wildernesses.

Why is god so shy?

Why does this god give different, and very precise, instructions to different people?

Will wearing a veil, eating pork or beef, wearing a turban or devoutly praying really make that difference to him?

I always laugh when some who is saved from disaster thanks god. They never ask why god allowed the disaster in the first place or why he didn’t save the equally worthy people who died in the disaster.

If we have to worship something I’ll settle for the sun. The sun’s good enough for me. It’ll do for now. I might eventually transfer my allegiance to the moon though. She’s more mysterious.

Poetry – I WANNA BELIEVE

I WANNA BELIEVE

I wanna believe

I wanna believe

You have to believe

I wanna believe

I see the mystery

I feel the awe

I wanna believe

Show me what it’s all for

Give me a break

Give me a sign

I just wanna believe

It’ll all work out fine

So the universe is big

Life is so complex

Time lasts forever

And mystery comes next

I wanna believe

I wanna believe

You have to believe

I wanna believe

There must be a reason

There must be a why

Looking up at this wonder

You could fall into the sky

I’ve got this mind

I feel and I breathe

I look through two peepholes

To a reality I perceive

I wanna believe

I wanna believe

You have to believe

I wanna believe

It’s hard to imagine

 it could exist without me

Does a tree really fall

With nobody to see?

Still it doesn’t make sense

All this wonder and awe

Believing in afterlives

Does not explain what it’s for

Heaven’s so crowded

Everything nice for eternity

So pleasant and twee

Bored to death by perpetual ecstasy

I’ve trouble with this purpose

Your God’s eternity

It doesn’t make any sense to me

You see

When my brain gets no blood

There won’t be a me

I wanna believe

I wanna believe

You have to believe

I wanna believe

It’d be nice to think

That there would

But wishing it so

Does not mean that it could

Our thoughts are so profound

Our consciousness great

Our galaxy spins

In an infinite state

It’s amazing and impossible

So we can’t comprehend

But with no greater purpose

One day it will end

It can make you feel good

To think of other stars

But the purpose we need

Is to do better with ours

I wanna believe

I wanna believe

You have to believe

I wanna believe

But I’m afraid I cannot

Books written by men

Do not thrill me a lot

Paradise invented for power

To put despots

In their ivory tower

And religions created

By the hour

I do believe

There is no

No heaven or hell

I do believe

There’s no sea

In this shell.

OPHER 20.9.96

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a purpose to life and we all toodle off to paradise for eternity, meet up with the rellies and friends and live happily ever after?

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a paradise somewhere where everything was wonderful?

Wouldn’t it be nice if all the different religious sacred books were right (at least the nice bits) and there was a God?

Unfortunately it all looks too human and contrived to me.

Religion has been used for power and control and still is.

Too many children have been indoctrinated from birth and too much insane cruelty inflicted.

I look around me and see beauty, awe and wonder. I do not even glimpse creation.

The human imagination and psychological needs have conjured up an elaborate charade to fill in the gaps.

Why should be fear death? What has formed this wondrous universe? What is the purpose of life?

Don’t worry. I have all the answers.

Religion – is there a God??

Religion is a hot potato. Trying to look objectively at it is extremely difficult. We are born into cultures steeped in religious dogma. It is a process of brainwashing that is impossible to escape.
Freud said religion was a mass psychosis. I agree with him.
Is there any evidence of a supernatural being? None that I have seen or heard.
We live in an amazing universe. It is mind-boggling. But does that necessary infer an intelligence behind it? I say no.
We have an amazing brain that provides us with consciousness. Does that infer a god? I say no.
Religions came out of the Stone-Age with their costumes, rituals and customs – often racist, intolerant and misogynistic. I believe they are all creations of man.
We love ritual and pageant. We find it fulfilling. We love answers to problems. There are none bigger than life and the universe. We fear death. We are eager to clutch at straws that say this life isn’t all there is. But is there evidence for anything – a future life, a god creator? No, not really. Yet we manufacture ghosts, angels and heaven. We like to think of our loved ones and ourselves living forever, reunited. It is reassuring.
Looking, as a biologist at our bodies, they are not miracles. They are riddled with flaws and ‘design’ faults. We could easily design something far superior.
We believe tales from individuals up mountains, in caves and in the wilderness from people who claim to have spoken to god. But really, if someone made those claims today they would be ridiculed. Why does god choose not to speak to us all? Why only to solitary individuals?
Perhaps, because there is no god? Perhaps many people ‘hear voices’?
Has religion done much good? The history of religion has been the tale of a struggle for power with much persecution, intolerance, hatred, war and violence.
On the positive side, it has produced much succour and comfort for the bereaved and reduced anxiety over death. It has provided help and comfort for those in need. Many religious people have done a lot of good. But is it a false hope, based on a false premise?
Does the bad outweigh the good? I think it does.
As religions developed in the age of science, they have changed. For example, the Catholic Church believed that Heaven was above and hell below. That the earth was the centre of the universe and that the stars were pinpricks through which the light of heaven showed through. They tortured and burnt people who disagreed.
As science demonstrated that the earth was not the centre, that stars were suns, that there was no heaven in the sky or hell below, they changed their dogma. It clearly demonstrates to me that they do not know what they are talking about.
Is this blasphemous? Or is it possible to have an intelligent discussion about religion?
Now spirituality – that’s something else altogether!!

Philosophical discourse.

According to Descartes, and I go along with him, ‘I think therefore I am’.

The only thing we can be certain of is our own existence. The rest of the universe, including our own bodies, is up for grabs.

We will wake up soon.

All this world is but a stage.

I should imagine all people find it hard to imagine the whole of this universe coming from nothing.

Yet some people do not find it hard to imagine a God coming from nothing and then creating a universe out of nothing. Why is that? Surely that is at least twice as much implausibility?

I think we are back to the nature of mind and consciousness. I am conscious. That is all there is. I’m not even sure about you.

So I get on with it and make the best of it. I could be discorporate in the midst of nothing. Anything is a bonus. Perhaps this is all a figment? Yet what a glorious construction. I should at least relish it.

Is it easier to imagine a mind coming out of nothing?

Imagination is my greatest tool. It can create universes.

Anecdote – Buddha and god

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Buddha and god

As an antitheist I do not believe there is a god, certainly not one who has created man in his own image or who is concerned with the lives of men. I see no evidence of the universe having been created by some super being; neither do I see evidence of intelligent design around me. If man is made by divine hands then they are clumsy hands indeed. I myself can think of many great improvements to the human form – perfection it isn’t. No. The more I learn the less I am convinced. What I see is religion of all types constructed by man.

Yet I do perceive the possibility of some mystical force at work, some force present in sunsets, rocks, trees and majestic views that I would call ‘wonder and awe’. I do also sense a force at work within the psychology of people creating synchronicity. I, much to Andrew’s disgust, refer to this as the prevailing zeitgeist. I tend to think that this mental emanation will at some point be recognised by science. But maybe I am wrong. Science is in its infancy. It has much to discover. The field of consciousness and psychology is too new to have yielded all its secrets. The future will likely reveal a lot more.

Even as a young man, when I was a spiritual zealot, eager to follow in Kerouac and Ginsberg’s wake, to gain satori and see the universe through the eyes of Zen, I was sceptical of god and derisory of the god of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. His many faces seemed absurd.

I was greatly moved by a tale told to me by a Thai monk called Vorosak Candimitto. As a young man, besotted with Kerouac and Ginsberg, I was on a personal exploration into spirituality, the mind, mysticism and the void. I tried meditation and tried to still my mind to discover that truth within. I enjoyed it but soon moved on. Eastern meditation seemed inappropriate to the life I was leading. I wanted instant nirvana or nothing. That’s Western mentality for you. As for religion and god – this is what Vorosak told me: –

‘One day the Buddha was sitting with a number of learned men. One asked of him:

‘Is there a god?’

The Buddha thought hard before replying.

‘If you were shot with an arrow which had pierced your side, before having the arrow removed by a physician and the wound treated, would you first enquire who had fired the arrow? To what family did he belong? To what caste? Where did they come from? How many members did the family have? From what trees were the bow and arrow fashioned? From what animal were the guts for the bowstring created? Where the metal for the tip had been mined? Who had shaped the tip? From what bird had the feathers for the flights been plucked and who had manufactured them? Likewise the glue to hold them secure?’

The Buddha looked at the wise man intently.

‘Before you have the answers to your questions you would be dead.’

I liked that parable.

At the end of the days it is not about what you believe, how you’ve prayed, whether there is a god or not – it is about how you’ve lived your life, whether you’ve lived it to the maximum and whether you’ve been a force for good or evil.

No sane person would believe that any god would build a wondrous universe and then expect his creations to bore themselves to death in prayer and ritual, hate others and kill in his name. That is straight out of men’s warped minds (men – generic). If there is a god (which I do not believe for one minute) he would want you to live, love, build and enjoy.

So ISIS and all religious nutcases, indoctrinated fools and evangelical idiots can go hang – I’m for life.

A conversation about god between an Antitheist and a Christian.

 

‘Without God there is no meaning or purpose to life!’god_thirty_two_feet_per_second_737055

‘I think that’s the problem Brian. The human mind is put together in a way that it looks for the answers to problems, it seeks solutions. That’s what’s made us so successful. We look for answers. We’re very good at it. That’s where all our science and technology came from.’

‘This world was created. Man was created. God created that mind you speak of, for us to use.’

‘Nope. Logic breakdown here, Brian. In primitive times our mind evolved to solve problems – predators, hunting, farming, tools. There’s no end to what we do. Our mind put us apart and gave us an advantage. The problem is that it is hotwired to solve problems. When the problem is a technical problem it is fine – we can fathom out a solution. It’s when we come up on the big things that we have a problem.’

‘God created the big things as well as the little.’

‘In primitive times man looked at the sky, the stars, sun, moon, seasons and weather and tried to understand them. There was no logic or science that he could apply so he invented a supernatural explanation. We like things to be tidy.’

‘If you don’t believe in God your life has no purpose. If God does not exist the whole universe has no purpose.’

‘Yep.’

‘But that does not make sense. How can you believe that?’

‘Well making up something unknowable to explain the unknowable doesn’t solve anything.’

‘God can be experienced.’

‘In that case it’s different. But I’ve never experienced god. Until I do I remain unconvinced.’

‘But you do experience God. You have a wondrous mind. You live in a wondrous universe. Surely you can’t believe that has happened by chance. God created it all. God created you in his image.’

‘Nope. I believe it was by chance. There is no logic in religious belief that explains any purpose. It merely puts a supernatural unfathomable layer in place. It does nothing for me.’

‘So how do you explain your mind, life, the incredible cosmic pattern and order of the universe? The incredible organisation of atoms and energy?’

‘Awesome. Majestic. Mystical. And all out of the wonders of the basic laws of physics and time. The universe is awesome. But it does not presuppose the existence of god. They are the incredible laws of nature we see at work in an infinite universe. Spectacular – but designed? No. I think not.’

‘God guides you through this wonderful world.’

‘Take the human body Brian. Did god design that?’

‘Of course.’

‘Well he didn’t make a very good job of it did he?’

‘You telling me that Naomi Campbell can be improved on?’

‘I certainly could be,’ I mused with my mind drifting to Naomi’s physique. ‘But that’s not the point. The human body is fundamentally flawed. There’s our backbone for instance. It’s not designed for walking upright. Who in their right mind would put the reproductive system and excretory system opening at the same place. Unless they had a wicked sense of humour that is. And I don’t suppose god is allowed to be wicked is he? And then there’s the respiratory tract opening into the digestive tract so you drown in your own vomit. Your brain stuck out on a breakable neck. I could go on and on. It’s not good design. If I can think of ways of improving it then surely god could have done it better? No. The reason it’s the way it is comes down to the way it has evolved and not how it was designed.’

‘God has a reason for everything he does. We can’t be expected to understand.’

‘We have evolved to come up with solutions. The solution we found for the universe and us is god. Look around at the mess the world’s in. Do you see signs of an intelligent force at work here? Guiding us forward?’

‘God is guiding people. He is there if you turn to him. The world is in a mess because so many choose not to turn to him.’

‘Well I don’t use god as a prop and I’m a positive force. I work towards making the world better without promise of a future after-life or rewards. I do it because I see it as logical. A world built of trust and love is a damn sight better than one based on hatred. I do it because it is human nature to help.’

‘God guides you without you even knowing. And it is human nature to be cruel and evil.’

‘Well shame he doesn’t sort out some of the evil bastards while he’s at it. And I believe that good and evil are human creations. They come out of our hearts. We can make the world better – ourselves! Not through some divine intervention. We create evil. It is in us. We can overcome it. Forget the mumbo jumbo. Let’s set about putting things right ourselves. That’s what we’re good at!’

 

Poetry – God – the musings of a mystical antitheist.

I’m an atheist. I do not believe in god or religion. I believe in science, carbon dating, Darwin, evolution and the Big Bang.

I believe the Bible and Koran were written by men. They are not ‘the word of god’.

I see no evidence of creation in the human body or the universe. I see a lot of things we do not understand with out limited intelligence and perhaps we never will.

I acknowledge the good things that religion has produced: the cathedrals, works of great beauty, poems and writings that move people, morality that helps people live their lives happily, comfort and purpose in times of desolation.

I believe in tolerance, peace, love, free speech and the right of people to believe what ever they want. I think we should argue our case with passion.

We don’t all have to agree – just respect each other.

I also see the terrible things that have been carried out in the name of religion (and still are), the slaughter of unbelievers, pogroms, crusades, jihads, persecution, holocausts, genocides, crucifixions, beheadings, burnings and discrimination. I see the crazed fanaticism of the fundamentalists and the intolerance, bigotry and hatred it induces. I see the indoctrination of small children and cultural brainwashing.

I find the beliefs of creationists and fundamentalists (along with the dogged quoting of religious texts) absurd. I have studied how those texts were put together and find their formation, translation and content all extremely suspect. They were written by various men, long after the events, passed down generations by oral tradition and accrued into books. These books were then further culled to remove ‘heretic’ works and mistranslated. What we have is a mish-mash of contradictory offerings, purporting to be the word of god but really a collection of writings from many suspect sources. No more the word of god than my poems.

We seem to have a need to believe in some deity and magic. It is a psychological need. We’ve worshipped suns, moons, rocks, idols, ancestors, cats, trees, and supernatural superbeings who we have placed in the sky in heavens, valhallas, cloud palaces above Olympus, paradises and the rest. We have had gods and goddesses cavorting in human form, creating catastrophes, drinking, fornicating and causing mayhem. We have idolised, worshipped, sacrificed and beseeched them all. Most of the ones that were previously idolised to the point of martyrdom and believed in to the point of death have fallen by the wayside. Once they ‘ruled’ over millions but now we no longer know their names.

It just so happens that we have a few that are presently flavour of the month. Wars will be fought over them, sacrifices made, much prayer and offerings will be carried out. The only trouble is that they do not exist. They were invented by men (few by women) and are now being used to gain power.

Our present religions will fade and die. No doubt they will be replaced by others equally incredible.

Meanwhile science continues to push back the frontiers of knowledge so that we understand more and more.

I believe all religion is a product of human imagination but I can be persuaded that there are mystical forces at work in the universe. They are probably scientifically verifiable – given time.

My idea of a ‘god’ is more akin to atomic energy. It’s an incredible force that pervades the entire universe. I do not think it is conscious, has purpose or thinks we humans are anything special. It is. It is something in the midst of nothing. It came into being and that in itself is miraculous. Forget the rest.

I am an antitheist because I believe all religion is false, it creates more harm than it does good and it is used by the powerful to gain more power and wealth. It is one more cause of misery, hatred, violence, bigotry, intolerance and arrogance. We’re better off without it.

The end verse is meant to be humorous.

God

God is energy

God is light

God is sound

God holds the atoms

That swirl in the ground

 

God is flowing

Through you and me

God is the galaxy

And electricity

 

Religion is dogma

Religion is a lie

That separates us from energy

And puts God in the sky

 

I don’t believe in God

Jesus, Buddha, Krishna or Mohammed

They’re all just people

That lived on this planet

 

I don’t believe in prayer

Or a God that cares

A force for good or evil

With a face that stares

 

Religion is an evil

Full of pomp and hypocrisy

Useful by the powerful

There for all to see

 

If God were alive

In such simplicity

Guiding our lives

On a planet in this galaxy

One tiny speck of dust

In a raging sea

He’d appear the same to you

As he does to me

 

Not as Jesus to some

Just the chosen few

Jehovah to some others

Creating pagans and true

Giving out commands

Ordering us around

With strange beliefs

And dictats profound

 

No – God is the atom and the energy

The fuse that makes them dance

And the time to let them be

God is around within and without

With no Heaven or Hell

On this magic roundabout

 

When I think about religion

Perhaps there’s something I missed

Maybe God’s just punishing me

For being an atheist.

 

Opher 8.2.99

Hello! Pleased to meet you! I’m God.

god_thirty_two_feet_per_second_737055 god_believe_in_yourself_525255 baloo

You may be wondering why I made you all so badly. I’m sorry about the neck. It breaks so easily. I should have put the brain somewhere safe. I wasn’t thinking.

Sorry about the wind-pipe and oesophagus too – should open in different places huh! I’ll know better next time!

But hey – putting the sex organs in with the excretory stuff – that was deliberate! My idea of a joke!  Pretty funny huh?

Now I know some of you are wondering how I made the earth in seven days when there aren’t any days in space. We didn’t get days until I’d made it and got it spinning but hey – I’m allowed a little poetic licence – right.

So why do I only appear to illiterate nomads in deserts thousands of years ago in wildernesses, caves and mountain tops, I hear you ask? Why don’t I just go on prime-time TV and appear at the Superbowl? Why don’t I appear where there’s a few witnesses? Why don’t I pop down today? I’ll tell you why – it’s because I like messing with your heads.