The God debate
November 3, 2005
I have felt the call, the call to weigh in on the fray sparked by the “intelligent design” debate recently introduced. My thoughts run this way and that but mostly like this: There is no contradiction here.
Any talk about the nature of God is metaphorical by necessity because there are no words to express the reality. How do you describe a something that caused the whole universe to exist? I personally believe that there is a consciousness that caused us to be, but I wouldn’t want to have to explain my faith to anyone who isn’t interested in what I think, nor would I want it to be taught in schools. It is not science, it is my belief, and I did my best to explain it to my kids when they asked the inevitable question, “Why are we here?” The fact that we have evolved into a species that can question the nature of our existence is, by my way of thinking, a true miracle.
And we have questioned it for all our recorded history. It may actually be the reason for our recorded history. Every culture with the ability to record its history has had at least one creation story, some of which were truly bizarre. The ancient Semites had two that made it into the book we call the Bible and they got some things amazingly right. “Let there be light,” is probably one of the most accurate descriptions of the Big Bang a primitive, nomadic, tribal culture ever came up with. “The fool on the hill sees the sun going down and the eyes in his head see the world spinning round.” The notion that there is one God was also a milestone since many peoples had gods of the wind and the sun and the sea, etc., and they all competed all the time to our great detriment.
The “how,” however, is a question of mechanics as far as I can see. Consciousness chose to exist and so it did. You can debate that all you want in your Sunday school classes, and maybe I would join you from time to time, but the science of the process of our development is subject to rigorous analysis. “Does it work?” is the mantra of the day, all day, every day. If you take a class in auto mechanics you don’t have to write a paper about why there are cars. You don’t talk about why there are trees in wood shop, and you don’t ask why there are words in English class. You learn how it works, not why it exists. The “why” is by nature unanswerable. The “how” is what we learn in school.
Oh yeah, what about those dinosaur bones, huh? Were they created to make us think there was a past? I believe Occam’s razor is appropriate here: The simplest explanation is usually right. I believe there was a past.
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