Monday, November 29, 2010

Why I Can't Believe in Your God: Part 3- The Human Variable

Although I write on this site for self-reflection and meditation this series is intended for an audience it will unfortunately never reach. Mainly because this is an obscure blog in a sea of thousands and when it comes to blogs most people only read what they're comfortable reading. Most bloggers (including myself) stay within their online communities and rarely venture into a camp with an opposing viewpoint. And when they do the "Others" at times considers the outsider's comments a threat to the community. Even in the digital realm we default to petty tribalism. But of course I could be completely wrong, and getting off track.

The biggest factor in my leaving the theistic view of God behind is also the one aspect I cherish most of all in religion: the human variable. Granted, our humanness has caused us to be the most mindlessly destructive creatures on the planet but it is also the source of some of the most mind-blowing, awe inspiring, breath taking man-made works (of course as the only known sentient beings we're the only ones who can appreciate it). But it is that same humanness which I find makes scripture even more compelling than the previous image of Father Sky God as the sole author and authority of All. Reading scripture as if it had been handed down unblemished from heaven is cute but it removes the human voice present throughout scripture. You don't have to be a historian to realize that the Bible was written, edited, and transmitted by people, you just have to read the Bible itself. Covering the authors of the Bible in a cloak of infallibility rips away that humanness I connect with when I read the Bible. The same goes when we gloss over and reinterpret those less desirable verses which depict our humanity in horrid detail. Reinterpreting the Bible won't change the fact that certain beliefs and practices were acceptable at one point in our history. We just have to realize why they're no longer relevant to a 21st century society. A tribal god and its tribal law may have been necessary to maintaining the cohesion of a tribe but as citizens of the 21st century those gods and their laws are no longer necessary, we've outgrown them. Do we really need to avoid wearing clothing made from two different types of material or only marry within our tribe? Christians would say that Jesus' sacrifice made the old laws irrelevant. Sure why not, but how is the story of the sacrifice of a man-god relevant to us now in the 21st century? Preachers may try to repackage and sell the story's uniqueness but the fact is that the gospel story is just another story. (In fact, it's one that has been told for centuries before Jesus.)

What I find myself drawn to is what the story/scripture says of our nature, our humanity. We are broken, hateful, evil, greedy, lustful, terrible terrible creatures with daddy issues. But, it's in that shared brokenness that we are capable of tremendous love and beauty. Some of us aren't comfortable with our humanity, so we seek out to create perfection. Instead of dealing with our brokenness and learning to love ourselves as more than a collection of minor imperfections we create something greater, higher, more perfect than ourselves. I'm not saying theists are delusional, it's hard being human. We're all doing our best to cope with reality, and for me the theistic God just doesn't work anymore. Yet I hold onto the stories because they are by us, about us, for us, which makes them a part of us.


captron52 said...

Once again, another great post Sam! Hope you and yoiurs are doing great these days!

Don said...

Good job Sam. You constantly help me to consolidate the theistic-less idea. I like that!

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