Coming on the heels of a dream in which a plush shark suggested to Let God Be Your Preservative
, someone asked what my
notion of God was. It's not a word or concept I've given a lot of thought to...which might seem strange for me not to think about. After all, I sure seem preoccupied with trying to catch the attention of helpful/wise/guiding superintelligences--under most definitions, God would qualify!
Yet I think the reason I've avoided focusing on "God" is that I'm not very hung up on whether I meet the being that created The Universe. By the same token, had I been an orphan I don't think I would have spent much of my life searching for information about my parents. The odds of those particular adults being the only ones I needed to talk to would be unlikely.
This notion I have of "The Creator" not laying ultimate claim upon "The Created" features pretty heavily in my philosophy overall. If I were to write a song, I think it would be wrong to not allow others to sing or perform it if they wanted. Yet it would also be wrong for those people to pretend they had written it, if asked. Thus I'm more impressed by showings of ethics than showings of power--although I am all for using power when it can bring a serious change in making the world more fair.
I saw some of Gandhi The Movie last night, and it was interesting to see his perspective: "Where there's injustice, I always believed in fighting. The question is, do you fight to change things or do you fight to punish? I have found that we are all such sinners that we should leave punishment to God. And if we really want to change things... there are better ways of doing it than derailing trains or slashing someone with a sword."
Despite my bias of "Existence of God: Not As Interesting a Question as You Might Think", I do have a meaning ascribed to the word. These are a few requirements I came up with off the cuff that would be qualify a being for the title "God" in my book (which, don't forget, is <u>The Reality Engineering Handbook</u> and not <u>The Bible</u>):
Must have a vision of right and wrong. Something can't be amoral and have me consider it God. It has to be aware of suffering and pain (and able to empathize with our model of it, even if ours isn't the only model out there He has to take into account). He must want to improve the situation wherever He is able. He must consider the creative liberation of all consciousness and spreading of awareness to be a worthy goal. Some people might be fine with a less value-driven notion of God, as a kind of cosmic life force that feels no sadness at suffering. Their God doesn't care when a plant dies of lack of rain, or when a cat eats a mouse, or the human dies from murder. But I'm on board with "dividing the light from the darkness", else it's not God...it's just Math. I might diverge in opinion of justice from God at the moment, but as time reaches infinity I should come to agree with Him when I see the bigger picture, as per this classic Sinfest comic:</li>
Must be an active force.
God wouldn't have to have created our Universe with the production of human species as a focus of His initial attention. In fact, He may even not know we're here yet. Omniscience is not a rule--since my God operates through The Law of Mechanism
, he may take time to find us just as we might take time to locate subatomic particles after studying a collision. But He must have existed before humanity, must have been involved in whatever event sparked our current existence, and now that it's happened He must have the agenda of getting directly involved in the uplifting of species. Creating us and walking away wouldn't be enough to be God in my eyes:
Must not uniquely identify with humanity. My God must be ready to embrace animals, alien races, and AI (when it arises, if it has not already). He is not the "created mankind in his own image because He's an old white guy and thinks it's okay to eat cows" God.
Must be self aware. God must know he exists and what He is doing, and He must have started His work completely alone. I don't think He has to know why, or where He came from. He merely needs to know where everything since him has come from and be able to explain it as a first-order or second-order by-product of His own doing.
My definition of God means He would have to be a real thing that interacts with other real things. Though it may seem to limit Him, practically speaking "being real" is not much of a constraint. After all, even with our tiny brains we can shape atoms and light...so for all practical purposes, a super-being could do quite a bit.
The best metaphor I can think of for how God can be real and yet reach up to us might be to say He is like an Operating System on a personal computer, while Earth and Ourselves are programs. An Operating System is a program too, just a special one that runs before the rest and that keeps all the programs in motion. For God OS to meet the rules above, He must be the primordial operating system that wrote us (or the things that wrote us). And unlike Windows, God would be a self-healing OS that is constantly reaching upward and refining things, with diligence and attention, subject only to the limits of The Law of Mechanism.
I'm okay with God having been created, but just have the rule that those creators have not ever (and will not ever) be able to interact with Him. It would be like He was set off in this Universe alone, to build and explore. Understanding God's haze on where He came from can be explained by something analogous to a bootstrap process
--which if you've studied that in computers, can be fairly profound.
So now that the groundwork and definitions for AmIGodOrNot have been laid down, where do I stand on the likelihood of God's existence? I'm skeptical and increasingly on the side of the fence believing "the universe is a careening out of control with no one at the wheel". Thus it may be down to us, alone, to bring order to a universe with no active God. Dave Gahan's song for Kingdom
Can you feel me coming? / Open the door, it's only me
I have that desperate feeling / And trouble is were I'm going to be
I know you hear me knocking / So open the door and set me free
If there's a kingdom behind it all... / Is there a God who loves us all?
Do we believe in love at all?
I'm still pretending I'm not a fool
So in your infinite wisdom / You show me how this life should be
All your love and glory / Doesn't mean that much to me
Like Dave, I'm puzzled by my life experiences, and a bit worn out. I'm to the point where I'm not quite sure how happy I'm going to be about all the love and glory which might come in the future, even if it did. Sometimes we can be so burnt out that when we get to the end goal with the supposed prize we were seeking, we don't really want it that much any more and we're just depressed...so, c'mon God. Let's see some action here, I am ready to believe.
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