"The poet judges not as a judge judges but as the sun falling around a helpless thing."
— Walt Whitman
"History is a child building a sand-castle by the sea, and that child is the whole majesty of man's power in the world. "
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
Charles Darwin, Origin of Species
We must, however, acknowledge, as it seems to me, that man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system — with all these exalted powers — Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large -- I contain multitudes."
— Walt Whitman
"One must not think slightingly of the paradoxical...for the paradox is the source of the thinker's passion, and the thinker without a paradox is like a lover without feeling: a paltry mediocrity."
— Soren Kierkegaard
"Few people have the imagination for reality." -Goethe
"Belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination." - Edward Abbey
"I always have to think too of a little boy sitting on the banks of a river in west Africa who has a worm boring through his eyeball, turning him blind before he's five years old. And I reply and say, "Well, presumably the God you speak about created the worm as well," and now, I find that baffling to credit a merciful God with that action." David Attenborough
The immense time of the evolution of life and the Cosmos is overwhelming to our evolved brains on Planet Earth. If we can combine imagination and science that is Einsteinian nobility. Religious stories are easier for the human mind to process because the stories revolve around the human and its limited history. The Scientific story is overwhelming because it challenges human solipsism and demands a more expansive perspective on the long and diverse history of natural and cosmic evolution.
Montaigne believed animals had something to teach humans and along that line I too think that animals past and present have something to teach in terms of theology.
Sir Francis Bacon stated, "A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth man's minds about to religion."
But in the light of modern science( the size and age of the Universe, and the age and evolutionary drama of planet earth) I would like to counter that quote. Now it is a problem of coping with what we have found out in the scope of geological time. A little imagination leads one to religion but when one really thinks and imagines with depth the Universe and Earth's evolutionary drama surely any typical religious concept of god becomes exposed as petty, provincial and limited.
One of the most resourceful and lasting species has been crocodiles and sharks and one thinks of the millions of years of their survival and how much depends on a vicious cycle of consumption. I knew a boy years ago who was taken down by a crocodile in front of his father. In a world such as this that existed before the evolution of modern humans one wonders what pleasure the christian god got out of the elemental evolutionary drama. A God who watches the sparrow fall has no problem overseeing this blood sport. His eye is on T-Rex and I know he is watching me? Not so comforting a thought is it.
In the light of geological time the christian god makes no sense. It did not make sense even in the blink of an eye of human written history much less in evolutionary time.
The created gods of the human mind are too small and petty for the grandeur of the stars and universe. Human gods do not even cover the scale of the earth and its history much less the universe.
It used to be said that a little philosophy would lead to atheism but much philosophy would lead to religion. Again in the the light of modern science and natural history I would counter by saying a little knowledge and imagination leads to religion but greater knowledge and greater imagination leads to wonder and skepticism.
"A general problem with much of Western theology in my view is that the god portrayed is too small. It is a god of a tiny world and not a god of a galaxy much less of a universe." - Carl Sagan
"That there is much suffering in the world no one disputes. Which is more likely, that pain and evil are the result of an all-powerful and good God, or the product of uncaring natural forces? The presence of much suffering agrees well with the view that all organic beings have been developed through variation and natural selection." Charles Darwin