“It’s at the heart of everything we struggle with in life: longing to be valuable, to be accepted, to be prized, to be worth something to somebody, to have a life that matters, and God’s saying ‘You matter! I didn’t make anyone else like you. You’re not a reprint or a lithograph. You’re a one-of-a-kind, original creation of God.”
“God is huge! He is ginormous! He is greater than every thought we have ever had of Him.”
Evangelist Louie Giglio
"What are the lessons to be learned from this journey of the mind [through the
universe]? That humans are emotionally fragile, perennially gullible, hopelessly
ignorant masters of an insignificantly small speck in the cosmos."
“The more I learn about the universe, the less convinced I am that there's any sort of benevolent force that has anything to do with it, at all.”
Death By Black Hole, Neil deGrasse Tyson
“In order to turn out a piece of work the author has to exaggerate the emphasis of it, to oppose it in a forcefully competitive way to other versions of the truth…the problem is to find the truth underneath the
"Science is imagination in a straitjacket." Richard Feynman
What I have noticed in my own metamorphosis is that when I was a believer I used my imagination on miracles, Bible stories, God, demons, et cetera. I realize that for believers and unbelievers it is a difference of imagination...what one highlights, underlines, and focuses on. For example people who believe in God
highlight the wonder of life. People who counter that highlight the brutality of life. People who believe in God focus on miracle claims. People who do not focus on natural causes.
My imagination for now is captured by all of history (the ideal "See the world in its fullness") including the beauty and brutality and other interests like evolutionary biology, the end of the Dinosaurs, subjects like that. It may be why astronomers, geologists, and biologists are much more likely to be unbelievers than any other field because you have to use your imagination on other epochs than the human one. If you focus only on the human era and a
very specific time in the human era I think it much easier to stay in fundamentalism.
When I steep myself in history I have a problem reconciling the different narratives and epochs in history with the Judeo-Christian God. The Cosmic. The Natural Historic. The Human civilization era with its diversity of
claims and experience. And then trying to fit the Abrahamic Jewish God within that as well as the Christian claims connected to it. Reason the slave of the passions and free will the slave of determinism so to speak. The result of a chain of numerous causes and fortuna, imprison free will. For instance what choice can one compare to doubting Thomas touching the resurrected Christ versus a Chinese philosopher living centuries before in a place untouched by that Christ by the causes of time and geography. There are theological responses to this as well but to me it feels like small print added to a poorly constructed contract after the matter.
It seems there is a large imagination for the myths of our ancestors and a rather small imagination for the reality of the natural world. I think for the human mind in general it is easier to conceive a man walking on water than it is to conceive of the primate Ardipithecus kadabba walking on Earth six million years ago. It is easier to imagine a resurrected man god 2000 years ago than 150 million years of Dinosaur rule and elemental drama on this rock. The human imagination thought of angels and demons before it ever could conceive of the prehistoric creatures that were dug up in the Messel Pit.
The Natural Historic narrative blew even the civilization era out of the water so to speak when I pondered the great epochs and extinctions on Planet Earth. For me it became hard to hold to fundamentalist faith the more I steeped myself in ancient and natural history.
As one Cardinal stated “To be steeped in history is to cease being protestant.” I get that but for me I take that further in that to be steeped in history is to cease being Christian and then if you go to natural history you get into the age of ancient mankind and beyond homo sapiens. For me to be steeped in history makes it more difficult to believe in the Christian narrative with ferocity or sincerity. Studying history in general got me off the path of fundamentalism and opened my imagination to the possibility that what I had been born in was not necessarily the universal truth. I can imagine a God that would say “Well done my good and faithful skeptic you did not believe what mere men said about me but thought me greater than they proclaimed.” A cautious skepticism and existential wrestling is much more my default now that I pivot from.
Intelligent people on all sides and from all stripes come to different conclusions because they are highlighting or underlining different facts, premises, axioms, and assumptions. It is not a matter of intelligence but it is a matter of maps and pivots one uses to navigate existence. Intelligent people are going to end up in different places if they are using different maps. That is why I can appreciate the wit of a GK Chesterton and a Christopher Hitchens at
the same time. They navigate their maps well.
For me the gods of the human primate from this little blue planet in the universe seem to be too small, too human and too petty to be the ultimate force in this giant cosmos. 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. My wager is that if there is a God of the universe it will honor universal courage and wisdom and not provincial tribal ideology through means of fear or reward. If it is the God of this giant Cosmos it will be Magnanimous, Just, and Wise and not petty, provincial, and vindictive towards people of different faiths or no faith at all.
"The human mind evolved to believe in the gods. It did not evolve to believe in biology."
E. O. Wilson
primate Ardipithecus kadabba walking on Earth six million years ago. It is easier to imagine a resurrected man god 2000 years ago than 150 million years of Dinosaur rule and elemental drama on this rock.