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Religion: Some More Random Observations
Sometimes you have a new thought, an idea, or eureka moment, but it’s not gutsy enough to expand into a reasonable length article or essay. So, here’s yet another potpourri of thoughts on or about religion and theology and deities that too good not to record, but with not enough meat available to flesh out.
• It’s been claimed by those Right Wing religious fundamentalist types that whenever God is pissed off, He sends His wrath via a ‘natural’ disaster. So, any tornado or hurricane or blizzard or earthquake or wildfire, etc. isn’t really ‘natural’, rather its an Act of God’s punishment. However, it’s rather amazing that tornados tend to happen in roughly the same areas at roughly the same time of year; ditto hurricanes; ditto blizzards; ditto wildfires; ditto floods. You don’t tend to get massive earthquakes other than in well known fault zones and thus earthquake prone areas. You don’t get volcanoes erupting in areas not known to be tectonically active. Now if ‘natural’ disasters were really Acts of God, you might expect God to produce the occasional blizzard in Southern California in July; or how about 40 straight days and nights of rain in Death Valley; New York City becoming ground zero for a massive earthquake or volcanic eruption; a tornado outbreak in Alaska in January; or wildfires in areas of high rainfall and high humidity. If ‘natural’ disasters are Acts of God, why doesn’t God have an asteroid striking Chicago or a comet spanking Las Vegas or for that matter institute a massive solar flare or coronal mass ejection to blanket the entire US of A? Even more central, why does God have to hide behind Mother Nature’s skirts in the first damn place? Why doesn’t God take a leaf out of His earlier wrath-filled up-yours and smite the first born?
• If Hell is here on Earth, then you’d think all that fire and brimstone must have been extinguished when Noah had to sail the really, really, really high seas!
• I find it quite amazing that so-called Christian, God-loving, God-fearing, God-believing nations will at the drop of a bible wade into the internal affairs of other nations for their perceived wrongdoings and crimes against humanity. Most recently, Syria comes to mind, along with Afghanistan and Iraq, but right back through WWII and WWI and so on and so forth also springs to mind. The oddity is that while professing to believe in an all-powerful, all-wise, all-seeing, Almighty God of justice, they have absolutely no faith or belief that that very deity will actually strut His stuff and deal with the situation at hand. What makes that even odder is that’s exactly what God did historically – Exodus anyone? So, these goody-two-shoes Christian nations while believing in a just and a righteous God don’t believe that just and righteous God will do bo-diddily squat to give modern truth to that belief, and so take matters into their own hands.
• The attraction of virtual reality (the simulated universe) or of ancient astronauts, is that you have a ‘creator god’ without having to resort to a supernatural universe, force and/or deity as an explanation for life, the universe and everything (virtual reality) or the ‘creation’ via artificial selection of the human species (ancient astronauts).
• Contrary to everyone’s opinion, the human species is not God’s favourite creation. By the numbers, it would appear that God loves beetles most of all; thousands of times over that of the lone human species, maybe because beetles toe the line!
• In the following text we have the Almighty giving some sage advice to Solomon to tow the line and be a good boy just like his daddy King David. Now since when was King David a good little lad and kept God’s statues and commandments? Does anyone recall David’s adultery – anyone? Arranging for the murder of Bathsheba’s hubby so he could may her just adds to David transgressions. Yet God says David was a good lad and holds him up to Solomon as a role model. Something’s screwy somewhere.
1 Kings 11:38 – King James Version (KJV)
“And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.”
• What the following is saying, in contradictory fashion, is that in the former case (2 Kings 1: 17) Jehoram (Joram) started reigning after Jehoshaphat kicked the bucket (because his son was now King); in the later case (2 Kings 3: 1) Joram started his reign while Jehoshaphat was still very much alive and kickin’ and King. Several translations and versions will make this clearer.
2 Kings 1:17 – King James Version (KJV)
“So he died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram reigned in his stead in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; because he had no son.”
2 Kings 3:1 – King James Version (KJV)
“Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years.”
2 Kings 1:17 – New Century Version (NCV)
“So Ahaziah died, just as the LORD, through Elijah, had said he would.
Joram became king in Ahaziah’s place during the second year Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat was king of Judah. Joram ruled because Ahaziah had no son to take his place.”
2 Kings 3:1 – New Century Version (NCV)
“Joram son of Ahab became king over Israel at Samaria in Jehoshaphat’s eighteenth year as king of Judah. And Joram ruled twelve years.”
2 Kings 1:17 – Common English Bible (CEB)
“So Ahaziah died in agreement with the LORD’s word that Elijah had spoken.
Because Ahaziah had no son, Joram became king after him in the second year of Judah’s King Jehoram, who was Jehoshaphat’s son.”
2 Kings 3:1 – Common English Bible (CEB)
“Joram, Ahab’s son, became king of Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat, Judah’s king. He ruled for twelve years.”
• HOW MANY CAPTIVES? 10,000 or 8,000 or was it 4,600?
2 Kings 24:14 – King James Version (KJV)
“And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.”
2 Kings 24:16 – King James Version (KJV)
“And all the men of might, even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.”
Jeremiah 52:28-30 – King James Version (KJV)
“This is the people whom Nebuchadrezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year three thousand Jews and three and twenty:
In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty and two persons:
In the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadrezzar Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons: all the persons were four thousand and six hundred.”
• With friends like God, who needs enemies? Maybe God isn’t as all-powerful as religious philosophers make Him out to be.
Exodus 4:24 – King James Version (KJV)
“And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him [Moses], and sought to kill him.”
The KJV isn’t as crystal clear on this as other translations, so here’s another version.
Exodus 4:24 – New Century Version (NCV)
“As Moses was on his way to Egypt, he stopped at a resting place for the night. The LORD met him there and tried to kill him.”
And in yet another version
Exodus 4:24 – Common English Bible (CEB)
“During their journey, as they camped overnight, the LORD met Moses and tried to kill him.”
• God lies!
Genesis 3:3 – King James Version (KJV)
“But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”
However, God fails to carry out the death penalty as we note in the following verse.
Genesis 3:16-19 – King James Version (KJV)
“Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
• If God has to ask a question, then God is clearly not an all-knowing God. For an example consider.
Genesis 3:9-13 – King James Version (KJV)
“And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”
• There is evidence in ancient inscriptions/texts that Yahweh (God) had either a wife the “Queen of Heaven” or a mistress, the goddess Asherah. And here we thought all along that God was a virgin!
• Although all human cultures and societies, past and present, have had some kind of belief in an afterlife, not all pictures of and scenarios about how to achieve the afterlife are of the Heaven and Hell variety. One could, maybe should, argue that since not all afterlife scenarios can be correct, perhaps none are. However, perhaps all are – correct that is. If we exist in a Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe, there’s no reason why there couldn’t be all manner of differing sets of afterlife software. So Viking warriors get their version of an afterlife; ancient Egyptians ditto; and Christians get theirs.
• Religion didn’t take kindly to the dethroning of the position of the Earth from Centre of the Universe to just a minor planet orbiting an average star somewhere out in the boondocks of an ordinary humdrum galaxy. Religion was not amused when it was postulated that God’s apex of all creation, the human being, evolved instead from the primordial slime (and some fundamentalists are still fighting that concept in the courts and in the public arena). So I rather strongly suspect that religion will have an apocalyptic fit and near total heart failure when humans are dethroned by the discovery on an advanced extraterrestrial civilization especially if such an extraterrestrial intelligence turns out not only to be way more advanced than mere humans, but atheists to boot. However, some, maybe even most theologians kind of expect this and although aliens aren’t mentioned in religious texts, well perhaps they too were created in God’s image and were paid a visit by God’s ‘son’ and so it’s no big deal. There’s wriggle room. However, there’s one last dethronement that allows no wriggle room and that’s the Singularity. The Singularity should push religion over the edge and into a straightjacket. The Singularity is that point in time when machine intelligence exceeds human intelligence and then keeps accelerating exponentially away from human IQ levels as, unlike humans, machine intelligence can design and implement better machine intelligence indefinitely. Our IQ levels haven’t increased in thousands of years while artificial (machine) intelligence is increasing even today exponentially. The lines on the graph will eventually cross, and sooner rather than later. When humans are Number Two, well what does that tell you about God’s apex of creation? Of course it might come to pass that artificial intelligence ponders and concludes there is, and ultimately worships a god, or rather The God so all may end well after all. Perhaps God will have to send down a robotic ‘son’ to ‘save’ machine intelligences from whatever sins artificial intelligences can commit!
• It never ceases to amaze me that there are those who feel they need to defend God’s honour against, in there words, blasphemers and blasphemy (in my words a victimless crime), often demanding barbaric punishments (including the death penalty) against those, who, again in their words, ‘blaspheme’. People love to lord over other people; the more the better and if you can do it under the guise of religion, so much the better since obviously God’s on your side. But you’d think an all-knowing and all-powerful God, assuming there really is a God of course which IMHO is highly doubtful, could look after and defend Himself and smite those who gave Him the verbal, written or otherwise Big Finger. It almost seems as if God’s defenders don’t actually believe God can or could or would defend Himself and therefore this suggests that perhaps they don’t really believe a wrathful or vengeful God actually exists at all.
If I call Superman a poof, well that’s libel and slander and blaspheme. But Superman can defend himself and punch my lights out (he doesn’t need your help) or can file a legal complaint and initiate legal redress. If someone else files the complaint, that someone and the prosecution will need to not only prove that Superman actually exists, but was actually offended.
There can be only one offended party and that is the recipient of the blaspheming. If that party is not offended or takes no action, then nobody else can act on that person’s (or deity’s) behalf, nor has the right to without the offended party’s permission. Blaspheme laws are just an excuse for humans to exert power over other humans. End of story.
• It is often said or noted that God exists outside of or beyond space and time. What does that actually mean? Absolutely nothing! It’s just waffle-words to give the (false) impression that God possesses some extraordinary properties and abilities beyond those of mortal men (and women). Properties and abilities like travelling at superluminal velocities; squaring the circle; being able to divide by zero and calculate pi to its final decimal place in nanoseconds.
Alas, the concepts of space and time are just that – concepts. Space and time are mental constructs that have no real reality. For time to have any meaning there must be things that change. Things like matter and energy. No change; no time. For space to have any meaning there has to be a something inside that space. If there is no something – like matter and energy – no space or the concept of space is required. If time (or space) is a concept, then beyond or outside of time (or space) is also a concept. But not all concepts are equal in rationality. Some concepts are as meaningless as being north of the North Pole; constructing a spherical pyramid; or that something can both be and not be at the same time and in the same place.
To say God exists outside of space implies God has no substance for if He did, He would have to exist in a container – in a space. If God is spaceless then God is just a nothing. In other words, God is not matter (or energy – same difference) which is ridiculous if you accept those Biblical tall tales where God does physical and energetic things like speaking (to Adam & Eve, Noah, Moses, Jonah, etc.). A nothing cannot speak or create a something (like a sound wave). You can’t have a deity violate the very physical laws He presumably also created. You could claim that God is everywhere, but everywhere is still inside space. You could say God resides in a higher dimension but a higher dimension is also inside of space, and in any event a dimension is also just a concept, a mathematical construct created by the human mind. You can envision a point or a line but it is actually impossible to construct one. A line drawn on a piece of paper still has width and height. One could say God ‘lives’ in one of those extra hidden dimensions so beloved by theoretical string theorists but again they exist because they are mental constructs and the mind exists within space, and even if those extra dimensions had external reality they would still be inside of space and thus God must be too.
To say God exists outside of time implies God is timeless. If God is timeless – beyond time or outside of time – then God cannot change or initiate change in anything thing else.
• If God were really all-powerful and really on His toes, He would have created life, the Universe and everything in a split nanosecond instead of dragging things out over six days!
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