Monday, May 4, 2009

You Don't Need Gods To Find This World Amazing

[This is a picture of the M16 galaxy and the Eagle nebula. Go here for a description and a bigger picture. I don't know the origin of this picture. I found it on a binary newsgroup many years ago.]

Efrique pointed out this terrific essay in The Age, an Australian newspaper. It's a thoughtful answer to the religious folks who keep wondering how we can bear to live in a world that isn't inhabited by their gods:

[M]ake no mistake, we live in a world of wonders. The sound of a wave breaking on a beach, the green of a forest, that we can see and hear and appreciate these things … these are all true marvels, and no less so for the fact we can now understand how it happens. As someone wise once said, the garden is quite good enough without having to invent fairies at the bottom of it.

The question I can't escape is why so many people clearly prefer the realm of faith, the realm of the Inquisition and of violent jihad, to the realm of thought. What does faith provide them with that reality does not? If it is the comfort of a benevolent power guiding and protecting them, how do they square that with the horror and squalor that still infest the world? Or if it's a desire for mystery, isn't the contemplation of the natural forces that conspired to put us here enough?

God Delusions Cloud A World Of Wonders

I can never get past the "are you kidding me?" stage when people ask those sorts of questions. That this universe is so amazing and mysterious on its own is something that to me is so obvious it doesn't bear repeating. This article does a good job of expressing that idea.

It's an essay worth reading in its entirety.


Tracy said...

Thank you. I must say I enjoyed both your opinion of the article and the article itself. It still amazes me when people talk about the creation of the earth and God in the same sentence; without the words "obviously not" included.

Cujo359 said...

Or some other disclaimer. The idea of there needing to be a god in order for this world to have been created as it strikes me as almost as wierd. They never seem to get around to thinking that, if something must have created this world, that whatever created this world must have been created, also.

Wishful thinking, or deliberately ignoring obvious contradictions, is a necessary part of most religions.