|The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo Buonarroti|
The idea of God, the soul and an afterlife are the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated.
Most who read this will be shocked.
How arrogant. How mean and miserable of Louis Shalako! To deny his fellow humans and their afflictions the comforting notion that a sincere prayer can be efficacious, or of any real help at all.
There are no atheists in a foxhole, but there may be a few hypocrites. If you don’t believe in God, then surely a quick prayer can’t hurt anything—is that the attitude?
How much of the fabric of our society would unravel if there really was no God?
Think about it—if we can. For surely we have been very carefully trained not to think, not to inquire, but simply take it on faith—usually based on someone else’s word for it. We have been trained from birth to think in these terms, and that’s why it is seen as ‘natural.’
It is anything but natural, ladies and gentlemen. It is a legal and moral fiction.
In the beginning, it was seen as an essential part of the Big Picture, when reality is composed of lots and lots of little pictures, not all of which can be observed at once and with perfect clarity.
Without God, there is no Society, many will bellow through bullhorns from right in front of our home. The louder they shout, the more true it must be.
If there is no God, and there never was any God, then how did all of this ‘creation’ come about?
What if it wasn’t created? What if it simply is…?
Since each of us will probably only live a hundred years, most likely less, does it even matter what happened six thousand or six billion years ago?
Surely you must ask, if there is no God, how did constitutional government come about?
How did any sort of ethical society come about? If there is no God, there is no real justification for all of this, the human and natural rights which we all take for granted. Surely we must all now massacre each other, for without God, what meaning does our human existence actually have?
Or did society come about in a kind of recognition that all of us are entitled to something better than naked savagery?
Do you not see the inherent Nihilism, the underlying basis of all supernatural beliefs? It is a lack of confidence in ourselves, that is the root of all ‘evil.’ When the Bible tells you that all men are born unclean, and evil, and that this must be purged out of them by the fire and the sword, baptism and submission, this is a lie, ladies and gentlemen. It’s a lie that has been around for a very long time.
I am not saying all human beings are born perfect, for there is no perfection, only life, death and renewal.
This is not a miracle, it is the result of perfectly understandable forces and processes.
I am saying the laws we live by do not come from God. They come from other men, they come from science and nature itself. They come from reason and not fanaticism.
Surely you have a question.
Even if Louis does not accept my religion, how come he doesn’t agree, like many of us do, that other people’s belief systems are somehow evidence, whether it is the elephant headed boy-god of India or the river-gods of ancient times? Because I hold a mistaken belief, and my neighbour holds a similar but different mistaken belief, does that not somehow lend credence to mistaken beliefs elsewhere?
Ten thousand philosophers have attempted to define the nature of God. They are all mistaken.
It is not a case of, “We may have it wrong, possibly mucked up some of the details, but surely somewhere in the world, someone has the genuine revelation...”
There is no revelation.
This is the revelation.
God is not a requirement to make the physical universe go around.
There is no spiritual universe, and so we do not need to account for any of its alleged phenomena.
What makes me laugh is when people try to relate the physical nature of our bodies with the intangible nature of our minds.
How come you can’t take it on faith? It does work, after all.
This ancient puzzle is probably what led to all initial speculations of a metaphysical nature (religion) to begin with. As a writer of speculative fiction, I really got to hand it to the ancient Greeks: some of those guys could really write.
They really had the most marvelous imaginations, and over time they really were standing on the shoulders of those who went before. Their greatest contributions to western culture were all factual. Things like geometry, and trigonometry, and science, and the freedom of inquiry. No one today takes the ancient Greek religion seriously.
I’ll give you a clue as to your own consciousness: it has a physical location. It’s up on the top of your body, right in behind your eyes, your nose, it’s actually a little higher than your mouth, isn’t it? It’s right in between the ears. You know right where your mind is. Where else could it be? And isn’t this what people mean when they say the soul will travel on? Surely that soul must have consciousness, or what frickin’ good is it?
Hopefully I’m not the first guy in history to explain that one…
Consciousness is a process rather than any one thing, and that, in my humble opinion, is where all the ancients went wrong. They were off in la-la land, looking for a spirit, they were looking for magic, a God that doesn’t exist, rather than inside of the physical body, looking for a biochemical outcome.
Consciousness is the biochemical result of large-scale information processing and the necessarily ensuing generalizations. This does not necessarily hold true for an electromechanical information processing system. It is uniquely animal in nature. Animals are mobile, and predatory in nature. They are opportunistic. A machine intelligence would exist in a totally different environment, which leads to the question of evolutionary psychology, which is the study of the character, beliefs, actions and make-up of rational human beings over eons of species-development.
What we think is a part of life, and living, and it would be absolutely remarkable if we could recreate intelligent life in a lab with current technology.
And yet in the not too distant future, by attaching neurons to the brain of a mouse or rat, we can take a conscious animal and give it greater intelligence. We can create a higher form of life, using the building blocks of nature.
That’s why all religion, however useful it may have been in the past, as a form of community, as a form of social self-regulation, aristocratic high-jacking notwithstanding; is obsolete. Our religion is as obsolete for modern conditions as the religion of ancient Greece was to the very next generation, i.e. the Romans. They came, they saw, they laughed, and they conquered. They took much of it over and made religion serve the needs of the state, ladies and gentlemen.
To perpetuate that original error, from which all subsequent errors are derived, for millennia to come, is only to compound our problems and their ultimate solution. It is to ignore the evidence of our own senses, our own minds, and surely this is the true hallmark of madness.
Should you get rid of all your religion?
No, I think you should keep it. I think you should bear it in mind in the daily actions of your life, for surely no man can escape his upbringing. And your mother and father meant well for you, I say that in all sincerity.
They were doing their best and they simply didn’t know any better way.
But now we do, ladies and gentlemen. Now we do.
It seems to me that if a person can believe in God and exhibit nothing in the way of Christian values, then the opposite must also hold true.
It is possible to have what are essentially Christian, or universal* values, without actually believing in God.
You could simply apply those values in practical terms, without requiring supernatural validation of your own thoughts and actions. You might even thank your parents for that.
It’s a question of taking responsibility and not pointing the finger at somebody else, and passing the buck somewhere else.
It is a personal challenge, but one well worth accepting. And if you should try and fail, you could always ask your fellow human beings for forgiveness.
They talk enough about it, don’t they?
Let them show, not tell. They say that a lot too, don’t they.
Anyhow, I thank you all for listening, ladies and gentlemen.
*To hear them tell it.