Archive for April, 2010

DOES BELIEF IN GOD CAUSE WAR AND OTHER HUMAN OPPRESSION?

April 20, 2010

Is it really accurate, as some intellectuals claim today, to blame belief in God as the cause of war and other human oppression?  Is this any more correct than blaming science and education?  Isn’t it more honest to instead, blame people who mis-use technology and belief in God for their own nefarious purposes?

Obviously, someone can aim the fickle finger of fate at war waged in the name of religion.  But, even before the invention of the wheel leading to ever-improved knife, spear, bow and chariot design, human science and education has been intricately entwined with waging war. Military applications have long been interlaced with government-funded science, education and modern space exploration.

Consider the Manhattan Project, nuclear missiles and space-ray weapons.  And, the rise of oppressive imperialism alongside industrial age invention; the American, French, Russian and Chinese revolutions; WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.  Incalculable human oppression has been aided by science and technology and, waged in the name of nationalism, democracy, capitalism, communism, socialism, fascism, anarchism and other intellectual idealism and often, just plain old fashioned human greed and lust for gold.

Arguably because of their belief in God, billions of people have helped the sick, poor and oppressed masses throughout the ages.  Consider names like Isaiah, Socrates, Jesus, Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez and, celebrities like Danny Thomas, Jerry Lewis and Martin Sheen.  Consider the Union Rescue Mission and LA Mission on Skid Row in Los Angeles.  Throughout the European “dark” and Middle Ages, many individuals, including some popes, established public hospitals, housing and bread lines.

Consider modern electricity, medicine, surgery, global travel, computer technology and other marvels of a 21st Century age of science and wonder.  And to be fair, weigh this in the historical balances against WMDs, global mass pollution, depletion of fisheries, rain and other forests, fresh water pollution, mountains of garbage and cesspools of toxic waste left in the wake of the “Age of Enlightenment”.

Why is oppression waged in the name of Christianity, Islam and other religions any worse than that waged in the name of manifest destiny, communism and fascism?  Is human oppression a result of sincere belief in God?  Or, is it rather, a result of human beings wrongly using the sincere beliefs of others for their own devious purposes?

Isn’t it more likely that we all contribute to the negative downside of human history, whenever we fail to treat other people as we ourselves, wish to be treated?  Isn’t it more accurate, as Jesus pointed out and as Freud, Jung and modern behavioral science agree, to blame the “seething mass” of irrationality and frustration buried deep within individual human beings, as being the real cause of our problems?

If we are going to rationally and fairly blame something as being the “cause” of our problems, maybe it’s wise to first take a good look in the mirror.  Does belief in God cause human oppression?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

GOD: a perspective

April 4, 2010

Ancient Galilee covered an area of approximately 1,000 square miles. The area of the earth is about 197 million square miles.  Thus, it would take approximately 197,000 ancient Galilees to cover the surface of the earth.

Earth is larger than it’s immedite neighbor planets.  But, roughly 1,400 earths would fit by volume inside of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.  And yet, the sun compromises over 99.8% of the total mass of this same solar system.

Most astronomers believe our sun is larger than an average star.  Yet, our sun is tiny compared to a star called Arcturus.  And, Arcturus in turn, is very small compared to another star known as Antares.  VY Canis Majoris is the largest known star in the universe and next to it in illustration in a typical book-sized drawing, our sun becomes essentially invisible to the unaided eye.

Even this largest of stars would easily fit within the vastness of our own solar system.  But our solar system is but a grain of sand in a Milky Way galaxy of 200 billion stars, which is about only 1/5 the size of galaxy M-31, also known as Andromeda, estimated to be 220,000 light years in diameter.  And yet, M-31 is miniscule compared to the estimated 6 million plus light year diameters of the largest known galaxies.

Space is so vast, that the nearest star to our sun is over 24 trillion miles away and yet, there are an estimated 100 billion galaxies of stars in the observable universe.  Some scientists believe that the currently visible approximately 13.5 billion light year radius, represents an area smaller than a period on this page, compared to the actual size of our universe.  And some scientists believe there may be as many universes as there are stars in our own.

It is fair to say that creation may go on forever and ever.  And thus, someone standing on the shore of the Sea of Galilee today might feel overwhelmed and incredibly insignificant. But this is only part of a much larger or as some might argue, smaller picture.

There are an estimated 10 trillion cells in an average adult human body, perhaps 50 times as many as there stars in our Milky Way galaxy.  And about 100 trillion micro-organisms live in a typical adult human gut, about 100 times as many as there are stars estimated to be in the Andromeda (M-31) galaxy.

About 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms are thought to be contained in a typical adult human body.  Atoms are similar in size of our solar system in relation to the sun and and planets, in comparison to the size of various sub-atomic particles within them. And similar to the sun in relation to the planets, the nucleus of an atom contains over 99% of its total mass.

If someone were to illustrate an atom in true scale, showing its protons and neutrons as being about 1.5 inches in diameter, then electrons and much smaller yet other particles, would be less than 0.1 millimeter in size and, the atom itself would be about 6.25 miles in diameter.

Human beings are very large in the light of subatomic particles and, very small compared to the size of the observable universe, thus we are placed inbetween the largest and smallest expressions of creation art.  And, just as a great artist like Rembrant might paint a large mural and yet, pay close attention to the smallest detail of facial expression and slightest variation of color, how much more then, does our Father in heaven, in a grand expression of creation art, pay close attention to the most microscopic realities of creation?

And then, there is the sacrifice of God’s son for the human race on a Roman cross, the ultimate expression of God’s love beyond any and all magnitude of comprehension. Thus, it is no small wonder that no one can deserve God, no matter how righteous, intelligent, strong or otherwise superior to others, we in vain may fancy ourselves to be.

Many people casually assume their religion or viewpoint of God is mainly correct, without ever stopping to consider what and who the known evidence demonstrates God really is and, how little they actually know about either God, life, love or anything else.  Atheists and agnostics pretend the grand design of the universe could somehow magically exist without any Grand Designer, as if a living being as incredibly complex as a fruit fly, could somehow randomly appear on it’s own and magically over time, change into a somewhat less credible human being fancing him or herself as being “educated”.

Thus, we should be quite careful about trusting religionists, scientists and other educators to actually know much more of value than the average truck driver or motel maid.  And, we should be even more careful about passing on to our children what we supposedly know is true about God.

Or otherwise, will the lies we tell our children and mis-information we leave them, come back to haunt us for a very, very, very long time? After all, as the Bible says, let God be true but every man and woman a liar and, there is a most obvious of reasons for the cross.

You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article