What if?

Recently I had a very deep philosophical discussion with an atheist friend of mine. It’s always a very engaging discourse and always sparks thoughts in my mind about what my beliefs are, what they aren’t, and how they’ve evolved over the past several years. The overwhelming question is always the same though: What if?

What if there is no life after death?
What if love is just a chemical reaction in the brain?
What if the Bible is just Bronze Age mythological nonsense?
What if God does not exist?

Could billions of people have been duped into what those with “enlightened minds” consider simple-minded dogmatic nonsense? Have countless hours of Bible Study, Torah teachings, and Sunday Sermons over the course of the last 2000 years been an abominable waste of time and effort? I would be lying if I said that I haven’t questioned with boldness the existence of God or the reliability and credibility of the Bible. To truly believe requires the suspense of reason and a leap of faith. However, one could argue that to not believe also requires a similar leap. Does belief in God and the study of Scriptures parallel what the modern organized churches execute? Maybe the question could be posed as – What if the churches have got it all wrong? It’s pretty clear that many of them get it very wrong. I recall a gentle and kind Jewish man saying “Love one another” and another one saying “faith without works is dead“. Yet we see angry people cursing, judging, and condemning other people because of “sinful lifestyles”. That’s a bit hypocritical don’t you think? Especially when “judge no one” is a tenet. We could go into the not so distant past to see a number of church led atrocities, but that’s not a path to take for this post. The fact is that to many churches place dogmas over morals and tithing over charity.

True religion is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27

So let’s take the position of atheism. Let’s say God doesn’t exist and that the Bible is irrelevant. Then we are merely carbon based globs of cells with no purpose, no significance, and no accountability. We are just specks of dust amidst a vast immeasurable universe. Love, compassion, morality, and evil are mere chemical reactions equivalent to burps and farts. Well, that’s a pretty bleak view isn’t it? Of course the secular defense would be that morality and justice in a godless world are possible because they “feel right” and are qualified by using “reason” and “common sense”. Well, where do those things come from? There has to be a common thread that weaves all mankind together when it comes to matters of morality, love, and the thirst for knowledge and truth.

What if God is incomprehensible?
What if the Bible needs to be studied (personal studies not just in a group) in order to be understood?
What if love is the breath of the divine within our souls?
What if our sense of morality is a divine influence?

The idea that our existence is just pure happenstance could be a fact, however there is no reason we have to live it that way. If our lives are the only lives we will ever have, shouldn’t we be as productive as we can and leave a legacy, maybe leave the world just a little better than when we got here? Science can explain a lot of things, but why let it reduce us to a state of hopeless meaninglessness

It has often been said that there are no atheists in foxholes. The idea being that when a person finds themselves in a life threatening situation or is in the deepest state of despair they always look up. They cry out to someone. Sure, they may not recite a prayer or cry out “My God, why have you abandoned me?“. But, they do cry out, they say “why me?” or “what did I do to deserve this?”. Well, just who the heck do you think you are talking to? What if it’s God and you just don’t realize it?

14 thoughts on “What if?

  1. What if…I think this post rocks? I really enjoyed it, especially your last 4 questions—pure poetry. It boils down to such a simple, profound perspective:

    There has to be a common thread that weaves all mankind together when it comes to matters of morality, love, and the thirst for knowledge and truth.

    Having said that, you know how I hate the word “morality,” because Christianity has turned it into a distorted version of hypocritical holier than thous, rather than a lifestyle of living justly with your brother and sister. If there is such a thing as “godly morality,” you captured it with this statement:

    The fact is that to many churches place dogmas over morals and tithing over charity. True religion is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27

    However, I will not promote the word morality, because Christians are not going to interpret it in the right spirit.

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  2. But what if the Bible needs to be studied in a group to be understood?

    A bit of self-assigned homework doesn’t hurt, of course! But nobody has the time or energy to do all the research himself — while other people’s comments can reflect far more than whatever they’ve heard or read lately.

    This needs to be, of course, a group made up of individuals thinking with and responding to each other, not following some external ‘leader’.

    I think it was in Barclay’s writings, that if everyone in a group was attending to God, they would all be linked much more closely that way than if they’d merely been interacting socially.

    —-

    More to the point: What if conscious existence itself is “the breath of the Divine within our souls”?

    “That spirit could give rise to matter is a great wonder.
    For matter to have given rise to spirit would have been incredible.”

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    • Good points “tree.” Of course a group study is good. The point I was trying to make is people who like to preach and use certain verses to beat the listeners into submission are in many cases using those verses out of context. The morning star in Isaiah comes to mind since people try to use that as an illusion to Satan being a fallen angel and enemy of God versus a servant with a specific role. My thoughts of course, I acknowledge the fact that I could be wrong.

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    • Thanks Dylan. I agree. Whether Jesus is to be worshipped or not is up to the individual in my opinion. I have more of a Classic Unitarian view of Jesus and believe the ethical teachings and the example he set are what matter most.

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  3. Three thoughts…

    1. If you want to draw conclusions from pithy sayings, then how about “the value of the materials which constitute the human body is about $4.50?” While it may be technically accurate, it does not represent the value of a human because it abstracts away the process by which those materials became a person. Likewise, to say that love, compassion, etc. are chemical reactions similarly trivializes the process by which they evolved over hundreds of millions of years. Human and animal emotions and morals are a marvel, and need no divine source to be awe-inspiring or to have value.

    2. The question “why me” gives the same result if asked of a rock or of God. However, it inspires introspection which may lead us to the ability to change our situation or avoid the same problem in the future. So even asking such a rhetorical question of a rock can bear fruit, again, no god needed.

    3. If God is incomprehensible, then I need not concern myself with trying to comprehend him. I will fare exactly as well as someone who spends their life doing so, as we will both fail the final exam.

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    • Hi Stan. Thanks for stopping by. You have an interesting blog by the way.

      Please take note of the fact that I am saying “what if?” not “IT IS”. So I am in no way saying you have to agree with me or follow any specific doctrine or perish in Tartarus (which is the suffering stage of Hades that the Christian hell is based off of). Just contemplating the what if.

      As far as contemplating what the Creator may or may not be, I never said you had to. I just like to. What people may consider worthy of spending time on differs. Some like NASCAR which I view as a waste of time because the cars are just going in circles and not getting anywhere, some folks like UFC which i view as a throwback to the days of the gladiator. I like studying and contemplating this stuff. To each his own right??

      I don’t follow the mainstream Christian view on God or the Bible because I think it doesn’t work for me and it only takes a few minutes on my blog to see that. Just because I disagree with what church tradition interprets as truth, doesn’t mean I have to throw the baby out with the bath water. I can search for the truth and while I realize I may never find it – the quest in itself is still a rewarding endeavor.

      Thanks again for dropping by and being part of the conversation.

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  4. Baroqueboy…forgive me for leaving out the word “some.” I was definitely generalizing and I also was not being derogatory to Christians who equate morality with dos and donts b/c they don’t know any better…that is what they’re taught.

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