An Agnostic’s Diagnostic: Why I Don’t Believe in a Personal God

I should point out right from the start that I’m an agnostic. Agnosticism is what I regard as the intelligent form of incompetence. Because I cannot declare an affirmative ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, I cannot be held accountable either way. So, I remain a man happily incompetent!

One thing which I can say I am atheistic about (at least in my heart) is the idea of a personal God — that being defined as a supernatural deity whom created all of the universe with a singular purpose in mind, whom interferes with the daily activities of a little-known species called man, has created an afterlife of both reward and punishment, whom answers prayers, etc. I think that if there is a Divine Creator, It is greater and grander than the traditional notions which we plaster onto His image. I also note that I find it no coincidence that He is oft regarded as a male personality, since it is particularly men doing the writing of scripture.

I am atheistic about this idea because I think it’s absurd. The remainder of this article will be my attempt to express why I think ridiculousness is inherent in the idea of a personal, relateable Creator.

Firstly, why must such a Creator be regarded as a He? Why not a She, or an It? An It would be closer to the reality, if such a Thing exists. I find it highly doubtful that God would have a genitalia determining his sex. I also find it incredibly ludicrous that God would have a personality. One would think God would be far too busy with other celestial matters than to busy Itself with having one.

A personality is defined as such: the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character.

Why should God have a distinctive character? A character is a finite, limited construction of a conscious identity — I won’t say human identity, because there are other creatures, such as dogs, cats, etc. which are able to have an abundant about of characteristic attributes too. Any loving pet owner is apt to tell you so. We should also not forget there may be other conscious beings we Earthlings are not aware of. We exist in an infinite universe, so why not the possibility of there being extraterrestrials somewhere out there in the farthest reaches of space whom have their own brand of personality? I digress. The point is that personality is a limited construction of identity. If God is infinite, why would It choose to limit itself to such a finite, limited notion as an Ego? Such a choice would seem absurd, pointless, banal, etc.

Upon bringing this gripe up to my good friend, whom is very much convinced of the existence of a personal God, he responded as such: “If even I have been given a personality, why can’t God have one? Why should we take away God’s personality?” Well, to take away a personality, or anything for that matter, from out of the divine clutches of the infinite, eternal hands of God would require quite an ingenious feat of human trickery and robbery, no? Imagine sticking up God in a convenience store and robbing him of his personality. Of course, an eternal retribution of hellfire afterwords would make the committer of such a deed highly regretful. But if the act could be pulled off to success, what a legend he or she would forever be among mortals! Imagine being the man whom robbed a divine deity! Once more, I digress. In truth, a finite being could never take away from an infinite, eternal being.

In regards to personality, one seems necessary for the wholeness of a human identity. Yet it is not necessary for a God — a God being omnipotent, omnipresent, immortal — all those things which a human being is not. One would think God would transcend beyond such a faulted, limited concept as a personality. Perhaps humans like to attribute personality to God because of his overly infinite and grand reality — we secretly wish for the It to be a Him, for It to be smaller, to be more local and personally available. A prayer is not so much a request as a simple wish to be heard.

If God were to have a personality, It would be engaging in sheer costumery. It would be like wearing a funny hat that is far too small for your head and parading it around in the privacy of your home, where no other man can see you. Upon this image we may be left with a sense of the preposterous — that is the idea of a personal deity.

It is in my opinion that God is a lousy, three-letter word, a dirty concept of the human ego. We have created a God in our own image, not the other way around. As an agnostic, I cannot completely rule out the existence of God due to lack of sufficient evidence. But I can discern what is likely and what is rather unlikely. It is more likely that an eternal creator of the universe would be grander, more infinite in scope than our human conceits can possibly imagine. God may be like a bundle of higher spatial dimensions. One may try and try to imagine one extra dimension beyond three, but due to the limitations of our imagination, a failure to conceive indubitably occurs.

Personally, I believe that a lack of a personal, male authoritarian, judgmental and vain God (as so proclaimed in the Bible) makes life all the more precious. Because there is no afterlife to aspire to, we must then resign ourselves to aspire to this one. And that may not be so bad.

A promised eternity in the Lord’s Heaven? What a Hell!

I am grateful for this existence. I am grateful or this outlook, for these words, for my family and loved ones, for the John Coltrane record currently playing on my stereo, and for much, much more. The universe is mysterious, exhilarating, and to understate it, very very big. I am part of that very very big universe. I require no personal deity to pray to in order for my gratitude and appreciation for my participation in existence to be as such.

Also, never trust people — gods or otherwise — whom shamelessly wear funny hats when no one is looking. I’ll end with this quote from one of my favorite thinkers:

“A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.” Albert Einstein, “Religion and Science,” New York Times Magazine, November 9, 1930.

Mahalo!

 

Ponderings: The Cosmic Recycling Program, The Wise Idiot & Other Placebo Prayers!

Placebo Prayer

When a human being puts two hands together, he may be doing either one of two things — applauding, or praying. It would be more appropriate, I think, in all respects, for a person to applaud, since the cosmos deserves earnest applause for its grandness, its eternal scope, and its natural construction of ourselves — all of which allows us to put two hands together in the first place! We should clap in whatever rhythm we think harmonic to the universe and be grateful that we are alive, situated at home upon a tiny blue speck among the infinitude of ancient stars — perhaps of even of other universes.

As for prayer, I believe it is about the same as talking to brick walls. It is just one more non-diagnosed form of human, schizophrenic behavior. Of course, this does not mean that if a person prays, he or she will not receive what they want. When a person prays, asking for strength of spirit, for courage, for fortitude, for a more enlightened state of mind, or for even material possessions, what he is really doing is asking, praying to and of Himself. He is giving himself permission to obtain these desired things. His subconscious resilience is thereby strengthened into a more conscious will to achieve. Hence the saying, each Man is his own God.

Un-Thinking

I think, therefore I am entertained. How often is thinking a mere vanguard against the treachery of ennui? Often, man thinks not in order that he get to the bottom of things, but that he may escape the suffering of a mundane present — thereby removing himself to live in either  in the past or the future. Man becomes unconscious, full of his own thoughts and full of mind, and full of shit too — but all the more he is without the gift of simple presence and mindfulness.

The Yin-Yang of Truth & Lies

There is a small part of truth in every lie, a small part of lie in every truth, which leaves a small part of all truths and lies, facts and fictions, completely indistinguishable. But perhaps this is just the immoralist in me talking…I am honestly not sure at the moment.

A Wise Idiot

It takes either an extremely wise man or a complete idiot to simplify the incredulous. At times I manage to simplify and communicate grand cosmic ideas with both of these personalities in ready hand. Thus, what I am — a wise idiot.

The Dreamer

I cannot help but remain the dreamer, the poet, the visionary. So many times I believe I have changed in my personality, that I have matured in ideas and concepts — yet I nonetheless return to the eternal dream of being at one with the lilies of the field. I daydream upon the white windowsill, facing the green hill, noticing how the swaying lilies neither toil nor spin…

Impermanence

Human beings are surely no exception to the Cosmic Recycling Program. If the mighty oak tree must fall, why not we? Surely we are not more noble, or in any way superior to the mighty oak, a tree that is perfect and beautiful and has never done any wrong to anybody. It would be shear arrogance, and an insult to trees the world over to stake our claim on being the superior — which is in the first place, nothing more than an ego game. Listen, preferably with your heart — All that is, is transmogrified, eternally. Seas dry up and new ones swell. Whole mountains are leveled and brought to great heights once more, glaciers form and dissipate. Whole continents drift,  merge, then drift again.  Getting more to the point of all this — it is of natural necessity that one dies, dissipates the contents of his sub-atomic energy back into the universe, in order for new forms to become manifested — such as a new flower, a new tree, a new star, a new galaxy, or a new human being. We are united by the “energy stuff” which is neither created nor destroyed, yet always is. The second law of Thermodynamics proves this to be the case. We live, are manifested out of the infinite and eternal energies of the cosmos, and then we dissipate. Our egos & identities (to the great denial and disappointment of our Egos  & identities) probably do not survive the journey, but our Soul is everyone’s Soul which is all Soul. Yessir! Impermanence is the name of the game in the Cosmic Recycling Program.

Nature is Balance, and no matter how crazy, how run-amok mankind is with its ceaseless wars, violent religions, mindless pollution — Nature always finds away to put the disorder back in order. Rest assured, beauty and impermanence triumphs. Mahalo.