Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The Cosmic Naughty-Step

Last Week's New Scientist featured The Death of God, though in all honesty it didn't put it QUITE like that, if for no other reason than death presumes erstwhile life. The study under scrutiny will tell you what you already know: that in Western society the majority approach to divinity is 'Who cares?' God has become for many one great irrelevance. We are no longer 'for' or 'agin' religion, we just don't give a tuppeny damn about it.

I say, "we", but that wouldn't be exactly true, because I have something entirely inexplicable that I don't seem quite ready to let go of. 

It seems to me that enlightened faith is a good thing. On balance. I mean, it prompts altruism, offers comfort and gives you an opportunity for a sing-song on a regular basis. But to get to a reasonably enlightened position, you do have to jettison a lot of nasty stuff. All the elements of Jehovah, for example, that are blatently evil: murder and mayhem for starters. Or as one of my tecahers put it:

" You can't have a god who says ,"I have loved you with an everlasting love," whilst at the same time promising that she'll do indelicate things to you with redhot pokers, for all eternity,  if you don't do as you're told. " 

My evangelical friends at the City Mission are convinced that hell exists and awaits everyone who doesn't toe the line in the here and now. As I have long since accepted that I have a very limited capacity for toe-lining, I am in a bit of a quandry. Do I 'fess up and say, "Actually, I think what you believe is barbaric." and get myself drummed out of what is a really splendid organisation, or do I keep mum whilst never assenting to the hell-fire and damnation requirements? 

The gospel according to me is pretty basic. 

You are completely and unconditionally loved
You are of infinite worth
Whoever you are, whatever you do, is none of my business
You're better off being kind and doing good, because you're hardwired to benefit from it
All of the above are God in me reaching out to God in you, (whoever he is) as an equal.

No angels or demons, no heaven or hell, no cosmic naughty-step, just this wonderful life on a beautiful planet with a consciousness capable of reaching beyond the stars to adventure, wholeness, and, with a bit of effort, peace. 

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