Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world


I finished my last post arguing that we can never know what is ‘out there’ so the best response is to have another beer and forget it. That is still my attitude so far as finding answers is concerned, but speculating is fun so I go on doing it. Last Sunday I watched a religious programme in which a large congregation was singing familiar hymns and apparently enjoying the activity very much. I could feel it, too. Something was happening. I got to wondering once more about the atheist objection to religion.

I can’t accept the biblical creation story as literally true. It has to be an allegory. An allegory by which thinking people, with the knowledge then  at their disposal, explained things to the masses. So when science offers a different story that does not, for me, destroy the bible as a source of truth. I have no problem with Darwin, nor with the marvels of the universe as it is now being revealed. A more important difference between atheism and religion is surely the idea of PURPOSE. Religious people explain it all by saying that God made it all and ascribing to him a sense of purpose. He has a plan. Scientists explain it all by saying that the universe is governed by impersonal principles that have no consciousness and no awareness. They have no purpose. They have no intention. They just exert themselves in the way they are programmed to do. They may be discoverable in time by science,

So what do we really mean by PURPOSE? Children are sometimes told by their parents that “The law is there for a purpose.” The implication is that somebody thought it up. Is the same true of The Law of Gravity? Was it created, inter alia, to make apples fall to the ground? Who made it? Question 1 – “Who made the apple fall?” If you say “God”, that ends the story. If you say “The Law of Gravity” then you get Question 2 – “Who made The Law of Gravity?” It just gets pushed farther and farther back. You end up with a package of interacting laws of mind-boggling complexity and you still have to ask, “Who put it all together?” Did God decide to make everything happen according to a plan simply by delegating? The Judaic mystical tradition of Kaballah identifies Ein Sof as “the divine origin of all created existence.” Ambitious scientists think that humans might one day identify the single principle from which all the others derive.

Scientist and Religious professionals are engaged in related quests. Scientists are trying to find out, “How it works”, assuming the non-existence of any behind-the-scenes operator. Religious folk believe in an operator and are trying to find out how to please him. “How does he (or it) do it?” “What does he (or it) want?” It is conceivable that both groups might succeed in their quests and find themselves in the same place. It’s odd that they often appear enemies.

Fascinating thoughts. But we must not forget how it turned out when they eventually found The  Wizard of Oz.


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