The God Thing

On the recommendation of my shallowest pal, I went and bought a book called The God Delusion by a fellow called Richard Dawkins, whose website and entry on Wikipedia did not endear him to me, but I like to give people a chance, and I’ve a theory that reading the opposite to what you think will convince you of what you believe (or not) far more convincingly than just reading what you already think.

I read the first few chapters last week, debated at length with aforementioned atheist and then got bored and went back to movie musicals.

The thing is, it has stayed with me, always right there in the front of my mind. The main thing is that I don’t disagree when atheists attack religion for all the harm it’s done. Hell, I’ve been saying the same thing for years.

I don’t know science. I mean, I really don’t. I did Single Science at GCSE, and so it wasn’t what you’d call thorough. I’ve been reading some stuff to try and understand the complex physics behind the seemingly absolute certainty a lot of these science folk have about the absence of God.

I still don’t really get it. I personally do not see how anyone can be so fucking certain. I know what I happen to believe, but I wouldn’t say I knew with absolute certainty. I’m an arrogant little bint, but I’d never presume to know the mysteries of the universe.

*

I also think that there’s just a completely different way of looking at the world as to whether you’re scientifically or philosophically mind. The question scientists seem to ask is: HOW? The question philosophers seem to ask is: WHY? I am so deeply within the latter camp that I hardly need to know HOW? but constantly ask WHY?

All this science still doesn’t seem to quite answer the question WHY? OK, so there was a Big Bang, or there’s vibrating strings, or there’s aliens playing marbles.That’s fair enough, but I must ask this question: WHY?

*

I wonder something else: could George Harrison, one of the most spiritual people I’ve ever listened to, have been wrong? Could Bob ‘Most Famous Jewish Born-Again Christian Dylan be wrong? I’m no lover of religion, but is it all wrong after all?

*

I find myself largely unflustered by the idea of a Godless world. Would my life change much without the Old Man? I’m not sure it would – I try to live my life by the two tenets of honour and sarcasm, and even if I arrive at them through God in some way, I don’t require him to be here to stick with them. That is to say that I make my attempt to be an honourable human being in the name of honour itself, not through a fear of God.

As far as I’ve always been concerned, one should not have to fear someone to believe, nor to be good enough for him.

*

Of course, none of this is quite as important as the Big Problem I have and the Big Problem I’ve always had: the dead. If there is no God, does it naturally follow that there is no heaven – rather, no afterlife? I have always been pretty well OK with the fact that my personality, my nature or my destiny have led me (pulled me) towards people who are dead. Really, I was OK with it, because I knew/believed/hoped that I would see them one day. Believed my opportunity to smack Jimmy a blinder was not lost so much as it was postponed. Believed that the great Smirk of Flynn would be bestowed upon me one day. Believed that I would stand beside Philip and, should I take his hand, it would not be made of bronze. Believed that the grandfather Driscoll and granny Maria would be with me at last. Believed that my granddad is waiting for me, and is with his Maria again after all that time and that my maternal line is without its problems in the afterlife.

I once wrote a rather fluffy thing about dreaming about going to heaven and being taught to dance by Gene Kelly (an actual dream I had) and of Heaven being what one makes it – for me it would be some sort of place like I imagine Dino’s Bar & Grill was in the song, but filled with the people I’ve loved; and the joke I made about the swimming pool with the bar in the centre, but most of all it was always about the people.

The only idea of an afterlife I always detested was the one where you drink from the River Styx and forget the world you left behind. The only thing worse would surely be no afterlife at all – I suppose the afterlife I require is much the same as the current one – inextricably linked to the other one.

If all that happens is that we die, then would someone tell me what the point of my existence is? I can’t see one.

Moreover, if that’s all there is, if all that survives our death are genetics passed down, where does that leave the childless? What about Jim Morrison, who (probably) left no children? If, as I suspect, I’ll be boho-spinster-aunt-godmother, what’s the point of me at all? It rather says that the only way to be a success in the world is for one to be a mother – that same old shit we’ve had peddled to us by the other side for centuries?

Why am I somehow not surprised that science is ultimately as patriarchal as religion? I suppose it’s because most scientists are men – presumably this is also why we have Viagra but no decent way of sorting out menstruation so it doesn’t cripple a good proportion of the population? Sorry, wrong meeting.

The question is pretty much the same as I asked above: WHY? Or if I may, WHY GOD, WHY?

I suspect that I can live quite easily, quite happily, without God. The thing for me is that I can’t die without him.

Don’t you think it’s quite impressive that I’ve managed to take the most important, the greatest and biggest question of our existence and made it All About Me?

*

I wrote most of the above on the bus on the way home today. When I got in, I put my bag down, threw my coat over the chair and for a moment, just stopped. Then, I wished that I had brought my video of Dogma to London last weekend, because it’s the only film (the only thing not related directly to myself, in fact) that truly made me feel glad and happy to be Catholic. It made me glad. I remember the first time I saw Dogma like it was yesterday, because I so rarely have moments of undiluted joy… especially where this stuff is concerned.

I really needed to be able to watch it, and I couldn’t. I had a nap, I watched The Adventures of Don Juan, starring Errol Flynn’s tights. I turned on the TV for Mock the Week, I ate some mint ice cream, then while waiting for Grey’s Anatomy, I flicked to FilmFour.

Dogma, which I’ve never seen listed on FilmFour before, had started at nine. When Grey’s started, I switched between the two. Grey’s featured a storyline in which a mostly-drowned Meredith debates her will to live with deceased characters in the waiting room of the afterlife.

Now, is that absolutely and definitely a coincidence or, as I’ve always suspected, Somebody Up There Likes Me?

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5 Responses to The God Thing

  1. elseinane says:

    Science cannot explain where elements (oxygen, hydrogen, et al) come from nor can they create them.
    They just… come from… somewhere.

    Until that can be explained …. I fully reserve the right to believe that there is Somebody Up There.

    *nods firmly*

    • apollarock says:

      As far as I understand it, which isn’t hugely I grant you, the explanation science gives is: it’s all energy. We’re all energy. It hasn’t yet told me WHY. Even the TV thing I watched that was supposed to answer the WHY doesn’t do so with any more certainty or absolute definitiveness than anyone else.

      I’ve spent the last couple of weeks arguing the toss, and I’ve almost thought ‘yeah, probably the Old Man doesn’t exist’ and then something happens that is so… coincidental? odd? fortuitous? that to write it off to ‘chance’ is as ‘ridiculous’ as saying it’s God.

      For me to just say ‘no, I don’t believe in God anymore, you’ve convinced me with your science’ would be as much of a hypocritical lie as an atheist to fake belief.

      • elseinane says:

        Any side that would presume to “know” 100% in either direction is a load of crap, IMHO.

        And how the “it’s all energy – we are all energy” arguement is somehow superior to the concept of a deity(s) is a bigger load of crap.

        I seem to be working on a crap theme here today….

      • apollarock says:

        Actually, the thing that’s annoying me most is in fact a certain sense of hypocrisy on the part of some atheists, or at least the ones that take the trouble to talk about it or write about it…*

        They’re much the same as Christian or Islamic fundamentalists, that is they’re JUST AS CERTAIN THEY’RE RIGHT, but worse, they use the same techniques of barracking (if that’s really the right word. I’ve been searching for the term I’m really looking for) and belittling – You’re stupid if you don’t believe the same thing as meeee!

        And that’s what I disliked about religion in the first place. Why replace it with the same but without the promise of everlasting bliss?

        *And no, I don’t mean all of them. Tarring with the same brush not usually my style. Except for Robbie Williams fans, and they deserve it.

      • elseinane says:

        Hypocrisy is everywhere. Gah.

        Leave it to humans to take something that was all about goodness and light and fuck up the works. *snort*

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