Wednesday, April 12, 2017
The Fear Quotient
Most of my life, as I tried to understand why God would allow evil to happen to good people and why, since he is All Powerful and All Knowing, He didn't know that King David would covet Bathsheba when he saw her bathing on her roof top one night and decide to get Uriah, her husband, out of the way and that King David would need Bathsheba to give birth to Solomon, the greatest and wisest king of Israel. Since God Knows All, why not cut to the chase and put Uriah out of the way and introduce King David and Bathsheba instead of creating all the drama, aborting a child, and making it possible and not against God's laws for them to be together and for Solomon to be born? It makes sense to me looking at these people more than 2 centuries later so why didn't God make it easier on everyone from the beginning?
I felt the same about Adam and Eve and Noah and all the people I learned about as a child and continued to learn as I read more and experienced more life. That is until I asked the forbidden question that earned me a slap in the mouth right before I was told in no uncertain terms that God's will must be taken on faith. Why? I didn't believe that the God who granted me intelligence and curiosity would expect me to spurn his gifts of intelligence and curiosity and deny me the use of what he freely gave.
I still don't.
What's worse, I still ask questions and seek answers even if it means being damned to the eternal fires of Hell for my presumption. Come to that, I haven't believed in Hell for a very long time even when priests and ministers/pastors/preachers turned pale when I asked them how a fire can affect an immortal soul which has no flesh, no senses, and does not feel fire, even as they admonished me and damned me with Hellfire and an eternity without the light of God. They prayed over my stubborn soul and reminded me that I would find out for without God I would be lost in the void or hanging over the bottomless abyss for my temerity and ignorance. "What would happen if no one believed in God," they asked. My retort was, "Not everyone on this planet believes in God and especially not YOUR God." Even as a child I knew how to bring damnation and punishment with a question or a statement not allowed children, for are we not all children?
As I puzzled and questioned and searched for answers it became clear to me that I did not believe in God. Not the God of Abraham and David, not Allah, not the gods of any organized religion because they all had failed. I saw the fine threads that bound all organized religions together even when doctrines clashed and opposed dogma. I wasn't quite an atheist because I was certain (still am) that there is a Creator at the center of everything and we are the physical manifestation of that Creator in the process of understanding itself. My ruminations took me far beyond whether God had a Wife who actually gave birth to all from the tiniest seed to the greatest expression of existence. I am not an agnostic, although I do believe that there is a Creator at the heart of all existence and reality, because I have already put organized religion in my rear view mirror.
As I crawl from the crude and rudimentary shackles placed on me at birth this time around, I see a greater truth, a greater reality, and, though a bit daunting at times, I am becoming comfortable with the Cosmic All. One might say I have reached the point where fear of God no longer hinders me. I have lost my Fear.
I used to think that religion was created as a means of passing information and understanding to succeeding generations intact -- or mostly intact considering what I have seen and experienced in my short lifetime -- and that was completely off track because I was still basing everything on what I had learned as a child and that was fear. Fear. Fear is what makes small children obedient. Fear of punishment. Fear of discovery. Fear of retribution. Fear of consequences. Fear of the towering parent, guardian, older and wiser adults who could ruin my life with a notation in my permanent record or eternity with a black mark in the Cosmic Book where God keeps a record of sins, transgressions, and good deeds, the adult version of Santa's Christmas List where children are either naughty or nice.
When I realized that everything in this life, from cradle to grave, is measured by God's Naughty and Nice list, the fear began to fade and evaporate from my reality. I don't fear God's displeasure or his pleasure because God does not exist. God as an invisible and incarnate parent ready with punishment and reward is as variable as Santa Claus with his Naughty and Nice list, only as real as people believe. There are countries and peoples who have never heard of Santa Claus just as there are entire groups of people in far distant lands (and some in our own country) who do not worship the Judeo-Christian deity of the Ten Commandments. I used to worry about how non-believers would be judged and whether they would end up in Heaven or Hell -- or even Purgatory as some believe -- until I was told that those who do not know God or his son, Jesus Christ, would not be judged by Judeo-Christian rules. They would simply cease to exist. Seemed a bit unfair to me as a child and even as an adult that people who do not believe as I was taught to believe would not be held accountable for what I viewed as sins because for those non-believers what I counted as sin was not counted in the same manner nor be held to account by rules they never knew existed, and that included all the myriad generations of those who came before Jesus Christ.
Yes, there is a certain belief that what is sin for one is not sin for another for without believing in the sin means you are not judged by the rules that made the act a sin in the first place. Followers of Islam see things a different way, but so do followers of Buddha, Tao, and every other organized religious tradition. How can you be held accountable for a sin which you do not know exists? For Muslims the answer is easy: death for all who do not believe or refuse to believe. If you're not with us then you no longer exist. You are dead, usually parting this life without your head attached to your body. For some aborigines, being parted from your head means you are cast into the void without an anchor. The same is true for many religious beliefs.
That is where I made the bold move to choose the pagan way, a life without organized religion rooted in harmony with the belief that as a part of nature I should be in harmony with nature. How can you be in harmony with nature when nature is being perverted, twisted out of nature for some corporate whim that will make corporate leaders rich and reduce everything and everyone else to collateral damage? Who do they answer to since their god is money? Money doesn't last, not even when it is fashioned of gold or silver or paper? In the end, everything returns to its basest state and ceases to exist, especially when those who created the money and its forms cease to exist. Rather belies the mantra that god is eternal and we are dust in the wind even when the dust that travels on the wind is ashes and gold/silver dust. Even copper dust travels on the wind as do nickel, lead, and uranium. All existence, all reality is dust on the wind because none of this or that or the other exists. In the end, we are illusion composed of fairy silver and dreams.
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and God was the Word -- so it says in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. Those words are echoed by nearly every organized religion -- I said there was truth in every organized religion that binds all the truths together. Before the Light, before the waters and animals and Adam and Eve, there was the Word. The Word is God and the semantics of which came first (chicken or egg -- egg naturally) do not count. At the Center of Creation, the Word came first and all the rest followed. Maybe in the Cosmic All, the Word followed the thought or the loneliness of the Beginning and the Cosmic All needed to figure itself out and thus the rest was created so the Cosmic All would be able to figure itself out and the Cosmic All collects the experiences and information from every single creation in order to figure itself out, to determine if there is a need for right and wrong, good and evil or if those concepts are little more than expressions of the action followed by the reaction and how that tallies with the cosmic concepts of reality.
The determination of good and evil come from the reaction following the action of this or that and the incarnation of a being of free will in proximity to the action and the reaction. Nothing is as we think it is. Everything on this plane of existence is determined by incarnation and the free will of choice. Do this but not that. Deviate from this action and the reaction will be painful or illuminating as determined by a reality rooted in fear or wonder and whether or not like incarnations react in a similar way. It is all about balance and we are all back to Archimedes lever moving the Earth with a long enough bar and a large enough fulcrum or dropping a boulder into the bathtub with the resultant splash of water from bathtub to floor. The Cosmic All is a balancing act, a seesaw that moves up and down depending on which side of the beam weighs the most. Fear outweighs complaisance. Or does it? If there is no God, who cares and who will view the results?
It is not God that keeps us in check but fear. Fear of God. Fear of punishment and discipline. Take away God and you eventually take away the fear that emerges from God, from God's displeasure, God's rules, God's book, God's ethics. We do not descend to moral relativism as some atheists believe when they take God from the equation. Chaos does not descend and, as Roger Zelazny illustrated, Chaos is not the lack of rules but imprisonment and stifling of creativity in an existence that is all about rules and order. It is in Amber, yet another shadow of Chaos, where beings are truly free, or at least beginning to be free. Each shadow of Amber creates a new set of rules and consequences, a new set of fears until another shadow is entered and the rules and fears change. Anything can happen the farther one gets from the confines of Chaos just as anything can happen when fear is taken out of the equation.
One might say that it was during Hitler's reign when scientists exercised their curiosity without fearing God would punish them for their presumption and casual use of human beings as lab rats. But look how much we gained in knowledge. Without Fear we would even challenge God and become gods in his place and that is the fear, not that we would become god but that we would transcend the boundaries placed on us by fear of what God would do to us if we go too far. If there is no God, there are no limitations and no consequences and no fear. What remains is information and experience and that cannot be tolerated.
Or can it?
I believe that humanoids, earthlings, left to their own devices seek balance, seek to find balance between existence and the natural law. Without the fear of god, we would still seek balance, to find a place within the Cosmic All that feels right to us where the equation equals out and where we fit. We do not need a god for that and not even an omnipotent, all powerful, omniscient, and omnipresent God keeping an eye on us. We seek balance.
Call it moral relativism. Call it pie in the sky. Call it Fred for all I care. We are elements of the cosmic question seeking balance. That is all the god we need. We will make mistakes. We will hurt others. We will destroy but in the end nothing is ever completely destroyed (at least as far as we know) and will simply change state as an atom can be both particle and wave and time and space switch positions in the cosmic equation. Everything is possible. Nothing is wrong. We are either in balance with the Cosmic Equation or we are not. We will have other chances to find balance because that is our ideal state -- balance -- and we will continue to strive in this form or another to attain Cosmic Balance.
That is all. Disperse.