You say potate-o, I say potat-o…
For the past few days, I’ve watched an argument between atheists and Christians as to how the universe was created and have been amused at how close their explanations come to one another whether they call it Chance, Intelligent Design, or God.
“God” is an ancient word that refers to a being of supernatural power that either created all that is or has charge of natural processes beyond our capability of controlling. Nowadays, Christians use it to mean their Creator God and dismiss all others. Muslims will say that their god is the same god but call him Allah, which means The One God to make clear they’re not just dismissing all the others; the others just don’t exist. Same difference in viewpoint though.
Religious ideas were/are the science of ancient times. They were not a thing apart. They were how people back when believed things came to be. So now people embrace the old ideas or embrace the new ones, or diplomatically try straddling the two. And none are wholly wrong. In fact, we have no way of knowing the ultimate TRUTH(s); just the judgement/imagination to choose whatever makes the most sense to us as individuals.
Cognitive dissonance is what you suffer when your true personal beliefs come into direct contrast with beliefs you have been sternly indoctrinated in, given that you feel the authority doing the indoctrinating must not be questioned without sin being incurred. Once upon a time, back when I was actually what you’d call a religious type person, I had a big problem with this kind of stress. Eventually, I decided it was NOT worth it.
Most of the books of the Old Testament (and hence the Koran) contain source material from the ancient Mesopotamians. In pre-Bible Mesopotamian lore, you find the story of the Garden of Eden, the creation of Man, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, etc. These are stories the Hebrews would have heard all the time while they were captive in Babylon so naturally, they just adopted them.
It wasn’t just stories to the Mesopotamians, however; it was their history and that’s exactly the way they taught it to the Hebrews. There is a difference between how it was taught and how it was received though. The Mesopotamians called their creator beings The Elohim, which translates roughly as Those From Whom Heavens to Earth Came, and there were 72 of them. They said these Elohim created the Black-headed People (the Mesopotamians) for semi-intelligent slave labor by infusing a part of themselves into a native specie of hominid. The Hebrews interpreted the same beings as Gods who’d created EVERYthing but ended up, post captivity, worshipping only one of these and later denying the others even existed. We know this happened at the time of Abraham when, after nearly making a blood sacrifice of his son, he is made to take a vow that he would put no other god before Yahweh.
Whether the story about Abraham is from the Mesopotamian history or simply added on my the Hebrews later I no longer recall (though I think it the latter). Anyway…
So Yahweh is/was or probably is/was the classic Ancient Alien. Therefore not the End All, Be All that churches, mosques, and synagogues tend to teach.
Does this bother me? No. Does it bother you? If so, why?
If you ask me if I believe in God, I’ll want to know which one you’re talking about and what your definition of God is. And if it’s Yahweh/Allah, I’ll tend to call one an ancient astronaut and the other a delusion by a megalomanic mad man based on the first. Jesus I think of as a good man and avatar, not god, but part of God as we all are but closer in conscious awareness thereto. But I’m not talking about Yahweh or Allah when I’m talking about God. I’m talking about an eternal, self-aware intelligent universe of which we’re all a part. We’re the expressions of that intelligence. Our physical manifestations are just temporary small parts of the greater All-There-Is and we’re all a part of one another.
I’ll tell you that, and you’ll probably just call me an atheist, listening no further than the fact that I don’t believe there’s a Heaven and Hell or Judgement Day as described in your ancient books or that Yahweh/Allah are the End-All-Be-All. Oh well. Each to their own vision of Reality. What do any of us really know after all?