We’re all like Prometheus; chained by the gods to the rock of superstition and fear. Unfortunately, no one knows they’re slaves to the Zeitgeist of the era; of eras past. We are all descended from the same primitive roots of our humanity. Our beliefs about the world are shaped by our ancestors’ misunderstanding of it.
In our waking consciousness, we tried to understand the world based on our perception. We could not explain the phenomenon that caused thunder and so blamed it on a being we could relate to. The cause of thunder was not known to be a mixture of positively and negatively charged protons, so it was the god Zeus who, like a blacksmith, created lightening. How does something come into being that is not made? All perceptions of the universe were based on human perspective; not on the facts. No one perceived that thunder was created by [the process that creates it?], but that does not negate the fact that it was and is. Nature does not require our acknowledgment of it in order for its precepts to be a law.
We are like our domesticated animals who cannot understand that their squeaky-toy is not alive. Because the toy behaves as though it were alive (by having characteristics), they believe it is. Anything that “behaves” must be; otherwise, how could it behave at all? They react to it as though it were a threat because of this. If they knew it was an indifferent object who was simply making noise because of a mechanism inside it, they would interact with it differently.
In defense of a Creator, the religious would make a point to state that the toy, though not animate unto itself, is created by someone. Well, the analogy is not dependent on the toy as an example. If a rock in the woods falls from a cliff because a strong wind blew it down, it will make a very loud thud on the earth when it lands. (No, the suggestion that “God is the wind” in this case does not work here. The wind is an effect of shifting air on the planet and is not, therefore, made by a MIND.) If there happened to be a cave-man close to where the rock fell, he might be startled and blame it on the rock itself. He would think the rock was trying to hurt to him. We know, in our advanced state, that the rock has nothing to do with what happened; it is a consequence of circumstances leading up to its landing where it did.
I make this parallel because our cat, if it were slightly more evolved, would probably name its toy something because it perceived it to be alive (and, therefore, an individual with an identity). As it consistently behaved the same way, the cat might come to have some sort of respect for it. After all, you can depend on the toy to remain the same even though the cat might notice it was aging. The principles of nature are immortal, so the spirit of the toy must be immortal and, therefore, a god.
The cat-example is one I can carry further. Because your cat likes eating mice, it brings you a kind of sacrifice of a mouse to show you that he cares. You really don’t like eating dead mice, but nothing could sway your cat to believe otherwise. Even though he never witnesses you eating them, he continues to bring mouse-sacrifices. He fully believes this act of his pleases you!
We fully believe that God, or the gods, has/have some desire to hear us singing or telling him how awesome he is because we have given him human attributes. We like people telling us we’re awesome, so God must like people telling him he’s awesome. But honestly, he probably doesn’t care. In fact, he has better things to worry about and wishes you would stop. Whatever the case though, maybe “God” only exists in our mind and his “behavior” is simply a phenomenon we don’t understand… like a cat who doesn’t understand his toy is not alive.
And here we are, thousands and thousands of years later, unable to dispel with the myths of the past completely because we have been threatened. We are infinitely more reasonable, as a species, than we were when we first became aware of ourselves. The fact that we have moved from humans’ rights to women’s rights to animal rights’ is extraordinary. We are so close to becoming fully enlightened that it’s painful to watch as people drag their feet. Before, we were only able to empathize with ourselves; then only our own family; then only our tribe; then only our nation, etc. But now we can even empathize with animals and strive to alleviate their suffering as well as our own.
If we can discard old superstitions completely, we will evolve again. We will become the quintessential gods of the universe. We’ll learn how to live in harmony with this universe as opposed to ignorantly destroying it, believing everything is made to be at our disposal. We can preserve life instead of destroy it. We are our own gods and devils. No other species has the power to create and destroy; to manipulate all elements in its environment to do whatever it wants. We will appreciate, instead of worship, the world around us and treat it with respect.
We created gods to explain our world and now we become them. Should we really sell ourselves short of our destiny by continuing to pay homage to our imaginary gods? This is nothing based on magic or mysticism but on reality; on what we can touch and feel and create in real-time. We need to focus on the here-and-now and not what-might-be. All we know for sure is this life is definitely real. Some people feel the need to reiterate the fact that tomorrow is not guaranteed. I feel the need to stress eternity is not guaranteed, either. Live your life as though it’s all you have; all that anyone around you has. Your purpose is to ensure nature continues on its course. Do not destroy this miraculous existence by insisting there may be another one in a different dimension. Until we find the portal that doesn’t require death for entrance, we can only be justified in creating a utopia here. If heaven can’t survive in our “sinful” world, maybe it’s not strong enough to withstand reality.
In layman’s terms… stop trying to impose your beliefs about the afterlife on others. You’re stunting all of our growth. You are the equivalent of the cat who thinks its toy is alive or the caveman who thinks the rock is trying to hurt him. The rock-god is not going to strike you dead if you don’t warn the others about him. If you weren’t so busy cowering in fear of his landing on your head for disbelieving, maybe you’d realize there is a perfectly good explanation for what you have yet to understand.
Do not condemn knowledge because it threatens your belief and stirs your fear. If there was anything to support your belief, then knowledge would be your ally. Seek knowledge because it is ALWAYS your ally. If the humans had been satisfied with the answer that thunder was caused by Zeus, Benjamin Franklin wouldn’t have had the wherewithal to harness the power of electricity. Our belief in the gods, or any one God, prevents us from moving forward. We should never be satisfied with what we know about the universe because the possibilities are infinite.