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Why are we here? What's life all about? Is god really real, or is there some doubt?

To me, the subject of belief comes from the eternal question of "why are we here?"/"what is the meaning of life?".

I don't personally believe in anything I can't prove or have proven to me that it exists. So therefore, I don't believe in god, or even have general spirituality of sky beings etc. But, I totally understand why there is a thought by some that we are hard-wired to believe in a higher power. It makes a whole lot more sense than us being here by random chance.

In a way, I envy people who have faith to believe in a creator, and that there is a purpose to it all. It answers a lot of life's questions. It would be great to think we on earth, of all planets, are chosen to have life, and to fulfil a manifest destiny of serving god.

But I don't think we are. I think we as humans, and likewise all members of the animal kingdom, are the highly evolved results of the entropy and environmental factors inherent on certain organisms. We as human kind have ended up with a pretty awesome outcome, and we've pretty well done an awesome job of entertaining ourselves, and reaching for the boundaries of space, but I don't think we were divined by god to do this. We did this ourselves.

I do not deny the conviction of those of many faiths. From the aboriginal people of Australia, to the pagans of old europe, to the christians of today, they all have beliefs in their creation being at higher power's will. We also all hope for eternal life, accept that if it's going to happen, it won't be on earth, and hope for re-incarnation to a personal heaven.

For my own personal beliefs, in the words of GLaDOS: "You're curious about what happens after you die, right? Guess what? I know! You're going to find out first-hand before I can finish telling you, though, so I won't bother. I'll give you a hint: you're going to want to pack as much living as you possibly can into the next couple of minutes".

But who's to say which of these ideas is right, or factual? What is a fact is that we are spinning on a rock, hurtling through space, around a star that gives us energy through heat and light. Through solid understanding of principles of rock formation, we know that our particular rock has been doing it for a very, very, very long time. Our kind's existence on this rock has been and will be but a blip of a second of the rock's life.

Natural selection vs environmental selection vs whatever other theories of on-going change doesn't change this. The fact is that we've been here for longer than the bible's 5000 years, and organisms do change over time, and we've had plenty of time to get from the protozoa to the spaceship.

So why do I get up in the morning? Because we are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. To continue the quote:
Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.

The present moves from the past to the future, like a tiny spotlight, inching its way along a gigantic ruler of time. Everything behind the spotlight is in darkness, the darkness of the dead past. Everything ahead of the spotlight is in the darkness of the unknown future. The odds of your century being the one in the spotlight are the same as the odds that a penny, tossed down at random, will land on a particular ant crawling somewhere along the road from New York to San Francisco. In other words, it is overwhelmingly probable that you are dead.

In spite of these odds, you will notice that you are, as a matter of fact, alive. People whom the spotlight has already passed over, and people whom the spotlight has not reached, are in no position to read [an LJ posts]

But what if I'm wrong? Well, let me again quote Richard Dawkins:

What if i'm wrong? I mean, anybody can be wrong. We could all be wrong about the flying spaghetti monster, and the pink unicorn, and the flying teapot.

You happen to have been brought up, I would presume, in the christian faith. Uou know what it's like not to believe in a particular faith because you're not a muslim… you're not a hindu.

Why aren't you a hindu? Because you happen to have been brought up in in America, not in India. If you had been brought up in India, you'd be a hindu. If you'd been brought up in Denmark at the time of the vikings, you'd be believing in wotan and thor. If you had been brought up in classical greece you'd be believing in zeus. If you had been brought up in central africa, you'd be believing in the great juju up the mountain.

There's no particular reason to pick on the judeo christian god in which, by the sheerest accident, you happen to have been brought up, and ask me the question, what if i'm wrong? what if you're wrong about the great juju in the bottom of the sea?'

Dawkins is a polarising character, but this is basically where I sit on the subject. Here's a less.. in your face discussion of atheism.

Me? I'm good without god. You can believe what you want to believe, and Harjit the Sikh can believe what he wants to believe, and so can Mohammed the muslim, and so can Yuki the follower of shinto, etc. That doesn't make them any less wise than anyone else.

The problem comes when we abrogate responsibility for acting in the physical best interests of others with the belief that we can "let go and let god". We all have a responsibility to not do stupid stuff, be that guided by our belief in a god, or be that guided in our own understanding of what will and will not be good for other people.

Remember, we are all going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones - use your time here to help other people enjoy their time here, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and over all, have fun.

April 2017

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