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Sunday, September 17, 2017

IS THERE A SUPREME BEING?

Maybe the primal question facing Humanity today:  Is there a Supreme Being?  I actually have the only possible answer that is irrefutably correct for now.  We don't know for sure.

But what about tomorrow?  Will Humanity here on Planet Earth ultimately reach an overwhelming consensus on the reality of God and the Afterlife?  I will argue for YES!

Part of the problem with this subject has got to be the language used by religious philosophers and thinkers, best epitomized by this paragraph from Wikipedia on The Existence of God:

A wide variety of arguments for and against the existence of God can be categorized as metaphysicallogicalempirical, or subjective. In philosophical terms, the question of the existence of God involves the disciplines of epistemology (the nature and scope of knowledge) and ontology (study of the nature of beingexistence, or reality) and the theory of value (since some definitions of God include "perfection").

If that doesn't wear you out, then the arguments advanced by believers and dis-believers probably will.  Here are only two examples:

  • Christian: “Everything with a beginning requires a cause. The universe has a beginning and therefore requires a cause. That cause is God.” Atheist: “Even if it were true that everything with a beginning requires a cause, how do you know that the cause of the universe is God? Why not a big bang? Maybe this universe sprang from another universe, as some physicists now believe.”
  • Christian: “I have personally experienced God, and so have many other Christians. He has saved us and transformed our lives. We know that He exists from experience.” Atheist: “Unfortunately, your personal experiences are not open to investigation; I have only your word for it. And second, how do you know that such subjective feelings are really the result of God? The right drug might produce similar feelings.
There are countless more points and counterpoints of equal ambivalence.  Here, though, are a few facts:
  • According to the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life, 84% of the world population is affiliated with some religion.  
  • Does this mean they all believe in some form of God?  Well, a Reuter international survey indicated that 51% were convinced there was both an afterlife and divine entity.
  • Surprising, then, that a recent national poll by a university team indicated that more Americans believed in an afterlife than in God.  Take a while to digest that.
  • Another Pew poll showed that 72% of Americans said there is a Heaven, while 58% indicated the existence of Hell.  
  • However, from 2007 to 2014, the religiously unaffiliated in the U.S. grew from 36.6 million to 55.8 million.  Thus, there are now more nones than Catholics, mainline Protestants and all followers of non-Christian faiths.
I'm also guilty, your mind glosses over.  Anyway, as time has gone by, the public is, very slowly, becoming less religious.  But this decline in the U.S. has been rather minimal, and mostly only the younger generation reflects this change:


The same trend shows even for Muslims.  One would think that education will in time erode faith, as is happening in the USA.  But if this occurs, it will take several more generations for any kind of turnaround to occur.

Ultimately, logic should prevail.  Someday science will be able provide a more convincing case for something like the Big Bang.  Education will also play a role.  Surely, evolution should become eminently obvious to most.

Why pose a question when there is no answer?  I wrestled with this thought for a while, imagined 42 and how innocuous that number should be, but isn't, and came to a conclusion that such is the nature of humankind.  Life is full of paradoxes and conundrums.  You can explain most magic tricks, but not much can be elucidated about spiritual conviction.  But over multi-generations, attitudes can change.  My final analysis has faith in the wisdom of humanity over time.

Let me pave the way for my ultimate projection with these two thoughts:


Our early human ancestors hunted, gathered and barely survived.  Fear was everywhere.  What caused thunder?  But this gave them fire.  There had to be a supreme being of higher order.  When we first began to form communities, it thus made sense for leaders to maintain control by inventing something like a God to keep people reasonably honest and cooperative.  Give them a gift at the end of life, say, some kind of afterlife to insure for their loyalty.  Toss in faith and a few other guidelines.  Brilliant, for there is no way to prove that there is no God nor Afterlife if your followers had faith.

I can see why most of this worked to bring Humanity to where we were, say, a century ago.  Then came education and modern communications, which should have begun to send people in the direction of Richard Dawkins.  For anyone ignorant of his beliefs, read The God Delusion.  If you're an Amazon Prime member, the e-book is FREE.

So here is my grand prediction:  By the Year 6000, the overwhelming belief will be that there is no God and no Afterlife.  Mind you, there still will be no way to prove anything, but just the extinction of anyone wondering about these concepts is sufficient to make that statement true.

As the internet and economic progress should hasten societal maturity, just the year 2100 might well have been sufficient, but I thought it was elegant, with a higher chance of success, appreciating  how long religious beliefs have continued to affect sound minds, to select a time frame about as far in the future as back to the founding of Hinduism and Judaism, the oldest religions.
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Oh, oh, that un-named disturbance has now acquired a name, Tropical Storm Maria, seems headed along the same path as Irma, and will at least reach Category 3 strength:


Models, though, suggest Maria will be moving midway on a track between Irma and Jose:


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