I recently read God’s Debris, by Scott Adams (author of the Dilbert comics). It was an interesting book, with an extremely thought-provoking premise. If you haven’t read it yet, you should probably stop reading now, because I’m going to spoil it for you. It’s a good book, and an easy read, so I do encourage you to give it a try.
The premise is basically that God is dead. He is dead because he killed himself. He killed himself because his own death would be the only mystery to an omnipotent being. Here are a few select passages, to help shed some light on this:
“Does it make sense to think of God as wanting anything? A God would have no emotions, no fears, no desires, no curiosity, no hunger. Those are human shortcomings, not something that would be found in an omnipotent God. What then would motivate God?”
“I can conceive of only one challenge for an omnipotent being – the challenge of destroying himself.”
So, God killed himself, and all of existence is bits of “god’s debris” re-assembling back into God. The universe is ruled by probability, and things with high probabilities increase God’s re-assembly.
I don’t know that I agree with this.
The very concepts of omnipotency and omniscience are so far beyond anything I can reasonably approximate that I ultimately decide it’s a wasted effort for any mortal to try to make guesses. I can’t pretend to be omniscient nor omnipotent, so I can’t begin to fathom what might motivate or challenge such a being.
One passage in particular really bothered me:
Another passage really resonated with me, though:
My mom was a very faithful woman. She was a Catholic, and her church and its community were a very large part of her life – more important than I often realized. She struggled her whole life to live a life of love, compassion, and forgiveness. Lord knows I challenged her on the latter often enough! She understood the significance of the New Covenant, and she dedicated her life to serving others, in all sorts of ways. She set a good example for me and my sister, and even though I’m not a practicing Catholic, I try hard to follow my mom’s example.
Mom was a very intelligent woman, and she didn’t just accept blindly everything about the religion. She was not at all afraid to explore her faith, or ask tough questions. She and I had many long conversations about all sorts of things related to the Church, and its teachings. She always came back to the love that Jesus exhibited for man, and his life as the expression of the New Covenant with mankind.
I’m reminded me of a friend of mine I had, some years back, who became “born again” while I knew him. He truly believed – and argued fervently – that people who had not been exposed to the teachings of the Bible were damned, regardless of the circumstances surrounding their ignorance. Yes, that means that Polynesian people on an island in the year 1000 AD who had never seen anyone outside of their tribe would be condemned for eternity, simply because they never had the good fortune to see a Bible.
I’m pretty much agnostic: I believe there’s something after death, but I have no idea what it is. I refuse to believe that whatever it is is so picky as to punish people for not having chosen the right belief system. Moreover, so many religions around the world share so many common elements that I find it hard to believe that there’s not some amount of truth in each of their tenets.
I think what matters is that people be generally decent: help one another; grow; love; laugh; explore.