Homogenizing Reality with “God”

Christian complaints against Atheists abound: they are filthy, untrustworthy, morally corrupt, fools, tools of the devil and more. In this age of science, another complaint is that Atheists do not acknowledge that there is much we don’t understand. Theists like to imagine that Atheists feel they can explain everything with science and thus do away with uncertainty and mystery. Indeed the opposite is true and this all-too-common claim shows how poorly many theists understand science and knowledge. Instead many theists use their “God” idea to run from mystery — using their god to blandly homogenize their world.

Our lives are full of a great variety of inexpressible, unexplainable, mysterious, and puzzling experiences. Actually, words inevitably reduce the richness of our perceptions. And to top it off, our perceptions are only a sliver of what is out there. Our very foundation in life is ignorance — and I am alright with that.

Many theists are very uncomfortable with uncertainty, variety and ignorance. To comfort themselves, those theists blend the world’s colorful variety of experiences with their “God Blender” creating an abstract homogenized, bland, safe mono-color reality. Their “God” somehow takes away their anxiety while dishonoring our real lives.

For instance, take the following positive emotions: awe, wonder, inspiration, joy, love, elation, unity. All of these can be different, but a theist may label them all as “experiencing god” while a naturalist (a nontheist) is happy just using a word for the feeling and admitting even the word is incomplete. Or take negative feelings: horror, sadness, depression, loneliness, boredom, pain. A theist is tempted to explain these as separation from God, being tested by God, the influence of Satan (anti-God). But like the positive emotions, naturalists feel no need to group all these experiences into convenient god-talk, blend them all into one simple cause.

Naturalists are OK with uncertainty: “Shit happens” and “Wonder happens” — no need to create gods, demons, spirits and such to make that all that supposedly understandable, less uncertain, safer and sanitary.

Monotheism is a form of “Monism” where “homogenization” has its roots too. Monism is a habit of mind that reduces the amazingness of diversity to One thing. Monism prefers to sum up and abstract specifics out of reality and to fantasize a homogenous unitary entity or experience. Monism comes from many different motivations: fear, frustration, delusion, dullness, deception and more.

Notes:

  1. For a post on “Monism”, see David Chapman here.
  2. HTs for pics: jar of marbles  & blender

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4 Comments

Filed under Philosophy & Religion

4 responses to “Homogenizing Reality with “God”

  1. Taking back the reality of my emotions has been strange. It’s weird to just accept that things happen because they happen. The realization that there may not be a grand design behind it all is somewhat unsettling.

  2. @ Alice,
    Thanx for visiting.

    Yes, it can be tough. But with time, embracing variety, multiplicity and color can be very rich. Yes, comforting oneself with the lie that some god(s) or your ancestors or some spirit or “The Universe” (New Age dogma) cares about us and is teaching us a lesson, may work for a while, but when something horrible occurs (imagine the Philippines now, or disease in a loved one or yourself), that contrived lie becomes obvious. So finding beauty, depth, richness in our insignificance, ordinariness and commonness is an effort worth making — for reality will eventually bite hard enough that our fairy tales will be obvious.

    This way, when something bad happens, I can realize that it wasn’t my lack of righteousness, my lack of right-belief, my lack of “doing-the-right things”, a lesson to be learned or “good in the big picture”, instead I can just realize, that sadly we all share tenuous bodies, a tenuous planet and we share these vulnerabilities with everyone else and all other forms of life — and even with the inanimate. We can then try to support each other the best we can and not separate ourselves from each other with Theological Exceptionalism.

    Sorry, waxing philosophical this morning!

  3. It’s exhausting putting everything through a God filter. What’s He trying to say? What’s He trying to teach me? Where does He want me? What is His plan for me? What is His plan for others? Where does He want me to go? What does He want me to say? What does He want me to do?
    I swear, I went through this with every single decision, simple and complex. I’m surprised I didn’t seek “His will” on how many times I should use the bathroom a day and which one at my house I should use. Seriously, it was that bad pretty often.

  4. @CHope

    Yeah, having your own-Personal-Jesus to help you with every decision is a burden — it is like refusing to leave childhood. Some Christian preachers have to steer their congregants from doing this because if they try, they will soon despair and feel Jesus does not love them or realize how silly the idea the idea is that the Creator of the Universe would be their own personal guide and friend. It is amazing how long it takes folks to get that. The only way to avoid that insight is by twisting up ones theology in lots of knots, platitudes and “cheap” caveats.

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