What If God Is Sick & Tired Of Our Arrogance? genre: Hip-Gnosis & Nouveau Thoughts & Six Degrees of Speculation
Do you ever see a headline in a newspaper or at a site online which catches your attention, but for some reason you just can't convince yourself to read the content? I saw one of those headlines yesterday and while I didn't succumb to reading the article at that moment, I broke down and read it today.
As to why, well, initially I wasn't completely sure...perhaps curiosity...maybe boredom with the lack of other eye catching news...but then I took the time to explore what the headline said that turned me off...as well as led me back to the article. Following the title and some relevant excerpts below, I'll attempt an explanation.
Dutch Bishop: Call God ‘Allah’ To Ease Relations
AMSTERDAM - A Roman Catholic Bishop in the Netherlands has proposed people of all faiths refer to God as Allah to foster understanding, stoking an already heated debate on religious tolerance in a country with one million Muslims.
Bishop Tiny Muskens, from the southern diocese of Breda, told Dutch television on Monday that God did not mind what he was named and that in Indonesia, where Muskens spent eight years, priests used the word "Allah" while celebrating Mass.
"Allah is a very beautiful word for God. Shouldn't we all say that from now on we will name God Allah? ... What does God care what we call him? It is our problem."
A survey in the Netherlands' biggest-selling newspaper De Telegraaf on Wednesday found 92 percent of the more than 4,000 people polled disagreed with the bishop's view, which also drew ridicule.
First, a bit of background. The climate in the Netherlands has been rather volatile since the death of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. Van Gogh's work was critical of Islam and his murder, viewed to be an act of retaliation, increased tensions with the immigrant Islamic community.
The comments of the Bishop were intended to be a conciliatory gesture to the Islamic community and I don't doubt his sincerity. Unfortunately, the irrationality which permeates the circumstances leading to the Bishop's remarks comprise the basis of the angst I experienced when first reading the headline.
With nary a thought, I knew if I read the article it would not only lead to frustration, it would serve to remind me why I find religion to be such a baffling exercise in contradiction as well as a perpetual source of human conflict. Having now read the article, I can attest to the fact that it easily met my stated expectations.
Here's my dilemma...and perhaps someone will be able to offer the insight necessary to unburden me. Let's assume that the Bishop's followers...no, let's go so far as to say that all those in the Netherlands who currently use the term god...suddenly acquiesce to the use of the term allah. With that assumption, would those who believe in the tenets of Islam suddenly shed their animosity towards other religious persuasions?
Conversely, if all those who profess an allegiance to Islam in the Netherlands suddenly conceded to use the tern god instead of allah, would the anger directed at those who embrace Islam suddenly evaporate?
I'll answer my own questions. In both cases, I would respond "of course not". In providing this answer, I point to the utter insanity that exists with regards to religious beliefs. Here's the point...on some hypothetical level, most people would assert and agree that there is only one god or one allah. At the same time, the actions of the majority of religious people suggests that there must either be numerous gods or allahs, or that a majority of the world's population undoubtedly believes in false gods or allahs.
Even more perplexing, each religious group is certain of the infallible nature of their belief in their god or their allah...which also means they are certain of the invalidity of the beliefs held by the remaining majority of human beings. In holding this view, the world therefore has numerous minority populations who are convinced that they are justified in condemning all others, justified in their efforts to impose those laws that support their beliefs and nullify the beliefs of their adversaries, and justified in pursuing and prosecuting plans to prevail.
So in the end, while I commend the effort of the Bishop to be magnanimous, I wouldn't hesitate to bet the farm on the following. If you put the Bishop in a room with a Mullah to discuss religion and tell them they may not leave the room until such time as they agree on one god or one allah...and of course that also means they must agree that there can only be one set of values or mores for living a proper life...the two of them will never emerge from that room. Further, if the door to that room does open, it will likely mean that only one of the two men remains alive and able to emerge...and he will do so while espousing that the one true god or allah had granted him the strength to prevail.
As such, I don't know how to conclude anything other than the fact that civilization has and will always be on the verge of utter chaos and constant conflict. When I acknowledge that thought, I find myself more convinced that god or allah are nothing more than creations of the human mind designed to enable one man to negate another.
Lastly, as a person fond of logic, reason, and rationality...I find myself imagining what a god or an allah might be thinking...were he or she to actually exist...as he or she watched us humans interact. In that exercise, one would be hard pressed to reach any plausible conclusions.
Let's start with the assumption that god or allah has a sick sense of humor and we're simply here for amusement. That would mean that he or she has devised a world such that his or her existence will remain unproven to us humans because he or she has chosen as much. In this model, the amusement would arise when he or she whispers clues into enough ears to pit us all against each other. The amusement would presumably emanate from us remaining in conflict on a perpetual basis. Unfortunately, as an all knowing being, we wouldn't actually be amusing because god or allah would already know what we were going to do. Therefore amusement fails as an explanation.
Two, if we believe that god or allah created humans...then he or she would have done so with the full intent that we be imperfect since he or she, in his or her perfection, could have made us perfect. Therefore, if one were god or allah...meaning one is all knowing...creating imperfect beings while knowing the outcome of said creation would ultimately serve no purpose. It couldn't entertain because he or she would already know the script. So what other reasons might explain our creation?
If we assume we are the product of a deity's creation, then his or her creation would never become perfect of its own volition since it would have been knowingly created with chosen or selected flaws. That would mean that he or she would have to fix us for us to serve any meaningful purpose in our association with a perfect being. If he or she intends to enact the fix...since we humans could not do so by design...because if we could, we would have to already possess the capabilities of a god...then why hasn't he or she already affected the fix and what reason would suffice for him or her to keep us around in a perpetually imperfect state? I'm not sure there is an answer that makes sense.
Further, if we assume that he or she is gradually revealing more answers to us over time...then that would have to happen through god or allah's selection of certain individuals since we wouldn't possess that ability innately. That means that those of us who were not chosen would actually serve no purpose and we would always remain reliant upon the ability and willingness of those chosen to know more, to share it with us.
However, in our imperfection, we would never understand what god or allah had revealed to the chosen few; we would have to believe them as a matter of faith. However, since god or allah already knows our imperfections, god or allah would know that we were incapable of knowing how to decide what we should believe as a matter of faith. Therefore, making some people capable of understanding more and providing them clues or knowledge would do little more than fuel controversy and conflict.
In other words, our enlightenment would ultimately still have to be given to each of us by god or allah electing to alter the imperfections we were created with. That holds true if we're to receive enlightenment as a matter of faith through others or if we're each to be given more knowledge directly from god or allah.
In the end, we humans cannot explain or understand the notion of a god or allah outside of our human existence...which leads us to define god or allah in human terms and which means our perceptions will always be flawed. At the same time, in our imperfections, we will always disagree as to who is more right. Moreover, logic tells us that our imperfections will preclude any of us from ever being able to prove what we believe to be right.
Therefore, in our efforts to define god or allah, we actually insult the very god or allah we think exists. When we presume to know god or allahs intentions, we diminish god or allah by falsely elevating ourselves. Knowing as much ought to instruct us to spend our time understanding each other and making this existence as palatable as humanly possible...for all of us humans.
If there is a god or an allah, he or she would already know that such a goal is the noblest practice and the highest pinnacle we can achieve with the abilities he or she had provided to us. I'm not sure any higher being would be amused by our preoccupation with assigning them a name...let alone an identity of our human making. Perhaps its time that we humans focus on that which is within our grasp?