Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Some faith thoughts

I have not done much in relation to my faith in the last bit. Yesterday I had some thoughts I thought I would share - I have no idea where this will head.

I am a Quaker. What that means in a few words is very hard to explain, but my faith causes me to spend a lot of time thinking about the nature of what is God etc... The other day what came into to my mind is that we can only look at God as a construct of humans and that this construct is one that changes with time and the evolution of human thought. I have often in the past thought along these lines and what brought it to mind the other day was the HBO series Rome.

In the series many of the people are shown to be very faithful to their gods, they believe, they feel the gods are real and are involved in their lives. Clearly this was a construct of their society that served tehm well. They developed a large group of gods to deal with all manner of things and this reflected their world view.

I have also read some interesting academic works relating to early Christian writings lately. What strikes me as so clear and obvious is that the period of 50 - 300 CE is a period in which the superstructure of what is the Christian faith was to become was built by different people.

Over the intervening time we have seem a multitude of different faith paths constructed out of that starting point and almost all of them continue with certain Christian myths. The virgin birth story, the trinity thing and finally the dieing for sins thing. Why do so many people keep these outdated myths? Do they really reflect the world we live, the human society we have become?

For myself, it only makes sense to view God as a collective construction of human society. We create God to help us develop a faith for us to follow. Humans are not a solitary creature, we are tribal, we live in groups, we have to interact with each other. Part of our need for society is also a need for purpose and reason for being, a reason to to act morally and not be completely self interested. We need a faith to be able to a society, to be able to live with each other.

Every human society has created a faith. Every faith contains a moral code, a purpose for people. In the last 200 years we have had new ways for people to express their own faith through things such as ideologies and non-theistic beliefs. It remains almost impossible to find people that have no faith at all.

The God in the sky idea is clearly dead but people still believe. We believe not because the idea is true, but because we have to believe to be humans.

So what is God? It what we create to fullfill our human need to have faith - no god is "true", but all gods are real to the believers. No god is static as they all evolve as human society changes.

My own faith sees God as the collective interaction of humans with each other and the world around them. We make Godd as we need God for our faith.

Here is what XTC has had to say:

Dear god,
Hope you got the letter,
And I pray you can make it better down here.
I dont mean a big reduction in the price of beer,
But all the people that you made in your image,
See them starving on their feet,
cause they dont get enough to eat

From god,
I cant believe in you.

Dear god,
Sorry to disturb you,
But I feel that I should be heard loud and clear.
We all need a big reduction in amount of tears,
And all the people that you made in your image,
See them fighting in the street,
cause they cant make opinions meet,
About god,
I cant believe in you.

Did you make disease, and the diamond blue?
Did you make mankind after we made you?
And the devil too!

Dear god,
Dont know if you noticed,
But your name is on a lot of quotes in this book.
Us crazy humans wrote it, you should take a look,
And all the people that you made in your image,
Still believing that junk is true.
Well I know it aint and so do you,
Dear god,
I cant believe in,
I dont believe in,

I wont believe in heaven and hell.
No saints, no sinners,
No devil as well.
No pearly gates, no thorny crown.
Youre always letting us humans down.
The wars you bring, the babes you drown.
Those lost at sea and never found,
And its the same the whole world round.
The hurt I see helps to compound,
That the father, son and holy ghost,
Is just somebodys unholy hoax,
And if youre up there youll perceive,
That my hearts here upon my sleeve.
If theres one thing I dont believe in...

Its you,
Dear god.

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