faith, evolution, and Richard Dawkins

Disclaimer: I consider myself to be Roman Catholic, having been baptised in Corpus Christi Church, Rochester, NY. On the other hand, I disagree with many of the Church's teachings and do not attend Mass, make an appearance at any other churches (except for AA meetings), nor wear a cross or crucifix anywhere on my body. And I know the difference between those items.

Does God exist? How am I supposed to know?

Here's the way I handle it. I thank God in the morning for giving me another day, thank Him at night for having been given the day that is coming to a close.

I often remember to thank Him for the many blessings that have been bestowed upon this undeserving wretch.

By the end of that last part, my eyes are so filled with tears that cannot see clearly - if at all. I have sinned, will in all probability do so again, thus I am comfortable describing myself as an "undeserving wretch".

This is not as easy, but I also try to thank him for any troubles I experienced this day.

The raw and brutal truth is that we learn not through easy successes, but via the failures that precede hard-won successes.

I don't know if He is there or not, but it certainly cannot hurt me to pray - and I am, after all, truly thankful.

I call this Supreme Being "Him" because of the Judeo-Christian tradition of doing so, not because I have any way of knowing his/her/its/their gender(s).

Is God male? Female? A single Being? A Trinity? Are there multiple Gods? If the answer to any of these questions is "yes", is there any control over or influence upon our daily lives by whomever is there? Or is "nobody there" at all? All of these are questions that we, mere Mortals, cannot really answer precisely due to our corporeal nature.

When asked for a Divine demonstration to prove His existence, the reply is simply this: "without Faith, I am nothing". And so we can expect no definitive demonstration to be forthcoming.

Certain sects would have us believe that the wonderful variety of life on this planet, the food chains and symbiotic relationships are proof of His existence. For me, describing any of this as "proof" blatantly contradicts His refusal to provide any proof.

Other individuals, such as Richard Dawkins, contend that the extant evidence pointing to the reality of evolution proves that there are no God or Gods of any sort. I also reject this argument.

Some of what I believe follows:

1. The question of the nature of any Supreme Beings is a moot question, at least upon the stratum at which humanity exists today.

2. Any debate proposing to prove whether or not any Supreme Being exists is likewise moot; both sides can present their arguments and rebut opposing points ad infinitum without producing a logical solution.

3. "... without form, and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep."(Gen. 1:2)
"And God said, 'Let there be light': and there was light." (Gen. 1:3)

Is it just me, or does that sound an awful lot like the current conception of the beginning of the Universe as we know it? From nothing through the Big Bang and into the age of light and matter, ultimately coalescing into stars, planets and galaxies.

The "Big Bang" concept neither proves nor disproves the existence of God. Not to me. I was born with a natural skepticism and have been encouraged by experience to remain skeptical. I need evidence. Hard, tangible evidence. The Bible is tangible, but it does not provide adequate scientific evidence.

4. If God exists, evolution (it seems to me) sounds like a reasonable way of developing advanced life forms. He is infinite and everlasting (isn't He?), thus it would be logical to conclude that he has plenty of time to devote to overseeing such an experiment - with plenty of mistakes, false starts, and rousing successes along the way.

5. Most of the older tales related in Genesis are essentially Cliffs Notes editions of stories that had already been told for millennia, long before the Sumerians (who were the first that we know to have written down these stories) - and notably in much greater detail than the Judeo-Christian texts most of us are most familiar with.

I never read a single Cliffs Notes edition of any book I was supposed to read in its complete form for school. For that matter, I've never read any Cliffs Notes "book" for any reason.

6. Evolution is real, as real as the fingers that tap upon my keyboard at this very moment.

7. The Great Flood, as an answer to how geological change and anomalies display themselves, proposed by "Bible-Thumping" believers is laughable at best and more appropriately described as ludicrous.

The world is not merely a handful of thousands of years old, and neither is the universe at large.

Just because you refuse to believe in evolution doesn't make it wrong. Likewise, just because you don't believe in God does not leave him (lowercase for any atheists out there) a mere Will O' The Wisp.

The wonderful thing about science (real science, as opposed to what euphemistically calls itself Intelligent Design, Creationism or whatever moniker they choose to call their ideology today [2009-03-28 C.E.]) is that Real Science must adhere to one central tenet: the ability to be open to contradictory ideas and evidence.

Rigorously applied religious dogma lacks this essential attribute, and I therefore reject it in toto.

Or am I wrong? Who's to say? When you get right down to it, none of us may exist at all. Damn metaphysics, always getting in the way when you try to be productive and helpful.

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