"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

To Be-lieve, Or Not To Be-lieve: what a question!

          If you were to ask ten people to give their reasons for believing or not believing any proposition, chances are you'd get a few versions of two basic arguments. If, however, you were to restrict the discussion to non-jargonic language, you would force those ten pundits to pry open the dusty trap door guarding their deepest convictions and root around in the cognitive cobwebs and irrational clutter for thoughts that were once fresh, but long since forgotten.
          One issue attracts tremendous attention, as well it should. It determines the world views of millions. Now, the observant reader might wonder why the author limits this to millions in a world populated by billions. In answer, he would ask, "Do more than one-in-a-thousand people in this world bother to define their world view?" Oh, but wouldn't that be an interesting poll?
          But enough beating about the thorny bush, which issue happens to be the existence or non-existence of a personal, Supreme Being outside the material universe to whom all persons within said universe must answer. Those who believe in such a Supreme Being, hereinafter referred to arbitrarily as "God," generally base their belief on the solid, objective substance known as faith. Dis believers, however, might counter that argument with a statement such as, "Fill one bucket with faith, and another with hot-air, and see which weighs more."
          Point well taken. But dismissing all the simplistic, "Bravo Sierra" from both sides, used to cloud the issue for centuries, it all boils down to one coin with two sides: Naturalists, often called Atheists, Agnostics or Materialists, think it's unscientific(stupid) to believe in anything that can't be observed, measured, quantified, and defined systematically. Supernaturalists, despite seeming from the title to be more natural than naturalists, believe the opposite; that the science of the material universe can't explain everything that exists. Another way of expressing their difference is: Naturalists try to prove God's nonexistence through pointing out the lack of scientific evidence for his existence, while Supernaturalists try to prove God's existence empirically, based on subjective experiences and elaborate apologia.
          Objectively, both sides' "proofs" are completely lame, proving nothing but the preconceptions of both sides. Objectively, the question of God's existence/non-existence boils down to one observation and one question.
          First, the observation: The technology of scientific observation changes constantly. What was theoretical last year might just be proven by observation next year. And what "scientists" considered devilish mumbo-jumbo a hundred years ago is now the stuff of high school science class. All the geographic authorities of the fourteenth century taught with absolute certainty that Earth was flat. What presumption asserts that the "supernatural" of today will never, under any circumstances, become the "natural" of the future, based simply on advanced observational technology unknown today? Not too long ago, electricity was as intangible as invisible spirits. Is it impossible that someone might eventually invent a camera or other instrument that will observe spirit beings? Who can say for sure?
          Now, the question(okay, the observation posed a few questions, so sue me): The best "science" of today points to a Big Bang as the material universe's origin. Oversimplified, the Big Bang was the result of near-infinite mass being concentrated in a near-infinitesimal point. Once it reached critical mass, it simply went B-A-N-G, Big Time. So, where did all that mass come from? Perhaps from another universe that went Bang, expanded to its limit and collapsed into the famous point of near-infinite mass. But where did that come from? Etcetera, etcetera. Fact is, no one knows. And that's enough uncertainty to keep billions of people believing in the possibility of God's existence.

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