Sunday, July 24, 2011

Deus ex Machina: How man created God

God is nothing more than a machination of human narcissism.

Xenocrates
This is what really happened — not the other way around.
 
Have you ever wondered why is it that humans refer to God using male pronouns? Why does God seem to have the emotions of a jealous boyfriend with insecurities? If we are guided by God's "hand", then does it mean that he also has feet? Why is it that our God speaks in old English? Why is it that every portrait of Jesus we know of make him look like a white skinned blue eyed homosexual? If the universe is so large, why would God love just us as opposed to some alien civilization? The answer to these questions is the same: Because we made god up.


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The Superior God


God, master of the sun and moon — Michaelangelo Buonarotti, Sistine Chapel
During the 18th century, an old native American Indian Shaman dances an elaborate routine dedicated to appease the great spirit to ward off tornadoes. 200 years earlier, a Mayan priest did a similar thing, with human sacrifice, to prevent the occurrence of hurricanes. 3,000 years earlier, the ancient Egyptians deify the movement of the sun and moon as a god like duality.

It is a natural instinct to worship that which is considered superior to our existence. It is a primal survival instinct. The logic behind it is simple: If we whimper before that which is more powerful than us, maybe, just maybe it won't bother to kill us. This primal instinct took hold of the earliest forms of modern men from the very moment their brains were able to ask "why?".

So then has almost every major religion at its center the worship of something considered to be more powerful than the worshiper. Aside from the whimper factor, worship is inherently flawed by the cognitive propensity of man. We tend to have a history of ceasing to whimper at the things we have come to understand. We tend to ignore the things that do not frighten us.

That is why we no longer worship animals, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanoes, stars or meteorites. The only people who still do live in primitive cultures. However, we know what they are and knowledge removes fear. Without fear, there is no whimper propensity. Without the whimper tendency, there's no worship. Without worship, there's no need for god.

The Singular God

Zoroastrianism, quite possibly the philosophical origin of monotheism, predated Judaism by a millennium.


Sometime close to 1700 BCE in what is now Iran, a prophet named Zoroaster came up with the radical idea of simplifying the religion concept by just having one god. His idea didn't take off at first, but it eventually blazed a trail throughout history in a desperate attempt to squash all other polytheistic theories — or maybe those stories were the stuff of embellished legends.

Either way, the singular god idea took. It was as elegant as a simplified quadratic equation. So where as every other religion deified multiple forces of nature, the Zoroastrians worshiped the one force of nature that was behind all those other forces of nature. They worshiped the one, the true, the almighty, the first cause, the only cause, the be all and end all of all things. 

There is a certain degree of congruity in monotheism with mathematical philosophy. Our math tells us that if there is indeed a god, then there is likely to only be one. We know this because the universe is expanding. If it is expanding, then it was likely all together in one singular point. So when this singular god asked for a light, that's literally what he got in the beginning:

A big bang.

However, the math doesn't end there. While theoretical physics asserts that there was indeed a singularity event, it also demonstrates that the event is only singular in this universe. The same mathematics that says there was a singular creation event, also says that there are many parallel universes out there, each having their own creation event. If we believe the math to be right (and so far, it is impeachable), then the singular god theory will break down.

The Human God

Why does god look like an old guy? — Michaelangelo's "Creation of Adam", Sistine Chapel.

The same people who believed in only one god took a different approach to identifying their god. Instead of using a force of nature or an element of nature, they chose a person. Their god is not a giant bird, or a man with a bird's head, or a lion with a man's head. No. Their god was just like a man. He had hands and feet, and eyes to pierce your soul with, looking for sin.

This became the first and most trendy anthropomorphism, one that turned man into a god. These people predated every other ancient culture in doing this. Because they were first to market with their trendy new god design, it naturally was a more recognizable than say a god who had a bird's head and wings or a god who had multiple hands, or looked like an animal.

This god wielded unimaginable power, foremost of which was the creation of all things that exist. However, when we became smart enough to develop tools that enabled us to look deep into the architecture of things, we didn't see a man, or even the work of a man or a man like being. What we found was far more random—not exactly something a human god would do.

A human god would make the world perfect with no room for error or suffering. Everything would be uniform and neat. Instead, the universe we see is anything but uniform or neat. In fact, you can tell when something is man made versus when it is a natural occurrence by the lack of neatness in the latter. While nature behaves more like a random fractal, man does not.

However, since the world doesn't appear to favour humans in any way (we regularly die by the thousands when natural upheavals occur), nor does it appear to be neat (the world map looks like a finger painting) nor does it appear to be uniform (such as the vast prevalence of phenotypes among genotypes), it is irrational to think that any god could be remotely human.

To make matters worse, the chief monotheistic religion (as well as its cousins) – like most other religions, assert that there is a parallel dimension (which, technically, is supported by science) where there is no more suffering. That is a perfectly natural expectation of a human god. Such a god would prefer not to see its human denizens suffer—except that leaves one glaring flaw in the religion's logic: Why didn't god just create a perfect universe to begin with?

As the flaw in the logic is obviously human, the idea that god is somehow human-like is consequently also human. This means that god is nothing more than a machination of human narcissism where we superimpose the likeness of ourselves onto something that we did not previously understand. In order to understand it, we weave the inextricable likeness of our intelligence into it, rendering unto ourselves the single ultimate act of indulgent self worship. 

This is the reason why every depiction of god that can be found renders him with a human like appearance. This is why the Bible constantly describes god as having human emotions such as regret, anger, pleasure and jealousy. This is why we often try to explain god with very human temperaments, like where we love to suggest that he is like a parent. One can safely say that god has hands and feet for all the same reasons SpongeBob™ curiously wears square pants.

Because we made him up.

The Cultural God

The same culture that produced this scroll could not have come up with a god that couldn't be outdated.

It is a little amusing to watch Christians make fun of Muslims for believing in a god that would reward them with nearly four score virgins on a valiant death. Their god rewards them with milk and honey, in a land devoid of pain and suffering, where everything was made out of precious metals and stones we could easily get at the jewellery store for a really good deal.

What these poor people fail to recognize is that each of their gods appear to be stuck in the century in which he was invented. Modern humans wouldn't crave heaven unless they lived in the arid desert regions of Afghanistan or in the poor desolate urban communities of sprawling cities. Only these people would have expectations so low as to care about seeing lions and lambs lay next to each other without one devouring the other in a rabid, frenzied, blood lust.

Besides, you can see that at the zoo.

To expose the flaw inherent in this afterlife logic, a god invented in the early 21st century would likely reward humans in heaven with iPads, a 72" ultra high definition TV with digital sorround sound, an Audi R8 in the garage that runs on water, a temperature controlled post modernist mansion overlooking the Riviera, with a swimming pool in back and a killer view of the beach. No one in this day and age would live in a mansion that was made entirely of gold.

That's just stupid ...and for all kinds of reasons.

The god of every religion that has one seems to be preoccupied primarily with the culture in which he was derived. That's why he appears to be so big on animals with the Jews and on virginal women with the Arabs. That's why the Greek gods cared so much about intrigue and lust and why a Hindu god is preoccupied with (of all things) a cow. Cows are highly regarded as holy animals in India, for fairly obvious reasons, considering their history as cattle farmers.

Even then, if it weren't for the dedicated work of a 15th century King of England, the religion that was propped up by ancient Rome after having appropriated it from the Jews in 300 AD, would not have been translated into English. However, since these 15th century scholars spoke a primitive version of English, to this day, many Christians still swear by the "thees" and "thous" of the King James translation — despite the fact that a modern translation now exists.

It was not until a brilliant Irish evangelist of the 19th century figured out a way to repackage Christianity so that it appeals to all cultures and gave hope to the masses (by reinterpreting what the last book of the Bible really meant) that Christianity got its edge and took off in the west. That's the only reason why Christianity survives to this day: It had become all inclusive.

Apropos, if a god is inextricably bound to the culture in which it was derived, does it not suffice then to say that if that culture were to cease to exist, that all of its accompanying gods would likewise cease to exist? Why are we not worshiping the gods of ancient Babylon? That's right — because Babylon is no more. No culture lasts for ever. Therefore no god lasts for ever. If the Chinese have gods, we'll worship them next when China finally comes to take over the world.

The Creator God

Raphael – The creation cycle (fresco)
Humans make things. Therefore god must also make things, because things that exist were made by someone, not formed by a naturally occurring process. This is the logic that flows from the minds of the people who invented god. This is despite the fact that we now know how humans come to be. Somebody had sex. There's no intellectual handiwork involved here.

(...unless you count the hand job that went down the snatch.)

So far, no scientist has been able to identify god in a laboratory. To be honest, no scientist is actually looking for god in a laboratory either. However, if god did in fact make the universe in much the same way humans make things, then there would have been evidence discovered in the laboratory that would suggest that there was intelligent design behind the veil of reality.

However, when we looked closely at the substance of things, we did not find anything that seemed like it was intelligently designed (or as far as we can reasonably determine was done by an intelligent mind). What we found were particles of energy that had come together to form a relationship that made mass possible. There is no evidence of a creator at work here.

Now we have a pretty good idea of how things come to be. We are all made of the stuff that comes from stars. Stars were formed in gigantic interstellar gas clouds, which themselves may also be the remnants of exploded stars. The stars themselves were formed in the same way all matter was formed — in the presence of an unknown substance that we call dark matter.

This unseen force makes up most of the universe. Wherever dark matter exists, matter clumps together and takes up space. We're sure about the existence of dark matter because the math proves it. Why are we so sure about the math? Because it predicted the existence of atoms, electrons, protons, neutrons, quarks, neutrinos, bosons, anti-matter and a myriad of others — all of which we have been able to reliably and consistently identify in a laboratory.

This laboratory to be precise. If god is found, this is where it (not he) will be found, in the Large Hadron Collider. This, the world's largest particle accelerator was built to prove that the god particle actually exists.
Unlike god, math is provable. This is why we have been able to use the math to better predict how the substance of the universe will behave, and we have found it to be more reliable than any existing holy text. This math has also predicted that there is a weightless particle that is responsible for the substance of matter. This is why we have gone ahead and built a massive particle accelerator with the express purpose of identifying this, aptly dubbed "God" particle.

So far, we appear to be close to finding it.

If we find this particle, no, when we find this particle, we will be able to safely kiss the creator god theory good bye. Why? Because then god wouldn't be a person. God would be a particle — the Higgs boson particle to be precise. This would be the particle that is responsible for the formation of the universe, life and everything in it. This particle is the master of the universe.

Did I say earlier that scientists aren't looking for god in a lab? Perhaps I was incorrect to even suggest as much. Scientists are in fact looking for god in a lab. However, the god that they are looking for is not one that has hands and feet, wavy white hair, a long white beard or robed in a glorious fashion. The god scientists are looking for is just a naturally occurring phenomenon.

Not a man. Speaking of which:

The Masculine God


The monotheistic people not only assert that their god was a human like creator. They also made god a male. This is not surprising at all, since these monotheistic cultures all predated the age when women were considered to be our social equals. In virtually every primitive culture of the day, women were second class citizens because they were physically weaker.

Therefore, it is only natural that if the man is the head of the woman and god is the head of the man, that the only gender that could be appropriated upon god is that of masculinity. The trouble with this idea is obvious. If god is male, who is his female? What function would a masculine god have of masculinity if he has no woman in whom to insert his all powerful cock?

What a waste.

At least the early Christians attempted to fix this cosmic travesty by suggesting that God leaped off his throne to bone Mary to make Jesus. As ludicrous as this idea sounds (largely because a 14 year old vagina could barely manage a grown man's penis, let alone that of a God's), there is even greater asininity in referring to god as a 'he' as opposed to just an 'it'.

Even though science has disproven the notion that every human being starts out in the womb as a female, it is still the mother's DNA that guides fetal development until its DNA is developed enough to take over. So if anything, god is scientifically more likely to be a woman (which would explain why he flips out the way he does when the Israelites don't do what he says or even passes a glancing look at another god.) God is a jealous god we're told, and he doesn't take well to our lying, cheating hearts. The early Jews found that out the hard way.

...or so the Bible says.

This is why modern day versions of the monotheistic religions originally held women down in the religion (both literally and figuratively). It is only because Christianity was embraced by the United States why it began to take on a liberal interpretation, ultimately shedding its maternal prejudices to openly embrace women after the feminist movement gained critical momentum.

Of course, that happened before black people were likewise loved.

The Caucasian God

Why is God often portrayed as an effeminate white man? — Jim Caviezel in the Passion of the Christ.

Despite the fact that every biological anthropologist collectively agrees that we all came from Africa and that we all started out as black people, every depiction of god that I've ever seen shows a white male wielding this insurmountable power. Why does god appear to be white? The answer to this question can be found in Leonardi Da Vinci's infamous self portrait of Jesus.

Da Vinci's portrait is commonly said to have been influenced by an image from the Shroud of Turin. This is patently untrue. Da Vinci had nothing to work with. He merely constructed a painting of a man who he would find pleasing to his eyes. As Da Vinci was a well known homosexual, it is likely that he passed along his own personal artistic influence into portraying a masculine Jew. The end result was a Caucasian Jesus with long brown hair and soft features.

The rest, as they say, is history.

God is white because he was invented by white men. To be fair, black men also invented their own gods. However, because they were gods and not a god, their god theory was summarily trumped by the onset of the slave trade. The white men that took black men out of Africa, rebranded their skin and their minds with the European concept of a saviour who was white.

This is why I am always amused by black people who champion the favour of Jesus Christ. Little do they know that the only reason they believe in Jesus and not the many others from Africa, is because they were indoctrinated by white people some 150 years ago. Today, nobody believes in Jesus like black people, even though now in a cruel twist of fate, most atheists are white men. So even white people are growing rather tired of their own nonsense.

Fascinating, isn't it?

I am equally perplexed by black people who join the Mormon faith which had banned black people from becoming Mormon priests until 1978. I guess ignorance is bliss. I'm sure modern day Mormons aren't racist. But that's besides the point. The point is that most of today's religious believers have no idea where their religion comes from or the injustice it once upheld. The KKK is actually a Christian organization. That's why there's absolutely nothing more amusing to a white supremacist than seeing a black man preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The God who only loves humans

We live in a universe of a mind boggling size. What are the odds that we're alone?

We live in a massive universe. The universe is so massive that it took light over 14 billion years to cross it so that we can see the rest of it. Now, the source of that light is about 42 billion light years away. That's how far away it has moved since the light left it to get to earth. We'll never be able to see the edge of the universe as it currently is because it's so far away.

So whenever you look up into the night sky, with the exception of what we can see in our immediate vicinity, (within a radius of 120 trillion miles) you are actually seeing a stale dated image of the universe. The constellations are no longer so aligned. The north star no longer points north. The only thing in the sky that we're seeing in real time is the moon, a few of the planets and the Sun — and even that is still delayed from a few minutes to about five hours.

Why are we seeing a stale dated image of the universe? Because we can only see that which is transmitted via light. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. You could circumnavigate this planet seven times in one second traveling at that speed. It'd take you two seconds to get to the moon at that speed. It would take you 8 minutes to get to the sun at that speed.

It would take 5 hours to get to pluto at that speed. It takes 25 years to get to the nearest star at that speed. It would take an insane 200 thousand years to cross our galaxy at that speed. But it would take a mind boggling 42 billion years to cross the universe at that speed.

The sky you see at night no longer looks that way right now. That's the way it looked thirteen billion years ago. What it looks like now will not be visible to us for another 42 billion years. By that, time the outer universe will have changed, and that will not be visible until another 135 billion years. Our solar system would have long been destroyed by our Sun which would have become a red giant star and a super nova by then. That is how incredibly big the universe is.

Now that you have a pretty good grasp of the sheer gargantuan size of the universe, why do we believe that we are the only lifeforms in it? If god comes back to bring an end to the world, does that mean an end to the universe as well? It seems hardly useful that the end of our world should mean the end to a universe so big, as the odds of us being alone are negligible.

The reason we haven't discovered another race of intelligent beings yet is likely because we are so damn far away from them. They're probably thriving in a part of the universe too far away from any of our instruments to detect. The situation is quite probably the same for them. In fact, if we were to discover an alien intelligence, this would be the end of all Earth religions.

We will quickly realize (as many free thinking rationalists have already done in the past) how incredibly narcissistic it was for us to think that god only loves the world or that there needed to be a god to love the world (or anything else for that matter). We are suffering from a global case of tunnel vision. Because we haven't yet explored interstellar space, all our knowledge is still bound by our planet home. It is this same narcissistic delusion that led us to believe that:

  • The world is the center of the universe (disproven 270 BC and 1543 AD, Aristarchus, Copernicus).
  • Europe, Asia and Africa constituted the entire world (disproven in 1492, Columbus).
  • The world was flat (disproven in 1492, Columbus).
  • The Sun is the center of the universe (disproven in the 1920s, Edwin Hubble)
  • Earth's gravity is inescapable (disproven in the 1950's)
  • An intelligent god created the universe (on the verge of disproof, 2011).
    If there is an alien intelligence out there that is similar to ours, it is quite likely that they have evolved through the same levels of cognition that we have until they realized how ridiculously big the universe was. When we as a race becomes advanced enough to prove all of these notions to be false, we will also realize that our belief in god is a testament to our huge egos.

    If there is an alien intelligence out there that is greater than ours, it is quite likely that they will have long since evolved past the stage of relying on religions and are now very competent intergalactic conquistadors. If they discover us before we discover them, the outcome will be no different from when Spain discovered those primitive Arawak tribes living in the Caribbean.

    Either way, our religion won't matter anymore. What are we going to do? Baptize a Romulan in the name of Jesus? I hardly think so. They may mistake the act of baptism as an attempt to drown one of their own, and wage a war on mankind, the likes of which have never been seen in our history, what with their powerful war birds and their stealthy cloaking technology.

    Baptise this, motherf@#$ers.
    The reason no existing religious text (that I know of) has ever accounted for the possibility of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe is because they were written by men who did not have the intellectual capacity to realize that there is so much more to the universe than the planet on which we live. That's why God so loved the world that his only begotten son died only for us. I guess neither the Klingons, Romulans nor Vulcans need salvation if they existed.

    The Western God's name is Ralph

    What are the odds that a random search on the name "Ralph" would turn up a photo of a white male? My selection of the acronym RALPH was supposed to be arbitrary. But this is convenient. I am running with it.

    The god that is being talked about by modern men can be described as a RALPH, which is a:

    Randomly  
    Accessible  
    Life  
    Producing  
    Hypothesis.

    It's randomly accessible, because almost every community of modern man has devised a god theory. It is life producing because that's what the god theory is designed to do: explain the purpose of life. That it's a hypothesis is self explanatory. It wasn't ever intended to be factual.

    Now let me be abundantly clear: M Theory, which is evolved from String Theory is not a RALPH. String theory was originally devised through a systematic process of identifying a problem and presenting several ideas on how to solve that problem, eliminating those parts of the idea that are proven to not be consistent with solving the problem. This is the critical difference between some god named RALPH and one that is considered a particle in theoretical physics.

    You can prove or disprove a particle's existence in physics, because it is based upon well defined rules of logic that we can empirically test and ostensibly demonstrate to be true or false. A god named RALPH however is not based on any of these systematic rules. It is a cosmic teapot, a flying spaghetti monster that is as random as human ingenuity. A god based on a randomly derived idea free of rules of reason and deduction is unprovable and untenable.

    ...ergo, such a god is a RALPH.

    At the same time, the acronym RALPH (and I have just made this up for the purposes of this post) is not only a masculine name, but one typically assigned to a Caucasian male. So the idea of a RALPH god not only describes the randomly generated anthropomorphism that is a religious god, but it captures the essence of  such a god as being both masculine, white and culturally affixed. While I do concede that a Hindu god would break the RALPH definition, an equally suitable acronym from a name of Hindu origin can be easily derived to suit us as much.

    For example, take the Hindu name RAMESH. A RAMESH god would be a:

    Regionally
    Accepted
    Masculine
    Endowed
    Supernatural
    Hypothesis

    It works in exactly the same way the RALPH acronym does in the description of god by man. It captures the cultural idiosyncrasy of the faith (Regionally Accepted), the chauvinistic qualities of the faith (Masculine Endowed) and the fact that it's another supernatural hypothesis. You can likewise take a Muslim name and work exactly the same magic, achieving the same effect. The idea is to demonstrate that god is nothing more than a man made idea defined by culture.

    Deus ex Machina

    The Latin expression "Deus ex Machina" is quite suitable for the problem outlined in this post. It describes in a cultural translation of the phrase, as "God from the machinations of man". The term was originally used by Horace in his work "Ars Poetica" where he admonishes the use of a popular plot device where a god is literally lowered onto or brought up on to the stage to solve an otherwise inextricable human generated problem. Sounds familiar? Well it should be.

    Many posts ago I described the use of "Black Hole Logic" to explain away things that we are either too lazy or too fearful to determine the answers for. We tend to use black hole logic a lot for what appear to be impossible scientific problems. In fact, black hole logic is the entire substance of Intelligent Design theory, where it literally gives up in the face of an inextricable problem by declaring that "God did it" which only poses more questions than it really answers.

    Questions like: which god did it?

    Deus ex Machina then, is God from the intent of man. It was man who created god, not the other way around. This is why every time a scientific question backs a theistic answer into a corner, the typical theistic response is to rely on the Deus ex machina technique, where we simply say that "God did it" when the answer to a question escapes us at that very moment.

    If you don't know the answer to an ultimate question, it might be simpler to say you don't know. What this does is manage our expectations by setting our sights on a new problem to conquer. There is no such thing as a problem that cannot be conquered. Deus ex machina is an enemy of human ingenuity. It stifles our creative instinct by using an over simplified answer to an incredibly complex problem. Doing so robs us of the brilliance of the answer that awaits us.



    E-mail: accordingtoxen[at]gmail[dot]com

    4 comments:

    1. Wow, Xen...

      When I first started reading your works, you sounded like an optimistic Deist. Now, you're sounding like a bitter old atheist.

      Are you OK, man?

      ReplyDelete
    2. It is our ignorance or unawareness that created such a misconception of God. To be god is to be Unformed or Formed, not driven by suffering cause, desire. For centuries and centuries, many still failed to get or even grasp the Core Teaching of Phophets, Christ. We tend to put our miserable, selfishness and ignorance into this concept of Almighty God. It is by Natural Law that constitutes everything, and God is one of the best concept to understand the Law. He may be in form or formless. Whatever it may be, that's not the point. What put us in our corresponding result is the Action, CHARACTER and Understanding. We have religions to follow but we will never get the Enlightenment or Salvation when we don't even do our part, i.e. A rightful human, a highly virtue being, selfless being. We want to go to heaven, we want good rebirth, but we never do what we need to do, then tell me how do God or gods or Guru let us go into their realm? You have religions, but you also have critical thinking. Use them well and u will live moderately and spiritually.

      ReplyDelete
    3. I sense Xen was on this path along time ago it is the only destination once logic dictates the journey.

      ReplyDelete
    4. Hi Xeno ... worship is not always based on fear. Sometimes I praise and worship someone who does not make me scared at all. (a great artist,athlete, unselfish good person..)

      ReplyDelete