The case for a non-personal god.
Let me come right out and say it… I don’t believe in a personal god. There is a simple logic behind this belief. Logically, god cannot be omnipotent and omniscient. The logic is that if god were all-knowing of past, present, and future events, then that god would have no need to intervene in events. God would already know if you were going to pray or not, and thus the outcome of some event would already be known by god. Where I feel where most god logic fails is when there is a claim that god is omniscient and omnipotent, and yet gives us free-will. If god already knows the outcome of the future, then we don’t have free-will and no amount of prayer can change the outcome. If god does answer prayers, then god cannot be omnipotent since the need to intervene would indicate the lack of future knowledge.
I still explore my faith, my place in the world, and what it means to be human. I right now have settled on pantheist. The term is fairly knew from a language perspective and an exact meaning is still debated, but it generally means that the universe itself is the higher power. Our existence is the spirit of the universe. I have a right to this opinion. So many people freely express their prayers for various causes and freely speak of a Christian god and Jesus. My beliefs should be treated with the same respect. I do not fault or insult your faith, unless you consider my own reflection on faith to be insulting. Please respect my beliefs. For those that say without religion we would have no sense of right and wrong, ask yourself how many religious figures, religious political figures, or any other public figure who professes a faith in a religion have done something wrong or “sinful.” I certainly haven’t always made good decisions, but I think my friends and family would consider me mostly a good person. I don’t need faith in a Christian god to tell me a basic respect for my fellow humans is right.
Finally, I also want to express my strong dislike for those that portray the United States as a Christian nation. We are not a Christian nation. Although never directly expressed, we can ascertain from historical text that the brilliant minds that formed our country were mostly deists. The words “under god” we not added to the pledge of allegiance until over 50 years after it was written (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pledge_of_Allegiance#Addition_of_the_words_.22under_God.22). This is not to say that we don’t share many common threads as Christian beliefs or that good things can come from a religion. We simply don’t need religion to be good.
What had me thinking about this was this article on Elizabeth Edwards. Please read it. It is an excellent insight into her faith and the changes in her life. She talks about tragedy in her own life and how she had to question her faith. Thinking about other world events, such as the recent Cholera outbreak in Haiti, always make me wonder how those who profess a strong faith in an intervening god could believe god would let those children suffer horrible, painful deaths from this disease.
If you are Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Atheist, or anything else…just try to do good. Do your best to be a good human. We don’t always succeed fighting our animal instincts, but we can overpower them with our intelligence. The universe is a beautiful place, and I will continue to look at that beauty in amazement.