While reading a number of blogs today, I came across quite a few that started out pretty great, but then steadily devolved into a sermon about God.
One was particularly memorable. It was a nice blog with some great pictures of a beautiful sunset. The blogger started out by telling us where she was when she took the picture, then followed her explanation with the pictures.
I enjoyed the pictures. They really were spectacular. Then she went ahead with her sermon:
It got me thinking too. How can we say that evolution or chance made a sunset like that? How can some people think earth is an experiment by aliens or whatever other nonsense they come up with to explain away an intelligent, loving creator? I see God’s fingerprints all over this sunset! In fact, the colours in the clouds and sky look a bit like someone finger painted them. I walked home with the sunset above me and couldn’t help but smile and thank God for letting me see it.
It seems the Canadian school system has failed to teach this person the basics of evolution, evidence, and the scientific method. The science behind a sunset has nothing to do with trying to ‘explain away’ an intelligent designer. We know how sunsets work.
I’m not entirely sure what she means when she says ‘evolution or chance made the sunset’.
However, just because something is beautiful, doesn’t mean God did it. It especially doesn’t mean your specific god did it. It really doesn’t matter whether it looks like ‘someone finger painted’ in the sky – that doesn’t mean that’s what actually happened. You can easily find information on how and why sunsets happen and what causes the ‘finger painting’ type phenomenon.
On top of this, why does this person (and so many other religious people) automatically jump to the conclusion that even if a god were responsible for the universe, this world, and this sunset in particular, that it’s automatically a ‘loving creator’?
I’m pretty sure that shark who’s getting a chunk taken out of its hide isn’t too worried about the sunset.
The product of a loving creator, an indifferent one, an evil one, a combination, or the lack of one?
I guess god is more worried about whether this woman sees a sunset, than he is about starving children.
In my opinion, the entire premise of so many god beliefs are extremely self-centered. The idea that we’re the center of the universe; that this planet was made just for us; that if we pray hard enough, god will be persuaded to change his grand plan; that if we belong to the exclusive god-tribe, we will get to heaven while other suffer for eternity; that god is watching out for us, while other people suffer and die horribly with a prayer on their lips – all sound rather ridiculous to me.
Why do people have to try and manufacture awe and wonder by adding in god-belief? Why isn’t the sunset good enough? Why can’t we just enjoy the sunset?
Even the scientific explanation for a sunset seems more elegant, satisfying and wondrous to me than the simplistic, “God did it” mantra:
At sunrise or sunset, however, when the Sun is low on the horizon, the light rays must pass through more of the atmosphere – and therefore bounce off more molecules – than at other times of day. This means that more blue light gets scattered away before the light reaches your eyes. Other colours – such as red, orange and yellow – can therefore continue to pass through the atmosphere unaffected, creating beautiful colours at the start and end of the day.
The above has explanatory power, while ‘God did it’ does not. As far as I know, we’ve never replaced a natural scientific explanation with a supernatural one. I can’t see a scientific theory like the theory of gravity being replaced by something like God or demons holding us to the ground.
Plenty of religious ‘theories’ have been replaced by natural scientific ones.
I know we’re wired as a species to find patterns, but that doesn’t mean every enjoyable experience or every beautiful vista has anything to do with god. It also doesn’t mean that if we don’t understand how something works or how something came to be, that it’s automatically good practice to stick god (or aliens) in the gap of our understanding, even if it seems tempting to do so sometimes.
The other alternative is to wait for some evidence. If it turns out we’re products of extraterrestrials messing around in a laboratory, or a god that sacrificed itself to itself, then I guess we’ll have to accept that outcome once new data becomes available.
In the meantime, we can just give the honest answer, which is “I don’t know.”
What I have done is to show that it is possible for the way the universe began to be determined by the laws of science. In that case, it would not be necessary to appeal to God to decide how the universe began. This doesn’t prove that there is no God, only that God is not necessary. [Stephen W. Hawking, Der Spiegel, 1989]
Edit Note: I originally made a small comment (just a few words) on the original post that partially inspired this one, but it seems this is another blog that doesn’t like when you disagree with them. My comment was deleted in moderation. She also deleted my ‘like’ and left this comment at the end of her blog:
Author’s Note: The opinions expressed in this blog post may or may not jive with your views. Nevertheless, if you feel the need to argue with me on the goodness of God, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I do not appreciate being hijacked on my own blog and doubt that anyone else would. Please respect my opinions and my relationship with Jesus as genuine. If you can’t, well, I won’t judge but I would request that you be respectful of me as a human being.
Being hijacked by three lines of disagreement, which included me saying I liked the pictures. I guess to some people, any amount of disagreement is automatically assumed to be ‘hijacking’.
I wouldn’t appreciate being hijacked, but my comment section is there for a reason and I don’t censor disagreement. I hardly think someone disagreeing with me is tantamount to not ‘respecting me as a human being’. I think that’s going a tad overboard with the persecution complex. You’re the one that put out your opinion on a public blog that features a comment section. You must expect that not everyone is going to agree with you all of the time.
It’s too bad that you treat your readers this way, Amy McGuire, especially ones who take the time to read and comment on your work.