It’s Beautiful…Therefore God!

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’?

If this shark were clamping down on your leg, the world would seem far less beautiful, especially considering much of the life on Earth kills to stay alive

If this shark were clamping down on your leg, the world would seem far less beautiful, especially considering much of the life on Earth kills to stay alive

I’m pretty sure that shark who’s getting a chunk taken out of its hide isn’t too worried about the sunset.

gabe3

Cancer. Created by God?

The product of a loving creator, an indifferent one, an evil one, a combination, or the lack of one?

Makes complete sense

Hey, as long as you got to see that sunset, everything is cool. God is watching out for you

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 shesanauthor@gmail.com.  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.

 

 

 

 

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19 Comments

  1. I enjoyed reading this post! How often is it easier to just give something to the supernatural instead of appreciating beauty for what it is? To me, attributing false conclusions to something only takes away from the experience. Thank you for sharing this thought!

    • Hi Sirius and welcome to my little corner of the internet. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I agree. I think attributing something to god in the manner described in the post is lazy thinking. It also shows how people ignore the things that don’t directly affect them a good part of the time.

      Reminds me of how rich people can so easily not see the poor.

  2. 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?

    I can still remember a early occurrence of gazing at a star filled sky and realizing attributing all that to a mere supernatural being cheapened the experience. Simply put, “knowing” ruins the experience.

    Beyond the senses the beauty is in the mystery, the quest to understand. I find it far more stimulating on every level that out vast universe less before us awaiting discovery, than attributing all that to a magic trick.

    • Hi HH! Thanks for your fine comment.

      Yes, I love how every time (or most of the time anyhow) science answers a question, it opens the door to new questions. I think attributing everything to a magic deity in the sky, who just conveniently happens to be beyond space and time, cheapens the experience and has no explanatory power.

      It reminds me of how every time I used to question my Sunday School teacher, she would say either she’d get back to me (and never would), tell me God worked in mysterious ways and we could never understand his mind (why bother with Sunday school then?) or try to silence me.

  3. Thank you for reminding me of this awesome song by Tim Minchin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74SQ6w6LdU0&feature=kp

    If you’re unfamiliar with Tim, give it a listen, I think you’ll like it. At least the lyrics, I don’t know what you’re musical taste is.

    I always check out my followers page, and since it’s about grief and such, you can imagine the amount of people who profess that they’re praying for me. It makes me quite uncomfortable, but I’ve recently come across a blogger who seems to think food additives can cure cancer. That kind of pseudoscience really angers me, but I spend enough time in my real life and on Facebook arguing with people about that, so in this case, I might just ignore it 😦 still, I feel a little guilty, I like bloggers (and people) who speak their minds on such issues.

  4. Good strong post here, GC. Making people think is one hard thing to do sometimes! Muir said the best synonym for God is Beauty, but his Beauty God was not always seen in sunsets but in earthquakes and mosquitoes and the most troubling. His unsupernatural spiritual sense fits into no known religious system.

    • Thanks very much, Chris.

      I find the idea that the entire system (universe) is interconnected a beautiful sentiment. The idea that for a short time, matter can gain consciousness and become aware of the rest of the universe is awe inspiring. I think ideas like those are far more wondrous than the ancient mythologies we now (as a species) seem to hold in reverence. I find most religions childish – not necessarily their followers – but the religions themselves.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I really enjoy reading your blog. You have a unique perspective.

  5. I like your article here, sir.

    In retort to the entry that you quoted, it seems the raw results of science’s existence lacks within the religious realm.

    From the quote above, “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?”

    This person is all for the BELIEF and visual example of their “creator”, which in fact (to me) science is merely the PHYSICAL divine blueprint of the actions of their creator’s operation, that is hidden within the ‘mainstream thought” – which majority of our planet calls it by a Deitstical name.

    Life is, in fact, an experiment. Every ounce and pound of your existence comes from the trials and errors of our human ways.

    All of the Deities the people worship all around the world are, to me, scientists.

    If science is explaining the foundation of our physical existence, this only aids in the religious understanding that science works hand in hand with the primary function of the Deistical Dudes – in unison with the planet Earth, which we ALL have to share.

    I enjoyed reading your piece. I will continue with my part 2 comment at a later time.

    -N.N.

  6. Exactly, you never know where inspiration will come from.

    As for part 2, you have inspired our next writing assignment, involving humans, deities, and science, again.

    A brief outline, in regards to your article above, the photos, these carry several generalizations in regard to humans vs. gawds.

    There are aspects of society (globally) that we do have control over, and others we do not. Cancer, for example, I am not sure if this is something we have accelerated through our means of “advancement” or if its merely genetic. But, We can say, that the human assistance of this issue is also man-made, with tobacco used products.

    I… I am still thinking on this one. Thanks for the response.

  7. The wonderful thing is, all people are individuals, each with their own set of life experiences and perspectives of things. It’s perfectly reasonable that a religious person would attribute beautiful things witnessed in nature to their God, just as it is for a scientist to revel in the scientific explanations for things. I do both. Because I can. 😛

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