Hundreds of years…

26 02 2008

…Of academic reputation have gone up in smoke it seems to me. I found this on the internet, and didn’t quite believe it. I firstly had to check it was not April 1st. Thankfully it wasn’t. Then I had to check it wasn’t a prank. Again, perhaps unfortunately, it wasn’t.

The official website confirmed it, much to my disappointment.

I cannot understand it. Not even a little bit. These people at one of the most renowned universities in the world, have decided in their infinite wisdom, to study why people believe in God. What is more, they have been given £1.9 million to work it out. Can I have just half of that if I give the answer right here and now? Please?

From what I can gather, ‘god’ as an entity serves two purposes:

1. It is a way of dealing with death.

2. It is a way of dealing with life.

Firstly, it is to help people believe there is life after death. That there is something else, something which should be looked forward to, rather than feared.  God makes things good, if we are good then we will spent eternity playing blackjack on one of the millions of tables in heaven. For example.

If we are bad, we go and join Satan and grow rather fond of fire. Simple, isn’t it?

And to me this is a redundant argument. I think, judged by today’s standards at least, I have been ‘good’. At least, I haven’t murdered anyone, or slept with my neighbours dog. I haven’t done enough to justify being sent to hell at least. Which, because the middle ground all but disappeared after the Enlightenment, means I’m off to heaven. Now if God is a) all knowing, and b) all forgiving, the fact that I haven’t prayed every night for all of my life shouldn’t piss him off too much. Therefore, he will, perhaps begrudgingly, have to welcome me into heaven, regardless.

Which leads me onto point two. Believing in God is a way to justify why we are here. It is not enough to simply accept we are, and make the most of it. There are another two aspects to this I feel. Firstly, God is an explanation for human existance, and, by definition, any animals existance too. God, therefore is the meaning of life. God is why we are here, and why we are made the way we are. Secondly, God is a reason to live life well. When I say well, I mean looking after others, being charitable, not murdering anyone, or having elicit affairs with your neighbours dog. For example.

Running further with this, our physical form, our bodies, are effectively borrowed from God for the duration of their existance with the proviso that we do not abuse them. God created everything as a reflection of itself, so we should not destroy these miraculous creations, as we will be offending God. When they reach their expiry date, then our soul is free to join God and discuss whether we should take over Pluto.

Whether or not you have picked up on my cynicism about religion is not my concern. I will tell you now, in black and white, I think it’s all tosh. If God created us, then God created logic too. My logic says that God does not, and cannot exist. Yet it is one of those wonderful things which cannot be proved or disproved. What sort of deity creates people who are inclined to dismiss it’s presence? Maybe just a few screws loose…

Anyway, after that highly controversial rant, I am expecting my cheque from Oxford in the post tomorrow.

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