Fifteen years ago, Jehovah God was as real as the ground below me. As it turns out, my belief was founded on lies, half-truths, and a burning desire on my part to possess a theory of everything, something that tied up all the loose ends and make sense of the world.
I stopped going to meetings nearly six years ago, and I’ve mostly given up the search for the ever-elusive theory of everything. I’m not really a “science guy,” but I’ve read a few books on atheism and biology in the past few years. Based on that reading and general musings of mine, a thought structure has begun to take shape for me.
The basics of that structure is that different life forms interpret “reality” according to their brain development. For instance, unicellular organisms possess no brain. Therefore, they are for all intents and purposes unaware of their surroundings. They instinctually go about the processes of replication and survival, sort of along the lines of a brain-dead human being. Organisms of a higher order, such as rodents, for instance, have small brains that allow them to feel cold, heat, pain, etc. But they do not understand math or science beyond their instinctual impulses. As you get up the chain of development, life forms may possess a greater understanding of the world around them, but none possess the ability to contemplate their own deaths or wonder about their place in the universe to the extent that humans do. In that respect, humans are the pinnacle of brain development on this planet. We possess an unrivaled degree of “consciousness.” Our pet dog might know when it’s happy or sad, but it does not wonder what happens to it after it dies. The reality of the permanency of death is lost on it.
What you begin to understand is that our brains serve as a filter with which we interpret impulses from the physical universe. Organisms of a higher order are able to interpret “realities” that lower life forms cannot even begin to fathom. We would never put together a team of the most intelligent dogs on the planet and expect them to build a spaceship. The reality of higher math and science is not something their brains are capable of understanding. The arrogance of man, however, has led us to assume that what we perceive as reality is all there is. It has blinded us to the thought that our perception of the physical universe may be limited by our development. If we could somehow travel several million years into the future, perhaps we will have developed into a life form that would view today’s humans as nothing more than the dogs or cats of the 21 st century. Perhaps at that point, the life form that we have evolved into would have more highly-developed brains capable of perceiving realities that our current minds cannot even begin grasp, realities that would help us make better sense of our place in the universe and bring us closer to that ever-elusive theory of everything.
This is where religion comes in. Human beings tend to assume that we are special among all species. We have reached a level of consciousness to where we understand that death is permanent but we don’t understand how our deaths fit into the greater picture. We desperately yearn for a theory of everything to put our minds at peace. Religion fills that vacuum. Religion tells us that death is not permanent. It explains our creation and gives us a meaning to our life. It fills in gaps and provides us answers to realities that our brain is unable to perceive. A more developed life form would laugh at our feeble attempts to come up with answers to realties we are unable to contemplate.
Of course, the problem with this explanation is that if we are unable to perceive other realities that would help make sense of the universe, then we are left with no answers. That’s not ideal, but that’s just the way it is. It’s better to make peace with it, then to go chasing after made up explanations such as those that may be found in religion.
As to what the “truth” ultimately is, your guess is as good as mine. It may eventually lead to gods and goddess or higher life forms of some type. It may take the form of some reality our brains are currently incapable of understanding. Scientists and philosophers have suggested that space and time are simply constructs of our human minds, “realities” our brains create to make sense of the stimuli we receive from the physical universe. Perhaps there are other information systems out there that correspond to realities based on logic completely different from our own. The greater point is that at this point in my life I do not believe we are developed to the point of being fully capable of understanding our place in the universe. A search for a theory of everything will eventually lead us nowhere, or worse, to made up explanations such as those provided by religion.