God and the Meaning of Life: Where I Now Stand

by neverendingjourney 24 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • neverendingjourney

    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.

  • the-illuminator81

    We perceive reality through our senses which our mind then interprets. A dog sees a meteor striking the earth, and thinks "something bright and noisy and bad has happened, I should run away and warn my pack", and our ancestors might've thought "the angry gods hurl down fire to punish us" while we say "a rock is burning up due to friction in the atmosphere, caught in the gravitational pull of the earth".

    But we all saw the same thing, a ball of fire falling down. Even the dog saw that happening. So maybe we do not understand everything that's happening around us, but what our senses register stays the seem.

    Society's concept of a God evolved from multiple gods being responsible for everything, the sun rising and setting, the crops being good or bad, to a single God responsible for everything. And then slowly, the things God was responsible for diminished. We learned he was not responsible for lightning flashes, volcanic explosions, the sun rising and setting. Fast forward to now: we cannot say for sure if God was there to set up the laws of nature and push the start button on the big bang, but from that moment on, we can explain how the rest took place without divine intervention. And the more we learn, the less responsibilities will remain for God.

  • peacefulpete

    Is a summer day so bad that we have to imagine an endless one? IOW an obsession with permanance and idealism robs a person of the pleasure of reality. Life is like a vacation, some are short, some are longer but ultimately we all know they don't last forever. Do they have to for us to enjoy them?

  • neverendingjourney
    So maybe we do not understand everything that's happening around us, but what our senses register stays the seem.

    I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but I don't think it's quite as clear-cut as you describe. There has been a considerable amount of material written on this point. See, for instance, works on the philosophy of space and time as well as the theory of biocentrism. By no means am I an expert in any of this stuff. Most of this is new to me. I'm just trying to make sense of it.

  • VoidEater

    The superstitious assign meaning and blame to purely physical events.

    They want an emotional cause for each physical effect. It is a reflection of their own needs to be used and abused.

    They cannot imagine a universe without some cynical puppet master behind every event.

  • leavingwt

    I reached similiar conclusions, myself. I summarized my conclusions like this:

    One day I will die, without having the answers to an infinite number of (seemingly) important questions.

    It's a little scary at first, but then you accept it for what it is. We're going to die, but we're the lucky ones.

  • jay88

    Could we approach life as neither a personal or impersonal silhouette?

  • jamiebowers

    Hey, it's good to see you on JWN again! Facebook mesometime, will ya?

    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.

    Well put, and I couldn't agree more.

  • agonus

    "When the truth is found to be lies and all the hope within you dies... Be a good boy." -Rabbi Marshak, A Serious Man

  • OnTheWayOut

    When we finally realize that we don't have to have all the answers to all the questions and we don't believe that any group or individual has them either, then we can focus on what is really important to us, be it tranquility, family, a day in the sun.

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