Sunday, January 02, 2005

if i were god . . .

That was the topic of this morning's "Celebration of Life" at First Unitarian. Four people were picked out of the congregation (well in advance) to speak about what they would finish the sentence "If I were God . . ."

There were some interesting answers. One lady started off with the bit about the bable fish in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which I have quoted here for your convenience:

"Now it is such a bizarrely improbably coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful [the Babel fish] could have evolved by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.
The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
"But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."
"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
-- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (book one of the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy series), p. 50

(to save typing, I copied this from http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/quotes/douglas.htm)

Now, as soon as I heard the reference to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, I knew this would be good. So, she says that answering the question would be odd for her, since she is not a beliver in God, or gods, or spiritual beings, or anything like that. However, before vanishing in the "puff of logic," she says that she would implant certain things on people's minds, which turn out to be basic humanistic principles like "be good to one another" and "take responsibility for your actions." One of my favorite bits of her speech was when she said that if she were God (who doesn't exist), then when things happened people wouldn't be saying it was "the will of God" or other such nonsense, but that it was poor planning, or the result of someone's action, or bad weather--and then instead of trying to reconcile it with a belief system they would just deal with it and help others deal with it. (This is a very loose paraphrase. I didn't take notes.)

The others gave more theistic answers, but there was something that connected with me in all of them.

Seriously, I love this church. One of the best things about it is that I've finally figured out that I can actually say right out what I believe--all my atheistic, skeptical, naturalistic, pantheistic, rationalistic world view. Right next to some people who love Edgar Cayce and tarrot cards and reincarnation and all that sort of thing, without worries of what people will think. And without the mindset that "you must believe the same as me or your soul is in danger" mentality. This is religious tolerance at it's best!


2 comments:

coffee goddess said...

Hor fortunate for you to have discovered a UU church near you! I think, if there was one reasonably accessible to me that I might just one day actively go to church as a willing participant.

Unfortunately, I find myself now living (owing to husband's job tansfer) in a very right wing religiously conservative community. I crave the idea of finding a group of 'moderates' in whose comfort I might routinely escape to.

Dawn said...

Hi Mikel,

That's great you found UU. Well at least that's one good thing about America....you can practice whatever beliefs you want.

You and Robin both mention that book in your blogs...Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and now my interest is piqued. What exactly is it?

Glad you caught that movie Supersize Me. Insane huh? A book you might be interested in is: Fast Food Nation. It's an interesting and horrifying read.

Anyway......nice to mee you.

Dawn