Belief in God

In a previous entry (Planetary Crisis: Two Fundamental Assumptions), I explained that Abdication: God Steps Down for Good is fundamentally an anti-war/planet-livability story, a fact that most readers of the book have overlooked due perhaps to the inclusion of the word God in the title. In this followup entry, I explain that God is not abdicating unconditionally either; rather His warrior role and related personal images are sacrificed for the good of Life on Planet Earth. Such a sacrifice is offered in the same spirit as that invoked by God in requiring his son Christ to forsake his life for the good of humanity. God has been made to stand behind and shield the fiercest holy warriors on earth for millennia. God is abdicating the war room in the interest of peace. Think about it: billions of years remain for fine, convivial living on earth, the only place life has been known to exist so far, and we have as a species brought it to the grim state in which it presents itself back to us now. Yet, we keep developing and improving nuclear arsenals and strewing our poisons and garbage across the expanse. And we insist that this fits somehow within God’s plan. Pardon me, I hate to shout, but I’m trying to break through the magnetic shield blinding our eyes to earthy perils and protecting the uses of God from human inspection.

God seemed real from earliest childhood. My parents didn’t have to convince me of this. The existence of God seemed obvious. Even in adulthood, when doubt overtook belief, I found myself opining to any interested auditor that “God was a necessary idea,” unavoidable to the human mind, compelled by the awe-inspiring experience of resplendent nature. The universe is one, an entity, a moving, self-regulating, organic whole. It had to have had a designer-maker. Even now, the universe is emerging into consciousness of itself through evolving human circumspection.

These ideas of God still warm me. I wish they were true. The self-regulating claim about the universe probably is true. I could happily live my days serene with this portrait of divinity if the political use of God had not turned so deadly and apocalyptic. Belief in God has become much too serious a matter to leave to faith. It is a time when only evidence and reason can be allowed to determine what is real.

With the publication of Abdication: God Steps Down for Good, I urge global citizens to forego belief in God for the general good—ours, other species, life itself, and the health of the planet. Part of my concern is the terrible abuse the idea of God has suffered at the hands of religionists who would make of God a holy warrior. A gathering portion of concern is the abuse humans and the planet have suffered by conceiving of God personally in human form, and by authorizing God to tell mortifying, confidence-destroying stories about humanity, and by granting Him supernatural domiciles and territories like purgatory, heaven and hell to superintend. The largest part of my concern is the obvious failure of we humans to take responsibility for the violence and planet degradation we so clearly cause, and which, despite the obvious truth, we continue to insist must be part of God’s plan (“Everything happens for a reason!”). Why should God be stuck with provenance over mass graves and toxic garbage dumps? How did God get into the nuclear development and industrial garbage disposal business?

The point isn’t so much the innocence of childhood ideas as it is the failure of socialization and education to produce sufficiently powerful, thoughtful, responsible adults. Ubiquitous violence and the rapidly declining livability of the planet is the issue, and the urgent need and obligation of adults to take effective remedial action. We can’t afford the luxury of laying either the blame or the responsibility for our global messes on God. There isn’t time. There are stockpiles of nuclear weapons, stores of munitions, armies, militias, terrorists, warships, rockets, planes, toxic chemicals, and fuels. Also, there are self-destructive, doomsday religions.

God has done all the public and global good we have a right to expect. It is up to us from now on. The question isn’t whether we believe in God? The question is whether we believe in ourselves. Do we believe in life? Do we believe in our species? Do we believe we can turn around the destruction of life on Planet Earth?

Will Callender, Jr. ©

May 20, 2015

Author of Abdication: God Steps Down for Good

6 thoughts on “Belief in God

Add yours

  1. You don’t have to convince us, Will, we’re fully in line with your thinking!
    Scottie & Phil

  2. I think that God might be taking a bad rap for people who are too afraid to think for themselves. Maybe it’s thoughtless people who need to step down? It seems to me that that’s the problem, since their decisions have advanced the hideous life-threatening, life-taking ’causes’ that humanity is most burdened with. Perhaps the big lie is not that God is a positively creative and integral presence in the universe, but that major philosophical faith
    lies have been distorted and refashioned to becomes social, religious and political forms of ‘truth.’ God, it seems to me, may be taking the fall for the errant thinking and behavior of multitudes of people. Personally, I believe it’s more ethical to point the fickle finger of fate at those who hide behind a false and thoughtless God, one whose reasoning can only reflect the crooked reasoning and action of their own. I want ignorance, greed, retribution, jealousy, etc. to step down. Could edu-care be an answer to how humanity could step up, while God, simultaneously, does whatever God actually does

  3. (Sorry for somewhat sloppily put together reply, above. I’m tying in a little cell phone pad. I should have edited and reframed some things, but I’m too worn out to strive them at the moment. Thanks, in advance, for your kind overlooking of each faux pas I’ve committed.)

  4. Thank you Sherrie for this important and ardent statement. You make an excellent point. It seems to me that Man and God are joined in an intimate dance such that the being and attributes of the former account totally—both for good and ill—the character and qualities of the latter. My focus is on a stronger, more aware, intelligent, and responsible adult equal to the challenges of salvage work on the garage dumps and battlefields of our degraded planet.
    I would be delighted if God could be of continued assistance in this endeavor.

  5. I don’t think the God that we’ve created in our hopelessly distorted image can leave without the God that you describe from your earliest childhood being fully present, intact and functioning in people’s hearts, minds, souls, and most importantly, their….our choices. The vacuum of one leaving before the other being secure in this world….this vacuum bereft of love and compassion, empathy and hope would be an even greater disaster. First comes the invasion of the God of the interior, the God of love, the God who, much to our surprise, has ever been present….as Catherine of Siena puts it: “God cannot leave us. It is just that our soul is so vast, we do not always feel His lips upon the veil.” We must secure the hips of the universe upon the body of love that can sustain it when the God you want to abdicate does the deed.

    1. I love the image of an abiding, returning God who steps in before a warrior God abdicates. Multiple gods present an obvious problem for monotheism, though, which I write a bit about in the book, and will again in the blog, but probably not until next fall. Thank you for your inspiring contribution.

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