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