Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Long View: Being, in no particular order, 25 things I've bumped into along the way and have not forgotten. Yet.

17. God/No God
“In the beginning God created man in His own image, and man has been trying to repay the favor ever since.” "God created man, and man, being a gentleman, returned the favor." Wilde must have said both, but I'm too lazy to verify by Googling. I relented, got some energy, Googled it. I find those quips or ones like them variously attributed to Voltaire, Twain, Shaw, Rousseau, and so on. I'm sure Wilde said them also as he didn't think twice about appropriating the witticisms of others. His friend Whistler once made a clever remark and Wilde said, "I wish I'd said that." Whistler said, "You will." Speaking of appropriating the witticisms of others, here's a favorite: "When God created man he overestimated his abilities." Amen. My wife is a devout Christian, I'm an atheist. We don't let it get in our way. Her mom is Muslim, her dad is Christian. They've been married 40 years. As for my son, when he is old enough, he can make up his own mind, and always have the freedom to change it. When prayer is called for, I ask my wife to do it -- "He knows I don't believe in him, so your prayer will be more effective," I tell her, assuming God will overhear. How can there be a God? It is absurd. No more absurd than the Easter Bunny, Santa, leprechauns, but absurd. Yet billions insist that the deity exists. Most say he's a guy, some say he's both male and female. Why would gender matter to a true God? How can there be a God if children are tortured, women are raped, men are dragged behind trucks? That's not a God I want in my life or my world. What happens in the brains of otherwise intelligent, wise men and women that makes them buy into this ruse? In "Letters From Earth," Mark Twain asked the same question, albeit more eloquently: "The best minds will tell you that when a man has begotten a child he is morally bound to tenderly care for it, protect it from hurt, shield it from disease, clothe it, feed it, bear with its waywardness, lay no hand upon it save in kindness and for its own good, and never in any case inflict upon it a wanton cruelty. God's treatment of his earthly children, every day and every night, is the exact opposite of all that, yet those best minds warmly justify these crimes, condone them, excuse them, and indignantly refuse to regard them as crimes at all, when he commits them. Your country and mine is an interesting one, but there is nothing there that is half so interesting as the human mind."

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