Is God The Answer, For You?

The question often seems as though it is; does God exist?

With relative certainty you’ve probably discussed this at some point in your life; whether as an inquisitive child and left it at that, or more likely as a curious adult seeking answers as you grow up.

God can offer guidance in times of great difficulty, and arguably most importantly can comfort a lost soul in times of great loneliness, by making them feel not so truly alone. Like they are being looked after. Like they will be looked after when their days are done.

And yet, despite the positivity that the knowledge of a God can bring into your life; still there are men and women who do not believe in the existence of a God and their omnipotence. Still there are those who refuse his or hers guidance, and the wisdom they impart through their disciples and prophets.

Why? Why would you not choose to believe in a God who’s purpose is to ensure our well being through their divine intervention and grand plan?

Well – the answers to that it seems may come in multiple parts.

Omnipotence to many; is actually to a deity’s detriment. If one were to describe God as entirely in control; of every wave on all the oceans and of every wind within all of the airs on Earth – then surely that means nothing at all. In the same way if everyone is beautiful; then there would be no need for the word, because there would be no word for ugly, so there would be no requirement for the word for beautiful. If God is entirely in control of what will happen, then this is as useful to the average man or woman as saying God is in control of nothing. Either way, it offers no sustenance, no tangible answers. If God’s will is carried out, regardless of a Faith in them or not, regardless of a worship of them or not – then what is the point? In fact, what then is the purpose of humanity? To revel in the splendour they have bestowed upon us, but at the price of their glorification? To marvel in the wonders of the universe, but with the condition we are born of sin, and owe a higher power much more than we could ever give them? Why are we born of sin, if we were not there to make the choice to be conceived at all?

It seems then, the answer that a God is in control, offers little to us, as a consciousness.

Moreover, perhaps the answer “God is all knowing.” is not a satisfying one. Not in the sense that it is a difficult to swallow answer, but more that again, this means nothing to the “I”. If God is all knowing, yet our communication with them is entirely one-way in the form of thoughts and prayers, then what knowledge does this impart on us? If I need to have my plumbing fixed, the answer, “The plumber down the street knows how to fix that.” does not actually fix my plumbing. I would still require their knowledge to be put into practice, or have the knowledge myself in order to alleviate my circumstances from me. Surely then I should be able to call the plumber and have them respond? Otherwise I would become frustrated, and choose another plumber? Perhaps this applies to a God. Even maybe the choice of which God, also?

So God being in possession of all knowledge, again does not benefit anyone or anything in the universe, other than he or she of grand power who has decreed it to be so.

What’s more, if God is the creator of all things; the origin of the Universe – then surely this only begs further questioning. If God is the creator our universe and all things; “Why?” and “What Came Before That?”, are the only logical follow up responses to the original question.

Science is in an ever pursuit. There is no comfort to be found, that science will ever be complete, and than any one of us can understand it to the fullest extent. The notion that Science will one day finish, and solidify, seems rather foolish indeed, because science understands the notion of change; of a flowing river and how it transitions to that state. It understands that the universe is always changing. It’s stated in the common phrase, “Nothing is ever created or destroyed; only converted.” such as energy from electrical to light, with some heat and sound too. What this would effectively mean, is that while Science can define and categorise events that have happened based on past experiences, it can only help us to further predict future experiences. It is a fairly accurate prediction based on what HAS happened, that the thing WILL happen again. Which is the same as taking some comfort that because God protected us at some point (based on a belief) that they WILL protect us again (based on a Faith), and everything will be okay. At least Religion can offer some finite answer, rather than pose an indefinite number of further questions, which Science seems to and in fact relishes upon.

While the two, Science and Religion, seem as though they are distinct and polar opposites, they share remarkable similarity. The main similarity being, that they are both a pursuit for answers, for knowledge, and comfort. The key difference being that Religion is satisfied with the answer, that a deity, or a higher power has the answers, and with Faith we can assume they have it taken care of with a knowledge we do not possess, and with information we cannot comprehend. Science however, is not so satisfied. If science were to remain humble (which it always has been), and understand that it does not have all the answers and that something else does, it would mutter under its breath, “yet.” As in, “we do not have the answers we seek… yet.” And it does so in the understanding that once those questions have been answered, this will in turn only lead to further questions. Nut this is okay. This is progress; this is a desire for growth and for change, which the universe as we can observe it, is an example of. Science then, is surely an alignment with the universe, and a desire to understand the self; rather than where Religion sees humans as an inhabitant of the universe, placed there by some divine intervention, to be watched over and governed.

It seems then that Science and Religion are both about unification, but Science unify’s with the universe, and Religion unify’s with a God, whom happens to operate the universe in which they have allowed us to inhabit.

Science and Religion are both about Faith. Religion is a Faith in how their divine entity will govern the universe, and ultimately a Faith that they will do right by humanity. Whereas Science is a Faith that previously confirmed theories and experiments backed up by replicated evidence will continue to be replicatable. When in fact they could change on a dime, and all could be disproven, as the laws of Science readily admit.

As an addition; generally those who’s Faith relies on Science believe that it is the self who governs their own experience of the universe. For if a God is in charge of that, why would he or she allow such evil and iniquity in the world. It’s a common argument, that no doubt the religious will be sick to death of hearing, because they are sick to death of replying, “It is God’s will.” or “Have Faith in God.” or “It is all part of God’s plan.”

But it must be understood, that surely one of a reasonable kind and loving nature, would not want to worship a deity, who believes the soul purpose of a life is to experience anguish, pain, agony, and unkindness. If the plan is that someone must experience this, in order that another would not have to, then surely this is a bad plan. And surely one who would come up with such plan, should not be worshipped.

If a religious person were then to suggest, “No, all you must do is pray for God’s intervention, and they may choose to listen, and alter their plan according.”

To which it would be reasonable to say then, that there could not be some grand plan set in stone, which must mean it is changing and so therefore provides evidence that Science is perhaps more accurate. Additionally, why is the divine allowed to choose when to listen?

But finally… Surely thoughts and prayers do not work, because measurably they had not for the thousands of years humanity had been around. For hundreds of years that we can measure in literature, we prayed for plagues not to kill us, and yet they did. Our prayers went unanswered then, so why would he listen to your prayer for a new car? Or to pass a school exam? Is your exam more important than a life? Again if a God were to say yes, surely you would not want to worship that person, who may allow your significant other to die of some horrible illness or experience, because thousands of miles away another person needs a new car which they had prayed for so persistently

Thoughts and prayers do nothing; Science, measurably, does.

Pen

In the above image, you see our population increase exponentially thanks to the advancement of Science. As evidence of this, Penicillin was discovered in 1928. It’s mass production began in the early 1940s.

To believe and take comfort in Religion it seems, is perfectly the choice of the self. To believe in Science is equally so.

Religion can offer its answers in Faith of a higher power; by which knowledge and answers lie in the deity, and you can take comfort from that and their decisions they make surrounding that. Science offers its answers in Faith too, but in replicatable, measurable experimentation that allows humanity to assume the universe will continue to operate in such a way. It seems the prize of Science is answers and knowledge contained within the self, but at the price of comfort. Because ultimately we do not know all the answers or knowledge and perhaps never will. What’s more, is we must have Faith that as a society, some possess knowledge others will/do not, and that they too must use that knowledge appropriately for the collective good.

You may find this article provided no answers; but perhaps you were looking at it the wrong way. The question it was answering, was not whether Science was correct, or Religion was; instead it looked to at least partially answer, “Is God The Answer, For You?”. This assumes you must understand both sides, at least a little, to make that decision.

Whatever path you decide to choose; regardless of whether you stick to that path or not; be kind to others.

Remember; that while they are of different perspectives, and provide different answers, it is up to you which combination of which you choose to accept. You can discern your own perspective. They are not mutually exclusive, and you need not commit to both in their totality. No one does. It is up to the self; to make the sovereign choice.

And even if you don’t like the choice that another made, at least understand it.
And accept that it was their choice to make.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serenity Now

Peace cannot be achieved, today and now, without an immense amount of effort. It takes everything to let fundamental disagreements, pain, and past unfairness subside in order to move forward without the anvil of the past weighing you down. It cannot be demanded, because by its very definition there can be no force and all parties must accept the conditions amicably.

Demanding peace is no more useful than demanding yourself to relax in a moment of panic. It’s a paradox. Fundamentally it cannot be rushed. It takes effort. It takes endurance, respect, and consistency.

What differentiates the villains from the heroes in old tales, and even blockbusters that we know of now – is that the villain must only succeed once to achieve their goal. If the villain wishes to cause terror, to take lives, and to exert their will, they need only do it once. Their world ending plan, or their terrorist attack – has to be only be achieved the one time. Terror, is spread easily – peace is a little tougher.

So we must be consistent. Stronger. Unwavering, and unfaltering. It begins not with magnanimous leaders that boast their own narcissism, but with the people who we often forget actually run the world – the people. It can only be achieved on the grand scale that it will, once the small behaviours of the people change. Once people remember to prioritise what they want most, rather than what they want now.

The next time someone skips you in a queue, or walks in front of you – do not storm and pout and get mad about it. Even if it irritates you in the exact moment, work hard to laugh, or joke, and move past it. Do not let the second, dictate the minute. Because very quickly, the minute can dictate the hour, and so on. Big things are only made up of small things, and it is our lack of vigilance on the small things that allows larger things to manifest themselves over time.

Talk about the small things; communicate towards a solution, as they arise. Accept that the solution may not be achieved immediately, but it cannot even begin to be worked upon until stakeholders are even aware that an issue exists. More so; do this with a smile. Do not assume maliciousness, where ignorance will do. If your waiting staff have not cleared away a table you wish to sit at, do not be so arrogant as to assume they are not doing their job, and complain of the terrible service – instead stop for a moment, consider it may be busy, and that by chance in this exact moment you spotted the table you want to sit at, they were dealing with other issues and unfortunately this was not their priority. In fact, if you have worked in the service or retail industry, you know this to be true. Be polite and kind, and with a smile bring it to someone’s attention. Think about it for a moment, from a perspective that is not your own. Imagine you are in their place, and how you would feel if someone spoke to you horribly. Equally, imagine the difference it would make if someone was kind to you, when everyone else was not. Simple actions, behavioural changes and understanding can change the world. You just must apply it to everything, every example that you can.

Say thank you with sincerity. Mean it, no matter who it is, or for what it’s for. As much as we like to believe in a society that there are certain rights we have, which we do not – such as the right to be served at a restaurant – we… don’t. Someone could just say, no.
“I have the right to refuse you, and I do.” So when you are served, when you would like to be – say thank you. And pleases are just basic manners.

Your opinion is not inherently worth more than anyone else. While of course, someone who is actually educated on a subject may have the facts to more accurately represent it, it does not mean they are any more important than the next person who wants to discuss it. Discussion is for everyone, so listen to everyone’s opinion. Do not simply wait for your turn to speak. Listen. Use it to change your own opinion, or cement it. Regardless of what it does, it is almost always certainly worth it, as long as the person on the other end is genuine.

IF we had wished to achieve serenity now, all of these things we should have begun to do a long time ago. But while we must be patient and wait a little longer, and to some degree this can be disheartening, simply remember the following phrase;

“The best time to plant a tree, is twenty years ago. The second best time, is now.”

This will guide you, and remind you that all things worthwhile require persistence, patience, consistency, and sacrifice.

This is all a lot to remember. And a lot to do. But the truth is, the small change in attitude brings about all of the following in turn, a domino effect. Once you approach everything with kindness, and acceptance first, all of your future decisions can be made by you in the moment, rather than requiring guidance, and a list of examples by which you can conduct yourself.

Use advice as your guidelines, not your rule book.

And finally, while peace and a global serenity may not be achieved tomorrow; while it will require an immense amount of effort and forgiveness on all sides; while it will require the removal of pride from the equation and the relinquishment of “the upper hand” of power – you can start today. You can be the best you can be, and as that’s all you can do – you as a human, and the ones you love close to you, can achieve serenity now.

 

 

Don’t Do It Alone

You don’t have to do it alone.

No matter what it is; or how you feel; if you are right or wrong; or if you feel you are too far along. Whether the outcome will be a success or a failure; whether you will be forgiven or not; whether things can go back to the way they were or not; whatever you are going through – you do not have to do it alone.

Loneliness is such a hauntingly beautiful concept; because it’s so ironically universal. It’s something that unites us all together. We have all felt alone.

Sometimes in a dark room, with a beer or a glass of wine on something resembling a table in front of you, you will feel alone. As you monitor friends and family, who seem to be having fun. Perhaps you’re sitting and wondering who that person you think about, is thinking about. And maybe you’re wondering why they aren’t here beside you.

Sometimes, shoulder to shoulder, or on a busy street, you will feel so alone. As no one looks your way, or perhaps that they do and choose to stay at a distance. Perhaps it’s even one of those times, when people are talking to you; but the words they say and the ways they relate to their life and yours around them, you would be better off talking to a lion who has been taught your native tongue – for your two frames of reference are so far apart you no longer understand each other.

Sometimes it’s our own pride that brings about our true sadness. The thought that we should be able to shoulder the weight of the world, for this is what makes us strong and tough. This is a fallacy. A whisper that loneliness will repeat in your ear for hours on end. If you have convinced yourself this is true, then know this instead. It is not brave, to accept burden alone. It is not more dignified, or more humble, to pretend the world does not beat you down, and get the better of you on some days. Or perhaps for weeks or months on end.

This is the cruelty of life. It does this to everyone. If you believe you are the only person who asks for help, and are convinced that others you know to be calm and collected never ask for help; you are mistaken. What they really do, is share the load. They distribute the bombardment amongst those they trust, whom they hold dear. And in return, when they can, they offer kindness, love, and reciprocation. They offer an ear, and a shoulder, when it is their burden to do so.

This, I would wager, is not opinion, but fact. Four people carrying 100 kilograms of weight on their shoulders seems reasonable. But one person carrying the same weight, will injure or tire themselves after not too long at all. Remember this; it’s science.

Sometimes the hardest part, is that it seems as though there is no one to even accept your requests for help. It’s a friend, who knows you’re alone, and is unwilling to alter their behaviour to accommodate you. Which arguably is the only thing worse than being alone or being sad. Being alone, and someone else knowing you’re alone. Someone else being perfectly aware of it, and yet choosing not to act upon it. It feels as though no one would care.

But someone does care. People who contact you without a reason to do so. They care about your day, for the sake of hoping it was a happy one, and nothing else. Do not forget them, or their kindness, even if they are not the person you wish was bringing it to you. They can bring some light into your life, as long as you let them. Loneliness is only a darkness. People are not further away; you just cannot see very far in front of you. Or how far your sphere of connection stretches.

Put it does not matter if it is a trick – because it feels so real, to you. It feels empty. When you are scared of what you may find beyond your vision. And your fingers shake, and your arms wave all around you hoping to find someone there, to hold their hand and pull it closer. To feel their warmth against yours, even if they too are afraid.

Whatever makes you afraid; whatever in the future scares you – don’t do it alone. Don’t push those away whom you do find in reach. If they call to you, call back.

And if no one answers – call for me. I will follow you into the dark.

What Are You Worth?

What are you worth?

It’s not a thought that often crosses the forefront of our mind, but I’d wager that for many, an arbitrary value exists somewhere in the recesses of thought.

This topic was brought about by a conversation I had with some close friends, where I proposed them the following scenario with a single question;


 

“Suppose you are diagnosed with a chronic illness. And unfortunately, the doctor informs you that this illness will bring about your imminent demise. In fact, you will die, tomorrow.

However, the doctor informs you that while there is no cure, there is a treatment, in the form of a single pill. Now what this pill does, is keep you effectively staving off the effects of the disease, for one day.

There are many of these pills, and they are readily available to you. The pill cannot be stacked, but it will work continuously.

i.e. You cannot take six pills and live for six more days, but for every pill you take, you get to live for one more day, specifically the following. So you must take this pill every morning, to continue living for the rest of that day.

Now for the question; at what cost, do you STOP paying for the pill?”

*Perhaps answer the question for yourself, before reading any further.


 

I found this such an interesting question to pose to my close friends, particularly because of the first response I got, when I had asked a clearly startled colleague

Although I am not afraid of death, and in fact, I struggle to identify when you can even call someone truly dead (a topic for another day), I still would always answer – “I would pay anything for the pill.”

I assumed this was an obvious answer, that everyone has the same zest and desire for life, and that my colleague would respond in kind. But instead she replied, “Nothing. I would not pay anything for that pill.”

I was shocked. This completely bewildered me. My colleague doesn’t come across as an unhappy person, and yet I must confess, this was my immediate reaction, although I did not vocalise it. But then immediately, she followed it up with, “I wouldn’t want to leave anyone behind, with a burden of paying for that medicine.”

In a roller-coaster of emotion, I now felt incredibly selfish. I had not even considered the people I would leave behind. In my mind, I thought I would do anything to continue paying for that pill, in the sense of I would accept every inch of the responsibility. But then on further examination of my conscience, I think even if I did leave a burden upon the living… I don’t know. I think my answer still might be “I would do anything for that pill.”

While I cannot know for certain, and it is indeed all a thought experiment, I cannot think of a time when I would condemn myself, to my final day on Earth, voluntarily.

And yet, I then decided to propose a different scenario upon myself alone, based on the famous trolley question;


 

“Suppose I am working in a laboratory, and there is an accident with a spilled contaminant. This contaminant bubbles and breathes gas into the lab. This chemical is lethal when inhaled.

You and your lab partner, the only people in the room, rush to the two hazmat suits in the corner. But unfortunately as you get there, you discover one suit has been ripped, and is rendered useless.

The person who does not wear the suit, will not die a painful death. But they will die over the next minute. There is no cure as of yet, and they will not be revived.

Your partner has abstained from making the decision, and will readily accept yours.

Do you take the suit for yourself, or do you give it to your partner?”

*Again, perhaps answer the question for yourself, before reading any further.


 

Now with this question, my answer immediately would be, “I would give the suit to my partner.”

But again upon closer and initial inspection, it seems that there is a bit of an oxymoron between these two answers on my part. It doesn’t rightly make sense for me to fight so unyielding for my life, and yet on a different breath, give it up so readily.

Now perhaps I am perfectly willing to sacrifice my life for another’s. And I’m sure most people would like to believe this also. Hopefully we will be fortunate enough never be put in that situation, and have to even find out.

But here is where I am torn. I believe you should work hard to leave some part of you on this universe. That you should leave it in some kind of better state than when you found it.

And the idea of granting someone a life, by sacrificing mine helps me fulfil that. But just giving up on my life, doesn’t necessarily fulfil it for me. I think that’s why I fight so hard for the pill. With the pill, I can still try. I can still try with every second of my life to make the universe better in some way. But what if in doing that, I actually make it worse for those I leave behind?

What I’m also concerned with, is I think I would fear the idea of my last day, and my last thoughts, not being good ones. The idea of going home, putting on some TV, calling up far away family members to tell them the news, and gathering with closer family to be with me, and then just passing away – I don’t think it makes the cut for me. I could not have, an ordinary day be my last, without knowing if I truly made the world a better place with my time spend on it. But with the chemical spill thought, I can at least die a hero. Regardless of what I’ve done, some of it may be redeemed, and my successor can continue to do good in this world, because I gave them that chance.

Ultimately; I don’t know.

I don’t believe for the time being I have an answer to these questions both. I think it will take many more conversations and much more time thinking about this before I could propose an answer. Maybe by the time I come to the conclusion, my thoughts on the whole thing might have changed. This, I really do not know.

But with my thought and opinions as they stand today fully out there, let me ask you; What are you worth?