How many Gods are there in this world? Must be thousands or perhaps millions; or perhaps there is only one, known by a million different names. Then again, the gods imagined by the human race may only be a fiction made up to answer the millions of questions that can’t be answered by man.
It’s all guesswork. No one has looked into the face of any god, not while they were alive and could talk about it, but yet throughout the history of this planet, millions have died at the hands of those who unequivocally believe in a particular god and as many die at the hands of those who do not believe in any gods with the exception of power and politics. This does not illustrate the existence of any particular god, it simply illustrates the inate human need to hold onto a belief that helps explains life and the reason for existence.
WE ARE HERE! WE MUST HAVE COME FROM SOMEWHERE!
It seems virtually impossible for any sentient, thoughtful human to deny is that there was a creative process that brought our complex world amid all the ever-changing and sometimes opposing forces of life into being. Then look at yourself! Only a fool would suppose that a magnificent, complex ‘machine’ like the human body, or even any one of it’s thousands of parts, just happened by chance. I’m not talking about the seeming impossibility of Creationism, or the best guesses of man (evolution and intelligent design) I’m talking about the almost certain objective reality that there was an unknowable, intelligent creative force at work in the universe.
The main difference between a religious person and me is, a religious person has given this force a name, a gender identity and the power to control life and nature, I on the other hand do not relate that creative force with the religious person’s “controlling” force and I don’t believe that anyone should claim to know the unknowable.
Back when man first started populating the earth he certainly also marveled at this miracle we know as life and because of his inquisitive nature he certainly began to create a scenario that allowed this “magic” to make ‘sense.’ After many thousands of years that scenario, passed down through the ages and embellished by each successive generation, created religion and religious texts.
The preceding is simply a collection of my thoughts on the subjects of life, human nature and the unknowable nature of life and it’s equally unknowable origin. I do not claim to have written or divulged any truths.
Religion, in it’s traditional sense, is a necessity for some as a guide to daily life with the ultimate objective of gaining eternal life for the spirit or soul at the end of ones physical life. For others, traditional religion is an anathema because they see it as pure mysticism that has no place in day-to-day life and they see faith as an excuse for not knowing what will happen next.
Believing in something however, even for skeptics, is a necessity — it’s something built into our DNA and for those of us with little or no faith in established religions we often turn to philosophy or science.
My personal inspiration and guideline for life has, since my early teenage years, been the following inspirational piece called the “Desiderata.” For years a copy of the Desiderata hung on my bedroom wall and I always tried to follow the Desiderata’s guidelines for life but, like most people, I am not always in control. Just another imperfect human!
The word desiderata is a form of the Latin word “desideratum” which means: “something that is desired or felt to be essential.”
The origin of the written work is uncertain but legend has it that it was either found in Saint Paul’s Church in Baltimore, Maryland and distributed to parishioners or it was actually written by the man who eventually copywrited it (in 1920), the American writer Max Ehrmann (1872 – 1945).
“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
“As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
“Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.
“Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
“Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
“Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann c.1920