Sunday, 20 January 2013

God is a cosmic mermaid

The other day, I was reading an article on atheism. The topic of the article really doesn’t matter since, to be frank, the moment an online article mentions god, everyone jumps down to the comments section and pretends the article never even happened. So there's a lesson, if you don’t want people talking about your article – mention God.

Reading these comments is like watching like a car crash: you're simultaneously horrified, remorseful and morbidly entertained. And you can't look away.

On this particular article, one of the comments was from a theist who made the common argument that he would simply rather worship God than believe the universe was accidentally created from nothing. I have some issues with the argument, but I get it. It's an enticing idea to believe that there’s something more to life than what we observe, something bigger – more majestic and infinitely perfect – beyond us.

I get it.

But isn’t that also intentionally deceiving yourself just because you can’t handle the truth? If indeed there is no God, wouldn’t you want to know? And why is the very prospect of there being no God so frightening? I get the feeling that, for many people, even if there was incontrovertible evidence to suggest God is a fiction, people would still believe.

I really can’t help but think that this defense of God is a little like a sailor hearing the siren’s call. We have this image in our heads of God, and it really is a beautiful idea. Universal justice, the source of all good things, and a loving protector. But it’s a façade. There’s no substance.

So if we carry the illusion to its natural conclusion, I’m forced to ask the question: if people continue to maintain this charade and call to a God that does not answer, will we – like the Grecian sailors – drown ourselves, drawn to the beautiful voice of a murderous mermaid?

What is the ultimate cost of believing what we want to believe, rather than what is true? And if God is true – let’s work to prove that. But we shouldn’t write off the question just because we’re afraid of what answers might come.

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