Monday, April 21, 2008
Why ask “Why?”
Because we need to know.
God created man so that man could create God. Or is it the other way round?
Religion is defined as the expression of man’s belief in and reverence for a higher power, whatever form that may take. Philosophy is the inquiry into the nature of things. Religious philosophy is therefore the inquiry into the nature of man’s belief in and reverence for a higher power. Again, in whatever form that may take. It is therefore appropriate that we ask the question here of why do we need to know the answer to the age-old question, why are we here, how did we get here and what is our purpose?
If Ludwig Feuerbach is right and man did create God in his own image, then why? What purpose does that serve?
I have always believed that we as human beings have the capacity for reason and therefore must ask the question “Why?” Pigs don’t ask why they like to role in mud. They know it helps their physical bodies work better. That is an answer of course. But to a question not asked by the pig, but by us, man. The horse does not ask, “Why does my tail swat at flies?” The horse just knows it does and it feels good. We however as human being are always asking “Why?”
As such, we are a needy species. We spend billions of dollars trying to discover if there ever was or if there still exists life on Mars. Who cares? Well, we do. This is our nature. Now the question here is why do we believe in God, or Gods, or more generically a Higher Power. Is this really the question? Or is the question really what purpose belief or non-belief serves in the human condition?
We have learned in this Religious Philosophy course over a 24-week period that religion takes many forms and serves many different purposes to the different people of our global community. The Western religions of one God and the multiple Gods and the personal enlightenment religions of the East and South exist side by side on this planet. Each answering questions of how we handle the great problems of social interaction, internal self-awareness and our battles to dominate or co-habitate, with our planet and the political boundaries, however arbitrarily drawn. We have all attempted to ask not does God exist but how does the existence or non-existence of God benefit us in our lives on this planet?
We turn to our personal belief systems to seek the answers to all the questions that our minds must ask. For me personally this begs the question raised in lesson number four, The Savage Philosopher. Are we just the result of centuries of common acceptance of believable answers? Faith requires no proof. Belief in God works, therefore God exists to answer the questions of our times. Each society shapes those answers as best they can and religion, a reverence for a higher power, acts as an opiate as Dr. Karl Marx suggested.
We spend billions of dollars each year as a species on scientific research to prove either the reality of God’s work or the success of nature with or without God. Regardless of the aspect of who is right and who is wrong as to the existence of God, or one or more Gods or not necessarily knowing the answers, but looking to oneself for enlightenment and therefore spiritual success. The fact of the matter is, and will continue to be that we as human beings have a need to ask questions, a need to debate the answers and ultimately a need to decide which answers best fit our own needs. Whoever we are on this planet.
The answer to our question of why we need to know is that it is our nature, God-given or not. We ask why and we expect an answer. Religion offers answers, and for the vast majority of us those answers are acceptable. Three hundred thousand Atheists are not wrong. They just accept a different answer to the same questions.
Rev. Kirk Haas