Wednesday, July 13, 2005

God's Just my Shoulder to Cry On

Dear Internet Diary,

I learned years ago that we can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God. Still, one of the experiential proofs I have, at least for myself, is on the basis of need. I need God, because no human being -- even the most loving and well-intentioned – can fulfill ALL my needs, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I need love, understanding, compassion, justice, mercy, and encouragement, all the time.-Rolf Gompertz*

Could this guy be more needy? And who says that one person must be capable of fulfilling all of those needs 24 hours a day? Not even a baby's mother should be asked to do that. That's why we have fathers, grandparents, aunts, sisters, and friends. Why can't you get your needs met yourself, if you're a grownup. Do you really want to have one person constantly there spoon-feeding you everything, so you can never independently nurture yourself? Do you remember being a child, wishing you were more grown-up so your parents would let you do more things like get your own snacks or go around the block by yourself, or at the very least, go to the toilet by yourself? Isn't it wonderful to be healthy enough to be able to be independent, to rely on yourself so you can accomplish the things you desire?

There's nothing wrong with wanting to be loved. But how can you expect to find a mate if you don't love yourself--and more importantly--if you are going to be totally dependent upon him? Sure, Rolf agrees that "one" human cannot do that. Maybe man is not an island. That's why we have civilization.

He continues:
Human beings are limited, by time and space, in what we can do for each other. Even the best of relationships end in death. Human beings can also be terribly cruel and brutal, as individuals and as groups. >Where can I turn, then, under all circumstances, including the worst, for comfort and reassurance, for strength and love? Where can I turn, in extremity, without despairing, even as I despair temporarily? Only God.

Human beings, I thought, were also limited in their needs, especially because of death. This guy's needs seem to continue in eternity. We should be thankful that human needs do end upon death. Yes, we suffer. Yes, sometimes there's nothing to be done for some suffering. Sometimes nobody gives a shit about an individual's terrible suffering, and sometimes human beings cause suffering. It can be a fucked-up world. But life goes on. and on. Without a god. We are in charge of all of it, all by our lonesome. The fact that we deal with suffering does not prove a biblical god: rather, it's one of the biggest problems for the existence of the biblical god. It's called the problem of evil. An omnibenevolent, omniscient and omnipotent god is not only ignoring the suffering, but is the cause of it. And what does Rolf expect of this god? A listening ear? Well, if that's all god is, there is no reason to think that humanity cannot take care of that miniscule task. And if nobody is there to listen, what do we do? Or, I should say, what do I do? I can't possibly claim to have suffered nearly as bad as a lot of people, but I've had my share of troubles. Where do I turn when I despair? To other people, and to my own inner resources.

I have faced possible death. That was one moment when I can say I despaired, and had "nowhere" to turn. Temporarily. I "turned" to everything I had : my physical strength, and my intelligence. Once I was safe, I turned to the police, I turned to my best friends, I turned to my family. I got through it. Not once did I think of turning to god--and I didn't know I was an atheist yet. I know I am lucky and I am grateful that I had what I had. Many, many people have not been so lucky. But if I were to claim that god was there for me, I would be saying to all those other people in the same circumstance; "screw you. God was listeing to me, but I guess He didn't have time for you." Human cruelty is not evidence for a god, especially since many of these people have no time to "despair" or "turn to God" at all.

And life goes on. Without a god. If there were, maybe this god would better serve us, since Rolf seems to think god is man's servant, by preventing the desperation, not just listening to it.

*Rolf Gompertz is an author of such books as A Jewish Novel About Jesuss and Sparks of Spirit: A Handbook for Personal Happiness


Bliggety Blast Circle said...

I have been of the belief, since I was very young, that we are animals that have outgrown our niche. The opposable thumb really did a number on us. Before tools and speech, would turn to family and community for support in bad times. The entire day was consumed by perpetuating THE GROUP. The individual was a not a point of subject. Death, rejection, illness and other pitfalls were all things that were dealt with quickly and we moved on, ready for another day of perpetuation. Nowadays, there are only individuals and never has there been a time where deities are more relied on with no support from dysfunctional and selfish family and community. People relying on religion is going to get worse not better, unfortunately. Don't you wish that you could buy into all that nonsense sometimes?

breakerslion said...

(If) there is no god, then when a theist talks to god, the theist is actually talking to himself. If the theist receives comfort from this act, then the theist is comforting him/herself. The ability to reassure and comfort one's self is related to one's feelings of self-esteem, and personal integrity. The theist is taught the behavior of praying, both by observation at a very young age, and by constant infomercial-like reinforcement of the church's "message". By teaching this lesson, the church has essentially removed the theist's concept of self-esteem to a point outside the self, making it dependant upon the favorable opinion of the god. Seen in the most clinical light, this can also be described as creating a schizoid personality; one that must always look outside the perceived self for validation, love, and reassurance. Hence the insecure creatures like Rolf.

Hellbound Alleee said...

We have always been "only individuals." A group is defined as a number of individuals identifying with each other.

Religion is not more relied upon than before, however. Things are not getting worse. Religious people are getting scared. They are loud.

Religion is becoming more individualized, and that can only be good. The more personalized religion gets, the more it will die. What is more personal than monotheism? Well, Jesus as a personal relationship religion is the new fad. It's stupid and nonsensical, sure. But it will kill the church, and maybe, just maybe, make people realize how meaningless it is. I'm not holding my breath.

People still need each other. We're just finding easier ways to do it.

Hellbound Alleee said...

I don't think it's a bad thing to talk to oneself for reassurance. I just wish that people didn't claim that it's something else. I think sometimes that dreams are talking to oneself. It just might be a simpler way for someone to think through a problem.

We just need people to recognize it for what it is. Who do we turn to in despair? We look inward. That's what you do most of the time, in moments of non-despair, minor problems, that sort of thing. WHo wants to ask someone else every time they have a need? So, that's what the theists are doing. They just don't want to admit it.

Aaron Kinney said...

This moron thinks that his need for God makes him real. Damn subjectivist!

Hellbound Alleee said...

Jeez, aaron. You said in two sentences what took me two essays to explain!