No Santa? No God? Myopic!
a big picture perspective


Every now and then someone says that there really is no Santa Claus in an effort to pop a child's balloon-like perspective on Christmas.  That seems similar to those who claim there is no God.  Both claims are rather myopic.  To understand, consider several more concrete entities:

Perhaps the most concrete entities we know are our mothers and fathers.  They really exist (or existed).  They loved us, cared for us, and wanted the best for our lives (although perhaps not all equally well).  Still, they existed as real people with individual personalities.

Now consider if a family is real.  It too loved us, cared for us, and wanted the best for our lives (although perhaps not all equally well).  It isn't a single person but a collection of real people: mother, father, siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles and the rest of the extended group.  Still the family has a collective personality often distinguishable from other families,   Not being s single person doesn't make a family any less real.

And likewise few would argue that a country is not real.  It too is a collection of people who care for us and our safety, and want the best for our lives (although perhaps not all equally well.  Recall that some countries do a better job at caring for their young, their elderly, and their sick while others seem a bit more selfish allocating their resources).  Still, we consider countries to be real.

Agreeing to that, now consider Santa Claus is also such an aggregate of individuals.  They love us, care for us, and want the best for our lives (although perhaps not all equally well).  While not a single person, Santa Claus does seem to have a collective personality generally distinguishable from others.  From such a perspective does it make much sense to say that Santa Claus doesn't exist?

Finally, consider if God might be the aggregate of all entities in the universe!  It provides for our existence, cares for us, and maybe wants the best for our lives (although perhaps not all equally well).  From this perspective, God is essentially equivalent with the entire Universe!  (Perhaps those who fail to see the existence of God have rather tried to define a lesser God?)  While not a single male or female person, God does seem to have a collective personality.  From this perspective does it make any sense to say that God doesn't exist?

God, science, and a personal perspective

Religions claim that in the beginning there was God.  God, by definition, was the creator of the universe and continues to reign totally over all its functions and operations.  Science is, by definition, seeking to understand the universe.  So perhaps one description of science could be our human attempt to understand God.  Since we are ourselves a part of the universe, we are both the handiwork of God, and very tiny agents through which God is at work in the universe.

Scientists study and try to understand the universe.  And in Church we study and worship God.  Some people find a conflict between science and their view of God.  But if the Universe ≡ God, can there really be a conflict?

When I was a child in Sunday school, I was told about a loving, caring God.  There was a picture on the church wall depicting a white bearded old father figure floating high in the sky where he could have a perspective and influence on all that goes on below.  There are atheists who reject that view and similar ones, claiming they do not believe in God at all.  But as a scientist I view that description as probably appropriate for a child's early understanding of God.  It is certainly far from my current view of reality.  As we mature and develop a superior understanding, our perceptions should become more sophisticated, realistic and helpful for a successful life.

To deny the existence of God may be as useful as to deny the existence of atoms or to hold that light is not wavelike.  To restrict our perception of truth is more a straight jacket than a liberation.  To deny the validity of one perspective of reality because one prefers another perspective may hamper rather than encourage our success at life.

controversy continues

The above written, there continues elsewhere a debate about the benefits and harm done in the past by various religions, churches and deficient scientific theories.  I leave that for others to argue.


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posted 24 April 2010 by D Trapp
Mac made