On Revealed Religions

It’s Monday so why the heck not. You are free to read without agreeing with a word of it.

To believe firmly in something, one must have tangible evidence of proof that the object of belief exists. Therefore, the object must be observable, seen, or experienced. For example, that the process of life begins at conception, and the tiny life matures in its mother’s womb, develops its sex, and then enters the world nine months later is a fact of nature through observation. Our early ancestors did not need to know the science behind this fact to prove this was true. Much in the way they did not have to understand the necessities of minerals, vitamins, protein, etc., to know they must eat and drink to live. They ate and felt healthy and well without knowing how their organs broke down the food into tiny chemical molecules and fed their bodies.

Similarly, modern people believe an ancient power existed in Rome and that its empire spanned across much of Europe, stretched west to Great Britain, south to North Africa and east to the borders of Iran (Persia). We believe the Roman Empire existed from the observations of others who lived during the centuries of its existence. There is a high probability that such a place and empire existed without the benefit of observing it. We have tangible evidence from historical accounts and physical proof of ruins that we can observe even if the empire no longer exists today. Moreover, we know that such an event in history is highly probable because the thing itself is not unthinkable.

When it comes to forces such as gravity, no one at any time has ever seen it, touched it, smelled it or tasted it. We can, however, observe its effects. It is what we call self-evident. Proof of its existence is its effects. To defy its law, a special set of mathematical circumstances is needed. A system of propulsion can defy its threshold, and an object can force its way through its clutches into space, but anything beneath its threshold and the object will be pushed down to its point of origination. There are no exceptions to its law.

What of religion then? Billions around the world believe in hundreds of different religions; with Christianity claiming the most adherents. Religion, especially where the big three, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are concerned, have relied on revelation from God, and the revelation is shared by prophets and spread by converts. Where the three are concerned, this where the similarities end. Despite their claims in sharing the same “one true God,” their messages are demostratively different. This immediately creates a contradiction with the thing itself: the one true God. If God is true and one, then there cannot be room for three interpretations, and certainly not three which make mutually exclusive claims. That would create the possibilities of three Gods, poor communication or duplicity on the part of God. In any case, that would leave us with an untruthful God or a fraudulent human enterprise.

This is where revealed religion breaks down and shows a very human aspect to its construction. In all three cases, man delivered the word of God either revealed to him directly by God or indirectly through angels on behalf of God. Unlike the previous examples given, these claims remain unverifiable. The man whom it was revealed to can only hope to convince others he is telling the truth. Those who believe the man’s account, then, do so, not on proof of revelation, and not of God either since he did not share his revelation publically, but in the belief of the man making the claim.

Centuries later, proof that God revealed anything to man is still scant. The event, whether real, imagined, or made up, is available to us only in religious scripture. Ironically, we are no closer to the revelation of God than the man whom heard it first from the mouth of the so-called prophet. Like him, the only way to believe that these revelations happened is to believe the one who spoke the revelation or the accounts given from those who documented it. It leaves no room for proof or verification outside of those two options. In either case, we leave the concrete realm of possibility and enter into the sandy realm of hearsay. As a consequence, we are left with believing the most fickle creature the world has known: Man.

Insofar as to what kind of God exists is debatable, but the fact that the universe exists with order, laws, and design is not. Might these things prove the existence of a master intellect, a Great Creator that was the first cause? I think so. Perhaps then, that is the real revelation from God. There is no need for earthy spokesmen and temples and cathedrals. Nature speaks on His behalf and creation is His cathedral.

News of the Pope inspired this long stream of thought.


5 thoughts on “On Revealed Religions

  1. Wow, very interesting and thought-provoking post on an obviously uber-sensitive issue.
    As you know by now, I appreciate your positivist approach.
    I think your train of thought raises one additional question: from an anthropology standpoint, it would be interesting to understand why man by and large in general, despite of differences in cultures, traditions, geography and sometimes even in spite of centuries of isolation, why man seems to feel an absolute need to believe in God, regardless of his/her name. Whatever the reason, it would seem that it is a common trait to a large part of the human species, which makes the question even more interesting. Could it be because of the fear of the unknown as to what happens in the Great Beyond, or even the need to believe that when our time comes it is not going to be game over, but there is going o be a Great Beyond and some part of us is going to remain in existence, in some form or in some other dimension?

    • I’ve wrestled with those same questions. I wish I knew but there is little, just as you said, that men have found it necessary, natural even, to worship and to acknowledge a force, power, spirit, etc., beyond their own world.

      Maybe there is reason for that. Maybe it is instinctual for us. Personally, I find it perfectly natural and easy to believe in God.

  2. Hi amigo. Seems to me there’s plenty of proof lying around that some sort of intelligence is directing things, but for anything direct, specific and inarguable a person has to look in some fairly weird and obscure places after having given up everything he thinks he knows, beforehand.

    Mostly we just all know too much to shed our skins and look at what’s around that might provide proof that can’t be accounted for by any other explanation.

    However, whatever it is doing it probably doesn’t look enough like what we expect a diety to be to satisfy the usual definitions.

    Just saying.

    • “after having given up everything he thinks he knows, beforehand.” You go too far, friend. You mean I have unlearn all that edumacation I paid for, then relearn things on my own?

      But you are right, Jules. That’s a scary thing to do for most of us. Abandon our tribe, so to speak.

      If what I say is true, even moderately true, then the Deity is most certainly far different than the way he’s been handled down here.

      If he is far different, I hope his skin is thick enough not to care about that. If he does care, well I reckon he’s got a pretty good reason to be bothered by the misrepresentation and defamation that he has endured.

  3. I struggled with all of this years ago (many) when I was a know-it-all teenager who voiced these same questions to those in my church. Needless to say, I stopped going (I believe it was a mutual agreement between me and church). After searching for “something” for years I thought I’d give it a try again over the last couple of months thinking maybe I missed something so many years ago. Your blog entry couldn’t have come at a better time for me. My post today struggles a bit with the topic of religion. I’ve always thought that if a man fell asleep 400 years ago and woke up today he would find everything (medicine, family structure, law, technology, science, etc) has progressed with the exception of religion. Same beliefs with same lack of proof and so many claiming to have the true God. Seems to be the only thing that won’t move forward. Thanks for writing it! Super thought provoking.

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