For most of the history of mankind, gods or God, explained reality. God made us, the plants and animals. Any event in nature, whether good or bad, was caused by gods or God. Then science came along and explained rain, thunderstorms, earthquakes, eclipses, droughts, stars, planets, and so on. When science explained the origin of animals and people, some religious people rebelled.
We now have people that reject science because they want to keep God. They feel science is explaining away God. I’m afraid they are right. But instead of accepting reality and letting God fade away, like the gods before monotheism, they are rejecting reality. When I was very young I rejected God and accepted science mainly because of the size of reality. Reality seemed too immense to have been created by one being, especially one in our image. Take a look at this video to see what I mean.
God was a great concept when our awareness of reality was small but once you realize the size of reality, age and scope, even at the limits of what we know now, that knowledge changes everything philosophically. Humans can’t be the crown of creation. We can’t be the center of the universe and the focus of God’s attention. We can’t be special if we’re so small and insignificant.
So what is our place in the reality? Years ago I would have asked, what is our place in the universe, but it appears our universe might be one of an infinity of universes, and this round of 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang, only a single bubble in a foam of universes. Science now talk of the multiverse, but I prefer the term reality to encompass it all.
Humans are here in this vast reality by an accident of randomness. We won’t always be here. Reality existed before us, and it will exist after us. Being here is the biggest miracle we’ve yet discovered. It’s a miracle that outshines any miracle ever recorded in all of the religions of the world.
I think its time we reject the theory of God and start accepting reality for what it is. Start asking questions about what existing in this vast reality means. Becoming self-aware in this immense reality is a great opportunity. Instead of destroying the Earth and committing species suicide we need to think about what we could become. Don’t ask what is our purpose. Under religion our purpose was to obey God. Reality doesn’t work that way. We each have to find our own purpose if we want one, but reality expects nothing of us. We can’t have a personal relationship with reality. Each of us is an awareness of reality, but most of us pretend we’re not here.
Erase all the past thoughts of religion and philosophy. You just woke up in an unknown place. Take stock in your surroundings. You know that old saying, think global but act local – do the same for reality. Our philosophy should be based on our best picture of reality. Start with cosmology and work your way down. Most people define reality by their very small personal delusions. I say, any philosophy that doesn’t account for the size of reality dooms itself to a cockroach mentality. A cockroach scurries about satisfying its personal urges unaware of its environment. A cockroach does not know it’s in your kitchen because it doesn’t see the big picture.
There is only one human endeavor that tells us about reality, and that’s science. I suggest starting at the top, and work down. NOVA presented a wonderful four part series called The Fabric of the Cosmos hosted by Brian Greene based on his book of the same name.
Fabric of the Cosmos 1: What is Space?
Fabric of the Cosmos 2: The Illusion of Time
Fabric of the Cosmos 3: Quantum Leap
Fabric of the Cosmos 4: University or Multiverse
Maybe there’s still room for religion in reality, I don’t know. But any religion that ignores what we know about reality is delusional.
JWH – 2/11/12