Nov 19, 2013

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Religion – English 1A – Essay 3

Assignment – 

Write an essay in which you reflect on Adler’s claim, and discuss your belief in God* — do you believe? If so, what elements have combined to persuade you to this belief? Do you disbelieve? If so, what factors prevent you from believing? Are you unsure? What would you need to learn to move you one direction or the other?

This essay is reflective in nature. No quotes, no research, just your thoughts on a very complex (and, we’ll find, important) topic. Do try to organize it fairly well though(please no rambling!). Please also try to limit any anger or vitriol you might feel towards this topic. I don’t want it to be a platform for bashing a particular group of people.

*I’m using the word “God” very loosely. It doesn’t have to mean the Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish god (although it certainly can). It can also refer to a more general manifestation of deity, but I want to particularise our definition as an entity distinct from a pantheistic/animistic understanding of the divine nature. Don’t use the Force for he essay!

Score: 200/200

Comments: “Thank you for your honesty!”


Gabriella Wendt

Professor A.

English 1A

19 November 2013

Mortimer Adler, in his essay on God, claims that “more consequences for thought and action follow from the affirmation or denial of God, than from answering any other basic question.” I believe this to be true to an extent. Yes, belief or disbelief in a deity can indicate a lot about a person and their actions. However, as we discover from America’s Four Gods, there is so much more to the picture. It is not just whether someone thinks there is a god or not, but if they believe, then what kind of god they think there is, and how involved that god is with our world.

As for non-believers, their disbelief is a good starting point to indicate who they are and/or how they’ll act, but human nature is so deeply complex that there is a myriad of other factors that affect who a person is. To me, because the question of God is so easily answered, it is one I don’t typically think to raise when assessing an individual. I question their charitable nature, the quickness of their temper, and their aptitude for critical thought; only when brought forth on its own does the question of god affect how I view a person or their actions.

Although I wasn’t always an Atheist, I was never a full believer. I was baptized at the age of seven, had my first communion a few years later, and spent many afternoons in a bible class as a child, but to me there wasn’t anything meaningful about it. I enjoyed hearing stories and all of the arts and craft projects, but I never felt a spiritual connection to any god.

As a teenager I predictably spent a lot of time starting to consider the nature of deity and concepts like truth. I openly described myself as an agnostic because I felt such a profound connection with nature and thought that a connection and wonder like that meant that there must be some supernatural or spiritual aspect to the world. I cannot remember the exact moment I realized I was an atheist, I can’t even narrow it down to the year, I just know that it was so natural and obvious, there wasn’t any chance of me feeling any other way. It was truly the only thing that made any sense.

There’s an entire worlds worth of reasoning for why I am not a believer and why this is so strongly my truth but I suppose one of the most prominent reasons is in how diverse humanity is and how rife with disagreement we are. I cannot imagine that we would be this way if we were in fact created by an all-powerful being with any intent to control or even guide the way we live our lives.

If we had a god who was active in our day to day lives and cared about what we did, then I cannot accept that it would be a good god worthy of our respect and worship considering all of the pain and terribleness in the world. If we were created by a distant god who simply got everything going and then left us alone, then there would be no requirement for belief or need for worship. I believe that our entire basis for belief and doctrine is entirely man made and is now a relic of a more primitive time in our history. I no more believe in the Christian God than I believe in Zeus, Thor, Vishnu or Santa Clause.

My lack of belief in any god also stems from the fact that there is absolutely zero proof substantiating any religious claims. Everywhere there is hard evidence backing up scientific theories, but when requesting proof of God I am presented with empty rhetoric on how “faith doesn’t require proof” or circular logic that needs a pre-existing belief in god to validate any argument.

What irritates me the most about religion is the seeming lack of critical thought. Religious people generally follow a set of doctrines blindly and do not question their religious leaders. Their morality is based not on logic or a shared goal for a harmonious society, but instead exists allegedly only because some unseeable creature has put forth a set of rules related through old stories or supposed profits. I often hear atheists asked how we “can find beauty in the world without God?”, but in my mind our universe is all the more awe inspiring and gorgeous because there was no design – it is all the result of natural and scientific processes.

I think all I would need to become a believer is repeatable independently verifiable proof that a god/creator/etc exists. As a scientist I can easily accept new facts to change my point of view or beliefs. Whether it’s God, alien overlords, or a giant computer simulation, as long as there is proof (maybe something along the lines of an instantaneous global communication to everyone), I would accept it as fact.

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