Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Is there a God ? - What governs our lives?

My parents must have been of the cautious kind. Because, contrary to custom, I was not baptized when I landed over here. Thus I remained in neutral gear till about fourteen. As I am born in Berlin, it was natural to become a Protestant, as was everybody else around me.

Thus I asked to get "communion" like all the others and then it came out I had never been baptized. So I was baptized on Saturday and got communion on Easter Sunday, between 13 and 14 years of age.

Then something strange happened. Right as I was sitting there in church during the communion service and I fell out with religion. "What am I doing here?" I asked myself. "There is nothing, fair chance it is all a kind of hogwash".

Since then, I was always interested in the subject though I never talked about it. First time someone mentioned the riddle of human destiny to me was by reading Somerset Maugham's novel "Of Human Bondage".

Regarding religion, no need to defend the idea of evolution. These firmly established facts are now under attack from the creationists, most of them but not all coming from the United States. Can't help thinking that creationism is linked to a hidden political agenda and has nothing to do with the search for truth. So, let's forget about this. I'll file "creationism" next to the "Flat Earth Society".

Everything around us - ourselves included - evolve in accordance with this iron law of evolution. But it should be said not the fittest and the strongest survive - as Darwin thought - but those that are best adopted to circumstances. You take shameful advantage of the situation and you have a fair chance to thrive. SO LET'S BE FLEXIBLE.

Unfortunately - as I see it - that's not the only law. There is another one and it is called chance. You do all the right stuff, you are strongest and best adopted and then bam! The roof is falling on your head.

These random happenings occur all the time. You can be born rich, intelligent and in good health and you can be born poor, not very bright and with a defect in your genes. And so it goes on till we are dead. We all know this in our hearts but I suppose we don't like to admit it as a fact of life.

Thus our longing for a good, benevolent God who who gives us a helping hand, from time to time and set matters straight for us.

As Plato the Greek philosopher said 2500 years ago: "Be kind, for everybody you meet is fighting a hard battle".

We desperately ask for a happy end, Hollywood style. Thus the idea of a paradise, a perpetual happy end to look forward to after all that shit during life. By the way, it is typical for our Western outlook that paradise is very much on the agenda among the faithful but nobody talks about hell and purgatory any more...................

Laudate Dominum omnes gentes;
Laudate eum, omnes populi.
Quoniam confirmata est
Super nos misericordia ejus,
Et veritas Domini manet in aeternum.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper.
Et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Does that mean everybody should try to become a cat and all the others are mice, just good to be devoured if they can't help it? Some people seem to think this and try to live it out. But this Law of Chance I mentioned here above is truly democratic and preys upon everybody, high and low. Look at Bernie Maddoff, the mad dog of shares and charities.............

To finish this long story, here are a few lines of the poem "On the devine" from
Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Let man be noble,
Generous and good
For that alone
Distinguishes him
From all the living
beings we know
Let the noble man
Be generous and good,
Tirelessly achieving
What is just and useful

(here, the entire poem in English and in German)

Last not least: without religion, we all would have missed Händel's Messiah and Mozart's "Laudate Dominum", those Gothic cathedrals standing nearly everywhere in Europe as well as some truly outstanding humans, the first one coming to my mind is Jesus himself. That should not be forgotten.