by Michael Dowd
Birth, life, death, the cycles and rhythms of Nature, the elemental forces of the Universe—these are undeniably real. Like it or not, we humans have always been in an inescapable relationship with a Reality that we could neither fully predict nor control. And given the nature of our brains, there's one thing that people in every culture and throughout history have instinctually done: we've used metaphors and analogies to understand and relate to that which is unavoidably, undeniably real and/or mysterious. We can't not do this. Consciously or unconsciously, we will always interpret via metaphors.
ALL images and concepts of God are more or less meaningful interpretations and personifications of Undeniable Reality, or Unavoidable Mystery. And it didn't take a genius to figure out that if you trust, or have faith, in what is ultimately inescapable, your life works better than if you judge or resist what is Real. This is not theological rocket science.
Whenever any story, any culture, or any scriptural passage claims "God said this..." or "God did that...," what follows is necessarily a meaningful interpretation of some individual or group's inner or outer experience; it is never a measurable fact. In other words, had CNN or ABC News been there to record the moment of divine revelation, there would have been nothing out of the ordinary (nothing miraculous) to report on the evening news—nothing other than what was coming out of someone's mouth, or pen, or whatever folks wrote with back then. If we fail to understand this, we belittle God and will surely miss what Reality is revealing today. And we mock God if we imagine that a truly divine communicator would have spoken to humanity as a whole more clearly through goat herders and fisherman in the distant past, via their dreams and intuitions, than through cumulative evidence discovered by the global community of scientists alive today. After all, if the worldwide, self-correcting scientific endeavor is anything, it is the pursuit of collective intelligence and a cultural system designed to hold people accountable for their factual statements—their truth claims.
As I discuss at length in Part II of TGFE ("Reality is Speaking"), facts are God's native tongue. In the same way that Reality is always speaking to us individually through our feelings, circumstances, and relationships (i.e., through our experience), empirical evidence is how Reality (God) speaks to us collectively. Few things are more important, it seems to me, than appreciating this and acting on it at all levels of society, the sooner the better.
Fortunately, this perspective seems to be resonating with lots of heavyweight science and religion leaders:
Endorsements from Nobel Prize-winning scientists
Praise from other Science Luminaries
Response from Religious Leaders Across the Spectrum (by Affiliation)
Are God and Satan Real?
The Silly Debate Over God's Existence
Evolution as Meaningful, Inspiring Fact