I think it’s human nature that we’re always looking for answers to questions we don’t even understand. Sometimes, we don’t even understand the right questions to ask. But if we didn’t, life would be so different.
We asked why the apple falls down from the tree and discovered gravity. We asked why we don’t fall off the Earth when sailing into the sunset and discovered our planet is round. We asked why our heart was more than just a “vital force” and discovered how our circulatory system works.
We ask questions and answer them to help us understand science and the world around us. And then sometimes we ignore the questions and create the science ourselves. We transplant hearts and lungs and corneas and even faces. We manufacture diamonds, beautiful in every way except for the fact that they come from a lab. We clone our pets!
But no matter how many degrees we have or how much studying we do, we’ll never understand it all. One of my favorite songs comes from James Taylor who wrote “Secret O’Life”:
“Einstein said he could never understand it all
Planets spinning through space
The smile upon your face
Welcome to the human race”
We’ll never understand it all and as Einstein actually said:
We never stop seeking answers and explanations. It’s why so many people doubt the existence of God. We can’t see him, feel him, touch him, talk to him. We pray and talk to him but isn’t it really all ridiculous? Isn’t God simply an easy explanation for everything we can’t understand? A weakness for the thinkers of the world?
Many times, yes. People don’t want to think. They just want to know. They want the comfort of God in our hearts, in our lives, in our churches, and in our homes. They want to know the big man in the clouds is somehow looking for them and if they live a really good life, they’ll be rewarded either on earth or in heaven.
Personally, I love that idea. I love the concept that our time here on earth is a time for us to learn and grow and become better spiritual beings. I believe in karma. I believe that we are ordained by a higher power for things that we can’t understand or comprehend. But I’m not working towards rewards unless you call personal satisfaction and inner fulfillment a reward (it is to me).
Often though, I find that people simplify the concept.
We were able to close on that house we didn’t think we were going to get and God came through for us!
Just when our savings was about to run out, he got the dream job he’s been looking for!
The doctors gave her a slim chance of surviving the surgery and now she’s a healthy child!
We pray and believe and do something good and we’re rewarded by God. Praise God.
And then something bad happens. We immediately turn to God.
Why, God, did you take my baby from me?
Why, God, did we lose our house?
Why, God, did my husband leave me?
If we’re humble, obedient servants, then these things shouldn’t happen. If God rewards us for our behavior, is he then punishing us in ways we don’t deserve?
And this is where the hate comes in. How could there be a God that lets innocent children get gunned down in their classroom? How can there be a God that allows war to create orphans of children?How can there be a God that allows one of our own to lose three babies? It’s not fair. It’s God’s fault. And if that’s the kind of God he is, I hate him. I hate God.
I don’t hate God. I do, however, believe in that higher power, whether you call him God or Allah or Mary Elizabeth. I believe that higher power governs our lives and our universe. But I don’t think God shapes our lives in the way so many people do. We make our decisions and live our lives and sometimes bad things happen to good people. It’s not fair and as much as we try to understand it, we never will.
We may gain perspective someday but we’ll never understand it.
“Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity — in all this vastness — there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us.”
- Carl Sagan, from A Mote of Dust