Found an interesting 20 minute speech by a Vicar in the catholic church, one which is actually quite profound and covers alot of interesting concepts.
Before the atheists and agnostics run off, I think yeu should stop for a moment and actually listen to the whole thing. It's far closer to whot yeu may believe than yeu may be thinking.
Furthermore, those who are religious believers should carefully consider the points brought up.
Tom Honey on God and the tsunami | Video on TED.com
Essentially, he boils it down to the two main problems that many atheists point out in god... either he's not all powerful, or he's not all loving, in which case he's not truly godlike. The eventual conclusion that the speaker arrives at, is that God is unlikely to be a singular entity as such, and may either be, or have changed since creation, to become a being that resides within each of us as a touch of the divine, rather than a singular being. That god represents the little things in life, the pleasures and pains we experience regularly.
For me, I have many problems with this argument as well, but he did touch on several thoughts which I have believed for a long time now, after much thought on the matter.
Primarily, he pointed out that a god who was malicious or demanding of worship while returning nothing, would not be worthy of such worship. And that the 'early' christians believed in a god of mythological proportions, rather than one that was more realistic.
In the final moments of the speech, it seems as if this Vicar of the catholic church, through mere common sense and reasoning, has come to the conclusion that 'god', in the sense presented by the church, can not exist, and if he does, then he is not worthy of worship. Instead, his mindset changed to the point that he seemed to become practically a hinduist instead; one observed by reflection upon the inward power, through meditation, and through interaction with others, wherein when touching the inner portion of god from himself, to the inner portion of god to another, a two way conversation becomes a three way one.
Admittedly, I don't know enough about hinduism to know exactly how similar it is, and most of my understanding actually came from the book Siddhartha, which might I add, is a novel which I highly advocate towards anyone seeking understanding of religious matters.
Regardless, the speaker, Tom Honey, seems to be going down much the same journey as Siddhartha did within the book, one of religious and self discovery, which is making an unexpected turn, in which enlightenment is being arrived at in a way significantly differently than any major current religion is capable of providing.
I think, possibly the most profound thing he stated in the entire speech, may have been that, those who believe the strongest in a god without boarders, or boundries, whom is infinite and all knowing, all seeing, all powerful, are in fact those who then immediately turn and bind him down with rules, with dogma, and with chains of laws.
While there are no true answers given, the explanation of his thoughts as he goes through them is quite interesting, as it shows whot I believe to be the true form of religion, and the most pure form of belief. That is, not that which is presented and provided to yeu upon a platter, but rather, one which yeu study, consider, and attempt to understand through and through. To not just "know" by blind faith, but to UNDERSTAND whot it is yeu believe, and to change ones' perceptions based upon that understanding.
I do not truly believe that there can be a god who thinks we should just randomly spin the wheel and pick the "right" religion out of THOUSANDS of possibilities, and if yeu pick the right one, yeu get rewarded eternally, and to choose wrongly is to be punished severely forevermore.
My personal belief, is that any god worthy of worship, would never demand such, and would encourage understanding over blind faith.
It would seem, that though the speaker has not yet arrived at their destination on this matter, that they have finally started upon that path of understanding, and this encourages me that I'm not alone in seeking answers. That being content with the 'knowledge' that there is or isn't anything out there in the form of god, or a pantheon of gods, or multiple pantheons, that to 'know' for certain anything is a falsehood, and that any atheist, or firm blind faith believer has yet to attain. Rather, the greatest truth the vicar had to say... was the simple phrase which almost none of us can seem to let pass our lips.
"I don't know."
For in reality... we don't know. To claim that god does not exist is to claim that yeu know EVERYTHING in the universe, and understand all with intimate detail and understand all correlations between each part amongst the whole. To be an atheist is to claim that all the things that science has yet to explain *MUST* be explainable by science, and that yeu have absolute unswerving faith in that there is not other option, despite that yeu don't even know whot the answers to those questions are.
Becoming an atheist is a form of blind faith I can't adhere to.
So, too, is any other blind faith which claims to know for certain the unknowable.
As such, the only true faith one can achieve, is the knowledge that yeu really don't know. And the only true religion one can have, is to attempt to learn and understand as best yeu can with the limited tools yeu have.
While the speaker did not mimic these exact words... I believe that he has begun to understand the point, if only in a basic, undeveloped manner. Where I myself was perhaps a decade or more ago.
I don't agree with his final conclusion, but I respect the thought process that went into how he reached that conclusion.
This post isn't so much to expound my own beliefs, or to claim that he is absolutely right, but rather, to point out that his speech provides a very easy to follow format wherein he shows HOW he goes through his thought process on the matter, and how he reasons out the basic possibilities and which can and can't inherently be true.
My point in this post, above all else, is to evoke thought in each reader, and to hope that others can start to try to understand, rather than simply accept.
I don't have any more answers than the speaker has, nor does anyone else here. Rather, it is not the answer that is important anyway, but the search for that answer. We can't know the truth, nor can we understand the vast complexities of the universe. Whot we CAN do, is TRY.
I view the video as a pristine example of someone attempting to understand, trying to learn, and upon that correct path. Hopefully someone else here will gain something from the speech, or whot I've written in regards to it. I don't know that such will happen, but it'd be nice =3
And there, again, is that one persistent phrase... the key to everything.
I don't know.