Who’s Spinning the Planet?

I saw a sign the other day that nearly made me drive off the road. It was in front of a church. (Yup. Buckle up.) It said:

“Did the LORD wake you up this morning? No? Who rotates earth?”

Oh, where to begin.

First of all, I instantly got this image of the sign creator gleefully looking at his work and saying, “Yes! Finally! Proof that God exists that NO ONE can argue with!!!!”

I weep for humanity.

To be absolutely clear, this blog post is not about whether or not God exists. I’m not going there. I have a cold, and that’s much too meaty a topic for me to dig into at the moment.

No. This post is about the ignorance of Man and the stupidity, in particular, of this sign.

In the Trump era, I’m kinda getting used to people taking absurd leaps in logic. Mostly I just shake my head sadly and move on. But to ask who’s spinning the planet, you must first believe that in order for the planet to spin, some entity or other must be spinning it.

To that, I can only respond, “Kindly get your head out of the stone age and join the rest of us in 2019.”  Anyone with a passing concept of the laws of physics knows that there’s no one sitting at a gigantic pottery wheel in the sky, tediously spinning, spinning, spinning our world for us. If that were necessary, it would be a horribly cruel job to saddle someone with. It sounds more like a task to give someone who is residing in hell.

That there are people out there who have never taken physics or learned of gravity or heard of Copernicus doesn’t surprise me overmuch. (Saddens me, yes, surprises me, no.) But in order to take this sign seriously, you have to believe in witchcraft. Your society would have to be at the developmental stage where you think that you must provide a blood sacrifice in order to make the sun rise each day. You’d have to wear bones in your nose and club your women and drag them into your cave.

If your spiritual belief includes a higher power, I hope that he, she, or it is sophisticated enough to not be wasting time on the minutiae. Because there’s a lot of work to do up in this mo’ fo’. There’s no time for dilly dallying.

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Faith Ain’t Reality

I admire people who have faith. Religious faith in particular is a quality that seems to have eluded me most of my life. I would truly love to be able to let go and let God, as the saying goes.

It has to be comforting to think that there’s a higher power who has ultimate control. It must be liberating to not have to think you are the primary decision-maker in your own life, that the buck doesn’t stop here after all, that some cosmic being is on your side, and therefore a large amount of the responsibility belongs to someone or something else. It would be so nice to guess that your fate has already been mapped out for you. That there’s a plan. What a weight would be lifted from my shoulders! I’d also love to think that prayer could solve my problems.

I just can’t do it. I like facts. I want evidence. Proof. Otherwise, how is it different from believing in unicorns?

I wish there were unicorns. I’d love to see a unicorn. I’d love to live in a world where unicorns wandered the streets. But I live in the real world.

Here’s what gives me comfort: we’ve learned so much about the universe and how it works that it becomes increasingly easy to not rely on the great unknown to answer the decreasing number of unanswerable questions. We know what causes eclipses these days. Nothing is devouring the sun.

Now, the trick is to maintain a moral compass when you technically don’t answer to anyone other than yourself. Perhaps that’s the kind of faith I need to nurture: the concept that humans have the maturity to be capable of morality without oversight.

Wish me luck.

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Feeling Helpless

I’ve always admired people who have a strong sense of faith. Whether that translates into religious belief or just an unshakable sense that everything’s going to be all right, it’s just not something that I possess as a general rule. Most of the time that’s fine. The only time it’s bad is when things are bad. Then I feel helpless. And that’s my least favorite feeling in the world.

I’d love to think that my little problems are significant enough to get the attention of some higher power, but I just can’t seem to take that leap. I guess it’s called a leap of faith for a reason. I’m just not a leaper.

Life experience has made me more of a believer in the laws of nature, and nature can be cruel as hell. I’d love it if the cute little baby zebra would somehow be snatched from the jaws of the lioness, but if that were the case, we’d be up to our butts in zebras in no time. In the long run that would be problematic.

I guess that’s the whole point. There is a bigger picture. We’re just not always privy to it. If there’s actually an organized plan (and I have my doubts), I am only one very tiny piece of the puzzle, and my desire to be saved from my misery is not as important to that plan as I’d like it to be. Oh well.

The only thing I am fairly certain of is that there’s usually a lesson to be learned from all of life’s drama. That, at least, is worth the price of admission.

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Spirituality vs. Science

Sometimes I think I’m the only person on the planet who thinks that science and spirituality do not have to be mutually exclusive. For example, why do so many people think that if you believe in the theory of evolution, you cannot also believe in a higher power? I happen to think evolution is brilliant. Not only does it solve a whole host of natural problems, but it also occurs over millennia, thus requiring a patience that we mere mortals could never hope to duplicate.

I also think the big bang is a highly spiritual thing. I love the fact that it took something so cataclysmic to eventually lead to us and the air we breathe. And stem cell research? Phenomenal. That we evolved brains sophisticated enough to even know that stems cells exist is a source of constant fascination for me.

I honestly believe that the mistake we make is in thinking that religion is confined to books that were written back in a time when science wasn’t particularly advanced. I don’t think spirituality can be boxed in like that, and I think it undergoes an evolution of its own. I think that if we think we have it all figured out, and that we have to rigidly adhere to a set of religious rules from centuries ago, that we are according ourselves entirely too much power, and underestimating the ability of a sentient creator to change. Something that can’t change may as well be a rock.

I think spirituality exists in the unknown bits, the space between the things that are smaller than the quantum particles, the things we couldn’t possibly write about because we don’t know and probably never will.

We call the things that we can explain science. But there will always be things which we cannot explain. And I find that oddly comforting, too.

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[Image credit: Wellcomecollection.org]