RELIGION March 6, 2016
Books and articles about religion number in the hundreds of thousands but I think that the essence of
subject can be distilled into two questions: Do you believe in God? And: Are you a person of faith?
The first question should really be: Do you believe that there is a God who is All-Knowing, All-Powerful,
To answer this first question only requires a cursory knowledge of the origin of our universe and the
history of all living organisms on our planet. Our universe, solar system, and planet Earth were all born
in violence and in a few billion years will all die in violence. In between this birth and death, our planet
has experienced, and will again experience, many natural and man-made disasters that have
devastated planet Earth and its inhabitants. Natural disasters include those produced by asteroid
strikes, volcanic action, earthquakes, and diseases. Several major extinctions have killed off up to 90% of
organisms living at that time. Since the appearance of homo sapiens, we have seen countless man-
made disasters including more or less constant warfare and appalling bestiality, perhaps the worst of
which was the holocaust caused by one of our more civilized nations. There is no evidence that our
future will be any better. In fact, current events suggest that it may be worse, much worse.
The second question about faith requires a definition. Faith is a belief in something without supporting
evidence. It is, perhaps, best addressed by asking another question: Would you want your taxi driver,
your lawyer, your doctor, your financial adviser, your senator, or your president to make decisions based
on faith or on reason and logic?
Those who have considered the above and still believe in the existence of an All-Knowing, All-Powerful,
All-Loving God, who could have prevented these natural and man-made disasters, but did not,
demonstrate a somewhat interesting and warped view of reason and logic. Please don’t tell me that
“God works in mysterious ways.”
There is another view: Deism. Evidently several of our founding fathers were deists, who believed in a
God that created the universe and humans and then stepped aside and let us get on with it.
Several years ago, I had the pleasure of spending and afternoon with Martin Gardner, a polymath
who was regarded by some as having the best mind of the 20th century. Martin was a deist.
But surely an All-Knowing, All-Loving God would not have retired having created the Earth and its
Inhabitants knowing what the future had in store for us.