Saturday, May 26, 2007

in you, i can trust

I have been wondering why do we as a society and a species place all our trust and hope in God, a being distant and seemingly absent, whom we have never seen or spoken to, whose only evidence of existence is limited to the aged descriptions found in texts more than a thousand years old, who is not consistent and reliable in his promises and, whom his admirers praise faithfully yet when something happens despite their sincerest prayers, a thousand excuses are given to absolve God of his apparent forgetfulness or indifference to their dearest concerns and wishes. Why do we place our greatest hopes in the spectacular, the supernatural but we ignore or reject that which is obvious, tested, and explainable? Why is it that in most areas of our lives, such as at work or school, we're expected to be reasonable and to make sound judgments having assessed the subject at hand and distinguished the real from the bogus, the credible from the false, yet when it comes to our understanding about our place in the cosmos or our mortality we're drawn immediately to the most debated, unsubstantiated, far-fetched positions imaginable?

Our Sun, unlike God, though distant is never absent. It's there. In this there is no doubt. I have never spoken to it. I have never had a lengthy conversation with it, but that is ok for I can see it and know it's there. The cycle of our days is oriented by its daily movements. Indeed, I feel its presence every day. Images have been taken of our Sun and probes have visited it, but I have yet to see an image of God. I don't even know God's address? Do you know where he lives? If you do know, can you tell me? I'd like to send me a letter asking him where he's been lately.

What a joyous, wonderful feeling it is to be woken up by the chirping birds in the Sun's magnificent radiance on a spring morning . . . to know that I am so fortunate to live to see a new day. Its daily appearance is regular and predictable and the effect is palpable. Regardless of where I am on Earth or the time of the year, I can find out when it will reappear and leave us for the day.

Its existence is responsible directly for my own existence for it provides the sunlight that the plants use to produce oxygen, which I and most forms of life need to survive. We humans, as one scholar once said, are not only water-based but also photo-based creatures. Our daily life is linked intricately with that of our beloved Sun.

Our Sun has never failed me. It has remained faithful keeping its promises all the time. I don't think it has ever failed any one else either, human or not. For as long as there have been people, its daily promise of sustenance has been maintained. Yes, the Sun is rather quiet though once in a while it will burp up a solar flare. It doesn't seem to be a big talker. Maybe it's more of the pensive type. Our Sun doesn't, like God during his earlier years, prefer to announce himself with a thunderous message to a prophet or ignite a burning bush. But I'm ok with the Sun's reluctance to speak because I know it delivers. It gets the job done. Our Sun is a doer! I can't say the same for God. He may be here but he may not be. I can never quite tell. Others claim that he's always here, but really, how do they know for sure? In comparison to our beloved friend, the Sun, surely God's record does not compare.

In protest, some may say that the Sun, regardless of its characteristics, cannot redeem us from our sins and save us from eternal damnation. The Sun cannot save us from sin. Only God can do this, they will assert. Fine, because the salvation of mankind has never been one of our Sun's missions. It's not his shtick. Indeed, at some distant time our Sun in the chaos of its fiery, explosive death will in fact destroy the world and most if not all of inner planets that orbit it. There goes any attempt at eternal salvation! Our beloved Sun provides the basis for the mechanisms of life on Earth. What more can I ask of it? Isn't this enough of gift? Is this not perhaps the greatest of gifts? The fact that it doesn't offer any other promises like eternal love, forgiveness, and redemption are ok with me. Our beloved Sun does enough in my book - it keeps the promises that it has made. I must turn to myself and all the people in my life for compassion, laughter, forgiveness, and all the other wonderful things that make this life meaningful.

God, on the other hand, is unaccountable for all that he has alleged to have said. He tells us to do this and that and like sheep, we're supposed to obey his ancient commands. This world that God is said to have created is so contradictory. Isn't it reasonable for me have such doubts? All I ask is that God be fair and make himself accountable. Moreover, where is justice, oh God? Justice seems to be lacking greatly down here. Aren't you supposed to be its great defender? Where is mercy? God, do you love us? Show us. Please don't offer empty promises. If you are going to promise something, please deliver. Show us that you have fulfilled your word. Don't ask me to follow you and then, you don't live up to your word. I'd prefer you not make any promises at all rather than make some and then, turn your back on them. Are you a con man, who promises one thing and gives something else? If God's actions were emulated by any normal person, we'd most likely leave him. Why don't we seem eager to do the same with God?

They say God lives forever. He's eternal and indomitable, I'm told. That's impressive I admit, but our beloved friend, the Sun, doesn't need to live forever to also be awe-inspiring in my opinion. To me, he's done quite enough as it stands to maintain my endearment and eternal indebtedness. A time will come when our beloved Sun will die, it is sad to say, but not for another 5 billion years. Thankfully, there's no need to rush to make funerary plans quite yet. Though our Sun will not live forever unlike God, it will have enjoyed a long, fruitful life during which time it gave hope and opportunity to billions daily.

It's acceptable to laugh at or think that the ancients were silly for venerating the Sun. How ludicrous to believe such a thing we are told. But is it really? If there's anything that should be venerated shouldn't it be our Sun, the source of light and life? As agricultural societies, the ancients understood well their overwhelming dependence on our beloved friend. Its activities were watched carefully and recorded. It never left them. It interacted in their lives daily and remained faithful through the millennia. I think we have forgotten some of their wisdom. Yet God, Mr. Unreliable, came and left as he pleased if he ever came at all. Perhaps he has had greater concerns elsewhere since the glory days when he was the recognizable rock star in the holy books. Maybe I shouldn't be too harsh on him. Perhaps he has been dealing with some very serious issues in his personal life. Again, we haven't had an intimate conversation or even exchanged e-mails, so there's no way for me to know what has kept him away for so long. He's not even on IM, Friendster, or Facebook! For someone who loves us so much, he should be more accessible. If he only showed himself from time to time (maybe like he used to), there's a chance I'd believe.

I know I'm in the minority to doubt God's interest in our lives, but that doesn't bother me. It did before but not any longer. As I wait for a surprise response from God, it's good to know that our beloved Sun will be where it always is doing what it always does today, tomorrow, the next day and the day after that. Though distant, our Sun is present and reliable. For this, I am most grateful.

5 Comments:

Comment Anonymous Anonymous said...

Duane,

This is a beautiful post. I'm asking you more about this tomorrow for sure! :P :D

Too bad Su can't make it in the morning. Perhaps we can bring her back some chocolate chip pancakes?

~Sarah up the street

10:15 PM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

Thanks Sarah! You betcha. I'll see you tomorrow.

Have a good night.
Duane

11:24 PM  
Comment Blogger Jane said...

What could be more natural than to worship the sun and other forces of nature? I think you're on to something. Today's Neopagans give thanks to the sun, and Hindu yogis famously perform their "salute to the sun." In ancient civilizations the sun *was* a god, or occasionally a goddess. In ancient Rome he was called Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun).

I would, however, recommend additional devotions to the minor saint known as Sunscreenus...

1:31 PM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

Thanks for commenting, Jane. :)

1:18 AM  
Comment Anonymous Emily said...

Worshiping the sun makes perfect sense to me...

A dear friend (the one who did our wedding ceremony) one day said, "I need a new god 'cuz clearly this one is not working for me." Our friend Katy made the mistake of saying, "I'll be your god!" And the Goddess Katy was born...and because my friends can't let a joke die, ever there is now a Church of Katy, complete with saints...I am the garb saint, to name one, and Tim is the offical heretic...

I know what to expect from my goddess:)

(Ok, maybe more silly than the answer you were expecting...)

2:07 PM  

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