God of the gaps means whenever you cannot explain some thing then "god did it." I know of no other thinking process, except superstition, to define it.

Science is all we have. All of life, indeed, all of the universe is so complex we can’t possibly know all the answers. We can observe and describe and think and still we don't have all the answers; we may never know them. It is to rationalize to say “god did it”! How do you know that? By what authority do you make that claim? Is your authority trustworthy? Is god the only answer, or is it Allah, or Yahweh, or one of the gods of Asia or Africa or Australia or Scientology? 

Monotheism is about dictatorship. In Christianity, god made man. Judaism was stricter. Islamic God is about submission. The one God of all three monotheistic religions expects obedience. Each claim theirs is the One True God. 

Religions is a construct, an idea, a thought, told verbally at first, then in writings that are labelled “holy scripture”. These, too, are constructs. These constructs, created at first by Stone Age peoples, then goat and sheep herders, in an attempt to explain things they did not understand. This is what has come to us through the ages.

Religion eschews doubt, they claim it is the voice of evil. How can that idea be justified? Doubt is what awakens observation and exploration and experimentation! How do we know that two means two? We have evidence that defines the word. What evidence do you have that religion holds the answers to the processes of existence? Doubt is the engine that moves reason, thinking, and wondering. I doubt seriously that it can be any other way.

Some people replace god with ghosts, spirits, and other constructs. There is no evidence for the supernatural. If there were then there would be something to reveal it. God, as the other supernatural things, are imaginary.

There is a 99.99% probability that there is no god. I state it this way because of the burden of proof. If I tell you that absolutely no god exists then I have to prove this as fact. Nobody can prove it either way.

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Comment by Ted Foureagles on August 16, 2014 at 1:25pm

Whenever a conversation that I'm having with religious people devolves into a "god of the gaps" retrenchment, I try to make the following point, first explaining that I don't mean it as a pejorative:

This continual retreat in your definition of God as that which cannot be known suggests that you are substituting the word "God" for the word "ignorance".  Just as you think it a mistake to ignore or deny God, and that we should worship Him, I think it a mistake to ignore or deny our ignorance.  We differ in that I don't agree that we should worship it.

I think that you're right Joan, in that religions are constructs as hedges against uncomfortable uncertainty.  That's what makes them so dangerous.  They allow us to pass the buck on really important things and to justify commission of atrocious actions.  They provide a security blanket that swaddles us in tribalism, unable to move but warm and secure, blameless and without responsibility beyond appeasing God and waiting for a reward in an afterlife.  That reward might be 72 virgins in Paradise for the martyr, or gold, milk, honey and angels with harps for the devout Christian (Hmm, wonder what those angels do when they're off the clock?).

The point is that such juvenile male fantasies serve to devalue the only life and only world that we know that we have in favor of better ones imagined after death.  It's a brilliant ideology for generating cannon fodder and suicide bombers and denial of real problems right here right now, like environmental degradation or unsustainable population rise.

Religion is not a total loss.  It prompts some people to do good when they lack confidence that they could do so otherwise.  Many of my friends are devout followers of their various religions, and most of them are genuinely good people.  I may think that they have skewed concepts of reality, but am impressed by what they do, at least much of time.  Religion (or more precisely, church) provides positive feedback and a shared platform for doing good (usually) things.  It also offers a social niche in which they can enjoy the comforts of being part of a tribe.

OK, I've rambled enough.


Comment by Michael Penn on August 15, 2014 at 9:10am

Thank you, Joan. That was well written and it says things exactly the way I believe them to be. We should all have such doubt because this is what drives the engine of discovery.



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