I was watching a profile piece on CBS Sunday Morning about actor Steve Bucemi a bit ago, when I heard that actor in one of his roles offer the following poignant observation:

Do you think God stays in heaven, because he too lives in fear of what he’s created?

If there were a god of any stripe who was responsible for the creation of Homo sapiens, I should think he’d be pissing his pants by now, and with good reason.  Ever since Yahweh made the bonehead move of putting the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil within humankind’s grasp, any chance of his long-term viability was effectively doomed.  With knowledge and the desire for more comes curiosity, the desire to reach beyond one’s current grasp, to grow, to learn, to further empower oneself in the face of a sometimes hostile yet fascinating world.

We’ve taken that curiosity and run with it, particularly in our most recent history.  The mechanics of the solar system and of kinematics were uncovered by the likes of Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo and further quantified by Newton and Laplace.  Faraday made the connection between electricity and magnetism and with that made possible an uncountable number of devices 21st century denizens all but take for granted.  Pasteur began the process of understanding disease and how to defeat it, aided later by Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.  Over time, an integration of multiple disciplines has allowed us to be able to dig back not just into our own history but that of the planet and star system that spawned us, to understand it in hard mathematical and physical terms, all the way back to within femtoseconds of the cataclysmic event which gave rise to it all.  All these discoveries and thousands more like them are the product of our desire to know, rather than to simply believe.

And perhaps the most important thing we’ve discovered along with all of the above is that god isn’t even necessary to his own creation.  Doubtless, this would be seriously disheartening news to the old guy if he existed, and even more so to the priests, rabbis, imams and other grifters who have for so long depended on the supposition of his existence.  They may well be as terrified of these developments as their insubstantial deity is, though they may suffer more from them, being that they actually DO exist, and the bullshit which they propagate is being dismantled at an accelerating rate.  Eventually, neither these pseudo-prophets nor their dicta will be able to maintain themselves in the face of facts too easily available for either to find breathing room.  They will become extinct, like the god which was never extant to begin with.

So a non-existent god may be relegated to a non-existent place, from which he is too frightened of what he didn’t create to reveal himself, because he gave his creation the tools to foment his own obsolescence.  Sounds like a good place to leave the bastard.

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Comment by Loren Miller on September 7, 2014 at 1:28pm

Bertold, your invisible gardener bears a striking resemblance to Carl Sagan's Dragon in My Garage.

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on September 7, 2014 at 1:12pm

> and even more so to the priests, rabbis, imams and other grifters who have for so long depended on the supposition of his existence.  They may well be as terrified of these developments as their insubstantial deity is, though they may suffer more from them, being that they actually DO exist, and the bullshit which they propagate is being dismantled at an accelerating rate. 

Loren, you definitely have a knack for articulately delving right to the heart of a matter! This reminds me of the parable of the invisible gardener. From Wiki:

The Parable of the Invisible Gardener is a tale told by John Wisdom. It was later developed in the university debate, by Antony Flew who made a few changes such as changing the gardeners to explorers. It is often used to illustrate the perceived differences between assertions based on faith and assertions based on scientific evidence, and the problems associated with unfalsifiable beliefs. The main point of the parable is that religious believers do not allow anybody to "falsify" their assertions, instead they simply change their beliefs to suit the questioner. This is why for Flew religious believers cause God to "Die the death of a thousand qualifications". The tale runs as follows:

"Two people return to their long neglected garden and find, among the weeds, that a few of the old plants are surprisingly vigorous. One says to the other, 'It must be that a gardener has been coming and doing something about these weeds.' The other disagrees and an argument ensues. They pitch their tents and set a watch. No gardener is ever seen. The believer wonders if there is an invisible gardener, so they patrol with bloodhounds but the bloodhounds never give a cry. Yet the believer remains unconvinced, and insists that the gardener is invisible, has no scent and gives no sound. The skeptic doesn't agree, and asks how a so-called invisible, intangible, elusive gardener differs from an imaginary gardener, or even no gardener at all."[1]

There are further refinements such as adding infra-red sensors, a surrounding electric fence, etc. etc. to detect the invisible entity, all of which of course fail, to the extent that the invisible gardener must be intangible as well as undetectable. The point being, the believers are going to continue refining their “explanations” to adapt to counter-evidence to the nth degree, never realizing that ultimately their entire edifice of belief is very much like Procrustes’ bed. Oh, Occam, we hardly knew ye!

Comment by Loren Miller on September 7, 2014 at 12:34pm
Actually, Michael, I believe the quote is from the movie Spy Kids 2. It strikes me as unusual that a piece of fluff like that would be the source of such a profound quote, but there it is.
Comment by Michael Penn on September 7, 2014 at 12:31pm

I'm familar with the actor, Steve Bucemi. If the above was his answer on Sunday Morning, all I can add is very well said. Words like these should make everyone stop and think.

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