On the way home, after a short respite from the pre-Easter rush, I found myself driving behind a truck piled high with hundreds of small plastic crates. It took some time for me to realize that each crate was stuffed full of white chickens. They were hardly moving, not that they had much space to manoeuvre! I was suddenly ambushed by tears welling in my eyes.

I assumed that they were on the way to the slaughter-house. Good God, I thought, what a terrible life! Now you may say “what a softie, people are being treated appallingly every day and this chap is upset by the sight of chickens in crates!” You would be quite right, life is full of horrific cruelty being carelessly metered out every hour.

You see that’s actually what got me going! I thought here I am speeding home after a lovely little break and the world is spinning out of control while I think! Having left my childhood faith behind a long time ago, I wondered if there is really any hope for the world? Is there a little light flickering somewhere or is it all just a macabre play closing in on the last act?

Did we simply evolve from an amoeba or a cloud of gas in the great nothingness out there? And if so, are we rapidly nearing the end of our viable span? We do not seem to learn anything from past experience. Governments and rulers still play fast and lose with their citizens lives. Religious fanatics still behead innocent men, women and children. I mean what the f…!

I eventually overtook the truck and began focusing on the road ahead. The road ahead…to where? Is this complex life that has evolved over a few thousand years all there is? Hello!! Is there something out there, some reason for all of this joy, excitement, pain and suffering? Science is amazing, it has revealed so much about the universe but as far as I know it has not produced a reason to live. It produces cold logic but nothing really heart warming. No glimmer of hope, no encouraging word, no straw to cling to. No…I’m just saying…

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“Oh Lord its hard to be humble
When you’re perfect in every way”
Mac Davis

Oh Lord its hard to be sensitive
When you’re open to everyone’s pain
The documentaries and even the movies
Bring you right down onto your knees

Oh Lord its hard to be sensitive
When you’re looking at everyone’s chain
The frustration of all of their journeys
Bring you to praying, Lord please!

Oh Lord its hard to be sensitive
When you’re seeing not everyone’s sane
The knowing they haven’t got money
Brings you to hating those that tease

I look to the hills:
Where does my help come from?
Not from the plethora of gods
Not from the tribal gods
Not from the monotheistic Gods
But from the natural world
The earth, wind and fire
The sun, moon and stars
The pond, river and sea
The tree, bush and flower
The land and sea creatures
The birds of the air

The cinnamon dove clung to the branch of the autumn Australian flame
He hung on in the gusting wind, this dove with the incredibly long name
His body said, don’t worry I am very happy all the same
He fanned his tail, stretched his wings, preened his feathers without being in any way vain

God is music, God knows the tune
God is art and is in the rock that is hewn

God is in the score, in every note that’s played
God is on the canvas and the paint that’s sprayed

God is in science, God is the theory of relativity
God is in human consciousness and all creativity

God is in the earthquake, wind and fire
God is in the crib and in the funeral pyre

God is in the cooling waters, God is in the angry flames
God is in the gentle breeze and in natures flippant games

God is in our sport, not to make us win or lose
God is in our flesh and bone, and in anything we chose

In the pre-scientific age belief in many “gods” played an important role in the world of primitive knowledge. The gods were created by human imagination to identify and explain human phenomena (illness, drought, plenty, etc.).
Each tribe had its own way of naming the gods and describing their tasks (pantheism).

During the Axial period (800 – 200 BCE) the gods lost credibility and came to be questioned, modified or even abandoned. A transition from a belief in many gods changed into a belief in one god. This one unified source of power superseded the many gods and became known as “God” (monotheism).

Between these two forms of god-belief there was a stage now known as henotheism. This system stated that each ethnic group should give exclusive allegiance to its own proprietary god while accepting the existence of gods worshipped by other peoples (eg. Israel).

This is a brief sketch of how the idea of the gods emerged within the human thought world and how it evolved into the idea of one God to explain everything. It is only since about 1800 that we began to understand that all the words and ideas used in our thought world, including the name and concept of God, were invented by us humans.

The capacity of the human mind to project itself onto something external to itself is now accepted by psychologists as a common mechanism. The practice of ancient human minds to project themselves onto the external world accounts for the accounts for the perceived personal nature of God.

The theism in monotheism is now dying and is being replaced by monism. This is now our unifying point as we try to make sense of the world and our place in it. Our focus is on the unity of the universe, or that which holds the universe together as one. The evolution of the human thought world is paralleled by the process of biological evolution.

My attempt to offer a brief summary of the thinking of Lloyd Geering: Reimagining God: How Humans made God: 2014: Polebridge

To me this work presents such a clear and logical progression of the human thought world. It obviously leads on to the quotation in my previous blog on this subject. If God exists and is truly external, then how is it possible for people to claim that they know the mind of God? However, if God is purely internal and of our own making then obviously we will know God’s mind!

.

God is light, God is gravity
God is sight and instant clarity

God is stone, God is wood
God is bone and God is good

God is love, God is life
God is a dove and God is a wife

God is the universe, God is the atmosphere
God is the poet’s verse and God is the biosphere

God is everything, God is nothing
God is everywhere and god is nowhere

God is nature, God is breath
God is stature and God is death

God is not personal
God is universal

God is not pliable
God is

“The strong tendency of ancient human minds to project themselves onto the external world accounts for the personal nature of the gods, and eventually of God. And this also explains why today’s most fervent believers in a personal God so often claim to know what God is thinking and planning: they are unconsciously projecting onto God what they themselves inwardly think and aspire to. Thus a close correlation exists between a person’s thoughts and the way God is conceived.”
Lloyd Geering: Reimagining God: Polebridge: 2014

The awareness of this phenomenon has blown my mind wide open. It seems so obvious and yet it can take a lifetime to discover, and then only if there is a complete openness to analytical thinking. Today a friend wafted into my office and prattled on about being “in the spirit” and experiencing “the presence” in our Church sanctuary.

She sounded as though she had been “smoking something”. I wanted to say, lady where have you been? Are you living in the real world? Can you not see that this is all in your head? You have created this experience, it does not come from the outside! There is no external source! Your fervent prayers for all kinds of miracles are directed at yourself alone!

It is damn scary, this kind of thinking is still fairly common and it is totally delusional. There is not a grain of truth, authenticity or integrity in it. And non-thinkers continue to be duped into accepting these dangerous untruths. Anyone questioning these warped views is immediately condemned as evil, unbelieving or impertinent.

Myths and legends may still have a role to play in maintaining social and cultural cohesion but they cannot be the foundation stones of a mentally healthy and progressive community. We must stand, not on the Bible, as an evangelical preacher ranted but on the hard-won facts of the principles of the Universe that can be substantiated on the basis of real world evidence.

Reality based knowledge and experience sets us free to grow in and thrill to the astonishing wonder of our Universe. The mind bursts with the anticipation of discoveries still to come. The journey is exciting beyond belief!

I wonder if you, like me, draw up a chair at a pavement café and sit aloof and watch the world go by?

A frail old man, in his nineties they say, reads a book on his electronic reader. His has very thin, wispy hair, gray stubble on gray skin and wears an old fisherman’s waistcoat. I make the mistake of paying for his coffee once too often, he makes enquiries and I stop the practice. I want to remain unknown.

A young mother looks frantically for a vacant table, a baby on her hip and a toddler in a pushchair. She collapses onto a chair and immediately the baby starts crying. The toddler shouts at the waitress and I avert my gaze. I am never in the mood for noise, particularly the very harsh noise made by little children.

A businessman rushes along, grabs a chair, whips out his laptop and hammers away at the keyboard. Intense concentration marks his face and his Americano rapidly gets cold. Then he begins to nod and smile. I try to guess what’s going on, maybe a humourous email or a picture of his young daughter being dropped at school for the fist time.

An obese middle-aged couple squeeze behind an end table and I wonder how on earth passers-by will cope with this considerable obstacle! As can be expected, they order huge plates of food and quaff copious amounts of beer. I am sorely tempted to slip over and suggest that they really don’t need to frequent places like this…and besides they are blocking my view of a vision in red, freshly alighted from a taxi and heading my way!

These everyday scenes, generally thought of as too ordinary for comment, compose the very fabric of human life.

To the chaps who came along
And gently showed me I was wrong
Who showed me how to be good and strong
And how to join the living throng

To the chaps who saw me stoned
And never to my parents moaned
Who showed me I was by no one owned
And to control how far I roamed

To the chaps who built me up
And offered me the friendship cup
Who convinced me I was not a pup
And invited me with them to sup

To the chaps who loved me when I was bad
And deftly lifted me when I was sad
Who said to me, “you can do it lad!”
And yet never tried to be my Dad

I salute the countless men, some dead and gone, who influenced my life immeasurably