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Religious Tolerance logo

An essay donated by Robert Mount

Part 2 of two parts.

My Pursuit of Truth

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This topic is continued from the previous essay.

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Observing Nature:

I can see no evidence that God cares about humans as a species or us as individuals. Man has believed in and worshipped God(s) to account for the things that we cannot control or understand with hopes that pleasing God(s) would have rewards in this life and beyond.

If God cared about us, on an individual basis, it is unlikely that he would end the lives of innocents or allow people to suffer who are undeserving of His vengeance.

Many babies die in the womb or at any early age through abortion, accident or illness. Many people who believe in God, who worship Him, and live their life according to scripture die at an early age or suffer greatly in old age.

Except for abortion this is not different than what other species of his creation experience.

The average life cycle of a species is 1,000,000 years. Homo Sapiens have existed for approximately 200,000 years. It is likely that we will become extinct in another 800,000 years if not sooner.

Species extinction is caused primarily by loss of habitat. All animals require food, water and shelter to survive. Island species are at greatest risk because they cannot migrate when conditions become uninhabitable.

The Earth is our island in the universe. If it is unable to sustain human life, it is unlikely that we will be able to travel to another place in the universe to survive as a species.

Species extinction is happening at one of the fastest rates in the history of the world. It has accelerated greatly since homo sapiens came into existence. We are destroying habitat and polluting the air and water. The current human population is about 3 times greater than what most scientists believe the earth can sustain on a long-term basis.

Nature has a consistent pattern of correcting imbalances when they occur. There are many possible mechanisms for reducing the human population. There is no way to know what mechanism is likely to result in correcting the imbalance.

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Characteristics of the human animal:

The most outstanding feature of humans is our intelligence. The human brain is not the largest among animals. Whales, elephants and some other animals have larger brains if measured by size. Ants and some other small animals have larger brains if measured as a percent of body mass. However, humans have developed the greatest intellectual capacity.

The characteristics that may have contributed to this development are being bipedal and having an opposing thumb. This has allowed us to use our forelimbs differently and this may have stimulated our intellectual development.

One of the greatest advantages as a species was allowing the use of our forelimbs for defense. Not needing our forelimbs for locomotion and having an opposing thumb allowed us to hold clubs and throw missiles. As we evolved we used them to shoot arrows, pull triggers and push buttons.

Humans like many animals are territorial. We claim territory as nations and we claim territory for our homes as individuals. Many animals mark their territory by scent marking. We use our intellect to define our territories geographically and/or with deeds of ownership. Laws and cultural practice allow us to defend our territories by any means required.

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The human animal and God:

It is clear that humans have a preference and/or need to believe in god(s). As far back as we can trace human behavior we have worshipped God(s) and feared His wrath.

Some scientists speculate that this is an adaptive behavior that has contributed to our success as a species.

Social animals must have a method of identifying members of their family. Humans must do this by visual and intellectual means. Sharing a belief system allows us to bond with other humans. This provides an economic advantage and alliances for protection.

The belief in a caring God who favors humans and/or believers of specific religions over other species or religions may hasten our extinction.

Modern technology used in warfare between peoples of different faiths can destroy the habitat needed to sustain human life. Believing God will favor believers of one faith over another increases the likelihood of faith based conflicts.

If we could believe that God does not care about the survival of the mankind we might work together and use our intelligence and modern technology to address the issues that are likely to lead to our extinction. Otherwise we will continue to destroy each other and the habitat, believing He favors humans and followers of of a specific faith.

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Heaven, hell and the afterlife:

I believe heaven and hell are real but they exist in this life. Those who live by the Golden Rule will love themselves and others and enjoy life. The less that we are able to live by the Golden Rule the more difficult our life will be.

I believe that there is reason to believe that our existence may extend beyond this life. There have been controlled studies of youngsters who have accurate and vivid memories of previous lives. The accounts of persons who have had near death experiences supports the belief in an existence after death.

If our existence continues beyond this life, I believe that will be experienced by everyone and may not be affected by our behavior during this lifetime.

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Conclusions:

I do not know the truth about God and His plan. What I believe is based on my life experience and observations.

I am not optimistic about the future. I do not see man accepting that God may not care about us as a species or as individuals.

If this could happen, I believe that we could avoid faith based conflicts and use our gift of intelligence to address the issues that may lead to our extinction.

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Original posting: 2016-AUG-16
Latest update : 2016-AUG-16
Author: Robert Mount

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