Sunday, June 17, 2012


Where did our concepts of a "god" originate? Could they have arisen from a world and society such as that with which we are familiar today?

This is an advanced, modern and over-populated world. The technology that has developed in my lifetime is astounding.

At my birth in 1934, we weren't very far removed from the horse and buggy world. I have harnessed horses and think I could still manage it with a little thought. Horses were still common on World War II battlefields. The Polish army met panzers with horse mounted cavalry. It's what they had.

When I was in elementary school, the world contained about 2 billion people. The population now is seven billion and growing. If you wanted to make a phone call across country, you had to drive to town which was twelve miles away.

Television was in its infancy and only the wealthiest in big cities were even aware of its existence. By my late teens, it was invading the more prosperous homes in our area on limited black and white channels. Color, high def and 3-d were science fiction. Telephone party lines came in during my late teens. Nobody even thought of a cell phone.

Yet, this world was tremendously advanced from the world of my ancestors just a few generations back, when world population was measured in the mere millions and technological wonders involved things like the besemer process for making steel and steam power.

Even farther back, the human race was struggling just to master basic metalurgy to replace stone and flint and most people subsisted in hard scrabble labor to produce the basic necessities of life from the soil and whatever happened to be at hand and workable. My grandfather was an expert with a drawknife for shaping wood. Most people today don't even know what a drawknife is, but I have one hanging on the wall of my toolshed. I don't use it. It's there for sentimental reasons.

However, even that world was amazingly advanced compared to the world from which our basic theological concepts arose. In that world, tribal chieftans and territorial kings ruled over small (comparatively) populations that barely got by with the barest of necessities.

In that tribal world, which is still seen in parts of the Middle East and Asia, the population's relationship with those in power was very personal. If you had a request to make, you went directly into the presence of the "grand poohba" and petitioned him personally.

How your petition was handled depended entirely on that potentate's attitude and personal opinion of you and your request. The outcome could sometimes be catastrophic, as the accounts of how King David dealt with some of his subjects shows. (I'm not vouching for the accuracy of all those accounts. They just illustrate how things were done in that world.)

Out of that bronze and stone age world came the concepts of "god" that still permeate our societies.

We still have the concept that all of the seven billion homo sapiens on this planet can have a one-on-one relationship with whatever conceptual idol populates our consciousnesses. People are abolutely convinced that great personage knows everything they think and do and is going to take personal umbrage if they mess up. Then, they have to grovel and beg and carefully make whatever amends their particular theology stipulates to get back in the good graces of the heavenly potentate they imagine.

Even the fanciful pictures of "god's throne" contained in the scriptures we've inherited are pictures from that basically tribal time -- pictures of a grand and exalted being sitting on a throne with fauning sycophants flinging their crowns at his feet while vociferously praising and exalting him.

This is all just a carryover from the tribal setting in which these fantasies developed. The god people worship is simply a tribal chieftan or territorial warlord such as we struggle against in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Isn't it time for a more realistic view of the cosmos and our place in it?


  1. Al,
    Your time away from the blog has not lessened your talent for clarity and poignancy.

    As to the god mythologies, all were based in fear when they began and there is still fear today - hence people still seek protection.

  2. "Isn't it time for a more realistic view of the cosmos and our place in it?"

    Yes it is. But man must continue to evolve.

    What prevents the process in America is religion in politics. The future of the nation, (the conservatives say) is in how we honor the god.

    The religious are a counted group that demands to be heard. The politician listens for he needs their money.

    You see it is the leadership of a nation that determines the believe system in the long run. The politicians policies support one group over another. Its done in the case of race, its done in the case of corporate interest, it done for the Christians, Jews, Muslims, Unions etc.

    Who ever, whatever group that wants to influence government policy and laws knows that its all about money! Fucking sad.