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"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Where Gods Live

I used to say "God is why. Not the answer, the question."

Talk to a young child and you'll understand. They ask "Why?" a lot. Why is the sky blue? Why can't I stick a fork in the outlet? Why?

For every question you answer, they have another waiting in the wings. If you're reasonably intelligent, reasonably educated, you can go a long time before you get to "I don't know."

But when you get to "I don't know" you've found one of the places where Gods dwell. Eventually, no matter how smart we are, no matter how much we know...we come to the place where we don't have an answer. Thanks to science and technology, that place is a long way off from our daily life, but it's still there. The place of mystery, of unanswered questions, the murky dark where there be dragons...and Gods.

I've heard it said that Science killed God. Respectfully, I disagree. Certainly, Science has removed some of the mystery behind the world in which we live...but for every answer it finds, more questions come up, and eventually I think even Science will come to a stumbling halt at the final "Why?" and go to its knees.

I think, too, that Gods live in uncertainty. I can make every effort to choose wisely, to walk with eyes open, knowingly, along my oath...but there will inevitable come a time when I find the trail divided, and have no way to know what will happen down the way. Which trail do I take, which choice to I make? Ah...there the Gods are, hovering in the background, silently helping me feel my was along until I can find my own way again. Even when I've chosen a rougher road, I know they're there when I need them, lending an arm to lean on, helping when I falter or fail, dusting me off and setting me right again.

I've felt them in my life, my Gods and Goddesses, felt their warm presence, their love, their joy...never have I felt them punishing me (I do that to myself better than they could), but often have I felt them bolstering me when I felt small and weak in the Universe.

They live in "Why?" and in "Help!", in sea and stone and cloud and sun, and in me. How about you?


Will said...

"In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing." -Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

When one has exhausted all of science, and logic, and reason and gets to an unanswered "why," there is a choice to be made. Do I just thrown my hands up, accept the notion that the answer must lie in the idea that "god(s) did it," and then cease to wonder? Or do I continue looking for an answer, know that there is an explanation somewhere there?

Entering my 23rd year as a heathen, one of the truths about my fellow man that I have come to know very well is the notion of wonder. The righteous/pious/evangelical/religious are perfectly content with the idea that the answer to everything ultimately lies with god(s). They are willing to use that notion as the ultimate answer. And they accept never knowing the full wonder of that which is around them because that is the answer to everything.

But, their opposites, the heathens/infidels/non-believers, never accept those notions. There is always an answer. And while the question may never be answered in their lifetime, so long as the search for it's answer continues, then the wonders of the world around them will never cease because of some supposed deity.

Kyddryn said...

Will...you rock.

I don't mean to imply that gods of any sort take away the wonder, the mystery. I think they add to it. I've never been satisfied with "It's that way because god/dess made it so" as an answer to anything. It's not enough, and it becomes a cop out, an excuse not to act, not to learn, to seek, to strive, to grow...and it still begs the question...why? Why would god/dess make it so?

I like not knowing all the answers. I love that there is so much we can't explain, no matter how hard we try.

My world is full of wonder - the play of light on that one drop of water on the tip of a leaf, shining through my window and catching my eye...I don't need an answer for that to know it's amazing, beautiful. Clouds...clouds stop me in my tracks, and I KNOW how those are made...at least on the surface...but there's always the wonder of what made the process in the first place.

Can I not, in the end, believe that gods had a hand in it and still retain that sense of wonder? Do the two have to be separate things? Can I not see my gods in the world around me and still be struck by how improbable it all is?

Ultimately, I believe that WE created the gods, not the other way around...that they serve us, not we them. I like the notion that there is always something to seek, to wonder at - I prefer that to the jaded notion of "It's god's will" or whatever...

Argh. Words are not working for me, here.

In the end...I think I need my gods as a source of comfort when I feel lost, alone...when I am feeling like it's all futile and wondering why I bother. Then they're there, a reminder of what I know when I'm not wrapped up in the misery - that life is beautiful, that the Universe is beautiful, and even in the ugliness, even in the confusion, the mystery, there's something worth having, something beyond my ken...for now.

Thanks for speaking up, Will...I like your viewpoint (not that it matters, but hey, my blog, right??), and thanks for sparking further thought on the subject. My brain needs the exercise.

Susan said...

I love this! But why can't you stick a fork in an outlet?

Kyddryn said...

Susan, no reason you can't...just shouldn't. Unless your name is Dawn Bicker, and then you absolutely should, to show us all why it's (not) a good idea.

Or, as I told my son when he asked why it's not ok to stick things in sockets - because I don't feel like cleaning you up off the floor right now.