Vital Essence

From: Robert Wasley (
Date: Fri Jan 21 2000 - 23:29:17 MST

I have scanned the numerous messages regarding questions of the existence of God and the soul and have found it very interesting the diversity of opinion. It seems that most every position on the spectrum has been represented among the posts and feelings, at times, have run rather high. However, whatever the view, be it agnostic, believer or atheist they all play in the same sandbox. Each position is formed by the belief that the question is a valid one. Let me put it a different way. Do learned philosophical journals, media, or any of us argue the existence of Zeus? There was a time when the people of ancient Greek culture saw the world as his and the pantheon of other gods and goddesses with the same furor as any one believes in any deity today. They were just as real to them. Now they are only dusty relics of the past, interesting curios revived for their imaginative delights as when we take out old toys and reminisce. But who determined Zeus did not exist? Where is the proof? Climbing Mt Olympus and just finding rocks, birds, and small animals? They could still exist, but on a different plane.

Cutting to the chase, the gods and goddesses of old died as living, breathing entities because they were no longer used, no longer seen as valid or relevant. In my personal view the Christian god or any other interpretation of a deity is fundamentally a cultural expression. Deities are us looking back at ourselves and our ways of life. I am not an atheist, though I was one when I was much younger. My position is to go beyond the question or as Wittgenstein would say "shew the fly out of the fly bottle" so I consider myself a nontheist.

Religion no longer serves the function of providing an explanation of the world as it once did. It does provide a great deal of emotional comfort that science cannot. Religion is validated because like science (both, of course, in their worthier expressions) it serves for us the role of gaining a grasp in our search for meaning. That is what is fundamental and valuable, not the form it takes.

Robert Wasley

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