God, Gods, and Destiny

I am not a terribly spiritual individual and I suspect that is a natural consequence of my unnatural condition. After reading some of the more methodical and non-proselytizing descriptions of atheism I find myself forced to admit that I am not an atheist, either. It is not that I believe in a God or assorted gods which hold supernatural sway over the events, debacles and progress of humanity, rather it is that from my perspective mankind does indeed seem to be moving towards something and that in itself begs the questions: towards what, and why?

Those two questions never cease to fascinate me. From a purely Darwinian perspective I suppose one could argue that the seeming progression of the species is simply a factor of homo sapiens sapiens which led it to become the dominant large land mammal on the planet. Indeed, Occam’s Razor would seem to demand such a conclusion as it very neatly obviates the need for any further consideration of the topic. Mankind moves forward because moving forward makes mankind what it is. Simple, neat and understandable.

Yet still…

I have seen good and evil in Man. I have seen peasants stand and fight and die in the face of impossible odds. I have seen warriors leave the field of battle on a whim. I have seen the innocent triumph and I have seen them slaughtered without thought or cause or care. I have seen the religious lift the dumb and pitiful from the depths of despair and I have had the religious condemn the pious to the sword. I have seen the face of evil upon the land, crushing the hopes of generations only to fall in the end to the inevitable march of human progress. In short, I have seen torturous manifestations of this thing people have created which we call civilization and overall the trend is towards the better.

This does not mean that I suffer under the delusion that the entire world is now at a better place than earlier in history, nor do I suppose that things are perfect, nor do I presume to claim that Western Civilization is the best course to follow, though I might be tempted to wager on the last assuming I could find another who would be around in half a millennia to settle the bet.

So, how does this lead me astray from a purely mechanist view of the world? It is simply that I feel that the past lingers with humanity far more than as a mere collection of facts. Race memory? I would hesitate to call it such. Perhaps I am foolish enough to believe in something such as the soul, or perhaps something even more metaphysical. Can an entire species share a common “soul”?

I do not spend sleepless hours in such consideration, but when I do turn my thoughts in this direction I always end the same way: questions, and no answers.

5 Responses to “God, Gods, and Destiny”

  1. “…questions, and no answers.”

    And that is why mankind moves ever forward. Answering questions as it goes, and always finding new ones to ask.

  2. Welcome back.

    Al may well be correct but that doesn’t answer the questions.

    Here too, lots of questions and no answers.

  3. I am continuously forced back to the simplest conclusion: that mankind moves forward simply because it is mankind’s nature to do so. Nonetheless I am repeatedly struck by the nature of the struggle as humanity trudges doggedly onward: there is a clear sense of a battle between forces that for lack of better terms we might label Good and Evil. It is not so much the idea that mankind is climbing upward that leaves me with questions unanswered, rather it is the nature of the struggle, one that has been on-going for more millennia than I have personally counted. It is the existence and resourcefulness of Evil that forces me to question the simple solution.

  4. I happened across your post; you have some interesting tales. Have you “ran across” others of your kind?

  5. The above comments were first posted on 05/23/2003, 05/24/2003, 05/24/2003, and 05/29/2003, respectively, before being re-posted here.