Saturday, January 9, 2010

Why And How To Worship God

In recent talks with theists I've once again come across the question of what I would do if "God" showed up to me.  While that is a big discussion in itself, another aspect arrives from contemplating the question: worship.  Why should we worship a reveled God, and what exactly does it mean to worship it?

Brown-Nosed And Rolling Over
Assuming the God in question is the all-powerful creator of everything, several factors reveal themselves in this scenario (at least to an armchair psychologist), the first of which is fear.  We are naturally (be it by evolution or intelligent design) submissive to those with greater power than our own.  We create hierarchical social structures and our treatment of others reflects our perceived level of dominance of them, among other things.  From an evolutionary standpoint, it's a survival mechanism.  Sure, we could all just fight to the death but that would help anyone, especially ourselves.  So we push as far as we can, gaining and giving as much as beneficially possible.  Therefore, should a mighty creator being suddenly plop down and begin issuing edicts, we'd most likely obey out of fear and a desire to live and remain unharmed.

The other side to this is the protection such a being would offer.  Just as the tiny fish seek protection and food from a shark, so too would many humans begin to suck up to the regnant deity.  True, some may also seek companionship and an honest exploration of the previously unstudied.  But I think that most would simply bow out of fear and respect to power unlimited.

Here I Am, Now Entertain Me
That might be the why, but what about the how?  What does it mean to worship a being?  Is it unquestionable love and veneration?  Is it reverence in the form of consent?  I wouldn't expect to automatically love any being just out of awe, surprise, or fear.  Love is earned.  I might be able to respect the deity's authority and powers, but love is an entirely different ball game.

I suppose too that it would depend on the demands made by the god.  Will it stand before us and proudly exclaim, "Bow down to me or be crushed!"?  I'm willing to bet that the best form of "worship" would be the actions, words, and behaviors that the god did not ask for.  Many people may solicit the being to gain protection, companionship, a freedom from responsibilities, or to share in the power.  I would rather worship (and be worship by) beings that love or respect me enough to want to make me happy -- not out of fear of punishment or hopes of reward -- but just out of the goodness of the heart.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find Out What It Means To Me
I can hear the religious people now, "But that's just exactly what God wants!  He wants you to love him out of your own free will, and he wants to be worshiped by you and share his glory with you."  I'm sorry, but it would depend on the character of your God.  If, as I've said before, the deity is the actual Yahweh from the Old Testament, I wouldn't worship him if he threatened me directly to my face.  Might doesn't make right.  I don't care how powerful it is or how much right it has to me as its property, being my creator and being stronger than me doesn't give it the prerogative of my respect, honor, love, worship, or even acknowledgment.  The content of its character and its actions toward others determine where it would sit in my book.  I'll obey the might only if I accept its justifications for the requests it makes, and only if its standards meet those worthy of devotion.  The Gods of people today do not warrant my respect, and they are not worthy of worship by anyone, including you.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"any child still in the womb,"

And Christians are anti-abortion why?
The Atheist Perspective