The Fish and the Faith
I’m a big fan of philosophy, I am not a “believer”, nor ever will I be. The following article is one half of the puzzle as to why. Obviously I will never see the purpose, personally, in faith and certainly not in religion, the emotional and physical benefits of either are equally found in merely being optimistic/charismatic.
This does not mean I would tell another that they should stop believing. I do however ask that nobody ever stop questioning their faith. Not to see if it is wrong, but to be sure that their understanding is always fresh and alive. The moment a person becomes locked in what they feel they know, they no longer know anything at all.
So with that lets begin this little adventure:
“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”—Author unknown
It’s a saying that is easily as old as I am. At least I recall hearing it at a young age. This is one of those sayings that I feel transcends survival and roots itself in the very question of faith. Allow me to backpedal one step further and we’ll return to this.
It is said, by most faiths that I’m aware of, that a creator of some fashion formed the Earth and the Sky above. These days we extrapolate that to mean the entire universe (cause that’s what we do). This leaves me with a very difficult problem to accept. I am supposed to believe that a being would create the entire universe, a region so unbelievably big that it is literally impossible to fathom. That humans would be placed on a pebble in the middle of a vast ocean for seemingly no reason.
The amount of waste involved in this belief is unrivaled by any other form of waste in all known human history and easily you could take every wasted thought, action, or death of every living thing that has ever existed on the Earth, you could give them nearly any level of weight in importance, and still all of this would be pittance compared to the phenomenal level of waste creating the universe for humans would create.
It is, upon any level of reflection, completely and utterly preposterous. If I were to be told by any person that they find it believable in any way I would be greatly disappointed in them. I don’t believe I could write a character intelligent enough to design RNA but foolish enough to create this much universe merely as a backdrop to a planet. Old game designers would tell you that you could just throw up a space wallpaper and call it good.
But this is where the previous point comes in. If we are to believe for the sake of this argument that a god, any god, any creator, is real, and if we are to believe in any form of heaven, I propose that thousands of years of people have been examining the issue wrongly.
It would not be death that leads us to heaven, this would be as with the first part of the story, merely giving the man a fish. Death is easy, praying is easy, belief is easy. I know some folks say belief is hard but I spent many years believing with all my heart I could control the weather, coincidence and cognitive mistakes make belief profoundly easy.
What is hard however is altering the real world to make it better. What is hard is improving your lot in life and the lot of those around you. This I think would be the lesson of any deity. We are not here to live and die to find our place in heaven. This is the canvas we have been handed. A sandbox of literally unmatched size, a universe so large that there is light that has been traveling for billions of years and still hasn’t reached us.
Science is the essence of Curiosity. This concentrated wonder is our tool to improving the universe. To not merely waiting till Heaven comes to us, but instead creating Heaven where we stand.
I propose that if one truly believes in faith, if one truly believes in god and heaven, they must look at two questions. Has this god been so wasteful as to create the entire universe as merely a stepping stone to another even larger one? Or has this god created a universe of phenomenally life span and girth to give humanity a chance to expand into the deep stars and to unravel every last mystery it has to offer. To transcend all things we think possible and to literally create heaven ourselves?
I am still very much a man rooted in this realm, but I do believe that if all faiths took this as the interpretation of heaven and of life we could see great advancements in society and our future. If there is a god, or gods, they are most certainly not at war with science nor with technology. There are many destructive things they may be at odds with, but curiosity is not one of them.
Matthew 13:47-50 (English Standard Version)
I hate to be one of “those guys” but the fish that a fisherman would throw away are those that are long dead, frail, sick, or wasted. I would think in our world death would seem to be the tossing away of those fish. Culling the Earth of those that did not succeed in their task. (Also the quell the rage, I realize the next part talks about angels coming to earth, but the entire piece is symbolic. I also realize anyone can pull anything they want from any line, allow me to indulge this once). I could think of no greater hell, hyperbole excused, than to waste away before exploring everything.