Is there a god? If not, what are all these churches for? And who is Jesus's dad?
A few big questions, lols hope you’ve had some coffee:
What is spirituality? What does it mean to be religious? To pray? To have faith?
Who is God? What is energy? What is the ‘meaning of life’?
In an era where we Google just about everything and accept the top three results as truth, these questions can be puzzling. Why does it feel sticky to talk about and make us a little unsettled? Why are these things so hard to define and comprehend?
Ultimately, there are no real clear answers to any of them, and Google certainly doesn’t have them.
These bigger existential, philosophical, ideological questions are always hard to answer. With or without Google. Because they’re subjective. And well, because we’re just humans. No one actually knows the answers. In the words of known intellect Michael Scott, “Is there a god? If not, what are all these churches for? And who is Jesus’s dad?” A perfect encapsulation of our predicament. We. have. no. answers. So any spiritual comments are usually received with apprehension. We think ‘what weird-o train are they on?’
Humankind over the last several hundred (or thousand?) years has been spiraling away from faith based knowing towards science based knowledge. While this helps us build a greater understanding of the physical world (and is important!) it disconnects us from the internal world. We’re moving away from the subtle and profound towards the gross and superficial.
We are losing touch with a deep rooted truth that should be guiding our steps.
Ancient cultures prayed to multiple gods, built temples, made sacrifices, and lived a life based on indefinable characteristics of the heart. Yet our modern world of science has imposed a more rigid approach. Facts are identified by isolating variables and running repeatable experiments that have consistent observable results. It’s all so sterile and controlled. In the words of Amy Poehler in Baby Mama, ‘Yes, let's get those facts and figures, Barry, into the idea machine.’
We come up with an idea and try to test it out by putting one tiny piece of it into a vacuum and look at its behavior in a simple uninfluenced form. We want to identify cleanly cause and effect. And we seem to think that taking it away from its natural environment, out of genuine context, will provide a more accurate result.
But, when in life does anything happen in a vacuum? And when is anything clean? Everything in our lives is intrinsically interconnected in a huge messy web. Dr. Miles Neale says, ‘it's a constantly changing process of multiple complex systems relating in an interdependent manner with all living beings in the environment.’ A huge messy web.
We want data and proof and facts.
We say the religious weirdos are on a train to la la land.
Then, we trust google for our answers. L.O.L.
Faith based inquiry and faith based knowing aren’t considered valid in science because there is no way to observe the experience outwardly, or isolate the variables.
Because there is no way to cleanly prove that your prayers directly caused XYZ. How can you quantify devotion? How can you operationally define faith?
There is no way to isolate variables into vacuums or measure results.
Science says that faith is too subjective to study. A huge messy web train northbound toward heaven. Whatever that is.
It’s kind of like the game telephone where we pass a secret down and inevitably the message is warped when it gets to the other side of the circle. Or even if we’ve read the same book, we’ll often come away with different understandings of it.
Like the Bible, for example.
Science says spirituality is subjective. Not valid. Yet, In Google We Trust.
So in an industrial, scientific, analytical world, spirituality has gotten a pretty bad rep. ‘Spiritual WooWoo,’ so the joke goes, because spirituality does not easily fit into our 21st century, science based, sterile, logic. There is no clean cause and effect.
We’ve lost touch, as a human race, with the sacred traditions of faith and prayer because they don’t mesh with the modern technology revolution. We can't measure the analytics or increase the ratings. We want to know the exact percentages, we want to know the mechanics of the process and how something got from A to B. We want to isolate variables and observe results. We want to say: ‘this caused that’ with certainty.
We want to believe life operates the way our computer algorithms do.
We want to read the top three results and know for certain.
But our humanity is suffering, because, life doesn’t work according to algorithms.
And when it comes to all of this ‘Spiritual WooWoo’ stuff that can’t be easily described by science, in a time almost absent of spiritual guidance, we must become the writer of our own rules. We musn’t turn our back from the weirdo train. We must ask “Is there a god? If not, what are all these churches for? And who is Jesus’s dad?” and when Google’s answers no longer suffice, we must give ourselves a little creative freedom to ‘channel the energy,’ to ‘pray,’ and to make meaning in our lives out of what often appears to be a random scoop of universal pudding. A big old scoop that we go around trying to quantify and analyze and look at the metrics for. But the thing is, you just can’t quantify The Divine Algorithm. You can’t run metrics on it. You can’t Google it.
You can simply turn inward.
Observe the internal climate
Listen for life’s subtler messages
Watch the flame of truth in your heart flicker
Put the tiny scavenged pieces of spiritual tinder you’ve managed to collect underneath it
Let it burn
No Google, No Bible, No Telephone. No sterile vacuums. No Michael Scott.
Just you trusting the tiny inklings of answers to those sticky questions. Making meaning for yourself. With prayer, with spirituality, with yoga. With mindful living, with found pebbles, journal writing or your weekly salsa group. Whatever bits and trinkets make you feel connected to something greater. Board that train. Do more of it. And don’t worry about answering to anyone, about metrics. About analytics. About cause and effect. Because we’re just humans. No one actually knows the answers.
We’re already on this train. Nobody knows where it's going. Everyone is a weirdo.
Spirituality has been a human tradition since humans have been around. There must be something to it, probably somewhere deep in your heart says so, too. Even if it doesn’t fit into the scientific, analytic, petty worldview of 2019. And if no one is going to believe you because your inquiry of the heart is not science based, you may as well brand your own kind of thing where those indefinable characteristics of the heart, the inexpressible isness that is ‘God,’ ‘spirituality,’ ‘prayer,’ ‘compassion,’ ‘faith, for you, are on fire. Are ready for the mystery dinner train ride. Salsa, pebbles and all.
At the end of the day who gives a fuck if science or anyone else can affirm your beliefs?
You are the one who is believing them and operating under them.
So, “Is there a god? If not, what are all these churches for? And who is Jesus’s dad?”
I don’t know. Google doesn’t know. Michael Scott doesn’t even know.
Just keep listening for the questions, the questions mean you’re north bound.
All aboard the Spiritual WooWoo train.
Destination? Divine Algorithm Pudding.