I'm always torn when reviewing an essay, especially if it's about something I know a little about--"little" being the operative term. *Smile*
The reason for my ambivalence is based upon a personal confusion as to whether I should review the work primarily on the veracity of its content or the quality of the writing itself. What is said, versus how well it was said.
If I'm familiar with the material in question, I lean towards content evaluation, and if I'm unsure, I tend to focus on grammar and punctuation. Ideally, both are given a glancing blow. *Smile*
Firstly my hat is off, and a cordial bow given, to anyone who takes on the Almighty. And has the audacity to duke it out with Him, Her, or It. Serious contemplation of the universe, to the extent such is even possible, represents a noble effort, and one is to be commended for the attempt regardless of what conclusions are drawn as a result.
As for the grammar and punctuation stuff, the piece squeaks by. But barely so. It's actually written quite well, but the overly familiar tone, as if the author were speaking with a family member, and the long, run-on paragraphs diminish what is otherwise a fascinating overview of the subject matter. As a minimum, the number of paragraph breaks alone ought to be three to four times what they are now.
Below is a snippet that warrants attention:
These two things effect people in different ways, some look at it and draw the conclusion there must be some kind of designer to set all of this into motion.
Taken from the fragment above, please note my altered version below:
These two things affect people in different ways: some look at it and draw the conclusion that some kind of designer must have set all of this (or, all things, or, everything) into motion.
The fewer words we use to explain complex concepts, the less the risk that we grow tedious, drone on, and start losing readers. Note also, the proper use of the colon. A semicolon would work, also, but the colon feels right. Plus the misuse of "effect" and "affect".
When writers embark on these kind of intellectual journeys, it's best to keep the errors minimal or nonexistent. The reason is that your credibility is in play, and at stake. If you make simple grammar mistakes, many readers will be inclined to think that your other stuff is likely askew a well. So make these things as clear and error-free as possible. It's not easy, and I'm constantly editing my own stuff, finding and correcting endless mistakes.
So suffice it to say, you need to do a lot of additional editing here. Mainly nit-picky stuff that, once fixed, elevates the work from amateurish to near-professional.
Personally, I think it's dangerous territory when we try to second-guess the Boss. Instead we need to suggest why the evidence is compelling that God is unnecessary, irrelevant, and that whether He exists or doesn't, appears inconsequential to human affairs. And likely to that of the operations of the universe itself. If, on the other hand, we attempt to analyze how a God might think or feel about things, then judge His or Her motivations, we place ourselves in a precarious position: namely that of being omniscient psychologists. Far better that we humble ourselves accordingly and simply assert that God is an unemployed actor in an autonomous cosmos.
I recently discovered that I've been a deist all my life, and never really knew it. So now I use that particular label to describe myself.
We don't need statistics, such as those you cite, in order to justify or rationalize the inequities we see in the world. The fact that bad things happen to good or innocent people, especially children, was enough for me, long ago. Even if God exists, I personally wouldn't worship a supposedly omnipotent deity who rewards evil at every turn, and punishes piety. One needn't be a psychiatrist to recognize a sociopathic, schizophrenic God. Which leaves us within a logic-loop whereby the created are forced to question their Creator. God may be our biological parent, in a manner of speaking, but if He's abusive or worse, does that grant Him the title of Dad? Or Mom? Or Caretaker? Hardly.
These are precisely the kind detours that take us to dead-ends. And are best avoided. The faithful would certainly argue that we cannot judge what is beyond judgment. And I, for one, can't argue with any of that, other that to say there is nothing to judge.
Faith is the ultimate escape hatch which allows those incapable of critical thinking, to avert the crushing psychological blow that everything they believe, may well be wrong. History is filled with scientists and philosophers who have experienced epiphanies and crossed from one side to other, gone both ways, from atheist to believer, and believer to atheist. One of the most intelligent men around today, Dr. Ben Carson, the brilliant neurosurgeon who is running for president, disavows all belief in evolution. One wonders how that is possible, and is subsequently struck by the power of faith. And for every Dr. Carson, is a Dr. Jones or Smith, for whom the exact opposite revelation has occurred .
I liked your eventual turn to a brief discussion of Dark energy. That's a nice end to the essay. We know more about God and the bottom of the oceans, than we do either Dark energy or Dark matter. The two ideas need, I think, to go together. Dark energy appears to be a result of Dark matter, and is responsible for accelerating the rate of expansion. Likewise, the universe may not, in fact, possess any empty space whatsoever. Dark matter fills every bit of everything. A cosmos made up of empty space, Dark energy, and Dark matter, might be a tad too complex even for complexity junkies.
Add to all of this the newer ideas of String theory, Membrane theory, multi-verses and multiple dimensions, and our feeble notions of a traditional God are quickly buried beneath mountains of new questions. All of which have but a single answer if you're among the faithful. To wit, faith itself. That doesn't seem to be enough for you; it certainly isn't for me. I suspect that when humans produce the first truly sentient life forms, likely biological robots of some kind, that the last vestiges of traditional faith will fade away.
One does have to wonder, however, how religions like Islam will tolerate the presence of new people in the world. Man-made people. Soulless, man-made people. I suspect it won't go any better for robotic infidels than their human counterparts. It seems all too apparent that science and religion are not compatible and one or the other must inevitably adapt or be destroyed. I think your local Muslim or Mormon or Pentecost member might have some very strong feelings on the matter.
Thanks for inspiring me to dust off my own mental shelves and providing a stimulating, highly enjoyable read. Well done, my friend. *Smile*
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