This I Believe

Steven - Cleveland, Georgia
Entered on January 6, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

An open letter to humanity, planet Earth:

My Dear Children,

I recently passed this way and eavesdropped for a moment. Here are a few observations I’d like to share – if you care (It’s perfectly OK if you don’t):

I am the Creator; that much you got right. But I didn’t do it in seven days. I started about 13.2 billion years ago, and I’m still at it. That’s what I do. That’s how I fill my ‘days’. I started with the laws of physics; that was the ‘biggie’. But nowadays mostly I just shepherd the odd new star into being. Anybody as old as I am deserves to have at least partial retirement. After the “Laws”, my second biggest achievement was to set it up so that life is probable, pervasive and tenacious. It will happen when and where ever conditions permit, which, given the extreme conditions (radiation, tidal forces, black holes, etc.) throughout the universe isn’t all that common – at least percentage-wise.

But, did I create you specifically to have dominion over all you survey? Sorry to pop your illusions, but the answer is, “No.” Get over it. You, just like all sentient races throughout the universe (most of which are far older and wiser than yourselves) are an accident. And whether you are a happy accident or a tragic one is entirely up to you. The jury is still out. To your credit, though: you have already outlasted quite a few.

Are you “in my image?” Only in the sense that you have at least some power to create and destroy. I hope you use both prudently. Creation beyond resources to sustain is just another way to destroy. No, I will not miraculously “provide”. And, by the way, I do not wish to be worshiped. Why on Earth would you assume I had that sort of ego?

In fact, let’s get a few things straight right now. Yes, I do care about you. Every creator cares about his/her/it’s creations and the fruits thereof. But, you are just one among countless billions, and I’m neither omniscient or omnipotent enough to govern, or even monitor, each of your individual lives. Nor, frankly, would I have any interest in doing so even if I had the capacity. All this supernatural stuff you’ve cooked up makes for fun stories to tell the kids, but it just ain’t so. You may be able to petition a traffic judge to suspend the laws in your special case. But, I obey the laws of physics just like you do – whether we like it or not. I do not (cannot) influence the outcome of marital spats, global wars or collisions of galaxies. And here, some of you pray to me over football games. That’s a giggle. You should be embarrassed. And, you should be substantially more than embarrassed when you invoke my name to justify your hatreds, your making war on one another, or your fouling your own nest.

Religions are your invention, not mine. Are you familiar with the term ‘neoteny’? It is the extended infancy humans experience. You’ve probably seen colts born and immediately stand up, quickly ready to flee from danger. Humans can’t do that. It’s the price of your big brains. If you matured in the womb much longer your heads would be too big to pass through the birth canal. So, you spend a much longer time in infancy than other species. I wonder if maybe religions are a kind of sociological neoteny for you. Oh, well. Hopefully you’ll mature soon and start taking responsibility for yourselves, and stop thanking or blaming me for everything. In the meantime, if you insist on having religions, try to use them for good and not evil. Unfortunately they have equal potential for both. If your religion asks you to suspend either your humanity or your capacity for critical thinking, discard it immediately.

As for whether I have a son (capital S if you prefer): you are all my sons and daughters in one sense of the word. But there has never been, or will be, any individual who’s my Son or Daughter in any different or special sense. That idea is just more of that supernaturalism you folks are so hot for. Frankly, it amazes me that your species seems to prefer supernatural explanations for natural phenomena over natural ones.

So, stop looking to me for meaning in your lives. Rather, spend your time, energy and resources deciding what meaning you want in your lives and then go about creating it. After all, you are creators of more than enough capacity to handle it.

All the best,