In this world, it all boils down to decisions. How to make the right decision?
In essence, we already know you can’t make decisions that lead you to ultimate or absolute truth. Godel’s theorem demonstrates that. Turing’s halting problem demonstrates that.
The Church-Turing thesis, which says that the human brain is no more than the combination of the laws of physics, tells us that it is possible to mathematically model every aspect of the brain and create a computer that is equivalent of the brain.
Here’s the first problem with that: If Godel’s theorem is correct, then we already know that there would be no axiomatic process by which even the most advanced Artificial Intelligence could package the truth more completely than our own brain.
A mathematically modelled Artificial Intelligence would still suffer from the limitations of Godel’s theorem, and in order to overcome that limitation, it would have to be able to examine its own limitations and create stronger systems with each discovery of incompleteness.
Put simply, “you can’t get there from here”.
That is precisely why the teachings I show regarding “Abraham’s seed” makes sense. If we are incapable of making correct choices, we must assume that there exists a being of great enough intelligence to make those choices outside our abilities. This means that no human authority exists that can cancel human freedom to make those decisions for ourselves. Neither church nor state can claim such authority, which leaves us free to explore our own options as individuals!
That is what Jesus told us, what Paul told us, and it is the message of the bible itself!
So why do we insist on this social organization, on creating religions that depend on our belonging to something greater than ourselves?
Part of it comes from what Richard Dawkins calls the “genetic replicative algorithm”. Genes replicate. That’s their goal, their fixation and meaning in life. In order to replicate, they need to maintain control of their environment, and to maintain that control, will begin to work with neighboring genes to create behaviors that ensure as little change as possible.
The gene pool of any species tends to resist change.
This means that in every species, once reproductive behavior within a species is selected, that behavior will be selected and maintained to the exclusion of other behaviors. This is ensured by such behaviors as mating rituals, and evolves into cultural behaviors even among humans, such as rites of passage, by which a boy or girl becomes a man or woman within the culture, ready for its own sexual reproduction.
Collective cultural behaviors will evolve within each system to perpetuate the good of that culture. As a result, much behavior will gradually develop an air of “absolute truth” around which we build our society, and the behaviors that evolve become understood as permanent, “spiritual” truths that exist beyond our lifespan and therefore beyond ourselves as individuals.
From such reasoning, it’s not hard to conclude that the idea of an immortal soul, or of the idea that we do not die, but are part of a greater eternal whole, becomes a lasting paradigm of reality that we can carry with us wherever we go.
I suspect that this is a template of general behaviors that have evolved over time that allow us to adapt and adjust to new territories. It is also likely that these general rules of survival took on mechanical aspects of rules and laws, as in the Code of Hammurabi or the Ten Commandments. They are little more than structures of conduct that can be incorporated within any society, and the larger the society, the more abstract the rules.
But that is the problem: the more abstract the rules, the fewer specific guidelines we have, and we begin trying to define specific guidelines y which we can derive feelings of security for ourselves, and we end up building thousands of different religions and sub-cultures, or cults, that give us a sense of meaning as part of a group.
When rules become too abstract, they leave us open to many decisions we must make, for which we have no knowledge or ability to make. We will therefore seek to create “self evident” rules that give us confidence in our day-to-day experiences.
Religion, therefore, is merely a manifestation of evolutionary tendencies, and it is exactly why no one wants to believe that if there is a God, our personal decisions play no part in the plans of that God. It takes away the very sense of security we tried to develop in a relationship to higher principles.