The monotheistic religions are supposed to be a step forward from polytheism. The latter is, after all, a messy kind of conception, with lots of deities and thus lots of different rules. But polytheism does share one essential element with monotheism – that an all-powerful entity is watching, and can punish you for misbehaving. Thus, natural calamities in America are viewed by some religious authorities as punishment for allowing homosexuals to marry, just as a shaman might view a destructive volcanic eruption as pay back for some large-scale breach of religiously-dictated behavior.
Why has religion been imbued with this sort of vindictiveness? Why is the God of the Jews “wrathful” and “vengeful”? He sounds just like us! Indeed … just like us. We are social creatures innately predisposed to expect punishment for our crimes. And so, we project this very fundamental aspect of social behavior on those deities we imagine to exist.
We are, after all, just trying to make sense out of chaos. We insist that there must be rational and reasonable explanations for all the shit that happens. It can’t be that it “just happens”. It can’t be that simple or that senseless! For, if it is that simple and senseless, it means that there is nothing that one can do to safeguard oneself from shit happening, again and again. That is simply too hopeless a circumstance to put up with.
But, back to the omniscient and omnipotent god or gods who keep a careful eye on the doings of their creations. Talk about “big data”. Such an entity surely dwarfs the NSA for information-gathering capability. Yes, these Gods are watching everyone of us, to see if we’ve been bad or good, just like Santa Claus. And (all kidding aside), if this is indeed so, it means that our every action has a consequence. Let me underline that. Our every action has a consequence.
Now, this reminds me of the way in which natural selection works. We evolutionists talk of the “Dawinian fitness” of an organism. Here is a definition of that term from Biology Online: “A relative measure of reproductive success of an organism in passing its genes to the next generation.” The important modifier here is the word relative. It means relative to all other members of our species. The fact is, we are in unceasing and life-long competition with all other members of our species as regards reproductive success. Everything we do, from one day to the next, bears on our competitive standing. There are no time-outs in this competition. It’s worse, even, than “Survivor”.
I suggest, therefore, that the workings of natural selection are, in fact, no different from the way in which God works. In each case, one’s every act has a consequence. For the religious, the sum of those consequences is either heaven or hell (or so they believe). But, really, for every being on the face of this Earth, the sum of those consequences is how much of oneself you send successfully into the future.
God is evolution by means of natural selection. Evolution by means of natural selection is God.