We don’t know what 94% of the Universe is composed of. Dark matter. Dark energy.
We’re not sure what lies at the bottom of the ocean.
We don’t fully understand the functional complexity of the human brain. We haven’t even tapped the potential from 90% of our gray matter.
Three contemporary unknowns. Not so advanced as we collectively think. But, I didn’t realize how far behind some people are until I started learning about the case for intelligent design. Deriving science from myth in an effort to prove the existence of God (intelligent designer). Quasi-scientists who contribute to intelligent design theory should be ashamed of themselves for the abandoning the fundamental principle of science, empiricism. I don’t feel like writing about the quasi-science of this theory, suffice it to say, intelligent design theorists are searching for flaws in Darwin’s evolutionary theory, as well as contemporary theoretical physics. The main problem is their search ends when their hypothesis is supported, not when the chain of evidence dries up.
As shameful as this type of quasi-science can be, greater shame lies upon those who use these theories to advance their ideas of religion. Elements of the Original Testament (Tanakh) were written several thousand years ago in ancient languages with ancient inspiration. However, these writers were not alone in their times.
If you believe the Christian Bible to be literal truth, then it shouldn’t be far-fetched to expect Greek mythology to be equally legitimate. Think about it. Could Pan have lived? He, who was half-man-half goat. What about gods who would impregnate mortals? That’s crazy talk!
Ancient Egyptian religion is considered mythology today. But back around 1350 BC, Akhenaten attempted to create the World’s first monotheistic faith, worship of the sun-disc or ‘Aten’. He was a Pharaoh during the 18th dynasty of Egypt. Akhenaten means ‘effective spirit of Aten.’ Akhenaten’s given name was Amenhotep, which means ‘Amun is satisified.’ He had a Great Hymn to the Aten (this is long but nice!):
Thou appearest beautifully on the horizon of heaven,
Thou living Aton, the beginning of life!
When thou art risen on the eastern horizon,
Thou hast filled every land with thy beauty.
Thou art gracious, great, glistening, and high over every land;
Thy rays encompass the lands to the limit of all that thou hast made:
As thou art Re, thou reachest to the end of them;
(Thou) subduest them (for) thy beloved son.
Though thou art far away, thy rays are on earth;
Though thou art in their faces, no one knows thy going.
When thou settest in the western horizon,
The land is in darkness, in the manner of death.
They sleep in a room, with heads wrapped up,
Nor sees one eye the other.
All their goods which are under their heads might be stolen,
(But) they would not perceive (it).
Every lion is come forth from his den;
All creeping things, they sting.
Darkness is a shroud, and the earth is in stillness,
For he who made them rests in his horizon.
At daybreak, when thou arisest on the horizon,
When thou shinest as the Aton by day,
Thou drivest away the darkness and givest thy rays.
The Two Lands are in festivity every day,
Awake and standing upon (their) feet,
For thou hast raised them up.
Washing their bodies, taking (their) clothing,
Their arms are (raised) in praise at thy appearance.
All the world, they do their work.
All beasts are content with their pasturage;
Trees and plants are flourishing.
The birds which fly from their nests,
Their wings are (stretched out) in praise to thy ka.
All beasts spring upon (their) feet.
Whatever flies and alights,
They live when thou hast risen (for) them.
The ships are sailing north and south as well,
For every way is open at thy appearance.
The fish in the river dart before thy face;
Thy rays are in the midst of the great green sea.
Creator of seed in women,
Thou who makest fluid into man,
Who maintainest the son in the womb of his mother,
Who soothest him with that which stills his weeping,
Thou nurse (even) in the womb,
Who givest breath to sustain all that he has made!
When he descends from the womb to breathe
On the day when he is born,
Thou openest his mouth completely,
Thou suppliest his necessities.
When the chick in the egg speaks within the shell,
Thou givest him breath within it to maintain him.
When thou hast made him his fulfillment within the egg, to break it,
He comes forth from the egg to speak at his completed (time);
He walks upon his legs when he comes forth from it.
How manifold it is, what thou hast made!
They are hidden from the face (of man).
O sole god, like whom there is no other!
Thou didst create the world according to thy desire,
Whilst thou wert alone: All men, cattle, and wild beasts,
Whatever is on earth, going upon (its) feet,
And what is on high, flying with its wings.
The countries of Syria and Nubia, the land of Egypt,
Thou settest every man in his place,
Thou suppliest their necessities:
Everyone has his food, and his time of life is reckoned.
Their tongues are separate in speech,
And their natures as well;
Their skins are distinguished,
As thou distinguishest the foreign peoples.
Thou makest a Nile in the underworld,
Thou bringest forth as thou desirest
To maintain the people (of Egypt)
According as thou madest them for thyself,
The lord of all of them, wearying (himself) with them,
The lord of every land, rising for them,
The Aton of the day, great of majesty.
All distant foreign countries, thou makest their life (also),
For thou hast set a Nile in heaven,
That it may descend for them and make waves upon the mountains,
Like the great green sea,
To water their fields in their towns.
How effective they are, thy plans, O lord of eternity!
The Nile in heaven, it is for the foreign peoples
And for the beasts of every desert that go upon (their) feet;
(While the true) Nile comes from the underworld for Egypt.
Thy rays suckle every meadow.
When thou risest, they live, they grow for thee.
Thou makest the seasons in order to rear all that thou hast made,
The winter to cool them,
And the heat that they may taste thee.
Thou hast made the distant sky in order to rise therein,
In order to see all that thou dost make.
Whilst thou wert alone,
Rising in thy form as the living Aton,
Appearing, shining, withdrawing or aproaching,
Thou madest millions of forms of thyself alone.
Cities, towns, fields, road, and river —
Every eye beholds thee over against them,
For thou art the Aton of the day over the earth….
Thou are in my heart,
And there is no other that knows thee
Save thy son Nefer-kheperu-Re Wa-en-Re,
For thou hast made him well-versed in thy plans and in thy strength.
The world came into being by thy hand,
According as thou hast made them.
When thou hast risen they live,
When thou settest they die.
Thou art lifetime thy own self,
For one lives (only) through thee.
Eyes are (fixed) on beauty until thou settest.
All work is laid aside when thou settest in the west.
(But) when (thou) risest (again),
[Everything is] made to flourish for the king,…
Since thou didst found the earth
And raise them up for thy son,
Who came forth from thy body: the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, … Ak-en-Aton, … and the Chief Wife of the King … Nefert-iti, living and youthful forever and ever.
Hmmm…nothing familiar here.
Then there’s the freakish occurrence of several cultures sharing the story of a deluge destroying their sinful ancestors. From Hindu, Hewbrew to Hopi and most points in between, there is an example of a great flood unleashed by the gods. If you care to learn a little more about this, start with “Deluge (mythology)” on Wikipedia.
Noah was not alone. He has many compatriots in cultural mythology (psyche).
I am not including mention of the potential for flaws in historic translations of biblical material or the existence of Apocrypha (writings deemed unfit for inclusion in the Bible because it contradicted contemporary Christian dogma – by contemporary I mean the First Council of Nicaea, AD 325. Yep…that’s when the ‘literal truth’ of the Bible was determined. There have been revisions since, but not many.). All I am saying is that every culture has, at its foundation, a basis of mythology. The mythology sets the standards by which a people should live (or survive). The lessons and anti-lessons of myth form the crude elements of a culture’s social conscience (or survival).
For instance, do you know why the cow is sacred to Hindus? The answer is quite practical and has surprisingly little to do with anything of a supernatural origin. In an area of the world which is subject to flood and famine (i.e. India), one’s cow becomes one’s means of survival. The cow can be hitched to a plow and used for agriculture. The cow produces milk, which can be consumed for nourishment. If one kills their cow, they are as good as dead. So, to save people from the temptation to self-destruct in times of famine, the cow is deemed sacred.
Understand these things for the social controls that they are and not as literal truths. Understand that different parts of the world experience different conditions and therefore require different controls, which lead to fundamentally similar, yet contrasting mythologies. No one is alone in or free from this process, regardless of from where or when you come.
Don’t destroy science in a search for God. If you want to find God in science, look to these things called dark matter and dark energy, which together make up 94% of the Universe and are virtually unknown and unidentifiable to scientists. Dark matter has mass, but is not an atom. It is everywhere, but cannot be detected. It can pass through matter without hindrance. Of dark energy, even less is known. According to theoretical physicists, it is the force through which the expansion of the Universe is accelerating.
I wrote it before and I will write it again. God is everything we don’t yet understand.