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Meditation 160
Just Look Around You!

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I wrote about my last visit from Mormon missionaries in late July 2003. (Meditation 133) Already, in early October, they have returned. Once again, I silently handed over the preprinted card[1] I keep at the door for their visits.

They carefully studied the card. Then, the spokesman of the two exclaimed: "You don't believe in God?"

I replied: "No, I know of no evidence for any god."

And he responded with: "Just look around you. Where did all this come from?"

I answered: "There is no god required for any of this."

And his reply, with full conviction and certainty: "Of course there is! There was no such thing as the big bang."

The discussion went downhill from that point and got increasingly acrimonious,[2] until I belatedly shut the door.

But let's revisit that "Just look around you," as evidence of a god's existence.

Standing in the doorway of my house, I look around.

First of all, I am standing in a house, built by men, not some deity, about ninety years ago. On either side of the door are plastic hanging baskets containing flowers. The plastic baskets were made by people in a factory, not by a god. The flowers themselves were consciously bred over generations by plant breeders to create showy blooms pleasing to the human eye.

In front of the house is a semi-manicured lawn, reminding me of work to be done later in the day. The grass in the lawn has been carefully bred to serve as a lawn. As this location (Medicine Hat, Alberta) is semi-desert, this type of grass is not natural to the area; its very existence is due to a conscious human decision to bring it here, and to expend the effort and water to keep it alive. Similarly, the hedge to the left an the elm tree on the lawn are not natural to this area and were deliberately bred for ornamental purposes. Both depend upon regular maintenance to continue living.

The same case can be made for the rest of the neighbourhood visible from my doorway - houses and landscaping, roads and sidewalks - all the work of men and women.

The same applies to just about all of us; what we see when we look around is not the work of any deity - rather it is the work of mankind. For over 50,000 years, we have been reshaping our surroundings to meet our needs. As we look around us today, we see only a world that we and our ancestors have created.

As to the base upon which we have built our creation, well that's just 4.5 billion years of natural forces on Earth, and 13.7 billion years of natural forces on the universe.

No deity required. Just look around you.

Footnotes:

  1. "First, prove to me objectively that there is a god, any god. Only then do we need to discuss which particular deistic religion, cult, sect, or denomination happens to have the minor details correct."
  2. When I advised these missionaries that even if I believed in a god, there was no truth in the Book of Mormon which could lead me to their religion, I was asked if I had even read the book. When I replied "Before you were born!" I was told bluntly that I hadn't read it. Effectively, he called me a liar, leading my language into the graphic and abusive. Thus the acrimonious end to the discussion.