Not "God v. God" but A Religion of Life

by Peter Bearse

A reply to Jonathan Wallace

There is so much that is wrong with the editor's most recent "Year Zero" essay that it is hard to know where to begin. Hopefully, his most recent essay will have the half life of a "Year," since it lacks the "Ground" that would enable the reader to rise from "Zero." This critique not be read to deny, however, the sensitivity, thoughtfulness and value of the "Ground Zero" series of essays.

So let us start with the positive. Jonathan correctly diagnoses the core fault of major religions that somehow, somewhere, they offer a rationalization for those who would kill or otherwise destroy life. He also shares the age-old pain of the stricken believer who, faced with inexplicable tragedy, not only cries out "God, why hast thou forsaken me," but concludes that there cannot be a god that would countenance such horrific happenings, as if "God" can be held responsible for evil. But it is the anthropomorphic god that he denies, the one referenced as "He." Ironically, it is the same type of god, the god of organized religion(s), that he affirms, not only as one but as two or more, the god of Baal or Babel exemplified as "God vs. God." Thus, he is left at the end with nothing more than "rulebooks promoting values," as if such volumes could provide even the minimal comfort that people look to receive from religion. Somehow, he has found his way into a dead end. How?-- primarily because he treats the Second Law of Thermodynamics as akin to a religious axiom.. Then he effectively equates "god" with "religion," a fallacy of composition if there ever was one. His essay could well be titled "religion vs. religion," as in Islam vs. Christianity in the time of the Crusades. As an essay reflecting on "God," it provides an ending that is deader than the emptiness that so many people feel in a secular, postmodern age in which there is nothing beyond the destruction of deconstruction.

To ground so much meditation on the Second Law is to deny what one presumably wants to explain at all levels, from the prosaic to the philosophical. For example, it is to deny: