The other day I told my 7-year daughter to ask me anything about any subject, and promised to answer her truthfully.
Without skipping a beat, she said, “Who made God?”
B-Bang! She had that one right in the chamber. I was thinking something more like “why her big sister has a different Mommy”, or even, “where do babies come from?”
But she’s at the age where some things don’t quite add up. Even the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny have fallen under suspicion. She’s obviously been thinking about this and hasn’t heard an answer that makes sense to her.
It’s a fair question.
We’ve all taken a shot at it - awake at night trapped in a never-ending loop, ‘if God created the universe, then who created God?
Retire From The Debating Society
When it comes to divine intelligence we are in good company, the greatest thinkers throughout history have wrestled with our origin story. It’s the single greatest cause of war and in history. Billions of people have died defending or asserting their understanding of God.
If we want to argue over God, there’s no shortage of ammunition. Picking holes in historical contradictions and pointing out the hypocrisies of religion is easy – and a complete waste of time.
What difference does it make if we crawled from primordial ooze, the Garden of Eden or a Raven’s egg? It’s the quality of our actions today that count. We all have to choose our own path. If we’re lucky we find one that works for us, and move on. But some get stuck and spend months, years, decades defending, arguing and condemning.
This is where faith comes in – either in God, science, or something in between. Until we decide where we want to put our faith, we are lost in the muck of uncertainty and endless debate.
Among other things, faith is great for winning arguments. My wife is a devout Christian. She grew up in the Church and it’s all she’s ever known.
She also has a science degree. I found this to be an unacceptable contradiction. I demanded she explain how she reconciles the two. She told me she doesn’t. She believes in God, and science, and doesn’t bother with the contradictions.
I began to explain to her a strategy for mounting a proper argument. She stopped me mid-sentence, and said, “Who said we were arguing.”
That shut me up.
I learned a lot from her simple, elegant approach to religion and science. This happy acceptance is a quality that I have struggled with. It comes from the confidence of knowing who you are and what you believe – and not fighting it.
This is the advantage to true conviction of belief.
Living Life On Purpose
Once we free up our minds from the debating society treadmill, we can put this energy to good purpose. We can focus on taking actions that make our lives better today. There will always be high-minded ideas that we can indulge in. But let’s not indulge in them at the expense of today’s happiness or the happiness of those around us.
There is no shortage of things we can do today that can make a difference. Boring things like:
1. Recycling and caring for the planet,
2. Reading to our kids,
3. Spending time with our spouses,
4. Helping others and being kind,
5. Developing and sharing our creativity.
These are small things we can do to make the world a better place – giving back, communicating and creating beauty. They are also the things that get lost in the shuffle when we indulge in endless, internal, debates about unknowable subjects. If we have energy to spare, why not put this to good purpose?
In the end, I took the easy way out with my daughter’s question about God. I told her it was not something 7-year olds need to worry about, and one day she was going to have to figure it out for herself - but not today.
Then I read her a book about princesses.
· How are you making the world a better place?
· What could you do more of?
· What’s stopping you?
Please leave answers, or comments below.
Best, Sam Edge
P.S. I’m just getting ready to launch a website on career and employment services “The Edge on Resumes”. This site will focus on providing free advise for your professional life and review helpful websites and services. Check it out.
As always you can visit The Edge on Strategy for more about me and how to hire me for your writing projects.