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{UAH} Richard Mukasa, here is real work: universe is ruthless

y Alan Tacca

Continued from last Sunday

Spelt out in the full glory of its zeros, the distance from earth to the centre of our galaxy is 153,000,000,000,000,000 (153 quadrillion) miles. Light takes 970,000 years to shoot from earth to that centre. And there are millions of other galaxies in the universe, with trillions of celestial objects.

God, supposed maker of this incredibly huge project, is also said to have spent many sleepless nights trying to sort out His chosen people in the villages of little Palestine, the descendants of Adam and Eve; supposedly the first people on earth or in the universe. God, master craftsman and ultimate magician.

A beautiful traditional story of origins by an ancient people; but as a factual historical account it is plain nonsense. That is why God is now totally silent. The pastors who tell you He talks to them are accomplished liars.

Throughout the biblical period when God was playing hide-and-seek with His people, all the earth's major land masses were already inhabited. In those worlds, different civilisations had their different stories of origins and spiritual destiny.
To a disinterested observer, these stories are all 'valid'. As factual historical narratives, they are generally as nonsensical as Genesis. A rational God would give all these civilisations one narrative.

A lot of believers struggle spiritually and perform all sorts of intellectual gymnastics to reconcile these narratives under one Abrahamic Supreme Being. However, fascinating as their effort may be, when the story of Adam collapses, there is in fact virtually no biblical divine power that remains standing.

Because they make tools and fashion other objects, most humans cannot visualise a godless universe.
They see the universe as an architectural 'construction'; a gathering of artefacts, which cannot exist unless some intelligent agent made them.

But the universe is not like that at all. It was not 'made'. So it does not need a Maker. If it did, the Maker would also need a Super-maker who made infinitum...

Your mind has to crack the 'artefact' barrier, the anthropomorphic notion of a crafted universe, and enter the expanse of infinite time-space, where every approach to a boundary creates an expansion.
There is no magic there; only innate randomness and order, and incredibly powerful but absolutely indifferent forces constantly in play.

If it happened, the Big Bang of 14 or 15 billion years ago did not happen in a state of nothingness. There was always something there...from something...and from something. There has never been a state of nothingness. By the same token, no God can turn the universe into nothing.
In that shifting eternity, life opportunistically occurred where conditions allowed it to occur, here and probably in many other parts of the universe.

All living cells and organisms seem to be smart. You just happen to be a little smarter than the fruit-fly. By your ingenuity, you can understand, harness or exploit some aspects of the forces of the universe. But they remain absolutely indifferent. You can negotiate some corners and twists of the universe, but you cannot negotiate (with) the universe. The universe does not watch or listen and act reasonably or unreasonably.
If a large celestial rock were heading towards the Sahara and you gathered 10 million children in its path, it would blow them up and bury them in the sand. And the universe would continue as if nothing had happened.
The universe has no purpose, no agenda. It just happens to be there.
The universe does not love or hate. It does not reward or revenge. It does not compensate.

These are human characteristics, which we arbitrarily attribute to imaginary supernatural beings in the universe. And thanks to our instinct for survival, we make fanciful constructs of a happier post-earth existence in the company of those beings.
But we suffer and enjoy in varying degrees, like all animals, depending on our encounter with the order and randomness in our environment: family, traditions, the State, education, social links...and pure chance.
When a life is no longer tenable, death ends joy and suffering in equal measure and returns that individual to the absolute indifference of the universe.

Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.

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