From Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, “I am a child of the universe. As much as the moon and the stars, I have a right to be here.” The calcium in my bones and the iron in my blood were created in explosive deaths of stars. I share this heritage with other people, other creatures, and other objects. My kin deserve my respect.
There is an order to the universe that I often choose to call God. We know only a tiny fraction of God, but God is ultimately knowable. Full knowledge of God may be beyond the capacity of humans as we know them, but is ultimately attainable. God does not break the laws of the universe. Miracles are beyond our current understanding, but illustrate how little we know about so much. The 94% of the universe that we know to be missing (unexplained) illustrates this well.
Among Americans, 90% believe in God, usually an omniscient and omnipotent personage, and 80% believe that they can talk to God, and God can be bribed. It is obvious to me who should be serving whom, so I strive to be useful to God. This usually means a constant effort to obey the physical, biological and social laws as I understand them and the consequences (war, famine, disease and death) of violating those laws.
Serving God means serving others, my kin as defined above. This is love. Love is to place others above myself, except when hurting me would hurt others. The less I worry about myself, the happier I am.
There in one universal God. Even those who believe in many gods believe this. Even those who deny the existence of God (usually an omniscient and omnipotent personage) live by the principles of a godly society. Something we don’t understand defies entropy, the universal slide to disorder, and continuously increases the complexity of life.
Death is personal and universal. Those dead stars continue to hold my body together. If the next step is moving on to a new existence, I will rejoice. If it is not, I take comfort in the inability to be disappointed with such an outcome.
Peter Mayer, a UU songwriter was in Fargo last Friday. His lyrics sang to the sense of awe I feel:
Though below me I feel no motion
Standing on these mountains and plains
Far away from the rolling ocean
Still my dry land heart can say
I’ve been sailing all my life now
Never harbor or port have I known
The wide universe is the ocean I travel
And the Earth is my blue boat home.