I remember being told in my youth that God saw everything we did, and that when we did wrong His spirit would go away. I know variations on this are common teachings, and it did cause me a little distress at times, knowing that God saw the things I had done wrong and would judge me for it. But God was pretty impersonal for me, despite intellectually believing in Him as my father, so the impact never lasted long. It didn't make me choose right, although it did likely foster feelings of shame. The shame of being watched really hit home when I thought about the spirits of my Mormon ancestors and children to be floating around and caring about my welfare. It was always presented that way -- they were cheering me on to make good choices -- but it was a whole lot more emotional to imagine them watching me as I obsessed over a lingerie catalog, and I couldn't help but make the connection.
I was very sad when I heard of the terrorist attack against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 7. I have been in the Middle East many times, and I only had good experiences with Muslims, but it seems that the Western and Islamic civilizations are on a violent collision course, and nothing good can come from that.
I love windy days. They remind me to have faith in the beauty of things I can’t see. Though the wind is intangible I can feel it all around me, and though I can’t see it I can see continual evidence of its presence. I believe the same is true of God.
One day we’ll know how our universe came into existence, and how such complexity was accomplished with such basic materials over so vast a space-time. We may even be able to recreate such complexity. We have made tiny accomplishments towards that end, making small simulated environments that are very well defined and static (as in CGI movies), and making other amazingly vast dynamic worlds with extremely simple rendering (such as Minecraft). At some point on this car ride to Creator status, we’ll start asking, “Are we there yet?” Well, we can start asking now. And the answer may be that we are almost there. Case in point: No Man’s Sky.
So much angst in debates either for or against religion comes from pitting a dogmatic pre-secular attitude towards religion against reductive secular-only world-views. Often both see no possible way forward. And if religion can only ever be pre-secular and if secularly-informed world views can only ever be secular-reductive then perhaps that might be the case. But between these two extremes there lies a faith which delights in the truths gained through honest secular endeavors but that still acknowledges the reality and power of God.