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My scientific, testable-reality self hasn’t seen any satisfying proofs of any gods’  existence, but my social-political self sees an absolute necessity for the public to accept the existence of a supernatural being. The function of religion is to bind people together into a reproducing community of human beings which will persist through numberless generations of time. The most potent method for creating group cohesion is belief in an unchallengeable ultimate entity, and this is most powerfully imagined in the form of a powerful person. This being is postulated not only to have created everything but to be personally overseeing the well being and behavior of every one of his creatures and every atom of his creation. To promulgate this understanding requires a human person to converse with the ultimate being and to bring the message to his assistants to help him bring the message of what the infinite being expects of people. Because the being has interest in every being, that proves he also has interest in you personally, as an individual, and therefore he is watching you very carefully.

That’s the general story of our Western religion as formulated by the Romans under Constantine, which became the official state religion in 380. It has worked well in holding the Western world together through a couple of millennia of deadly intellectual and physical conflict. The Roman message wasn’t that of Jesus or of Moses. Those popular earlier teachings were modified to serve the needs of a geographically huge and populous empire, the goal being to find a supernatural glue which would bind the empire more tightly together. Most people think of Rome as having fallen in 476 AD but that was only the city which had already been abandoned by the government. The new seat of government had been moved to Constantinople for centuries before and it then lasted at that location for another millennium. The government was driven from Constantinople in 1453 by the Muslims, but it survived until the Romanovs were deposed by the Soviets in Moscow in 1917. So, in a sense, the Roman government founded in 476 BC lasted for two and a half thousand years.

The point of that loose history is simply to illustrate the time duration of a well formulated religion. Others are even older. The religious needs of future humanity are in some ways fundamentally different from its earlier incarnations. Humans now have a global reach and impact and are now not just users of the environment but are its guardians. Humans are no longer exploiters seeking unlimited growth but are now entering an new era where they are the protectors of nature’s living and non-living things seeking a permanently sustainable balance. That requires a new formulation of humanity’s supernatural reason for existence and that requires a new conception of God and his relationship with the world and its creatures.

God must demand humans to be one with nature.

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