08/10/2013 06:17 pm ET Updated Oct 10, 2013

Religion's Time Warp

That man can go from sublime heights of poetry and music to a bag of bones under a few feet of dirt is so awesome, in the aggregate, as to induce the feeling that some outside force has put this world together.
To my mind, the greatest argument in favor of the existence of an outside force is that each individual is different. No one resembles completely another. To quote the late French writer, François Mauriac,
"In the face of a young unknown visitor, I sense an astonishment before this miracle that does not astonish anyone: that each being is another person and another person forever. When I think of my dead friends, and of so many faces that a half-century of life has covered with re-impressions, their singularity in an absolute sense strikes me: this look, this voice, can be with me for centuries; they remain without a replica, the exemplar is there always, forever unique...This does not prove that it is eternal, I agree. However, it has helped me to believe".
But what is this outside force, assuming that it does exist? Religion has some problems in providing an answer.
The concept that we call God was formulated by men, and its character was modified by men. Thus one can say that God only matters if man matters. But the origin of man is not contemporaneous with that of the world. This is why the myth of the Creation in seven days is crucial. Obviously it is not founded on science. Placed against human history are the billions of years without men. In relation to the immensity of time, man matters little, and God is not spoken of except by man. The question persists: how can one argue that a world four billion years old be in conformity with religious constructions dating from several millennia at most?
In the face of this connundrum, the faithful reply that it is a matter of faith and that faith is separate from reason and superior to it: "the heart has its reasons, which reason cannot know." But how can one subtract God from reason?
The answer lies into which we will all disappear.