This is all my own opinions. Read them as discussion topics, not as truths. Statue is of Adi Shankara founding philosopher of Advaita Vedanta.
1. Humans were made from dirt
Genesis 2:4 “Before any plant had appeared, before any rain had fallen, while a mist watered the earth, Yahweh formed the man out of dust from the ground, and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils.”
Some will say that humans are made from the same stuff as dust and therefore this is not a paradox. However, there’s dust and there’s dust. Before life on earth, the earth was a ball of rock and iron, some some other metals and some gases surrounding it. Now, this rock is not carbon, most sand, rock, dust and so on are silicon-based. But then a new form of dust was created. When bacteria started consuming carbondioxide, they made hydrocarbon-based molecules, the basic building material of life on earth. Plants did the same. Animals then ate plants and thus carbohydrates. Today there is a few-meters-thick layer of decomposed hydrocarbon-based molecules on this ball of rock and iron. This layer of dead organisms is what we call soil. Soil could not exist before life because it is a biproduct of evolution. The origin of bacteria, DNA – which contains hydrogen and carbon – was created from such atoms dissolved in water and not from the Earth’s layer of life-mold we call soil.Thus, if humans were created by the dust that existed before other life-forms had existed, humans would have been made primarily of silicon and not carbon. You could say we’re made of air since that’s where the carbon was gotten from. Or you could say we’re stardust since atoms are created by fusion in stars. By the way, oil is also hydrocarbon-molecules, made from organisms that died millions of years ago.
2. The meaning of life
”Contradiction and negation have a dynamic quality that at every point in each domain of reality leads to further development until a rational unity is reached that preserves the contradictions as phases and sub-parts by lifting them up to a higher unity…. Central to Hegel’s conception of knowledge and mind (and therefore also of reality) was the notion of identity in difference, that is that mind externalizes itself in various forms and objects that stand outside of it or opposed to it, and that, through recognizing itself in them, is “with itself” in these external manifestations, so that they are at one and the same time mind and other-than-mind.”
Hegel said that China and India were stationary because only the monarch was free to evolve his mind. This primitivity ended with the Persian Empire and Zoroastrianism. The Greek society was the next time in the process of freeing the mind. The Romans took it one step further, but it wasn’t until the protestant Reformation and the French Revolution that humans were free. Freedom of the mind leads to absolute knowledge. This means becoming aware of the process of the idea of God, the purpose of creation. And as it happens, the purpose of creation was to free the mind, so the penultimate goal was Hegel’s own emancipation when realizing this very fact. Thus, he had reach the goal God had set out for all of mankind.
3. God is love
According to Christian mystics, God is love. Literally. However, love is a metaphor and can therefore not be taken literally. Love is a metaphor for the chemical processes that are fired up in our brains when we find a mating partner and touch them abundantly. It’s not real. There is no Mr. Right, that’s just a simplification of human mating patterns. True love is given by an immaterial force. True love is an interpretation of past events. People under the influence of love, yes, it’s just like a drug, might believe in this delusion, but it’s no more real than an LSD trip. We can define true love subjectively. After 80 years together two lovers die together. That means it was true love, as opposed to the teenager who thought it was true love until being dumped. But we can only define it afterwards because it’s subjective, a human metaphor, a simplification of a complex process made small enough to fit inside a single brain, but it’s not a Thing in itself in the outside reality.
4. Being one with God
Unconditional love is the selfless caring for others. This reminds me of a buddhist realizing he is not an ego, but a dimension of the everything, the everything often called God, or maybe true consciousness. Behind the self is the being, the experience of existing. The experience as a Thing in itself, preceding the belief in the self. ”The goal of Vedanta is a state of self-realization or cosmic consciousness [Brahman]. Historically and currently, it is assumed that this state can be experienced by anyone, but it cannot be adequately conveyed in language.” Some, like the ”Vedantins believe that in the end, the ultimate, formless, inconceivable Brahman is the same as our soul, Atman.” To many Eastern philosophers the material world, including the personal body is a material delusion of the mind. To some the universe is all in the mind of Brahman and the soul is an aspect of Brahman. Each individual mind is the Brahman delusionally thinking It is confined to a single mind trapped inside a single material body. Self-realization, connecting yourself with the rest of existence, realizing your divinity and unity with all things, is the goal of meditation. This too, I perceive as a delusion. Our brains produce happy feelings upon this realization so in the end all that thinking is just egotistical self-pleasure. Similarly, unconditional love and unconditional belief in God serves an egotistical goal. Helping others gives us pleasure, being selfless gives us satisfaction, altruism is egotism.
5. Our parents are animals
Freud said God was like a parent. Children need to blindly trust their parents or else they will not survive. Children believe their parents are infallible and trust that if a parent says it should not walk off a cliff, then the child will not walk off any cliff. A child with genes telling it to disregard its parents would not live to produce any offspring and thus such humans are rare today. However, the child will rebel, over and over throughout its life. At one point they might realize that their parents are not holy, infallible, supreme beings but actually mortal, made of flesh, with fingers and eyes and ears and noses and asses and farts and muscles and blood and cells and atoms, just like a monkey or a whale. This happens around the time they change physically themselves, in disgusting ways, blood, hair and grease everywhere, and they become similarly disgusted with their parents. Protestantism can thus be likened to getting a tattoo.
Bonus – The flood myth
As a bonus I will quote the Gilgamesh epic, 2000 BC:
”Aboard the ship take thou the seed of all living things.
The ship that thou shalt build…
Six days and six nights…
On Mount Nisir the ship came to a halt…
I sent forth and set free a dove.
The dove went forth, but came back;
There was no resting place for it and she turned round.
Then I sent forth and set free a swallow.
The swallow went forth, but came back;
There was no resting-place for it and she turned round.
Then I sent forth and set free a raven.
The raven went forth and, seeing that the waters had diminished,
He eats, circles, caws, and turns not around.”