When I was in High School, I worked summers at a day camp. Most days we went on a field trip of some sort. On one particular day, we went to a local park. We started to play kickball and all of the counselors participated. It was a particularly hot day, so I kicked off my shoes, while we played in the grass. The grass was freshly watered and it felt cool beneath my feet.
It was good to be out in the sun. I was not aware of any one part of my body. I just felt a sense of wholeness and wellbeing.
When it was my turn at the plate, I decided I was going to make the kids run for it. I was going to send that soccer ball to the other end of the field. The ball rolled towards me and I kicked with everything I had. My foot connected, but not with the ball. My bare foot connected with a sprinkler head that had not fully retracted. My toe, of which I had been blissfully unaware, suddenly gained sentience. It communicated a singular thought: I hurt!
From being just one of many parts, for days my toe became the center of my being.
I bring up this story to illustrate a thought that has been churning in my head lately.
My toe is connected to my brain via a complex network of nerves and chemicals. It operates fairly independently (though not consciously), until there is a problem. Then it has the potential to be the center of my consciousness. Well what if I extend the metaphor for a moment. We human beings more or less operate individually. But we are intricately connected to each other by a myriad of sound, smell and visual cues.
Here is my convoluted point. The toe and the brain are indirectly connected and yet we consider them part of one organism. But our connection to each other, to the environment and other living organisms is no less complex. For that matter Jesus said that the church is his body. If Jesus in Christian theology God and *we* are Christ’s body, then it is not a huge synergistic leap to say that we are part of a much larger organism called God.
Now let me be clear: I find Christian theology to be way too confining. I do not in any sense believe there is a bearded white guy in the clouds dispensing cosmic justice. But the idea that living creatures are part of a greater whole is not a novel idea. If there is a greater whole, does *it* have a personality? Tough to say. But if there is consciousness that extends beyond the individual, then certainly it would have a sense of self preservation. When threatened by the actions of any particular part, then consciously or unconsciously *it* would act. Those actions would impact our actions, changing our behavior. We see this kind of group think on a small scale in everyday life.
This I think is the agnostic god. It is the simple acceptance that there is some connection that all living creatures share and that the sum of life *might* be greater than the sum of the individual parts (of which I am one).
OK, my head hurts now. I think I need a cookie. If this thought survives the next couple of days, perhaps I will follow up on agnostic eternal life. But let’s face it, I am a flake.