Choosing My Religion

by Bill Corden (June 2019)

Plains of Heaven, John Martin, 1851-53



Einstein solved

the way things work,

the way things come together

Stephen Hawking also knew

how black holes last forever.


With blackboards full of symbols

that make our psyches tremble,

they tell how pulses in a void

gradually assemble

into the universe we know

and why that yellow sun does glow.


That universe, it has no edge;

It has no outer limit.

And likewise when we turn around,

there is no centre to be found.


They tell us it’s an interplay

of space and time and feeling;

But no answer for the great beyond 

that sets our senses reeling.


We know how little levers act

to turn things on and off;

Science can explain it all

all you need is fact.


For all those non-believers

it tells you what is what

There’s nothing more or less to life

than this reacts with that.


Now the pontiff knows not much of this;

It’s not quite his dimension

But he says that he speaks from God

and we are God’s extension.

He tells us all, that all there is

is the work of his creation

and everything we do and see

is made in Heaven’s station.


So which one do I turn to

to justify my corpus?

Am I just a happenstance

or do I have a purpose?

The great religions of the world

each one of them serene

insist I put my faith in

an entity unseen.

We must be righteous in our path

or else we will incur God’s wrath


So underneath these words of love

is vengeance, threatened from above.

To get to your eternal rest,

your life must pass the moral test.


Now Einstein and the Doctor,

they offer us a choice.

They say there is no point to life

and that we have no voice.


No voice in the hereafter,

because there’s no such thing.

So don’t be scared of what comes next,

just let freedom ring.

‘Cos when you’re done, it’s Adios

you won’t be one with the Holy Ghost.


Help me choose what’s best for me 

Science or Religion

One says there is no point in this,

the other says salvation.


and finally


Why are we here?


Philosophers throughout the ages

all the gurus, saints, and sages

All the books and all the essays

all those who tell us do it my way.

All of history’s brilliant minds

all religions . . . all mankind.


The ten commandments, sacred texts;

none can tell us what comes next.

All our concepts of divinity

Cannot describe . . . what’s beyond infinity.


We understand the quantum world

and how it’s held together;

We watch the grand design unfurled

just like a newborn feather.

It’s all a puzzle, solved by math

except . . . the meaning of God’s wrath.


We know it flows in perfect order

to endless space without a border;

In harmony and symmetry

but do we know . . . why we’re meant to be?


As we delve, delve ever deeper,

the road we travel just gets steeper.

Every little nut we crack

sends us down another track.

We measure tiny blips and waves

but nothing takes us past the grave.


Kant, Descartes and Plato, too,

knew little more than me and you

about the final, great unknown

the place to which . . . our souls are blown.


And so we turn in desperation

to our own imagination.

Invent a God who’s not been seen

to be the crutch . . . on which we lean.


For all we’ve learned, we place our faith,

in an omnipresent wraith

Who won’t reveal ’til we are dead

the meaning . . . of the life we led.



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Bill Corden is a happily retired sports columnist living in Vancouver, British Columbia. Now he writes, plays music and makes people laugh.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


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