Picked up my copy of New Scientist over breakfast this morning (which, along with Fortean Times, is my favourite publication) and found myself puzzling over an article that began
That a complex mind is required for religion may explain why faith is unique to humans.
Which left me amazed and potentially delighted that journalists at New Scientist had succeeded in interspecies communication to the point of being certain that dolphins and whales have no belief in things deeper than themselves, that ants do not imagine a supreme colony at the centre of everything, and that my cats only believe in what they can see, smell, hunt and rub up against (except for Pod, of course, who when much younger would react in horror, with full fur-up, to invisible things), and that there are no Buddhist Pigs, Monkeys or whatever-the-hell Sandy was.
which in turn has me thinking this afternoon of all the wonderful passages in scripture from which we know that all creation gives God the praise which he is due. The mountains break forth in singing and the trees clap their hands. The seas roar and the fields exult. Jesus assures us that if we decline the privilige of singing praise to God the stones will do it for us. For the Holy One will make his glory known, and will not leave a seat at his banquet empty. (Tough luck for you if a rock gets your seat.) Do the dolphins and whales have a belief in something deeper than themselves? I rather expect believe in God about the same way that they believe in the water in which they swim. They don't need religion--they do not have the awesomely dubious privilege that we humans have of being able to defy God. And they can no more fail to worship their creator than they can choose to not have gravity hold them down. Balaam's donkey saved his master running himself into an angel delivering the wrath of God. The animal saw the truth clearly, when the guy with the complex brain and the hot-shot reputation for being able to really curse people couldn't see what was standing right in the middle of the road in front of him.
I think that there are times that if we weren't so eager to slice and dice what we know and don't know, to put it under a microscope and over-analyze that we wouldn't miss the obvious.
For what can be known about God is plain . . . because God has shown it to [us]. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So [we] are without excuse. (Romans 1:19-20)