One of the thoughts that has lingered in the back of my mind
for a long time is that of God as a meme that has been playing
back and forth for millennia--probably going back at least to the
Neanderthals, a kindred hominid that likely preceded Homo
The word "meme" is now fairly familiar in our vocabulary, but
it's still a fairly recent word. The meme was coined by the
evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins back in 1976.
Interesting, too, another great scientist E.O. Wilson also
stumbled upon the meme about the same time, only he
coined it the "culturgen."
So what is a meme? According to recent dictionary accounts it
is an "idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person
within a culture." The meme is a unit that involves ideas, symbols,
rituals, writing that can be transmitted not only from culture to
culture, but from age to age.
This leads me back to my idea of God as a meme, or put more
poetically the "MEME of all Memes." One can trace this God Meme
from pre-cultural times to the earliest city states, to civilizations.
This meme, of course, has taken on many different forms. Hence
we have different religious imagery in different cultures.
Nonetheless this God Meme has been persistent. It sticks with
us, even as it changes or evolves.
What I find fascinating is the thought that the God Meme does
indeed seem to evolve, albeit seemingly cropping forth from an
earlier rendition. It's like this God Meme keeps growing in our
minds, taking us along for a long fascinating ride.
Just my own thought about this, but just maybe the God Meme
is purposeful--in that as it evolves, it evolves us. This meme
would seem a two-way street. The God Meme seemingly
affects how we interpret God, how we "grow" God as our minds
continue to mature. And perhaps we mature because of how
we tend or try to understand God from ever new perspectives.
Today we are on the brink of understanding the universe in far
more perceptive ways than ever before, via science and
technology. So it's surely understandable that our interpretation(s)
of God evolves, as we view Creation (our surroundings) in ever new
ways. So, it's not surprising that God seems to be changing right before
our eyes. The "MEME of all Memes" has constantly been changing
over Time, as we constantly change. It's not something unexpected.