Now that others have taken up my non-theistic ethics1, it seems possible to propose a replacement for the deity: the Universal Echo, or the foil somewhere out in the heavens for our projected hopes, aspirations, imagined superlatives and magical thinking, from which all religions and philosophical systems boomerang.
The idea is vaguely drawn on Feuerbach's idea that “The consciousness of God is the self-consciousness of man; the knowledge of God is the self-knowledge of man.”2 Put simply: God is our own projection, an imaginary friend, if you will.
God has uses. The God of conservatives validates “family values” and war. The God of liberals is herself a liberal, pacifist, blessed-are-the-poor kind of deity.
The Universal Echo is not another god, but a reasonable proposal of which science can probably find evidence. Listening to the Echo is us truly hearing ourselves. Sending thoughts to the Echo, an equivalent of prayer, is allowing our thoughts to go off into the ether, then bounce back from the cosmos and hit us as if new and improved.
In this proposal, I am not offering yet another anthropomorphic magical being. The UE is not someone separate from ourselves, but ourselves extended and truly mirrored back. Visually, we could speak of the Universal Reflection. In sound, we could speak of the Universal Wave. Sensorily, we could speak of the Universal Touch.
We think, speak, look, reach out and come across a universe that bounces back our thoughts, sounds, our search light receptors and our fingers.
Traditionally, religion says that God created the world. We would say that in discovering our boundaries against which all our impulses bounce back to us, our Echo has created a sensory world seemingly out of nothing.
Indeed, we first became human when we became self-aware.
1. Morals Without God, The New York Times
2. Ludwig Feuerbach, Essence of Christianity