Believe It…or Not

Rock God - Photo by Frank Kovalchek

Do you believe in god?

Most people would answer with a yes or a no. My answer would be “It depends”.

“Depends on what?” You would probably again ask.

“Depends on what ‘god’ is”, I would answer.

The moment that question is asked, the one asking already assumes a certain definition of god (god is a loving creator, god is a stern judge, god is a blue-skinned woman, etc.), and he assumes that I share the same definition, which I most probably don’t.

It is like when you go to a field and see a tree, and then you tell me, “I saw a tree.” I don’t really know what you saw. I know you didn’t see dancing pigs or exploding frogs, but I don’t know EXACTLY what you saw because the word “tree” is just an abstraction of something that’s very concrete. When you say “tree” I may picture a mango tree in my mind but what you actually saw was a pine tree. In fact, we both may have pine trees in our minds but I did not see the pine tree that you saw and those are very different things.

The point is that a tree is something that is quite common that every person above the age of three probably knows, and yet, it can mean many things to many people in many different instances. If that can happen for “tree”, imagine now when you talk about “god” that people have not actually seen, heard, or touched.

What in the world (or out of this world) are you talking about when you say “god”?

People’s belief or unbelief in their concept of god is just that — a belief — a conscious choice to declare for or against something. It is something that can neither be proved or disproved. Which is why theists and atheists have been arguing (and will continue arguing) for hundreds of years without any clear resolution. It no longer is a matter of reason but of conviction, of opinion, of differing points of view.

So do I believe in god?

The most sensible answer I can think of is: “Well, I love mashed potatoes”.

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