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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

By God, What Do You Mean?

It’s because people mean so many different things by the term ‘God’ that I’m never sure what to say when asked if I believe in God.

If by ‘God’, you mean ‘the totality of existence, of everything that is”, then I’m with Spinoza, God exists.

If by ‘God’, you mean ‘some being who in some way which no one can ever explain played an important part in the universe coming into being and has continued to take an interest in what happens in it’, then I’m not so sure.

If by ‘God’, you mean ‘the owner of that voice which speaks to people, telling them what to do without others ever hearing what is said – including things like “take your son outside and kill him”’, then I’m seriously worried about you.

However, if by ‘God’, you mean ‘an omnipotent and all benevolent being who is not prepared to tolerate what we can all see as the grotesque suffering around us, and who nonetheless allows it to go on’, then no, on that definition, there is no God.