Friday, November 18, 2011

A "crisis" of faith

Note: This post has nothing to do with games, writing or mathematics.

When asked if I believe in God, my response if I provide one is usually something along the lines of: "Do you believe I have change in my pocket?"  Despite the confused looks I receive, I really do feel that this is the perfect response.  Of course the other person doesn't "believe" I have change in my pocket.  Nor do they "believe" I don't have change in my pocket.  They don't know either way and, more importantly, as long as they remain uncertain, the existence or non-existence of change in my pocket is unlikely to change their behavior in any way.

There may be a God.  In fact, one can relax the definition of "God" to the extent that there is almost certainly a God.  But, dispensing with the self-defeating task of trying to define the almighty, let us just assume for a moment that God does exist.  Let us throw in some additional qualifications as well.  God is aware, God had something to do with my creation, God has some sort of plan, and God is so far beyond me on the spectrum of being that, to me, his nature is incomprehensible.

Despite those rather impressive attributes, or perhaps because of them, I would claim that the question of God's existence is irrelevant to how I live my life.  Like most people I have a sense of "right" and "wrong".  It's neither constant nor infallible, but it's certainly there.  I have free will as well, and at every moment I can chose to do "right" or "wrong", but experience has taught me that doing "right" yields better long-term results than doing "wrong".

I take no issue with those who believe this sense of morality is God-given.  But, to return to my original analogy, the question of where my ideas of correctness come from is as irrelevant to me as the amount of change you have in your pocket.  Honestly, if a great being appeared to me, claiming to be God, and if that great being directed me to perform actions that went against my own code of ethics, then I would be forced to conclude that such a being was not God.  Of course such a being might modify me in some way to bring me in line, but then I would no longer be the person I am now and this entire essay would become moot.

In conclusion, not only is the existence question both unknowable and unimportant to me, it must always remain so.  If God plans to allow me to keep my free will and my ability to question all things, then God cannot reveal herself to me.  Doing so would either fail, or would change me into something else entirely.