Saturday, May 01, 2004

A nice sunny morning in Spokane Washington on the day before Bloomsday, and I'm off to give a talk to the Humanist Group of Spokane about writing letters to the editor and to read a few of them also. Having been a machinist the past 15 years, I'm a little nervous. It's been 17 years or so since I stood before people and tried to demonstrate anything except sobriety.


God doesn't exist. Now that hurts some people when I say that, but I don't mean to. In a very limited sense god doesn't exist. Look—if I tell you that the United States exists, you'd agree. We'd have maps to look at and satelite pictures and lists of presidents. If I say a Ford Taurus exists, you'd agree because we could see pictures of it and hear people talking about it and even watch TV ads. If I said knights exist, we might quibble a bit because some people are still knighted, but if we thought of grail seeking creatures in armor on horses, we'd say that they once existed, but no longer exist in exactly that way. We'd have descriptions of the armor and maybe drawings of it.

Now, what if I said, that "cakatophaniasis" exists, you'd probably stop and ask me what language that is and tell me that you'd never heard of it. Well, I just made the word up so, as far as I know, it doesn't exist. And the proof would be that we could find no definition of the word and no picture of it, no eye witness evidence, nada, nothing. But I could go on to fool you and tell you it's something in another language and even describe it and its uses. Then you and I would share the belief in this thing in our imaginations, at least, until you figured out my deception and called me on it. Which is what this brief posting is about.

Now, in that sense alone, I mean god doesn't exist. There are no pictures of a god thing, but there are people who claim there is one and various prophets, like Christ and Mohammed, have tried to tell us there is a god, but there is nothing but a supposed burning bush presence of god reported in the Bible and other manifestations of this god, but no physical, concrete thing named god that anyone can sketch or take a picture of.

So when I say god doesn't exist, that's what I mean. The hypothesis of god only exists in the imagination, but does not exist in real life. If we can agree on that much, at least, believers and non-believers can find a common ground. Then, at least, we can agree that god is a figment of imagination in the human psyche and try to discover just what that means for all of us humans with our different imaginings about god.

"Two can live as cheaply as one. Take the bird and the horse, for example." —author unknown

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