Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Daily Encounters With God

There is a ubiquitous presence in daily life of something for which we have no proof of its existence. I'm sure there must be some classical philosophical term to describe this phenomenon, but I don't know what it is. Does anyone out there?

Every day we encounter "God" in dozens of ways; and yet, objectively, "God" is a subjective idea. Amazing! We encounter something so often that is really an abstraction, an idea or belief. Is there anything else like this which has a pervasive presence in our lives, yet may or may not exist?

Someone might make an a priori argument that since "God" is everywhere, he/she/it must exist. But all the manifestations of "God" are man-made. Viz.:

* Places/things that mention God, such as money, banks, jewelry, songs, places of worship, etc. are omnipresent.

* Every day I say, "Thank God" or "Oh God" at least two or three dozen times. Usually afterwards, I feel silly. Often, I'll exclaim, "Jesus Christ!" or "Holy Christ!" then I think, how can I say these things when I don't believe in them?

* On most days, at least one or two people tell me, "God bless you and your family," and this has nthing to do with sneezing. Not sure what to say, I reply, "Thanks, same to you."

* Often, in response to my saying "see you tomorrow" someone will say, "God willing." Sometimes now I say it too, just as an anti-jinx measure (which can't hurt).

* Often, I receive e-mails which tell me how blessed I am, how I should love God, and pass the email on to the people I love, as did the person who sent it to me. Usually, I delete them.

* Religious holidays.

And finally,

* I have daily interactions with people whose lives are dedicated to "the Lord." Most of them are Christians; a few are Jews.

All of the above is very confusing because I waver between being Atheist and Agnostic. Here is a constant presence in my life, and I'm not sure if it exists. So what do I do? What I've been doing since I was born into a secular Jewish family in a Christian society: I pretend a lot and participate a little.

What an odd thing, though, to be pretending about something all the time. But, if I'm saying I'm Agnostic, am I really pretending? Or, do I not know if I'm pretending? What kind of way is this to live?

To be continued...

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