That’s what I said to a recently-met fellow American Saturday evening who asked if I believe in God. It’s not, I said, that I don’t believe in God, it’s that I don’t believe.
Taking advantage of seasonally attractive weather, several of us from work, along with recent dude, enjoyed dinner at an outside restaurant where conversations were helped along with a couple of bottles of decent red wine. Recent guy, my age or thereabouts, was visiting from California where he has lived for 30 years. Although he became a US citizen, he is Indian, from India, named Mohammad, but grew up Catholic.
It’s been a long time since someone asked me if I believe in God. The last time was a friend and owner of a print shop where I did business while living in Colombia. I believe I told him, “yea, sure.” It was the easiest answer since he was from a deeply religious family in a fairly religious country.
I don’t think anyone at our table last night is a deeply religious person, but the Indian-turned-American believed. I therefore explained what I meant about belief — namely, that we’ve chosen to give a certain amount of credence to a thing or idea that makes sense within our conceptual boundaries. By believing, we acknowledge a degree of uncertainty. Otherwise, we would know and there wouldn’t be a reason to believe.
As I write this I’m sitting in front of a laptop computer. I know this. I know certain things that I can see and touch, as much as I can know those things as I’ve grown to know them. I don’t believe I have a family, I know I have one and who they are.
Many believe that there is life on other planets. It certainly seems likely. We’ve recently discovered so much evidence pointing to the overwhelming possibility that life on other planets exists, perhaps on many other planets. But no one on earth knows for sure. We believe, or don’t believe, according to the perspectives we have. We believe today like most people ardently believed, not long ago, that the world was flat, a belief held by Hindu and Catholic religions for many years.
Humans have believed in God(s) for almost as long as we’ve lived. Those gods have changed form and concepts to fit the boundaries of our perspectives. When visiting Thailand, there are Buddha statues all over. The Thais routinely bow and pray, whether on the street, a restaurant, a factory or a temple. They believe, no different than those holding prayer beads or wearing rosaries, or frequenting various types of churches, mosques, or synagogs. The world is full of fervent believers, filled with faiths of all kinds, that something is true as it relates to their bordered perspective.
Indian-turned-American guy told me I must be agnostic, to which I said no way, that’s another belief. Forget that we didn’t, thank God, discuss what or who God is. To many, God has gender and form. To others, God is a concept, an intelligence, an energy of some sort. Does any of us know for sure? No, we believe.
Our perceptional boundaries are starting to open up to the possibilities of multiple universes. It’s a belief hard to conceptualize. For some, so is the belief in God. And for others, God is a cozily defined concept.
Perchance I told a small fib last night because I do believe. I believe anything is possible, including the notion that, as I sit writing on this laptop, what I believe I know could be a figment of my imagination. I believe there are vast amounts of amazing stuff about life and the universe that we’ve barely begun to scratch the surface in what there is to believe. And I also believe it’s highly probable that there is an intelligence coursing through everything that’s quite possibly beyond our imagination.