Friday, March 18, 2005

Can you believe what it takes to not believe?

They say it is hard to believe that God exists.

In fact, it is probably harder to sustain a belief that God in fact does not

To start with, there is no one to blame when things go wrong (for me that
is). It seems that when something goes wrong for one person, it is almost
never the case that it also goes wrong for another or all persons.

For example, if I miss my train it means that someone else waiting at the
next stop will not be late if he relies on the train to be on time. If I did
not miss my train, I would most likely prefer that it leaves on time, even
if someone else who runs late will miss it. This stroke of what we call 'bad
luck' is a euphemism for frustration that we are not in control.
Philosophers call this contingency. Our lives are contingent (dependent) on
others, and ultimately, perhaps God.

In any case, having someone to blame is only one of a host of reasons why
some people think they do not believe in God.

Another compelling case is because if God actually exists, then someone's
really in charge and this means justice really exists! If there is justice,
then it means it is possible for me to screw up splendidly and have to pay
the price. But if there is no God and hence no justice, then I ought to fear
when injustice comes my way, say, when someone steals from me. In an a-just
or non-just world, there is cause for complaint. Most of us, most of the
time, wants a God to punish the other unjust people...until we ourselves act

So, to believe that God does not exist has at least the inconvenience of not
being able to account for human contingency and our deep longing for
justice. Unbelievable isn't it?

1 comment:

David BC Tan said...

thanks for the brief and succinct intro to a big and noisy debate. will be following your blog...