I do not believe in god. I do not believe in truth. I do not believe my own ears and eyes. I do not believe in scientific infallibility. I do not believe in reality. I believe in possibilities. I do not believe wholeheartedly in anything, I believe that it is possible that god exists, that science is based in absolute fact, that my ears and eyes tell the truth, and that reality is in fact real.
If I invited the entire world to the tree in my backyard, every single person would see the deep brown bark, and the glistening oily leaves. People from the United States and Britain would call it a “tree.” Those from Spanish speaking countries might say, “un arból.” Those from France would call it, “arbre.” But, they would all see the same natural structure in front of them. Who would say there was no tree? No one. Even the blind could feel the bark and leaves and deduce that there is a tree. But, just because no one would state that there is not a tree, does that make the tree real? Is that absolute reality? Well not necessarily, sure it’s possible that the tree is real and that the synapses from all of our eyes to our brains mirror reality. However, our perceptions are based on nerve impulses that we trust as accurate, but people hallucinate, see things that aren’t there. So, couldn’t we all just be hallucinating?
Nietchzche said “there are no facts only interpretations” (Holt). Richard Rorty, a professor of philosophy at Stanford, says that our minds do not “mirror” the world. He asserts that our observations can never correspond to “The Way Things Really Are” (Holt).
So, is there a god? I believe that it is possible, but what proof is there? All the competing variations of religious worship, from the ancient Egyptian’s polytheistic religion to modern day Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and many more, raise the question as to what is god. If there cannot even be a consensus on Earth as to what is god, what am I to believe, that one of these religions created by people does in fact describe the reality of god? However, recently as my grandmother was dying, I did feel as if there was a supreme power, one which would help her through her hard time and make life flow. But, why must that greater power be god? Why not another life form looking over a “test-tube” universe, from a distant region of space, protecting our lives? I believe that it is equally possible a silvery pink unicorn created the universe, as it is that god created the universe.
Science offers even more alternatives to the god debate. The current scientific theory states that the universe has been and always will be, but this theory is only a little less baseless then the bible’s theory that god created the universe in seven days. So what do I believe, science, the seemingly sole way to uncover the truth behind the mysteries of the universe, or faith-based religion? I’m not sure…
Descartes, a famous scientist and philosopher, coined the famous phrase, “cognito ergo sum.” Most individuals would agree that they do in fact exist, but why couldn’t our lives be another life form’s dream or a TV cartoon? Are we reality? Possibly, but not necessarily.
To our everyday lives, does this mean much? Well, no. But, accepting all possibilities of thought and fact can open ones mind to ideas, and possibilities. I believe in possibilities. I believe that it is equally possible that there is absolute truth, that god exists, and that what I stated is completely inaccurate. But, the reason I accept the last alternative, is because I believe in possibilities.
Holt, Jim. “Say Anything.” The New Yorker.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.