I BELIEVE IN GOD...
I can only say I believe in God if I redefine God.
If I say that god (note the dropped capital) is a force of nature governed by the laws of physics then I can believe in the concept. It makes sense. It doesn't depend on some ill-defined magic to explain reality.
But redefining the main object under consideration is cheating because most people think of the biblical creator when they use the word god (with or without a capital), so that's what the word means. It's like me trying to say that black is really white. And the believers incorporate three thousand years of hocus pocus into the word god. They believe that heaven and hell are actual places, though they're not quite sure where they are. They believe there was a six day period when everything was created by the Word, though they know it doesn't make sense because archaeological evidence points to life being abundant for millions of years before that six day event supposedly took place. They believe there was a first man and a first woman created as the triumphant climax to that six-day week, though they can't say who Adam and Eve's children mated with in order to produce the human race. They believe that a young girl got pregnant without having carnal relationships with any man though a magical bloke with wings put in an appearance. And what's more, she actually produced their god's only son in a spectacular virgin birth in a stable. That and lots more is the hocus pocus and I can't accept it.
They believe that old, old stories are actual truth probably because they're old. But there are much older stories, yet if I suddenly declared them to be true I'd be laughed out of town! Long ages of developing civilisation produced a wonderful assortment of fireside yarns centuries before the Jews hit Egypt and devised their god, and nobody's believed them for millennia. They're forgotten. But to those who whispered them round camp fires I guess they were real.
So if I'm ever going to say that I believe in god I've got to redefine the popular concept of a deity. I've got to strip away the hocus pocus. I've got to be rational and call god a series of natural physical laws in which gravity and atomic properties figure prominently. I've got to bend my mind in the direction of natural selection, which is the true child of gender.
But that's cheating by any other name, and I can't call it god.
© Peter Rogerson 27.02.12