Today, while out sightseeing with my aunts and a relative from Italy, we passed a sign in front of a coffee house with the following slogan. “Wars about religion are like two people fighting over whose imaginary friend is better.” My mother was upset at the dig, as I’m sure anyone of faith would be, but I was more annoyed at the dimness of the comment. I was annoyed because I consider myself an educated person. I went to university (very secular I might add, where I saw only one side and the other a joke), graduated and became a teacher. I am not a sheep and believe in following and seeking out the truth, whether that meant giving up the faith I had been brought up in, or keeping it, depending on what I discovered the truth to be. My Faith, I consider, is not blind, but something I have used logic and reason to discover. This is why I was so annoyed at the slogan, because I felt that it was a dig at my intelligence .
For starters, I have problems believing the validity of this comment. At least in Britain their bus ads say “probably”, but this coffee house made the distinct, matter of fact, statement that God “does not” exist. I find this silly, because neither side can vouch for sure, whether God exists or doesn’t exist. Many atheists say the onus is on believers to prove something exists, whereas if you don’t think it exists at all, how can you prove it doesn’t exist? Good point. So let’s go over some of my favourite examples as to why, I believe in an “imaginary friend”.
One of my favourite analogies of the existence of God is to look at love. You cannot physically see, hear, or touch love unless you first “know” love. I am sure there is a certain percent of people out there, that don’t believe in love. Perhaps they have never experienced it, or perhaps have and then it was lost, so they believe it was an illusion. Just because these people have never experienced love, does that mean that love does not exist? Also when people are hurt by the people they love or thought loved them, does that mean that love in itself evil? Should we get rid of love then? It is the same with God. Just like you have to be open to love, you have to be open to God or you will never experience it.
While my love analogy has to do with the fact that something much be physically present for it to exist, my second favourite reason for my belief in God is scientific. I believe in science, and struggle with religions that do not believe in science and take the Bible’s creation story literally. This gives many people fuel to argue that Christians, in particular, are fairytale dimwits. One of the current theories out there is the big bang and I believe it, until science presents something else. If there was a God it makes sense that he would start off his creation with a bang. This idea, of the “Big Bang”, without the concept of God, to me, is fantasy. So this bang just happened out of thin air? Here I like to bring in St. Thomas Aquinas’ work ‘Summa Theologica,’ in which he talks about the four causes for the existence of God. The majority of his book focuses on the “first cause”, or that everything has something that pushed it to get started. I.e you must first push the cart down the hill for it to keep rolling, you have to push the on button for something to turn on etc.
Another argument for the existence of God is the beauty and complexity of the world. Who can look at a sunset, or any of those Planet Earth DVDs, and not be in awe of the world around them? If there is no God, then what, this whole planet is an accident? What sounds more fantasy to you, a God who created and planned every detail down to the micro organism of plankton, or an accidental world where everything just happened, but somehow every molecule, particle, atom, or whatever accidentally came together to form this world? Sorry, I think the idea of a painter and the earth as his canvas more logical than believing something (because something had to do it, but we don’t know what or who) just randomly or accidently dumped a tub of paint of all different colours on a canvas and it just accidently splattered, creating this complex and beautiful earth that we see today.
Finally, and this relates more to the concept of my “imaginary friend”, is how many people do you know who have imaginary friends and are willing to die attesting to that belief? I know many children who have or have had imaginary friends, but how many grow up and not only retain these imaginary friends, but dedicate their lives to this “fairy tale”? I like to look at the early Christians, for this example because here was a group that willingly died horrible and sometimes humiliating deaths for this “imaginary friend”. Why would they do it? Its not like they were in it for fame or fortune.
There are many different reasons why people believe or don’t believe in something. While my belief in God is personal, and I see God in different ways, I do find comfort in knowing the majority of the world shares my belief and thus at least, I am not the only wacko out there who believes in an imaginary friend 😉