While on my part-time window-washing job yesterday, the proprietor of the Home-Crafts shop came out and asked me how I was planning to spend Christmas, and since it fell on a Sunday, proceeded to ask me if I was going to church. When I told her I didn’t go to church, she asked me, “Do you believe in God?”
“Which one?” I lightly responded. “Zeus, or Thor, Allah, or Jehovah? Or some other?
“No. There is only one God.”
“What’s his name?”
“He’s God, the one and only God.”
“But a god is a supernatural being. Which means, since ‘supernatural’, by definition, does not exist, supernatural beings do not exist. If you say that a thing exists which does not exist, it can only exist as a figment of your imagination; that is, in your own mind. So when you ask, ‘Do you believe in God?’ you are asking if I believe in the imaginary object in your mind, or an imaginary object in my own mind. That’s two gods right there. However, since you imply that there is such an imaginary object in your mind, I’ll take you at your word and regard that as a fact. Now, since it is a fact, there is no point in my saying that I ‘believe in’ that fact, just as I do not say that I ‘believe in’ the sun. The sun exists. I know it. I do not ‘believe in’ it. When you, however, say that you ‘believe in’ an object which you imagine, you are being dishonest. Much better simply to say that you know that you imagine it.”
“But God exists! He’s real! He’s not just in my imagination! Other people believe in Him, too. They believed in Him before I was born!
“No. Other people merely use the same term–God–to refer to the imaginary object in their own minds.”
“Well then why do I and all my fellow Christians, living and dead, have the sense that we’re all talking and reading about the same one thing?”
“Because, in essence, you are. You’re all talking about your selfless desire to have your feeling, wishes and whims control existence. But however emotionally intense you assert God’s existence and power, your emotions will not put the imaginary object of your mind into existence. Your desire, and attempt, to do just that merely shows how much you want to have effortless, unthinking power over existence, and since you never will have it, you will eventually have to resort to force, or to give up life altogether.”
“God is going to send you to Hell for your blasphemy!”
“See? Already you are threatening force.”
“When the Judgement Day comes, then YOU will see! When you’re burning in flames and screaming in agony you’ll wished you had believed in God!”
“Now you’re trying to terrify me. Are you a terrorist? And you’re being dishonest again. By referring to a day of the-initiation-of-force as if it were something apart from your own personal wish, you can claim that you are not responsible. Well, I agree. You are an irresponsible human being.”
“And you’re fired! Leave those windows alone and get out of here!”
Well, I left the power of God and walked around the corner to the art gallery. There was a big new canvas in the window showing a beautiful passenger jet taking off from a shadowy runway, sleek silver wings lifting up, cutting into the first rays of the morning sun, half in night, half in day, sparkling and glowing, giving the light of promise to the earth, its nose pointing straight into the pale blue sky. Never did I clean a window so well, or take so long doing it!