Penn Gillette On God
I believe that there is no God. I’m beyond Atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy — you can’t prove a negative, so there’s no work to do. You can’t prove that there isn’t an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? Maybe he was just hiding before. Check again. Did I mention that my personal heartfelt definition of the word “elephant” includes mystery, order, goodness, love and a spare tire?
So, anyone with a love for truth outside of herself has to start with no belief in God and then look for evidence of God. She needs to search for some objective evidence of a supernatural power. All the people I write e-mails to often are still stuck at this searching stage. The Atheism part is easy.
But, this “This I Believe” thing seems to demand something more personal, some leap of faith that helps one see life’s big picture, some rules to live by. So, I’m saying, “This I believe: I believe there is no God.”
It’s an interesting essay, and he brings up some good points, especially about people using religion as a crutch to forgive their bad behavior. That point I enjoyed quite a bit.
Here’s the thing, though. I do believe in a creator. I don’t know if it’s God or Allah or Buddha or Ronald McDonald, but it has to all come from something. Logically I can’t get around the paradox of everything coming from nothing. This is not to say that things are intelligently designed. I’m much more inclined towards the idea of Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover:
Aristotle believed there was a supreme Form that existed separately from matter which was responsible for sustaining the universe. However, as everything in the universe was in a continual process from potentiality to actuality the supreme Form would not be subject to such processes and would be perfect. In fact it would be self-absorbed, merely reflecting on it’s own perfection. To be anything other than this would imply it was lacking in some way and so involve it in the flux of potentialities. Thus the supreme Form is immaterial, perfect and without motion (an Unmoved Mover).
Aristotle’s ‘God’ is pure mind and has no participation in the world except as a sustaining influence. However, it does draw people towards its own perfection and as such is the goal of the universe’s movement and ambition. Thus the goal (telos) of humanity is rational reflection with everything else designed to enable them to achieve this.
What do you believe?