Does God Exist? The theist says
He does, but what is meant by “God”?
Belief has different forms and ways
And “theist” is a false façade—
The problem with the answer is—
Which god? The question won’t define.
It serves as a projective quiz
We each fill in the blank with “mine”.
While theists think a god exists
Which god that is, they can’t agree.
These gods can fill up endless lists
Still none of them’s the god for me.
“Agreement” seems a specious word
When treating many gods as one
Agreement? No. The thought’s absurd…
And as for me, I’ll stick with “none”.
Today’s verse is inspired by a (presumably) well-intentioned but (demonstrably) poorly executed opinion piece at the Iowa State Daily. I’d have commented there (and thus never have had reason to write the verse), but they won’t accept contributions unless a real-world name is attached. I’ve spent 5 years cultivating a pseudonym; my real name would be meaningless to them (yeah, my pseud is probably meaningless to them, but they can at least follow a trail of breadcrumbs and read here). Anyway, the piece jumps off the rails in the first three sentences:
Does God exist?
Theists believe yes. Atheists believe no.
And moves from there to equate the two sides as equally making a claim of belief.
What a difference one letter can make. What if the author had asked “Does a god exist?” With that indefinite article, the false consensus of “theists” is punctured. “Theists” is an artificial group, a strange bedfellows assortment of traditional others, competitors, and enemies, but united by not being atheists. Not by “believing in God”, as polytheists are theists too, as are a good many people who would not identify their particular god as the capitalized “God”. My goodness, the first commandment would not be necessary if all gods were one God.
And atheists are not those who don’t believe in God; they are those who don’t believe in a god. They are the privative, none-of-the-above belief category. It is not a belief, it is the “none for me, thanks” drink preference. It’s the “I don’t run” answer to “what’s your distance?”
The problems (and there are many) in the rest of the piece all fall from this initial improper stance. When you take your first compass reading, get it right; the rest of your journey depends on it.