Steve McEllistrem

The Devereaux Dilemma

God or Not God?

There is evidence of God everywhere. And there is evidence of the lack of a God everywhere. It all depends on your point of view.

Some point to the intricacies of life, the sheer magnitude of chance that brought about creatures such as humans, with all their complexities, as proof that they could only have come from God.

Others point to the archaeological records that show unmistakable evidence of evolution and assert that if we evolved from lesser creatures, there can’t be a God. They say every miracle, every bizarre and intricate feature of the world, can be explained by science, even if science can’t explain it yet.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was executed during the Holocaust, saw unimaginable suffering at the hands of the Nazis and yet retained his faith, believing God was with the Jews and other victims, suffering alongside them, sharing in their agony.

This God came down from the heavens, figuratively speaking, and suffered with humanity as unspeakable horrors were dispensed.

Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, writes about the death of God in the novel Night. And indeed we wonder how a kind and merciful God could allow such suffering by His people at the hands of fanatics and evildoers.

Would not a real God prevent such tragedies?

Free will – the believers say. God gave us free will, which is why this kind of horror can exist. And yet those same believers pray to God for intervention in their lives. They believe God helps protect them from all manner of evil.

So why does God protect them in their small lives while refusing to protect humanity on a larger scale? They have no satisfying answer for this.

What is the truth?

Ultimately it doesn’t matter because it’s impossible for we mere humans to understand. God either exists or He doesn’t but we’ll never know for certain.

Any proof one side submits will be struck down by the supporters of the opposite point of view. Were God Himself to appear before the population of the planet and proclaim Himself to all, nonbelievers would reject Him, stating that it was a trick of some sort – aliens: an advanced race of people – even a mass hallucination caused by air pollution.

And were atheists to show through science that God could not possibly have existed because of the way the universe evolved, believers would dismiss their arguments as incomplete. They would assert, accurately, that one cannot prove such a negative.

So, since certainty can never be achieved, why are so many people so committed to their beliefs? Why do so many insist that only they have the truth and we must all acknowledge it?

I submit that both sides have fallen into the trap of polemic human thinking. We tend to fit everything into black and white, right and wrong, good and evil. We’re wired to think that way. What benefits us is good, what harms us is evil. Few of us accede to the notion of an indifferent universe or an indifferent God.

And yet I think we must live our lives that way, as if there were no God or an indifferent one. We must create our own meaning, find our own truth, conquer our own internal torment. It’s okay to believe in God. And it’s okay not to. It’s okay to consider the possibility that we may never know the truth.

The only evil at play here is forcing others to believe what we believe, insisting we have the truth of the world inside our insignificant selves. For whether there is a God or not, we will not know the answer in this, our only lifetime on Earth.

book 1 in the Susquehanna Virus series

book 1 in the Susquehanna Virus series

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