A Need To Believe

Apropos the ongoing ID discussion, John Derbyshire has an interesting post:

Horrors like the S. Asian tsunami have very little to do with free will, of course, and much more to do with the great cold indifference of the universe. Very hard to square with an involved Deity. I can’t do it myself, yet I am constitutionally unable to NOT believe in that Deity. I think I’ll go lie down for a while.

Just as he is unable to NOT believe in it, I am similarly unable to believe. I wasn’t very old before I realized that the God thing just didn’t make much sense to me (but on the other hand, making sense is beside the point, isn’t it?). I just don’t get it. I feel (which to say, using a different meaning of the word, “sense”) no presence of a deity in the universe, though I find that universe awesome, whether gazing at distant images through a telescope, or viewing a plain from atop a mountain, or contemplating the peace of a grove of redwoods.

But from talking to people who do believe, it’s clear to me that their belief, and sense of a God’s presence, is very real, and I think that it foolish and presumptious to deny it for them. They have their reality, and I mine. And of course, my inability to believe troubles me not at all. I not only have no sense of God, I also have no sense of a need for one.

I think that there is a spectrum of levels of belief (just as there’s one for degrees of homosexuality). At one end are the clear unbelievers (such as me), and at the other end are the clear believers, and there are many in the middle whose belief is affected mostly by life circumstances.

Logic would dictate, of course, that we aren’t all correct–either there’s a God or there isn’t, but then, logic only applies if one’s belief system thinks that a requirement. Which is why it’s impossible to prove something to someone whose means of attaining knowledge isn’t logic driven, and who uses a different set of axioms.

It’s entirely plausible to me that for those who feel His presence, God is as real as anything else in this existence. But not for me. And because of this, while what happened in south Asia this past week is unspeakably tragic, it disrupts my worldview not at all. I have nothing with which it must be reconciled.