Yesterday morning I sat down to write a blog entry about why I liked first grade, which was something I mentioned in another recent entry. But I decided that before I did that, I'd check a few of my favorite blogs--and I got sucked into a conversation that made my original blog plans go away.
One of my very favorite Mormon-themed blogs is Main Street Plaza. There's always something interesting going on there.
Right now, for instance, there's a conversation about "god," begun when profxm posted an email he sent to his devout Mormon sister-in-law when she asked him for help with arguments for why God doesn't exist, since she had to provide some for a school assignment and couldn't think of any. (Seriously. She couldn't think of ANY. Talk about a failure of the imagination.)
The arguments profxm offers are great--if you're talking about a quasi-anthropomorphic god with volition and shit. They aren't so great if you're talking about the concept of god that interests me most--one alluded to in this post discussing Karen Armstrong's work, for instance.
I've posted a bunch of comments but a few have been profoundly misunderstood--I was accused of believing in the god of the deists, first of all, when I absolutely don't--actually, I've been accused of "believing" in "god" even though I keep saying I DON'T. I write,
As I said, the “god” I am interested in (I won’t even say I “believe” in it, because I don’t know if I do) doesn’t create anything.
and someone responds
You believe in an undefinable, unknownable, un-understandable (is that a word?) force that influences something (it must influence something, else why call it a force?).
No. I don't "believe" in it, which is why I said I didn't.
Mostly the conversation underscores for me how thoughtless we are about vocabulary. We don't interrogate or reconsider terms. I keep saying I don't "believe" in "god" and I DON'T believe in "god" in the way that I believe on faith a great many things I can't know firsthand (since I don't have the background or means to conduct experiments and observations myself): that black holes exist, that the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second, that birds are the descendants of dinosaurs, or that Bush & Cheney lied about the rationale for going to war in Iraq.
But I'm interested in "god." I don't believe Elizabeth Bennet was a "real person" but I'm interested in her because she has become a real force; she is a real fiction with a real presence in the real world. I have found something beneficial in talking about her effects on the world and on myself. I'm interested in the process by which she was created. I'm interested in what we learn about ourselves when we take her seriously.
Anyway. If you are interested in "god" please read the conversation and tell me what you think, either here or there.