Pondering the existence of God… from the bottom of a big black bag.

My mother is an enthusiastic charity shopper.  One side-effect of this is that she has ALOT of clothes. Every now and again she has a good clear out and I am often the chosen recipient. Oh joy! Anyone whose mother has ever attempted to pass on clothes knows that this is not always a blessing.  (I have written about this before if you’d like to be reminded of the feelings induced by a gift of BIG pants https://sheilabridgeblog.com/2011/05/06/wrestling-with-socks-and-sundry-other-smallish-objects/  )

Anyway, last week she came up to stay and brought an ominously large black bag.  I worked my way down through the contents of blouses and skirts, murmuring appreciation whereever possible,  I reached the bottom of the bag only to encounter  a huge cardboard sign with the words

sign

This was both hilarious and extraordinarily odd given that my mother and the Almighty have been on close speaking terms ever since she was a wee girl singing ‘By Blue Galilee’ out of a CSSM chorus book in the Gospel Hall Sunday School in Dalry.

It turned out Mum had inadvertently recycled some signs written on cardboard to give the bottom of the bag a firmer base. She hadn’t noticed what was on the cardboard but it was in her hand-writing. There were in fact 4 large pieces of cardboard in all, each graced with a Bible verse.

‘Where is your God?’ Ps 42:3

‘You are my God’ Ps 31:14

‘Behold your God’ Is 40:9

These were obviously part of some talk given somewhere (on the subject of ‘God’ one assumes).  She had made these cards as a visual aid although why she had opted for only one phrase from Ps 14 and not the full quote (‘The fool says in his heart there is no God’), goodness (or God) only knows.

Anyway there it was lying at the bottom of  this deep black bag, not the usual place you’d expect to find existential statements.

And I thought ‘Well, that’s a bit of a let down, you could have told me earlier, I’ve somewhat redirected my whole life on the premise that God does, in fact, exist’.  Of course, I was laughing. Given the context and my mother’s increasing dottiness, it was just one of those funny moments.

But it did remind me of Pascal’s wager. Pascal was a 17th century philosopher and mathematician. He made the suggestion that it was worth believing in God because if you are right you have gained everything that goes with that belief ( a life lived hopefully in the knowledge of your creator, life after death etc) but if you are wrong you have lost nothing because there was never was anything to lose in the first place.  So he concluded you are better off believing.

Most statistical indicators would concur that people with religious belief tend to live longer and be more content, even though the signs paid for by atheists put up on London buses a few years ago urged us to ‘Stop Worrying… because there probably isn’t a God’ .  I never really understood their logic – the non-existence of God would ‘worry’ me far more than his existence does but maybe that’s because I don’t see him as some harsh, indifferent ‘meanie’ out to catch you out.

If I was shocked by my mother’s sign, how much more shocking would it be to get to the bottom of the big black bag that is your life and find a sign saying ‘There IS a God’.

Which of the two would be the greater shock?

I’m with Pascal on this one.

5 thoughts on “Pondering the existence of God… from the bottom of a big black bag.

Add yours

  1. Brilliant blog Sheila! It did make me chuckle as I encounter ‘the black bag’ from time to time!! Thought provoking message, thank you.

  2. Although a significant proportion of the UK residents claim to believe in God I’m not sure that the ones who claim to be Christian on the basis of nationality know who the Christian God is. The old myth of a judgemental old man still exists and I am quite happy to see that God dead.

  3. I’m genuinely interested in how you believe that a god exists. I believe there is much we don’t understand about existence but have always been dumfounded as to how people can believe in some omnipotent presence at all let alone assume that the specific body of text that they grew up reading and was written by a far less advanced society could possibly be the right one. I mean surely If there was some sort of “god” it would be more something all religions were all alluding too by stabbing in the dark? I personally believe that life is a beautiful thing and that we don’t understand a lot about the human brain and possibly our interconnectedness with the web of life. I think that many religious experiences can be attributed to the same intense feelings one can achieve through meditation. Happy to seriously read and consider a convincing counter argument though!

    1. Thanks for your comment. One of the best shorter defences of the Christian faith I’ve read recently is ‘Ten’ by John Pritchard published by SPCK. Or if you want something more weighty try David Bentley Hart’s Atheist Delusions or William Lane Craig Reasonable Faith. Also ‘God Actually’ is very readable, can’t remember author

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: