GOD, existence of
It is possible for a person to contend that a poem is nothing but black marks on white
paper. And such an argument might be convincing before an audience that could not read.
You can examine the print under a microscope or analyze the paper and ink but you will
never find something behind this sort of analysis that you could call "a poem."
Those who can read, however, will continue to insist that poems exist.
Bruce Shelly, Christian Theology in Plain Language, p. 38.
My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I
got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some
idea of a straight line . . . Thus, in the very act of trying to prove that God did not
exist--in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless--I found I was forced to
assume that one part of reality--namely my idea of justice--was full of sense.
Bruce Shelly, Christian Theology in Plain Language, p. 95.
Near the end of his life, Jean-Paul Sartre told Pierre Victor: "I do not feel that
I am the product of chance, a speck of dust in the universe, but someone who was expected,
prepared, prefigured. In short, a being whom only a Creator could put here; and this idea
of a creating hand refers to God."
Protested fellow philosopher and long-time
companion Simone de Beauvoir: "How should one explain the senile act of a
HIS Magazine, April, 1983.
Have you not heard of the madman who lit a lamp in the bright morning and went to the
marketplace crying ceaselessly, "I seek God! I seek God!" There were many among
those standing there who didn't believe in God so he made them laugh. "Is God
lost?" one of them said. "Has he gone astray like a child?" said another.
"Or is he hiding? Has he gone on board ship and emigrated?" So they laughed and
shouted to one another. The man sprang into their midst and looked daggers at them.
"Where is God?" he cried. "I will tell you. We have killed him--you and I
We are all his killers! But how have we done this? How could we swallow up the sea? Who
gave us the sponge to wipe away the horizon? What will we do as the earth is set loose
from its sun?" Friedrich Nietzsche, 1889
Nietzsche's point was not that God does not exist, but that God has become irrelevant.
Men and women may assert that God exists or that He does not, but it makes little
difference either way. God is dead not because He doesn't exist, but because we live,
play, procreate, govern, and die as though He doesn't.
C. Colson, Kingdoms in Conflict, p. 181.
Imagine a family of mice who lived all their lives in a large piano. To them in their
piano-world came the music of the instrument, filling all the dark spaces with sound and
harmony. At first the mice were impressed by it. They drew comfort and wonder from the
thought that there was Someone who made the music--though invisible to them--above, yet
close to them. They loved to think of the Great Player whom they could not see.
day a daring mouse climbed up part of the piano and returned very thoughtful. He had found
out how the music was made. Wires were the secret; tightly stretched wires of graduated
lengths which trembled and vibrated. They must revise all their old beliefs: none but the
most conservative could any longer believe in the Unseen Player. Later, another explorer
carried the explanation further. Hammers were now the secret, numbers of hammers dancing
and leaping on the wires. This was a more complicated theory, but it all went to show that
they lived in a purely mechanical and mathematical world. The Unseen Player came to be
thought of as a myth. But the pianist continued to play.
Reprinted from the LONDON OBSERVER
What science cannot tell us, mankind cannot know.
All utterances about the nature of God are nonsensical.
The world is a kind of spiritual kindergarten where bewildered infants are trying to
spell God with the wrong blocks.
G.K. Chesterton once said that it is often supposed that when people stop believing in
God, they believe in nothing. Alas, it is worse than that. When they stop believing in
God, they believe in anything.
Malcolm Muggeridge, Christian Medical Society
Journal, Winter 78.
Almost 50 years ago Elie Wiesel was a fifteen-year old prisoner in the Nazi death camp
at Buna. A cache of arms belonging to a Dutchman had been discovered at the camp. The man
was promptly shipped to Auschwitz. But he had a young servant boy, a pipel as they were
called, a child with a refined and beautiful face, unheard of in the camps. He had the
face of a sad angel. The little servant, like his Dutch master, was cruelly tortured, but
would not reveal any information. So the SS sentenced the child to death, along with two
other prisoners who had been discovered with arms.
Wiesel tells the story: One day when we came back from work, we saw three gallows
rearing up in the assembly place, three black crows. Roll call. SS all around us; machine
guns trained: the traditional ceremony. Three victims in chains--and one of them, the
little servant, the sad-eyed angel. The SS seemed more preoccupied, more disturbed than
usual. To hang a young boy in front of thousands of spectators was no light matter. The
head of the camp read the verdict. All eyes were on the child. He was lividly pale, almost
calm, biting his lips. The gallows threw its shadow over him. This time the Lagercapo
refused to act as executioner. Three SS replaced him. The three victims mounted together
onto the chairs. The three necks were placed at the same moment within the nooses.
"Long live liberty!" cried the two adults. But the child was silent.
"Where is God? Where is He?" someone behind me asked. Total silence
throughout the camp. On the horizon, the sun was setting. "Bare your heads!"
yelled the head of the camp. His voice was raucous. We were weeping. "Cover your
heads!" Then the march past began. The two adults were no longer alive. Their tongues
hung swollen, blue-tinged. but the third rope was still moving; being so light, the child
was still alive...For more than half an hour he stayed there, struggling between life and
death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. He was
still alive when I passed in front of him. His tongue was still red, his eyes were not yet
glazed. Behind me, I heard the same man asking: "Where is God now?" And I heard
a voice within me answer him: "Where is He? Here He is--He is hanging here on this
gallows.." That night the soup tasted corpses.
Elie Wiesel, Night, Bantam, 1982, p. 75-6, quoted in W.
Aldrich, Multnomah, When God Was Taken Captive, 1989, p. 39-41.