I believe that everyone believes in god.
What does “god” mean? If in the simplest meaning, god is a power greater than one’s self, then there would be many forms, ideas, and understandings of “god.”
Since the beginning of man, all cultures have embraced some sort of belief system. It can be argued that today’s society, especially in urban areas, is experiencing a shift towards the idea of atheism or agnosticism.
Quantum theory, science, sociology, and of course, theology all believe in a greater power. Nothing can create something greater than itself. Just examine our galaxy. It’s beauty, delicacy, and intricacy that at one time was believed to be the only one in the universe.We now know that this is one of billions of galaxies in the universe. There is something far greater at work than chance.
People don’t all serve the same god, but they serve some god. I would argue that our pursuits are forms of gods. We currently live in a post-modern world and we as a society serve many gods. Many serve money, power, fame, recognition, sex, or self gratification.
Penn Jillette of the Penn and Teller act wrote an essay, “There is No God.” He doesn’t specifically discuss Christianity, but he implies the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Atheism is belief that there is no god. An agnostic claims a person cannot know whether there is a god: they sit on the fence. Those who subscribe to Penn’s school of thought fool themselves. He may not believe in a specific god, but in Penn’s case, he claims belief in love, family, and beauty. These were certainly considered gods by the ancient philosophers, who believed them to be more than simple emotions. Their attributes stand outside of their descriptive terms. Love and beauty operate outside of the self. Can love exist without another? Many believe that family, reproduction, is the human attempt at immortality: humans continue to live through their progeny.
Not everybody who says they believe really believes in the god they claim to serve. Christianity has splintered into over 2,000 different segments in the United States. The reason for this is that people didn’t agree with ‘that’ god. Their god “wouldn’t do this or that” they say. Some claim to be ‘spiritual’ instead of ‘religious.’ Religion has ‘restraints’ you see, and many don’t like the restraints of organized religions.
Most people today do not serve a god of a higher power who might be wiser than they. Nothing is so great as the self. The self is the god most of us serve. Too many of us who believe in god believe in our god. Our god always agrees with us and is really a projection of our own psyche. We try to be god without God, like Adam in the Genesis story.
Most of us believe in love, and many believe that God is love, as St. John tells Christians. Assuming what I say is true, then what god do you ‘worship? Even if one says that their god is a loving god, do they accept the full ramifications for this god? God’s love can be a consuming fire. Think of How a child who has erred trembles in shame in the face of a loving father.
There is really no philosophy that espouses true Nihilism. There is something more than self. The problem is that men have stopped looking for god. We got lost along with way. The early christian thinker, Augustine, says that the world is but a place and a time to acquire knowledge of the true God. The road through which we travel to find him is filled with many beautiful things which charm our hearts and turn our road to happiness into happiness itself, a happiness that he says is factitious. Penn himself says that these things are merely temporal. If god is something bigger, we should continue on the road less distracted by the self-gratifying things of this life toward something spiritual and eternal.