After going to a Catholic school, and singing songs lyrics like "We believe in God the Father, we believe in God the
Son, we believe in God the Spirit, God is three, and God is one" every so often, it is kind of strange getting to uni where
God is an anachronism that is only spoken of in the deepest tones of irony. It's like everyone sees themselves as TOO RATIONAL
to behave in a ridiculous way en masse
. (actually- I lie- it was uncool to be religious at my Catholic school- but
we still all took it for granted as part of our lives)
The only people who loudly talk about 'God' speak quite patronisingly to me: a woman spruiking for Hillsong outside the library,
saying 'would I like to hear about Jesus'. Others smile distantly when they hear of my Catholicism, and ask if I've heard
much about Christianity. Evangelical Union posters outside my philosophy lecture advertise "The religion God loves".
And the conservative Catholics walk around in t-shirts saying "I believe, I belong", which has the immediate implication that
those who do not share their beliefs automatically do NOT belong.
It's hard to know how to deal with the situation: suddenly the campus is polarised on the issue of 'belief'. And the people
who 'know the Lord' all walk around with a strange look in their eyes. It's like the issue of belief has constructed a wall
between them and the rest of the students.
They are kind of begging the question- "God DOES exist" or God DOES care", just like an obsessed person who keeps saying "Everything
will be alright" - you soon start thinking perhaps it won't, because the issue is framed to imply these as the two possibilities...or
likewise, how in Six Degrees of Separation, Ouisa says "Whatever you do, don't think about elephants"..."but all I
can think of is elephants, elephants"...I end up saying "Up until now, I took the concept of God for granted- as a presence
that exists... but now you keep harping on about it, I'm not so sure whether we're talking about the same thing".
You kind of end up going either of two ways: rejecting your entire Catholic existence, your culture and your family's strange
ways, (since they cannot seem to be reconciled) and embracing consumer culture (or a counter-consumer subculture) ...OR becoming
quite enraptured by the Faith, and deciding to abide by it in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health loving it and
honouring it all the days of your life.
But I actually think that everyone is missing the point. Does it matter whether people believe in a "God" or not? What if
people have another name for the same thing (the main difference is the doctrine of the trinity and the 'word made flesh')...What
does it matter whether people call the 'divine' God, or Allah, or Gaia, or whatever?
Just as there is no real evidence to prove the existence of God, there is also no evidence to disprove it. Those people wanting
certainty on either side are left in mid-air.
I think that understanding the concept of "God" is like understanding a paradox: completion and incompletion at the same time:
God is the asymptote that the line y=1/x moves towards; God is the wholeness that we all aspire towards; God is the way that
our body system keeps a balance- homeostasis; God is the justice that an oppressed people dreams of; etc.
Everyone should think long and hard about what they think God is - why does it have to be only those who take on entire systems
of belief who think about it? It's not just something that some morally righteous people claim as their own; Its not just
something that world leaders invoke on the brink of war; it is a dream that has many names, in many cultures. God is Biami,
the Creator Spirit... and could even also be Mother Earth.