Tuesday, August 15, 2023

I don't believe in God, but I respect your belief in God!

 *Kuir ë Garang

Photo: Wikipedia 

I don't believe in God. This is personal. Whether or not God exists is immaterial to me. I can doubt her/his existence; but I cannot prove her/his non-existence in absolute terms. 

So I have no problem with people declaring, 'God exists!' unless they want to convince me beyond what I believe is an innocuous declarative.

 Belief is, however, different.  A belief in a supreme being is a contradiction to ME. If God created me then s/he would be too satisfied, too noble, too powerful a BEING to care whether or not I believe in her/him.

 But I respect other's belief in God. God makes sense to them in a way s/he does not to me. So I don't dismiss other's belief. Dismissing someone else's belief in God is like assuming I know what it feels like to be them. That's a stupid state of mind.

 Thus, an important corollary is this: I believe in the goodness of good people who believe in God. There are people who do good things because of their belief in God. These are the people who make me accept that a belief in God is good for society.

 Those of us who were sponsored or fed by religious groups would attest to this. Image someone living the comfort of her/his home in London, Edinburgh or Seattle to go and suffer in the scorching heat and aridness of Northern Kenya, or the merciless floods of South Sudan. Faith!

 It is Voltaire who once argued that 'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.' So, I say, I don't share in your belief in God, but I will defend to death your right to your belief!

This is the kind of society in which I want to live. A society in which people respect what others believe or value - as long as it is not socially harmful to others, even when they don't share in its truth or facticity. 

 ____________________________

* Kuir ë Garang is the editor of TPR. 

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