That prevailing God thing
A recent article in By1 reminded me of Bishop John Shelby Spong’s comments on being a Christian in his book Jesus for the non religious.
Having qualified a labourious answer to the simple question “Are you a Christian”, Spong claims that he still believes in a reality – something named God – behind it all. He does not think that this “God” performs miracles and such naïve Dark Age nonsense, but “God” is still “there”.
It reminds me of a parable spoofing creationism often told by novelist Douglas Adams, quoted here as retold by Richard Dawkins in “Lament for Douglas”, May 14, 2001:
A man didn’t understand how televisions worked, and was convinced that there must be lots of little men inside the box, manipulating images at high speed. An engineer explained to him about high frequency modulations of the electromagnetic spectrum, about transmitters and receivers, about amplifiers and cathode ray tubes, about scan lines moving across and down a phosphorescent screen. The man listened to the engineer with careful attention, nodding his head at every step of the argument. At the end he pronounced himself satisfied. He really did now understand how televisions work. “But I expect there are just a few little men in there, aren’t there?”
Maybe just one little man? Huh? Must be! God. Time to bury this chimera. Really. A funeral long overdue.
1 De Villiers, Johannes. January 12, 2008. Liberale kanon. By, supplement to Die Burger. 12-13.