Posted by: Andrew G | December 16, 2009

Mrs. Premises, or Misses Premises

Thinly veiled and slightly grasping reference to Monty Python.

I find a lot of humour in the efforts people go through to justify the circumstantial, prove the unknowable, and argue the unobservable. There is an awful lot of huffing and puffing going on about being right.

I don’t want to be a part of that. I have my own worldview, and I will occasionally spew away with it, but the main purpose behind this blog is to get people to entertain the idea that they have to have their own personal relationship with the unknowable or uncontrolled. And this is why I am so personally drawn to the phrase, “My God”.

I do not believe in a supernatural, overwhelming deity. I do not believe in worship, other than maybe the participation in wonder at the amazing things of the world and of life. I do not believe that any one of us can ‘know’ a god.

Here’s why:

I was born into a loving family, the son of a United Church of Canada minister and a deaconess. Both my mom and my dad have worn many hats inside and outside church communities. I watched them both struggle with faith throughout their lives. My older brother and I participated in Sunday School and church activities as children, but as we got older we both drifted away from such things. My brother went to school and got married. As children arrived, he started to take an interest in the church once again. I haven’t pressed him much about his return, but when it has come up, things have often been explained in terms of “community” and “good influence on their upbringing”.

These things are about lifestyle and behaviour, not spiritual callings or worship.

I have not returned to church much myself, besides the occasions when I want to be respectful to my parents or I am curious about some community. For the most part, I have not had any real “personal spiritual experiences” in any church. And, I have not had any such experiences while reading or listening or thinking about any holy book.

After school I went to university. I was drawn to philosophy and logic and literature. Not terribly funny topics, but once in a while something ridiculous would shine through. But I did notice a kind of trend when it came to the philosophical arguments. A writer would start with premises, something the writer believed was inherently true or inherently simple enough to start with. Or at the very least, the writer would try to define a few terms to his purposes. From that beginning would spring the foundation for the writer’s efforts at a coherent and complete argument.

It wouldn’t always be coherent. And rarely would it be complete. Smart dudes, but still human.

Now the critics would come in. And almost always some critic would latch onto some ‘inherent’ flaw in the initial premises or definitions the writer used.

So, I understand that I will fall into a similar trap here, but here goes:

When I use the phrase, “My God”, I mean a couple of things.
1. I am referring to that which I cannot know, cannot control, and can only pretend to understand. It does not have to be a conscious being, but it is certainly something beyond me.
2. I am at the same time referring to a set of principles I hold to guide my behaviour in order to make my life, my community and my world come together in peace and harmony.

This is kind of heavy stuff. I really, really do want to get to the more fun stuff, but the heavy stuff is important too. Man, I sound like a hippie or something. Maybe I better go shave.

Friday I will try to get to the role of belief and the role of reason.
And maybe something more fun, too…

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Responses

  1. […] starting points of each side. Hence the problem with argument and debate that I have mentioned earlier. But it does put a few important ideas into perspective. Absolutes, for one thing, can be extremely […]

  2. […] believe in God because it has become a meaningless statement for me.  Earlier in my blog I made an attempt to write about the word God. I’m surprised, in some respects, at how my mind has changed a little, in its flittery, […]

  3. […] believe in God because it has become a meaningless statement for me.  Earlier in my blog I made an attempt to write about the word God. I’m surprised, in some respects, at how my mind has changed a little, in its flittery, […]


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