Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could evolve purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. The argument goes something like this:
“I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.”
“But,” says Man, “the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED.”
“Oh dear,” says God, “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
“Oh, that was easy,” says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white, and gets killed on the next zebra crossing.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
The deficiency of this argument’s logical content aside (which is, as noted by leading theologians, a load of dingos kidneys), it does neatly illustrate the commonly understood meaning of faith, i.e. a belief not based on proof. Such a definition would make the idea of a Year of Faith a perplexing one. What are we to do, believe six impossible things each morning and round it off with breakfast at Milliways? To avoid such silly equivocations, let me briefly define my terms.
Belief is that which we hold to be true.
Faith is our active response to belief.
With proper definitions the Year of Faith becomes much more comprehensible. It’s a year dedicated to the practical, active response of faith provoked by the beliefs we profess in the Creed.
Hmm. I started out with Hitchhikers and ended up with the Creed. That’s a pretty good summary of my life, actually.
I think belief is hard for geeks. Not from any innate hostility to belief in God, but from the sheer distractions of our environment. Geeks have deeply seated creative needs. Our lives are so full of stuff, of our subcreations and projects and beauties and obsessions and sparkly technological toys… It’s painfully easy to be distracted from belief. It’s usually (not always) available when wanted, forgotten about the rest of the time, and the demands of faith places upon us either fall by the wayside, or are deliberately pushed away.
And that’s what the first line of the creed does to me. “I believe in one God.” It’s a splash of water in the face, it reminds me of what exactly I do hold to be true and why out of the bewildering mishmash of fascinations and speculations I encounter every minute of my day.
And it demands a response, the difficulty of which is only eased by its personal nature. The oneness of God that I profess describes the inner relationship of God, but also the relationship God calls me to enter into with Him. The oneness of God transforms the active response of my faith with the spontaneity of love.
What are your thoughts? What else can we learn from “I believe”?
GeekLady is, in addition to both a geek and a lady, a wife, a mother, a scientist, a maker of many things, a cook, a procrastinator, a writer, and a Catholic. She’s a little bit shy and prefers to blog from behind a handle, although it’s not exactly hard to figure out who she is. The writing that survives her brutal self editing is posted, sporadically, at On the Care and Feeding of Geeks.
Read all the entries in the Blog Series: Credo: Professing the Creed for the Year of Faith.