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A View From The Pew

Updated on November 17, 2009

I can believe in God without having to believe there is a God.

There are so many different Gods. The world supports so many different religions. While these Gods and religions claim to share the same goal, that is achieving harmony on earth, the people who speak for them exert so little effort to find common ground upon which they can all coexist. I include under the category of religions those belief systems that extol there is no God because they display many of the same characteristics as conventional religions. They have their own “bibles”, venerate their own “saints”, and learn in their own “temples” only they have given them different names. 

The most vocal proponents, and opponents, of all of these Gods and religions are often educated and dedicated. They sometimes have degrees, impressive resumes, and have earned other recognition for their expertise. They are sincere in their beliefs and devoted to their convictions. They have searched, learned, and arrived at conclusions based upon the sum total of their own studies and life experiences. Too many, it seems, have reached the conclusion that they now know everything they need to know about God and that there is little left to be learned from others. This applies to those who live in a world that does include a God as well. Perhaps I am overly judgmental to paint so many with the same broad stroke.  

 I don’t have any scholastic degrees. I believe that life is a university from which I will never graduate. I, too, search for the truth, and on my journey I have encountered three religious groups. “Believers” who believe there is a God. “Non believers” who believe there is no god. And in the middle, “Some Believers” who have slightly different beliefs in God then the “Believers” have. I have also observed that they will frequently argue that their viewpoint is correct and all the other viewpoints are incorrect. None of them have solid proof to support their beliefs and all, ultimately, rely on faith. Therefore, it seems odd to me that so few will admit that they may possibly be wrong. The more I learn, the more I realize how little I really know. Why, I wonder, is it so difficult for so many to say, "I don’t agree with you but I might be wrong?" 

I find myself quoting Joseph Campbell a lot lately because much of what he taught resonates with my thinking and where I am right now on my journey to the truth. He observed, “God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought.” His view of how God relates to reason makes it easy to imagine that humans may never be able to prove that God exists. This concept of God, therefore, encompasses everything that the human mind can not comprehend right now. Even faith-based believers and scientific evolutionist could find common ground here if they chose to.

Dr. Campbell also held the opinion, “Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble.” If a discovered principle is worthy of being added to my own ethics, does it matter if it is based upon facts or myths? If there is some value in the life and teachings attributed to Jesus, does it really matter if he was born on December 25th? Does it really matter if he was ever born at all? If the metaphors used by a religion are of value in my search for the truth, then I believe in the metaphors and don’t insist that they be proven facts. There is much to be learned about living from the Koran, and the Bible, and a Good Housekeeping magazine. When I find it, I use it. 

There are many, I am sure, who view God in other ways and will be anxious to point out that they have learned differently. I welcome their opinions and conclusions below. I encourage every one to share what they have learned with the rest of us. To those who feel compelled to tell others how they should believe, I ask that they please refrain from doing so. As a wise old sage once wrote: "Do not tell me what I should think. Rather, tell me what you think and I will decide for myself what I should think."

I am happy that our paths have crossed as we journey in search of knowledge and truth. I can understand God as a symbol, a figure of speech, that encompasses all the things in life that our reason and intellect can not yet explain. And in this form it matters not if you or I can prove God does or does not exists. I can believe in God without having to believe there is a God.



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    • profile image

      Lisa Orabi 

      14 months ago

      Well done. I've seen where traditional religious teachings have a secondary effect. Imparing ones vision by instilling fear that if you are too open minded you could be lured away from the safety of ones religion. Only within organized religion is seeking trueth and enlightenment viewed as a threat to its followers conviction. I find that to be an eye opening observation. When a religion encourages you not to think for yourself , that's not healthy.

    • Quilligrapher profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from New York

      Nice to hear from you again, Reverend. It was my hope that the closing paragraph would explained my opening statement, “I can believe in God without having to believe there is a God.” Allow me to put it into another context.

      I think the path to understanding how others perceive God begins by accepting that God is not a “one size fits all” concept. Being overly committed to one set of tenets can be a barrier to learning how the mind processes data and reaches conclusions.

      Faith and devotion to a God can encourage good deeds that foster love and charity on earth. The traits and wisdom attributed to Jesus and others can make the world a better place in which to live. I recognize such characteristics as positive lessons to be applied in my own life. I believe the propensity for good is a real and undeniable benefit to society whether or not God exists.

      I can accept as a possibility that God may be a metaphor, a figure of speech, the personification of the infinite goodness, and godliness, found in man’s nature. A conceptualization of all the things in life that our reason and intellect can not yet explain.

    • preacherdon profile image


      7 years ago from Arkansas

      Q, I will admit, you have me confused with your statement, "I can believe in God without believing there is a God." I have found that God must be personal for everybody. I believe there is a reason why God cannot be proven scientifically. Before the fall recorded in Genesis 3, the existence of God was assumed. He walked and talked with them. After the fall, each person had to decide in their own heart whether or not they would believe in and serve Him. God gave evidence in creation of His existence but most people explain Him away. They say things came to be as they are by chance. Though that probability is more astronomical than the probablility that there is a God, people still choose not to believe. You know what...He lets them. God doesn't force Himself upon anyone. As I wrote in my first book, Reflections of the Soul, the ability to choose is how we are must like God. Be blessed.

    • Quilligrapher profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from New York

      Thank you, Jerami, for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate your kind words.

      If my concept of God encompasses all things that the intellect can not comprehend then, by definition, the intellect can not prove that God exists. Since logic can not prove a negative, neither can it prove that God does not exist. Therefore, proving the existence of God becomes a moot point.

      Thanks again for your support.


    • Jerami profile image


      9 years ago from Houston tx

      Knowing there is a God without proving it is kinda like knowing your wife loves you. Ya shouldn't be trying to make her prove it. That stratedgy will backfire some kind of way. "Just knowing it" feels right.. Good hub thanks

    • Quilligrapher profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from New York

      Thank you, Zo, for stopping here and leaving a comment. I appreciate your compliment. I hope you can always follow your bliss.


    • ZoEllyn profile image


      9 years ago from Chicago

      Joseph Campbell is who i look to for my own growth!

      This was a GREAT read!

    • Quilligrapher profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from New York

      Hey there, Sandi. Thanks for stopping in here. It is indeed comforting to know that while I may be in the dark, I am not alone.

    • profile image

      Sandi 3m 

      9 years ago

      I too share this opinion, enjoyed reading.

    • Quilligrapher profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from New York

      Thank you, Pacal, for the read and for your comment. I am pleased that you have reach a similar conclusion.


    • profile image

      Pacal Votan 

      9 years ago

      This is such a good point. I choose to believe in God and do not strive to prove to myself he exists.


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