Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Interesting Idea... Still Full of Crap

My mother is one of my readers here. I'm not sure how many others are reading (I know there's a couple of you out there though) but this is an interesting letter she forwarded to me. It's a story that claims to prove the existence of God even with so much pain and suffering in the world. It goes like this:

A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects.
When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: 'I don't believe that God exists..'

'Why do you say that?' asked the customer.

'Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain! I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things.'

The customer thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument. The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop.

Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt. The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber 'You know what? Barbers do not exist.'

'How can you say that?' asked the surprised barber. 'I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!'

'No!' the customer exclaimed. 'Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside!'

'Ah, but barbers DO exist! That's what happens when people do not come to me.'

'Exactly!' affirmed the customer. 'That's the point! God, too, DOES exist! That's what happens when people do not go to Him and don't look to Him for help. That's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world.'

Here's what I wrote back:

Cute, mom. Although the logic suffers. It's similar to what's called casual correlation. In Latin the phrase is "Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc" which translates as "after this, therefore because of this."

It's the belief that since Event B occurred after Event A occurred, Event B must have happened BECAUSE of Event A. The man's long hair and beard doesn't mean he didn't go to a barber. It means his hair grew naturally without interference from outside influences. It is conceivable that he went to a barber and was refused treatment. Perhaps he didn't smell right, look right, didn't have enough money, whatever. There are plenty of possibilities.

This is where words and logic fail to describe concepts like God and Love.

It's a beautiful notion that all one has to do is go to a Barber and ask for a haircut... and that just by asking they will receive one. But realistically, that doesn't work. Of course, the barber's original statement about God not existing was fallacious too. His concept of God did not fit into the reality he lives in and therefore "disproved" the existence of God. The only thing he disproved, however, was his idea of God. Proving or disproving a metaphysical concept based on physical results is something only we humans do. But it helps us sleep at night. :)

Regardless... *I* Love you and always will. :)

And I do love you, Mom. Proud to say it to the world, too. :)

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