A Case for God (forthcoming)
What do people, true, full-blooded human beings want to talk about? They want to talk about God and politics. These two topics have become inflammatory, hence they have been expunged from polite conversation; they have become untouchable; they have become taboo topics.
Do you see the absurdity of it? People have been muzzled. They have been muzzled against their nature, against a part of their nature: the tongue.
No time is better to make this contradiction evident than during the Thanksgiving Feast in the United States. It is like performing Hamlet—without Hamlet.
Before entering into the substance of the arguments, let us become sensitive to the dynamics of this condition. Who are the muzzlers? The great intellectuals of the age, of course. And who are, the muzzled? The people. Where is the irony of this condition? Clearly, while the intellectuals talk—or do not talk—about God and politics, the people practice politics in the presence of their God in their lives.
In this work we shall find that it does not need to be this way at all. The two topics can be “domesticated” and become integral parts of the Thanksgiving Feast again. Above all, the aspiration of this work is to open up channels of communication whereby the people and the experts live in concord with one another, respecting each others strengths and weaknesses.
The hope for this transformation is based on my fifty years of thought, publications, and actions, mostly in economics, but also in mathematics, physics, ontology, theology, and morality.
What is the interconnection among these various disciplines? They are many and profound. To put it a bit awkwardly, while in words and even “the” words of God are in various mental disciplines, God’s practice—God’s life, the Living God—is in politics, economics, and culture. Briefly put, God is the great creator of Community. The Bible is a great Creator of our Western Civilization. Without God, it is hardly conceivable that we might have had Simone Martini, Michelangelo, and Bach.
But more, much more. Why? Why do I include politics, economics, and culture into the areas in which I find a “case” for God? Most of my Catholic friends recoil at such a notion; and I have yet to find a Carmelite monk who can get out of his prayer habit and be with me in the agora, the public square, and see God there. Well, let me count the ways why I search for God there.
First, dear Reader, you have to know that I am an “immanentist,” a person who finds God in this world. Worse than that, I am an immanentist à outrance, to an extreme. In one of my writings, I have upped the ante of the famous Pascal wager. Pascal, the great French writer, said something like this. I am a Catholic because I make this wager: I might be fifty percent right that God exists. But look at the consequence of being fifty percent wrong, what if God does exist? What is He expected to do with me? The thought is too frightening; I am a convinced, rational Catholic.
Well, I have upped the ante of this wager. I have said to myself, What happens if I am wrong and God does NOT exist? My answer is rather brutal. Crudely put, my answer is this. Does the tree falling in the forest make a sound? “So what?” If I am dead and God does not exist, that is just like the story of the sound of the tree falling in the forest; I will certainly not care because with God not existing I will have dissolved into the Sweet Nothing.
There seems to be such a mystery in the assumption that Nothing exists—such a contradiction in terms. But forget logic.
By the way, I have lately pinpointed a few reasons for my aversion to the belief in reincarnation. There seems to be an escapist streak in the assumption that there is such a thing as reincarnation. I do not believe in it because of a bunch of conclusions I have recently reached. Those who believe in reincarnation seem to believe in it as an escape clause: So they can believe they will not be held accountable in the afterlife, but actually that they will be given another chance—no matter how demeaning the chance. And this is not even enough for me. To believe in reincarnation is to deny the indestructibility of souls. To believe in reincarnation, ultimately, is to believe that God gets tired of creating individual souls, and uses the short-cut of recreating us anew out of the same mold, but in different shapes.
But back to God in this life. I fully accept the belief that God is present in this life for a very selfish reason. Oh, my life is clearly richer than if I did not believe in God. Either God comes with his whole Court, or we have created his Court of the Madonna, angels, archangels, and saints, and souls. It is immaterial to me. My life is rich today. And I am never alone.
Then, let me give you the pure theological reason why I search for God in politics, economics, and culture. Did not Jesus say, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them”? He most certainly did. And I can feel it. Not all the time, but many times. And even if I had felt it to be true only once, that would be sufficient evidence for me. It would be worth all the gold of the ages.
And then I have a final (?) intellectual and most selfish reason for my search for God in politics, economics, and culture. Well, here, too, the most important reason for me is that I have found it to be true. That is the fun of my life. There is where I have found my most exciting fun.
My father used to tell me of Scarpetta, a famous Neapolitan comedian, who, at the entrance of his villa at Posillipo, overlooking Capri, posted this writing; “Qui rido io” (Here, I laugh). At the entrance of my studio, I have many masks. In fond remembrance of my father, I say sotto voce: “Here I laugh.” You feminists do not worry. In worshipful remembrance of my mother, I add “And here I pray.”
Oh, one more reason. Forget God. Forget the Devil and all his accoutrement! What is more exciting in life than finding Concord among people? You secularists à outrance, I entitle you to strike the name of God from this text and substitute it with Concord. We shall meet on this playground.
Having gone to bed at around 1:00 am and woken up at around 5:00 am this fine Thanksgiving Day, I am reminded of Paolo Uccello, whom friends undoubtedly made fun of because he was known for abandoning the conjugal bed, getting to work on his paintings, and exclaiming "Quant’e’ bella ché' la prospettiva" (What a beautiful thing is perspective). I might be remembered for saying “What a beautiful thing is Concordia.”
My hope is not to give you a new, smashing proof of God. My hope is much more simple than that. My hope is that you will see God, that you will experience the presence of God in your life. It will be up to you. If you do not want to have such an experience, you will not find God. And if you find God, you may want to offer us your conception of God.
Here we go. Fasten your seat-belts.
God. God can be found across space and across time. That is in itself a very impressive case for God. I find God in numerous other venues.
I find God in mathematics by transforming the linear relation between Zero, One and Infinity into the following equivalence: Zero ↔ One ↔ Infinity.
I find God in physics by retransforming the incomplete equivalence of matter to energy into the following full-fledged equivalence: Matter ↔ Energy ↔ Spirit.
I find God in ontology by neglecting the red herring called “essence” and transforming the following three disparate traditional entities into the following equivalence: Being ↔ Becoming ↔ Existence.
I find God in theology by consistently remaining within the framework of the following traditional, complete equivalence: Father ↔ Holy Spirit ↔ Son.
My concern is not stale scholarship. Eventually, I avowedly want to incorporate God into a New Humanism heralded by the following equivalence: Creator/Creatrix (Evolution?) ↔ Love (a virtue) ↔ Creature. This is a Humanism in which the presence of God might no longer be a subject for disputation but established as a simple fact in a full human life.
Briefly put, if you do not believe in a creator, you must believe in billions and billions of miracles. Tertium non datum. There is no other alternative. Trouble is, as a hard-nosed scientist, you cannot believe in miracles. You are allowed to believe only in hypotheses that can be falsified and events that can be duplicated.
At present, I shall be satisfied with incorporating three essential, practical items in a search for true humanism: A search for Concord in politics, economics, and higher education. For a great variety of reasons, this search is greatly simplified if the presence of God is taken for granted. Even people who do not believe in God might find the search for Concord in these three crucial areas of our existence most welcome.
Thus I hope to move from the “deconstruction” of God so evident in the current Humanism to the “reconstruction” of the living and vital presence of God in our lives.
I have advisedly said that God can be found across space and across time. There are people who do not want to find God. They will not find him.
They too should—and will—help in the search for Humanism filled with true human beings.