Wednesday, July 9, 2008

God, Calvin and Hobbes

God is a concept we all wrestle with. Does god exist? Who is he? Or is it a she? Or does god transcend such trivialities? I haven't taken much time in my life to think about god, and I'm not sure I believe (s)he exists, and I don't feel any less complete for it.

I don't unbelieve in god either, because saying I don't believe in god is claiming knowledge about the truth of god, of which I have none.

Yet; if I was forced to pick a stand, I would say lean more towards belief than not; and this has nothing to do with my knowlegde of the truth of god's existence and more to do with the comfort and satisfaction the belief provides. There are times when I believe in god more strongly than others, and in my darkest times, that belief helps me.

I apologise if I sound confusing, but it may be of a little help if I draw a parallel to an exceptional comic that the genius Bill Watterson used to draw a long time ago called Calvin and Hobbes. The times I believe in god, or come as close to doing so as I do, my character is closer to that of Calvin and I view god as a friend and maybe a voice in my head, but at that point, god is almost as real to me as Hobbes is to Calvin.

And then there are the times when I don't think about god at all, and at these times, my character would be close to that of Calvin's parents'. They never see Hobbes as alive, maybe only because they don't think about him as such; and he makes no difference to their lives. Yet; at their darkest times, they view Hobbes differently. Calvin's mom talks to Hobbes when she sits next to a dying raccoon Calvin found, and talks to Hobbes, even mentioning that she does so when in such situations.

When their house was burgled, Calvin rushes to find Hobbes who they had left behind and Calvin's dad he wished he had a stuffed tiger to comfort them.

The reality of Hobbes itself isn't settled. For example; Calvin had Hobbes tie him in knots that couldn't be untied even by his father who is immensely surprised by that fact. On the other hand, Hobbes is never animated when Calvin's parents are present, maybe because of not needing to be or Calvin's parents not believing in him.

Hobbes seems neither a figment of Calvin's active imagination, nor a tangible entity. And that reminds me of the focus of the piece: God and his existence. But maybe that's the beauty of it all; we never do know the truth about God. Maybe that's how it's supposed to be, we can go on with our life being either believing in god or not, and he appears that real to us.

If there is a benevolent god and I have lived a full life, I will be rewarded, regardless of whether I believe or not. If there isn't a god, I would have still lived a full life.

And that is how I will lead it. God (if real) would approve.