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.


Elite Enigma said...

Sensible... though IMHO we are very far away from assigning even a few universally acceptable characteristics of that concept so fundamental to human society..

Avi C said...

I'm not sure I understood exactly what you're trying to say.

Could you please make yourself a bit clearer?

Elite Enigma said...

to be sure... either 'god' means different things to different people or is the same from any perspective. In the first case I can quite accept and I believe, appreciate your statements. However, in the second, I wish to point out that before we can comment on the 'existence' of god... we need to make sure that an implementation of this concept can 'exist'.. and as to that ,we are quite far away from describing that concept even in abstraction..

Sudharsha said...

Calvin: You know what I've noticed, Hobbes? Things don't bug you if you don't think about them. So from now on, I simply won't think about anything that confuses me too much, and I'll be happy all the time!

Hobbes: Don't you think that's a pretty silly and irresponsible way to live?

Calvin looks at the sky and says: What a pretty afternoon..

atul said...

hmm. i kinda agree with all you have to say. nice way of drawing parallels between the existence of god and calvin-n-hobbes.

this needs a little more thinking.

geniusatwork said...

hey..u do talk sensible at times. good one......

Avi C said...

It would be awesome if you identify yourself when you comment

Ritika Dusad said...

innocnece, purity, beauty and honesty!

Kat said...

I would say that this is my approach to spiritual beliefs as well.