Do you believe in God?
I have never really understood this question, though it gets asked fairly frequently. There seem to be at least two questions wrapped up inside it, two interpretations. Do you have faith in God? And, do you affirm the existence of God?
I don’t propose to spend much time on the first interpretation. The second question, however, I find impossible to answer.
Here’s why. Limitations of any kind are not supposed to pertain to the God. A story I once heard told in the House of Lords a few years ago has stuck with me. The story goes that during the English colonial intervention in India, the chiefs of the Anglican Church met with representatives of the Hindu religion at an equivalent level and said, basically, we don’t want any trouble right? But we just can’t get our heads round one point about your religion, so need you to answer one simple question before we can guarantee that. Do you believe in one god or many?
The Hindus could not answer, because they said, we cannot limit god to singularity or multiplicity. The separation between them is part of illusion. To say god is one limits god, who can never be many. Similarly, to say god is many means he can never be one. Who are we to limit god to one side or the other of the one/many divide?
Similarly, it seems to me equally ridiculous to limit any god to just one side of the dichotomy between existence and oblivion, presence and lack, matter and void. Like Schrodinger’s cat, gods exist beyond such rationalist dichotomies.
I cannot affirm the existence of god, for to do so would limit god to a kind of prison.