A Thought Experiment
Scott Adams, (Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2001), 137 pagesScott Adams is the creator of cartoon character Dilbert. But this is not a work of humor, though it is a work of fiction. As Mr. Adams has not claimed ownership of the ideas expressed in this story, but rather attributes them to the main character, a Mr. Avatar, the reviewer has chosen to address his remarks to Mr. Avatar. Mr. Adams is, of course free to respond in Mr. Avatar’s behalf should he choose to do so.
Dear Mr. Avatar
I am sending this open letter to you by way of Mr. Scott Adams since I do not have your email address. The fact is that I doubt if you even have one. I am writing in response to your conversation with him as it is recorded in a small book of his titled God’s Debris: A Thought Experiment, published in 2004 by Andrews McMeel Publishing of Kansas City.
I find your concept of God as an expression of probability interesting but improbable. It may be that that I am just looking for something a bit more, or a lot more, comprehensive than probability.
However, I do not buy into the theology that God is a person, either. It rather seems to me that what the human race has done is created a God in its own image, like us only bigger. We have made of God a Being with a capital B but none-the-less, a being. This is fraught with all kinds of difficulties, many arising out of our efforts to describe this Being. (1) One problem is that no description can adequately encompass the whole of God. When we try to describe God we inevitably engage in reductionism, describing something less than God. (2) Whose description are we going to buy into? Our efforts to describe God generally bring us into conflict with each other. We are pitting God against God as it were. (3) Our descriptions are typically, and perhaps necessarily, anthropomorphic since those are the only applicable words we have to describe an entity whom we have chosen to categorize as a person.
Oddly enough, the way of thinking about God that has been most satisfying to me has been in terms of Being, not a Being, but Being itself. As Being God finds expression in all of Creation, including the microscopic and the macroscopic, every atom and every galaxy, and in you and me. As I gather from your discussion with Mr. Adams, you, too, believe that we are God stuff. The irony is that perhaps the use of anthropomorphic language to speak of God may be acceptable, but only if we mean it quite literally and apply it to the whole of creation. As part of the whole, a rock really does reveal God, as does a flower and a briar. You and I also reveal God, though I admit that in some instances our revealing of God is not particularly flattering to God.
At one point early on in the quasi pre-history of the Jewish nation, God is thought to have said essentially what I have said above. God is quoted as saying out of a burning bush that he is “I am Who I am.” The only sense I can make of that is that “God is what is”—Being.
As I indicated in my first sentence, this is an open letter and thus was published in the online journal, En Christo: A Journal for a New Christianity. Any response you wish to make to these observations will likewise be published, unless you indicate that it should be treated confidentially.
Thank you for provoking me to write. Give my regards to Mr. Adams
Jim Foster, reviewer
,Note to the readers of the above letter: Mr. Avatar addresses many subjects in God’s Debris – free will, genuine belief, God’s consciousness, evolution, reincarnation, science, delusion – to name a few. But the thread that runs through the entire story is the equation of “probability” (that he says is omnipotent and omnipresent) with “God.” He has given us a good many ideas with which to wrestle, and in this lies the justification of the sub-title, “A Thought Experiment.”