To many of us incorrigibly religious people, the fact of Presence is simply indisputable. We may, and do, argue all day about what exactly it is or isn't. We can be frustratingly vague or charmingly naive. (God is a free swerve of intention; God is an old man who sits on a cloud.) But to us God -- or Something -- is no more a proposition to be disputed than light is. If someone proposes to you that there is no such thing as light, you're perfectly willing to hear them out, but it's with a sort of indulgent tolerance. "All right, well, no such thing as 'light.' What do you call all of this, then?" And they point out that we can't see the light rays -- or particles, or wavicles, or whatever -- traveling from the lamp to the wall, and that we might very well be making them up, and we can see, yes, that's true, we might; but somehow the argument doesn't make as much of an impression on us as they think it should.
When all of our talking and thinking and feeling about moral life and ecstasy and affection has been phrased in terms of God, all our lives, and someone proposes that there is no such thing as God, it sounds like nonsense, as if they were proposing that none of the meaningful parts of our lives existed. Or it sounds like they are very horrible people indeed, if their lives have no moral or ecstatic or affectionate component to them. The truth, of course, is disappointingly bland. They just have different names for all these things, different ways of thinking about them. They try to do the right thing, they experience just as much awe, they love their kids just as much as we do. If there are fundamental philosophical contradictions in their point of view, well, there are fundamental philosophical contradictions in ours, too. My question is not so much: "are we right, or are they right?" -- but rather, "are we even disputing about anything?"
Well, except, of course, that people are murdering each other all over the globe according to the exact shades of the God color they wear. Really I think mostly they need to create a royal row to divert attention from their hand being in someone else's pocket, but the fact remains.
A sweet pale blue sky, and the leaves turning.
Oh, God, and such important things left undiscussed. That is the real problem. The things we aren't talking about.