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Who Believes in G‑d?

Who Believes in G‑d?



Everyone has a god. There is not a sane person on earth who doesn't believe in one. The question is only which one...

Your "god" is the thing that you believe to be infallible: you trust in its power despite any evidence to the contrary; you believe it will always be there, cannot be defeated, is all-powerful and omnipresent. It's the thing you can fall back on no matter what. The bedrock of your life - whatever that may be - that is your god.

Everyone has a god. The question is only which one. If you think science has all the answers, and that something is only true if it is scientifically proven, then science is your god. And belief in science can be as irrational as any religious conviction. Its adherents blindly accept the most outlandish theory, as long as it was presented by an expert in the field.

Science is only one common god. Another one is love. Believers in love make lofty statements about its divine qualities: "Love conquers all", "Love is forever", "All you need is love", "Love is the only thing worth dying for." Even though experience has shown that love is not all you need, and it certainly doesn't conquer all, their faith is not shaken.

Others worship money. "Everything has a price" is their creed. And no matter how many miserable millionaires they meet, their god remains infallible, and they continue to have faith in money as the source of all goodness and happiness.

A very popular modern god is self. "Believe in yourself. You are capable of anything. If you put your mind to it, there's nothing you can't do." Nothing you can't do? Sounds pretty divine. A pity it's not true. We have limitations. There are things that are simply beyond our capability. But to the believer, no evidence will move his faith in himself.

It is such a relief to just let G‑d be G‑d. If G‑d is G‑d, I can be human. I am not G‑d. Nothing about me is infallible — not my feelings, not my intelligence and certainly not my bank balance. I don't have to be perfect. G‑d does a good job of that.

Science, love, money and self are all very important. But they are also fickle, ever-changing, and unpredictable. The G‑d of Israel hasn't changed. If anyone or anything should be god, it's G‑d.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to
Artwork by Sarah Kranz.
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Natan Newton, Ma via October 1, 2017

How can you say anything at all about HaShem? Don't we believe that G-d is unknowable? How then do we know what G-d wants or how to communicate with him/her/it? How can we possibly know that the Thora is truth? I have been in a crisis of faith for a few years now and I am still trying to climb out of it. Is there a proven way to do that? Reply

Eli Monsey, Eer Hakodesh August 10, 2016

Completely disgraceful definition of science "If you think science has all the answers, and that something is only true if it is scientifically proven, then science is your god. And belief in science can be as irrational as any religious conviction. Its adherents blindly accept the most outlandish theory, as long as it was presented by an expert in the field."
Atheism does seem to have similarities with religion. Instead of a god, however, it worships skepticism, scientific thought, and empirical proof. To say that all members of society who claim to believe in this science magic just automatically accept all findings is absolutely mad. The point of science is not to throw around explanations for things we may not understand... that's for religion to do. Scientists and modernists are okay with accepting that perhaps we don't have all the material right now to answer every question. But that certainly doesn't mean to believe the first thing we hear, like some other guys. Please keep your limitations to your own school of thought. Reply

Paul New York June 9, 2014

The assertion that, "Everyone believes in G-D, even if they don't," reveals a breathtaking vanity. It says, essentially, "My personal view is so unassailable, that people who THINK they disagree with me are not only wrong in their belief...they're wrong in thinking that they disagree with me and alternate viewpoints don't even exist."

Civil conversation thrives only when we're willing to at least listen to other opinions. If you denigrate others to the point of denying that they actually believe what they say they believe, dialogue becomes pointless monologue. Reply

Simon Cinncinnati June 1, 2014

The claim that everyone believes in a god goes back to an old definition of "god" as a person's prime concern.

Although everyone has at least one prime concern, not everyone sees the universe as contained within the Creator, like an egg within a hen. Not everyone knows the Hebrew word Makom, meaning literally "Place," reflecting the ancient statement that the universe is not the place where Gd resises. Instead, Gd is the Place where the universe resides. Thus Makom is another Name for Gd.

Many will find it silly to think that there is an infinite Other within Whom we and our entire universe are contained, and object even more to the idea that such an entity could possibly care about each one of us.

The Torah says, HaShem is Gd in the heavens above and in the earth beneath.
And then it says, Ayn Od.
This has been understood to mean there is no other Gd.
But it actually says, "There IS nothing else."

Gd is the only reality. Our reality is temporary & contingent. Gd's is absolute. Reply

Melanie Cline Mechanicsville May 30, 2014

Who believes in G-d? Love this piece! Letting G-d be G-d.... simple wording but with profound meaning to me. We are so busy trying to control our lives and everything in it we forget. Thank you! Reply

David Levant Emerson,NJ May 15, 2014

Ponder this... Everyone believes in G-D, even if they don't. Reply

Anonymous 0000000 April 20, 2014

Believing in God I decided belief in "God"is unecessary,because "God" is what it is,whatever that reality is.I searched for the Truth my whole life,& it is a vain search,Finding logical rules to live by,in Judaism, that helps us all,together,is the important thing.God is in us,our community, faith,the law,and Deeds of Loving Kindness..We do't have to over-examine what God is. Reply

Anonymous Crownsville, MD December 1, 2010

g-d To say "Only sane people believe in a god" is so silly. I have found if I say there really is a Peter cottontail, six foot tall, and delivers goodies on certain sunday mornings, some would say that is not real.

Still you pray to your pretend friend. You talk to your pretend friend and believe that your pretend friend is real.

Can you see where this is going? Deities are only real to the believer. Easter bunnies are real to the children. As you grow older and smarter.

Smarter? No, you grow further away from fantasies taught by others.
Fantasies taught by so many others that we are to the point where if you don't believe in "Someone's Fantasy" then you are not sane.

Food for thought.

Have a Happy Celebration of your Pretend Friend's Event"! Reply

indu tel aviv September 23, 2010

love to say that love is not God is ignorance, love is God, the article is not written well, if what you were trying to say is that material love is not God, you should have added the word worldly or materealistic love, the whole world is led by love, no one can deny or ressist it, only that this love has become less powerfull once it dresses in material forms and material qualities such as hate, greed, jeoulasy and lust, actually the word love today is often replaced by lust, or the will to control another person but at the same time to try to love him. all paths of religion are about love, love is the only one true religion, and saying that judaism is not in favour of it, or does not call love as God is complete ignorance. Reply

Paul New York September 8, 2010

Making words meaningless If you're going to say that whatever a non-believer spends most time with, or thinks about most, is a "God" -- then the word "God" becomes completely absurd. Is football God to an atheist athlete? Is asparagus God to an agnostic chef?

I believe that in her understandable eagerness to be all-inclusive, Dolores has defined the word "God" so broadly that it looses all meaning.

If we want to communicate with others, it is helpful to be careful about how we use words, and not just invent new definitions to suit ourselves. Reply

Dolores Hilands, GA. September 7, 2010

god or no god Everyone has a god... even non-believers.. to whom/what do you spend or think the most of/with? Who or what do you sacrifice time, money, thought to. My G d created the universe and beyond. My G d wants me to be healthy, happy....He has shown me how. He teaches me daily. My G d loves me. He desires a relationship with me. Money/greed,misspent time, sports, addiction does not love me, nor care about me;these gods are never satisfied until they destroy you. My G d wants me to grow in His love by doing so find total contentment Reply

louise leon long pond, PA via March 11, 2010

belief in G-d If you believe in G-d, G-d exists in your life. If you don't believe in G-d then G-d doesn't exist for you. A person has the right to choose. Reply

Michael Hamburg, Germany January 20, 2010

Thank you for your reflection Thank you, for your Article/ reflection.

Soo many Ways/thinks and views. ^^
But interesting to think about it.
(Sorry my bad english !).

My View of G-d is, Her Incredible and unexplanable Love, and his Love is in soo many Things & People.

Greetings from Hamburg! Reply

Paul New York, New York/USA January 26, 2009

The Wrong Question? If you ask the wrong question, you're bound to get the wrong answer.

The article starts with, "Everyone has a god. There is not a sane person on earth who doesn't believe in one. The question is only which one..."

But of course, that's patently untrue. Not everyone believes in a god. There are hundreds of millions the world over who do not, including many of the West's most prominent intellectuals.

And of course, there are vast, society-wide belief systems that we label as religions -- such as Buddhism -- that contain no god.

So clearly, the "only question" is NOT "which one." A better question is whether the vast number of believers or the vast number of non-believers has a more accurate view of the world and how it works. Reply

yoni January 1, 2009

science is good and bad listen, science has helped advance humanity positively through medicine and technology, but it's done just as much evil.

was it not scientists who invented the xyclon b for the gas chambers and all the world's modern weapons?

people like to categorize things into black and white fragments. but in general, just like religion, science is for the most part excellent, but when it gets into the hands of the wrong people, it is harmful.

to me, science is in essence the study of G-d's brilliance. Reply

OJB Dunedin, NZ November 30, 2008

Absolute? Yaacov, I have never pointed to science as an absolute truth but it is the closest approximation to truth we have. I have two reasons for saying this: first, it gets results; and second, the process logically makes sense.

Have a look at the history of progress in society. Science is responsible for almost all of our advances. Did the Internet appear because someone prayed for it? No, its the result of applied science. Same with almost everything else.

I know that some traditional beliefs (eg natural medicines) have some benefits but most don't and, of the ones that do work, science has improved on many (more accurate doses, etc). Look at willow bark and aspirin as an example.

Sure, science can be used for bad things as well but the overwhelming trend is to good, as long as political and commercial interests can be controlled. Reply

Yaacov November 30, 2008

Narrow minded views? I found it funny that you, OJB, had to go on a crusade against "faith", or whatever you want to call it. I'm not even religious, don't keep Kosher at all, it doesn't mean I don't have my beliefs. Even scientists (some of) believe that it's not actually clever to point at science and claim "that's the only absolute truth around", local cultures got a lot of their own value, there's even a "new" area regarding botanic and asking people from a certain place about supposed medical properties of herbs of their area, my bad I forgot how it's called.

But still, my point is, we, humans, tend to think all we know is superior/better than what others believe, and sadly that was proven wrong so many times. Native people of America (like the Inca and Mayas) continent had an advanced system of math, but what happened to them?

Everything was burned. See that's what I'm talking about. Instead of trying to see what's good about it, mankind makes it's own judgment of what's good and wrong, and in the end we lose knowledge that could be used for our own benefits, just because of a narrow minded view towards others knowledge.

Heh, I'm not even sure if we know what's good and bad for ourselves, just look at every conflict out there, how humans are at each others throats from time to time and never learn a single lesson about it.

Would be comic if it wasn't tragic how humans thrive at creating powerful warfare, as opposed to solve problems such as hunger, misery among many others affecting their own kin. Reply

Cathy November 28, 2008

Gd and this latest outrage First of all, in spite of the tragedy in India, I still know that Gd is real. I don't understand and never will, but Gd is real, good, and powerful.

Second, I want to know exactly how many Chabadniks were killed, and how many non-Chabad Jews, and the names of each, so that I can mourn for each and every one of them individually. Please post this information, plus any personal information about each person, and email us about it. Thank you!

Third, I hope that Chabad, OR Israel, OR somebody, OR everybody, goes after whoever instigated these vicious murders and makes them sorry, each and every one of them, that they were ever born, and very VERY sorry that they ever even THOUGHT of targeting Chabad. Let the world know that it is NOT OK to target Chabad and they will NOT get away with it--not now, not ever. Reply

chris via November 27, 2008

more of murder What about Jitzchak Rabin's murder? Some rabbis managed to convince the assassin, that it's okay, G-d will approve your deed.
I don't think so. Reply

OJB Dunedin, NZ August 20, 2008

Murder Phyllis, you are talking about minor variations amongst the bigger rules. We also have exceptions when murder is not punished. There is the defence by reason of insanity. Do you see the parallel?

I will try to find the research for you but I can assure you that the basic rules for human society are remarkably similar from one community to another.

Murder disrupts human society. A disrupted society is less well able to survive, therefore selection acts against it. Evolution does happen, both physical and social. God is unnecessary to establish morality. Reply

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