Friday, July 8, 2011

CWAS Excerpt Number Nine

This excerpt is from the ninth chapter of Conversations with a Stranger by Larry Tate

The Greater

Like clockwork, I showed up at the coffee shop on Thursday at my usual time. Like clockwork, the stranger was there too. What more could he find to talk about? Not to worry, I was sure he had plenty more material to try out on me.

I was in a big rush on this particular day. An early appointment was on my mind. My boss had instructed me to meet with him before I did anything else. He didn’t tell me what the meeting was about; he just said to be there. I didn’t do well with changes in my pattern, but deal with it, I must.

I must have been squirming in my seat because he said, “You look like you’re in a hurry this morning.”

“Yes, sir, I am. I’ve got an early meeting scheduled today. I’m sorry, but I can’t stay long. I guess I won’t be able to hear another of your proofs that God exists. I’ve got to drink my coffee quickly and run. I’m sorry, sir.”

“I understand,” he said. “It’s important to take care of business.” Hesitating, he said, “I was really looking forward to another discussion on the proofs of God.”

“It doesn’t look like it’ll work out for today…unless you’ve got a really short one.”

“Actually, I think I do. Maybe five minutes’ worth.”

There I went again. I had given a reason for not wanting to listen to him, and he had an answer to my objection. “Okay. It’ll take that long to drink this hot coffee anyway. Go ahead, sir.”

“I’ll get right to the point, my friend. I know you haven’t made up your mind if there is a God or not. However, for argument’s sake let’s consider the concept of God. In your mind, could you imagine anything, or any being that would be greater than God?”

“No, I cannot. If there actually is a God, there couldn’t be a greater being. If there were, then he wouldn’t be God.”

“So, my friend, it looks like you’re admitting that the concept of God can and does exist in your mind. Is that correct?”

“Yes, sir, the concept of God exists in my mind.”

“And even though you personally haven’t made up your mind about it, could he actually exist in reality?”

“We are exploring all options anyway. Yes, God could exist both in my mind and in reality. Now, sir, that doesn’t mean to imply that I think he really does exist.”

“I understand, my friend. Okay, now suppose that he exists in your mind, but not in reality. Then, my friend, a greater than God could be thought.”

“Why is that, sir?”

“Because a God existing in reality is greater than a God existing only in your mind. Am I correct in that assumption?”

This guy was really good at throwing out statements and questions that required a lot of thought before answering. I considered his proposal. We had agreed that when considering the concept of God, one must determine that a greater than God could not be thought. He threw a monkey wrench in my thinking when he suggested that we assume that God exists in our minds but not in reality. In such a case, there would be a violation against our concept of God, because it would then be possible to think of a God existing in reality, even though he actually does not exist in reality.

“Sir, I believe there is a problem with your last statement. We’ve already determined that a greater than God cannot be thought. An assumption that he does not actually exist in reality would go against our concept of God.”

“Friend, I believe you are on to something. I guess it would be impossible for God to exist only in our minds. We have already determined that it would be impossible to think of anything greater than God. If God existed only in our minds, we would be able to imagine that God also exists in reality. Imagining a God who exists in reality would be imagining a God who is greater than a God who just exists in our minds. Friend, do you know what we have just done?”

“No, sir, I don’t. What have we just done?”

“We have just proven that God must exist in both our minds and in reality.”

“How do you do this, sir?”

“It’s not me, my friend. We did this together. We used our own thoughts, wisdom, and deductive powers to prove that God exists. That grey matter between our ears has been hard at work.”

“Let me get this straight. If I can imagine the concept of a God in which nothing is greater, then by default, he must also exist in reality. Is that what you’re saying?”

“It’s not just me, friend. You and I are both saying that.”

“Don’t put me in the God-believing camp just yet, sir. For such a short session, you have given me a lot to chew on. I am not one to make fast decisions. I like to look at everything from every possible angle. Sir, there are a lot of angles to the things we have been discussing. If and when we actually prove without a doubt that God exists, I will be the first to embrace that concept.”

I looked at my watch and realized that the meeting with my boss was quickly approaching. I slid my chair back and stood up. “Sir, I’m sorry for leaving so quickly, but I’ve got to get to my meeting. Although you may believe that God exists both in your mind and in reality, I know for a fact that my boss exists both in my mind and in reality. If I don’t get to that meeting on time, my job may no longer be a reality. ”

Chuckling, he said, “All right, my friend. Business is business. I hope it is a good and profitable meeting. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

The above excerpt is from the copyrighted book Conversations with a Stranger by Larry Tate

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