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Offbeat – 2 March 2012

I thought about the whole thing mathematically, so now is a good time to swallow the Panado, unless your doctor has suggested otherwise, in which case, call him, read this column out loud and ask him what he recommends.

A bunch of mathematicians and scientists are jumping on the atheist bus again. “God doesn’t exist,” they say. It’s the secular creed. Ironically, it comes across as, “Believe in us.”
Something doesn’t make sense there, swapping one belief for another. We might muddy the waters with a bit of agnosticism and turn the argument on its head. In the absence of evidence, how do you disprove the unprovable. If you are going to carry on reading this, you may want a headache tablet.
I am a believer in God. I am not a Christian, a Muslim or a Jew, but I do believe in the God of Abraham. I am not a preacher or proselytizer. I don’t need you to believe things the way I do. I am secure in my own faith, and I am happy if you have your own as well. Vindicating one another with agreement on mutual belief will not make you or me, or our different relationships with God any more valid than they already are.
I am not happy with the way Christians attempt to convert me to their beliefs. I am not sure that I have the right to claim a beach house in heaven on the basis of ascribing to their interpretations and following their rites. Personally, I think that is God’s decision.
Nor am I happy with atheists who would rather have it that I was into rational secularism. Folks, if you are of the strand that doesn’t believe in beliefs, please don’t ask me to believe in you or your arguments either. And by the way, your glassy eyes and rigid smiles are the same as the glassy eyes and rigid smiles of those people who come to the gate asking if I have been saved.
That is my message, which leaves me with space for a couple of thousand characters including spaces, which I need to fill. I am going to open up a few of the ideas I toyed with while working through my own beliefs.
I thought about the whole thing mathematically, so now is a good time to swallow the Panado, unless your doctor has suggested otherwise, in which case, call him, read this column out loud and ask him what he recommends.
Most events can be predicted with some or other degree of confidence on a graph. The various points, at which these events are expected, are influenced by known variables or various undefined variables, which have an influence within the parameters of what is expected. If you are a statistician, you will know I am talking about ‘force to fit’.
The interesting thing is that there will be variables that are so far of the clusters of points, that the variables just don’t seem to make sense. This is perfectly normal. Those points get the stuffing aggregated out of them or are discarded.
What if the time series was expanded, over decades or over generations to cover a family. It might just be possible to isolate the points that really don’t fit as a parallel data range and regress them to come up with a second curve running parallel to the expected curve. This new curve then becomes dependent on variables which can’t be explained.
As someone, I forget his name, once said, “Any science that is sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic.”
This also implies that some measure of faith is needed to absorb data which doesn’t have any observable variables. Ignoring the points and dismissing the difficult variables has a long and rich history. The earth was flat once, and the sun circled it. Paul Kruger is rumoured to have denied the existence of the giraffe, which wasn’t mentioned in the Bible.
In the context of my own belief, I am quite happy to go with the idea that God is an unobservable variable.
There are other things that make me comfy with my own belief. Seeing death has shown me just how much can depart the body. Dreams of family members who have passed defy the logic of my memories of them.
Whether you are an atheist or a Christian, Muslim or Jew, there is no point taking it further. Crusades and cults have a way of becoming irrelevant as time passes. As I said, I have my beliefs, and the best that I can wish you is to take comfort in your own beliefs

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