Is there a God?
That’s not something I ever asked myself growing up because I was raised in a pretty religious household and pretty much only knew other religious people in my small Ohio town.
I never asked it until I was older, divorced and felt like dying.
It’s a question that makes us feel something on the inside. Maybe comfort. Maybe discomfort. Most of us don’t talk about it because it has become impolite to talk about such things. Some people will kill you if you don’t believe what they believe. Others will hate you.
But you’re safe here.
I won’t kill you.
I won’t hate you.
I just want to tell you about the Purple Shirt Theory, because I think it’s interesting.
Relativism n. – the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute.
I’m guilty of engaging in relativism from time to time. It’s one of the ways I justify some bad thing I’ve done, or justify not doing some good thing I should be doing. I think everyone does it once in a while.
We think: Well at least I’m not like [insert person you think sucks here]! What an asshole!
And all the sudden we feel better about the times we were assholes because it was less assholey than the times that suckier person over there was.
There are a lot of rules and frankly, I’m not the best Catholic in the world. I don’t mean I might be second place, either. I mean, I’m probably in like 118 millionth place.
The reasons I’m not a great Catholic generally revolve around sex and drinking, which is likely the reason most people aren’t great at being one.
Here’s what people like me do. We look around at the world and we see all the people who are bigger assholes than we are. (Which might not even be true. We just think it is.)
Guys are married and their wives are pissed at them, but sometimes they think: At least I’m not like Roger! That guy cheats on his wife all the time! At least I’m not like Larry! That guy gambles his paycheck every week! At least I’m not like Freddy! That guy gets drunk every night! At least I’m not like Michael! That guy hits his wife and kids!
And because we don’t cheat, and we don’t gamble away our savings, and we don’t drink excessively, and we don’t physically abuse anyone, all the sudden we feel morally outraged because our wives or whoever are criticizing us about something. And it could be so much worse! we think. They should be grateful!
Because we’re getting a C on our report card while other people are getting Ds and Fs, we sometimes feel like we’re doing a good job.
It’s because people like to lie to themselves in order to feel better and sleep at night. I’ve done that before.
Getting Cs isn’t so bad!
It kind of is. C grades are shitty.
There is much debate about what’s right and what’s wrong. People disagree all the time about what is okay and not okay to do. It’s at the very heart of the cultural and political wars being waged globally.
I don’t know what’s right.
I don’t know what’s wrong.
I only know how certain things make me feel. I know some things seem okay to me. And some things do not. And that’s how I decide for myself.
And this is the part where it gets scary.
The Search for Truth
The following is indisputable: SOMETHING is true.
What I mean by that is, if you knew everything there was to know, you would know all of the true things from all of the false things. And for the purpose of this conversation, I’m mostly talking about what’s good or bad, or right or wrong. No ambiguity. No guessing.
There are people—many of them—who believe everyone gets to decide for themselves what’s right and wrong. That’s relativism. And I promise I’m as guilty of practicing it as anyone.
But what I’m absolutely sure of is that SOMETHING is true. Something is right. Something is real.
And that anyone on a quest to live the best, most-fulfilled life possible is OBLIGATED to seek it. We must seek truth.
The Purple Shirt Theory
There either is a God. Or there isn’t. If there is no creator and everything is random and there is no such thing as right or wrong, then life is meaningless.
The Purple Shirt Theory only matters for people who believe in God, or believe it’s possible there is a divine creator or supreme being that started this whole life thing.
It goes like this:
IF you believe in God, then you believe there is an all-powerful creator who made the universe. Yahweh. The Boss. The Artist.
Ergo, what we think or feel or believe doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is whatever the facts are. Whatever the truth is.
If God is true and God exists, then God makes the rules.
Sometimes, humans say that God made some rules and I don’t always agree with them. About things I should or shouldn’t do. About things I should or shouldn’t say. About who people choose to love and live with.
And we argue and we bicker, and maybe some of us are right, or maybe all of us are wrong.
I just think it’s REALLY important to always keep the truth in mind.
And the truth is this: IF there is a God. God makes the rules. Not us. Not the ants.
And no matter how unreasonable or incorrect or unfair we consider a rule or law or truth to be, our feelings and opinions on the matter mean precisely dick.
There is truth. Something is true. Something is certain. Something is real.
And it might be (it might!) that God says the greatest sin or moral crime you can commit is: Wearing a purple shirt.
We think it’s silly. OF COURSE it’s okay to wear a purple shirt! we all think. It doesn’t make sense to me that God would punish me for that! If that’s the kind of God he/she/it is, I don’t want to know him/her/it anyway!!!
We’ve all heard, said or thought that.
But we’re wrong—dead wrong—every time we resort to our feelings and opinions to justify an action or belief.
If life has no meaning… then I guess life has no meaning, and this is the most-pointless thing I’ve ever written.
But maybe it does have meaning.
Because SOMETHING is true.
We are wise to pursue whatever the truth is. We are foolish to not.
Maybe it’s okay to wear purple shirts. I think it probably is. But I wonder what the truth is.
Because maybe it’s not.