8/29/2007                                                                                       View Comments

If God was a Tree; What Kind of Tree would It Be?

By DagoodS

I have recently been intrigued by the Baylor Religious Survey referenced in some discussion I was observing. I found the following statistical facts fascinating:

- Almost 30% had attended their current place of worship for more than 20 years.
- 23% attended weekly services, but of those, only 30% attended a Bible class or Sunday School weekly.
- Exactly half (49.4%) only read their Bible twice a year (or less) outside of church!

- 74% felt “Forgiving” described God very well, yet 67% felt “Just” described God very well. (73% felt “loving” described God very well.)
- 33.3% disagreed or strongly disagreed with an atheist teaching at high school. (Close to the 37.5% that said the same about homosexuals.)

The fact that approximately 2/3 of the people thought God was both Just and Forgiving (two concepts which are mutually exclusive) made me chuckle, thinking of exactly how much thought we put into our opinion of what a God is. As I Christian, I probably would have voted the same way, mind you.

What really grabbed my attention, though, were a number of questions along the line of:
Even if you might not believe in God, based on your personal understanding, what do you think God is like: A cosmic force in the universe…concerned with my personal well-being…angered by human sin…angered by my sin…directly involved in world affairs…directly involved in my affairs…

Is it just me, or are those questions odd?

“O.K. you don’t believe in a God…but seriously—what do you think God is like?”
“Uh…I don’t know…kinda purplish?”

Look, in my concept of the universe about me there is no god. To ask, “But what do you think God is like?” is like asking me if Leprechauns swim. Since I do not believe leprechauns exist, their ability to swim or not swim is of no matter to me.

Imagine if I went to a church, and said, “O.K., O.K., O.K. You don’t believe in Magic. Got it. What type of magic do you think could knock God unconscious?”

Would a churchgoer seriously consider my question? Or would they scratch their head and say, “He doesn’t get it. I don’t believe in Magic at all. Why then, would I consider different types, kinds and powers of something that doesn’t exist?”

At a certain point in my deconversion, I came to the conclusion that the Christian God did not exist. I was still very strongly a theist. There was no question that A god existed—just not the particular version of Christianity’s God I was most familiar with. So which one?

I was like a kid in a toy store who, for the first time, was handed $20 by his parents and told “Rather than have us pick out a toy for your birthday, and you making do with what we pick—you get to pick your own toy.” I was ecstatic.

However, after years and years of believing in (reluctantly) the wrong picture of God—I wanted to make sure that I believed in the most correct picture of God. I did not expect the problems I encountered in that endeavor.

See, even believing in a God, based upon my personal understanding, I was having difficulty determining what he/she/it was like. In fact, the last thing I wanted to rely upon was my “personal understanding”—that had gotten me into trouble before! I wanted to base it upon what was actually true; what was God actually like.

Was God angered at sin? Gee—there isn’t really any way to verify that, is there? Oh, I understand that some people are angered at what others do. And their level of anger can vary over different societies, times and beliefs. As humans, we are angered at genocide. Not so angered at violations of “Keep off the Grass.” And for many of us, we are angered when the other person does NOT violate the Speed limits!

Yet just because humans are—does that mean God is? It is hard to believe that I, a mere human among 7 Billion others, on a planet that took Billions of years to even come into being, in a universe that took even more Billions of years to develop to the stage in which the Earth became a planet, with a Creator that is master of it all—that I could anger such a creature by some particular word or deed. Is God that small?

Here I was, a kid with my $20, and I didn’t know what to buy. What was true. What was actual.

I truly desired to get it right. To have the right God. To have the right belief—there was simply no way to verify whether the belief was correct or not. It was all speculation, coming from very human perspectives. What one person claimed God was like; another would immediately declare as false. A third would claim it was close, but wrong, and a fourth would declare it was wrong, but not completely.

Of course, I eventually reached the conclusion that it is ALL Speculation. There is no god—just a bunch of humans capriciously declaring what they think God is.

As I was reading the survey, I recalled that search for what God was like, even as a theist (but not a Christian.) If even then I could not determine it—I would clearly be worse as a non-theist.

It appears that even after I lost my theism, they best they can offer, is “But what do YOU think?” Is that how we determine something—by each person’s individual opinion? The most persons that statistically believe (whether they are atheist, agnostic or theistic) that God is involved in world affairs—well, then god either is or is not?

They don’t want me to teach high school—but they are interested in my opinion as to whether a non-existent God is concerned with my personal well-being. Odd.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very well written. Enjoyed reading it.

Aspentroll said...

If I was a believer who gets in trouble now and then, I might imagine that god looked like a huge, I mean huge, pissed off gorilla that loves me.
Or if I
was a less worried believer, god might look like a kindly man with a white beard with a sword in his hand.

I think every believer would describe god in a different way.

Since I am an atheist I never fret about god's appearance because he is imaginary and I could actually care less what he may look like.

DUG853 said...

If God was a Tree; What Kind of Tree would It Be?

Probably about as likely to be an "Eternally-Whomping-Willow" tree, as anything else. LOL

Bloviator said...

I have a tree I planted for one of my children a few years ago. I planted it carefully, making sure to put the right amount of compost and fertilizer into the soil, and then, per instructions of experts, I watered it well for a few weeks to make sure the roots "set in well". For two years, that tree grew and flourished, gaining in strength every day and appearing more beautiful to parent and child alike. Then one day, I looked and noticed it appeared to be withering. I couldn't understand this, as I had done all the right things, but truth has a way of insinuating itself into reality. I called the experts. "Did you water?" Yes. "Did you fertilize?" Yes. They couldn't understand and had no ready answer. As the season passed, the tree died. It sits there presently, dead as any doornail, for all the world to see. I did all a person could do, and there it sits, dead. Just like my faith. I haven't the heart yet to cut it down, as the kids still want to believe it will come back, but one day soon I'll remove it and plant something better. May all former believers do the same.

Anonymous said...

First:
The expression: "Believe/not believe in God" is silly because it implies there is a "god".

Second:
"If God was a Tree; What Kind of Tree would It Be?"

If I was a dog I would not pee on that tree.

freethinker05 said...

if god was a tree, hmmmm, lets see; how about a figtree?,(figment of the imagination).

freethinker05 said...

Wait a minute! God a figtree?;As in Jesus can curse himself any time of "a" season he wishes.

Anonymous said...

god is a money tree whose roots are wrapped and entrenched into the wallets of follwers. The only person that can pick the fruit is the pastor (caretaker). Whose main job is to cast his bullshit (fertilizer) onto the people and hope that they produce.
Farris

SpaceMonk said...

If God was a tree he'd be one of those tree's that drops killer coconuts on the heads of random passers-by.

stronger now said...

If god was a tree It would be a man made xmas tree you get at wal-mart.

Monk said...

If god was a tree, he'd be a sequoia or redwood...strong, powerful, and old as the hills. Tall, mighty, and aloof, he'd look at the insignificant life below him like the primordial scum he knows it to be, and he'd laugh at all our ridiculous problems.

He'd be so tall, that, to fully appreciate all his powers and mysteries, you'd have to climb alot higher and try alot harder than any sane portion of the population would ever want to go.

And when you got to the top, he'd let one of his limbs break just so he could watch your pathetic ass fall.

I just love constructing god in my imagination, don't you? No, wait, that'd make me a christian.

buffettphan said...

Maybe the biggest NUT tree!!

Here's a little description of a good candidate. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/
deepjungle/episode2_brazilnut.html

"Taking a walk through the Amazon rainforest? Might want to keep an eye out for what look and sound like cannonballs, crashing down from above at more than 50 miles an hour. If you are unlucky enough to be in the way, you could end up dead -- or at least severely dazed! The balls, which can weigh up to 5 pounds, aren't really fired from a cannon. They are actually the fruit of the Brazil nut tree..."

And interestingly enough, the Brazil Nut Tree's most fierce competition comes from a FIG plant.

"Competition also comes from a sneaky plant known as the strangler fig tree. Strangler figs start out as tiny, almost invisible seeds deposited on a branch by small mammals or birds. The seed sprouts, and a tiny root gains a foothold. It's the beginning of the end. Eventually, the root creeps down the trunk to the forest floor, stealing water and nutrients from the tree through its bark as it goes. More roots soon join in, wrapping tight around the Brazil nut tree, encasing its victim. Ultimately, over decades, the tree dies, leaving the fig standing like a hollow monument to this epic struggle."

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ;-)

Thanks to the WM and everyone here who gives me and lots of others the emotional and mental support we need. And I guess I should thank some of the trolls too--they're usually good for a laugh or three...sometimes.

Poltergoost said...

God reminds me of this big dead, rotten tree that is out in my woods getting ready to fall

Just like the tree, God is dead also.

Plus the tree is an old rotten pine that isn't worth a damn.

Just like God.

trancelation said...

The Christian God has been proven not to exist (based on the fact that the guidelines set forth in the Bible that describe the Christian God fail to meet any standard of reality), hence there is no tree that God can be, be cause there is no God.

freethinker05 said...

OK Tran, I agree, but, "IF" there were a god, and if god were a tree, how about a tree trunk?;Useless!!!
Peace on out, Roger...A/A

AtheistToothFairy said...

freethinker05 wrote:
...if god were a tree, how about a tree trunk?;Useless!!!
--
Roger, what makes you think a tree trunk god is useless?

I once met this tree trunk in the deep forest and it told me it was the true God.
After confirming to myself that I wasn't dreaming, I asked this tree trunk god for the meaning of life.
It seemed to ponder for a very long time, and then said back to me, " I think you've got me STUMPED with that hard question".

So anyway, I thought I'd ask it a much simpler question next.

I thought about the purpose of this site and it's grand endeavor to help disprove the invisible sky god.
I then asked, "Oh tree trunk god, how can we better spread the word about you, to those who believe in those other false gods they worship and build churches to.
It then told me that it was most imperative for Webmaster Dave to BRANCH OUT his efforts.

While I was sure this talking tree trunk god was surely the only real god, I needed to make sure that it's ROOTS could be directly traced back to Adam and Eve.
Alas, upon inquiring about it's divine heritage, it told me that humans were not made in it's own image and that I was BARKING up the wrong tree with my too inquisitive questions.

It then informed me that it's power and knowledge far exceeded that of the more well known sky-god, and that the sky god was just an offshoot of itself, "a mere TWIG", it said.

I was having my doubts that this new god had any real powers and asked it to demonstrate one for me. So it had me close my eye's and tap my heels together three times and say, "There's no place like home".
I heard it say that when I opened my eye's that I would have as much proof for it being the true god, as christians have for their sky god.
I now know the tree trunk god has the same powers as the sky god, because when I opened my eye's it had become totally invisible. Either that, or it just took it's LEAVE from me.

Now, don't anyone dare accuse my tree trunk god of being only my imagination playing tricks on me. While I haven't seen it again since that long ago day, it did promise me that it WOOD return one day.

While I can't be sure who wrote it, this new found god did provide me with a handbook to live by. It suggested that I don't read it too closely or I might get confused, so it was better to just LEAF through it's pages instead.

So now I plan on building my first church to worship our new god.
I had planned on fabricating the standard wooden cross to adorn the top of my church with, but for some reason this new tree god felt it would be a sin, as I would have to murder one of it's descendants in order to do so.

Well a church needs something special to identify it with, so I'm now thinking in terms of going out on a LIMB and putting up a replica of this new god. I hired this really old looking carpenter to do the job, but my new god told me in a vision that this carpenter looked a bit SHADY, so I guess I'm on my own in this endeavor.

Now I realize this tale of the tree trunk god might sound a bit corny to your ear, but I assure all of you that this new god RINGS true to me and you can take my word that it's much more real than that sky god claims to be.

FYI....I've been told by our new god that chain-saws are NOT permitted at church services this week. You don't think our new god would be afraid of such things, do ya?



AtheistToothFairy

freethinker05 said...

As always ATF, you are one of many on this site, that I enjoy reading responses to others comments on any subject, especially religion. I hope I haven't committed the unpardonable sin by doubting in the god treetrunk.As always, thanks for correcting my views of god.Sincerally, Roger A/A

AtheistToothFairy said...

freethinker05 wrote: " I hope I haven't committed the unpardonable sin by doubting in the god treetrunk"
--
Roger,

For being a Doubting Thomas, errrr...Doubting Roger, you will have to perform some trivial penance for the tree trunk god in order to get your great sin forgiven.

Our god has now been STAINED greatly with your doubt of it's divine origin. Because this stain can't be removed directly, it is now your penance to apply two coats of oil over your sinning stain.
Only 100% pure VIRGIN oil is acceptable to our new lord and it must be applied with a camel hair brush.

The new lord did say it would allow you to bring friends along to help out, but they must approach it in assembled groups of.... 2X4.

Your new lord has also a great desire to have a son on earth, so to be on the safe side, please leave any female friends using the name 'Mary' at home. I'm not saying they would be in great danger, but your new lord does have a bit of a reputation for being a STUD at times.


P.S. Thanks for you kind reply

AtheistToothFairy

freethinker05 said...

Dear ATF, I will try and find out were to purchase the VIRGIN oil; the only other oil I have is PINE oil. And, about the group of 2x4's, that WOOD be awsome; I get a WOODY just thinking about it. Cherry trees WOOD also be great. Peace, Roger...A/A

Astreja said...

And don't forget... The teak shall inherit the earth.

AtheistToothFairy said...

freethinker05 wrote:
"were to purchase the VIRGIN oil; the only other oil I have is PINE oil....I get a WOODY just thinking about it. Cherry trees WOOD also be great."

Ahhh, a man after my own heart....errr...Lord Tree-Trunk's heart I mean.

Your new god is greatly pleased with you Roger, for you knew of his CHERRY fondness... ummm.... heritage; even though it is missing it's former CROWN of 'thorns', ummm 'BRANCHES', to indicate his true ROOTS.

Note: Lord TT is highly allergic to PINE oil, as it makes his imaginary BRANCHES get all tied up in KNOTS.

So even if it takes awhile to obtain the VIRGIN-CHERRY-tree oil, he's willing to wait a spell for such a human delight. He has also written your name down in his book-of-names, as one who is a very devoted god servant to have around. Even so, he will still need to inspect the virgin-cherry oil 'container', before it is allowed to touch his holy, errr, TRUNK. Afterall, he would hate for his STUMP to get SOILED from 'broken-cherry' oil.

Note to xtians:
While it's possible to consider the banter between Roger and I as being possibly DIRTY in nature, remember that the true meaning of the lord's words is in the mind of the reader.
If your mind feels anything un-god-like here, then perhaps you aren't as xtian as you thought you were.
As with the words from that sky-god book, interpretations can vary greatly.


P.S. to Astreja

The "Teak" may inherit the earth in the sky god bible, but Lord TT claims the TEAK may be left to WEEP, if they don't quickly 'WILLOW' to his ways.



AtheistToothFairy