- Dick takes his dog, Spot to a Booking Agent, Jane, and tells Jane that Spot can talk. Jane has heard this all before and isn't impressed, but Dick persists and convinces Jane to give Spot an audition.
- So Dick asks Spot, "OK Spot, what does sand paper feel like?"
- And Spot says, "Rough, Rough!"
- Jane grimaces and asks them to leave, but Dick doesn’t give up easily and says, "Wait, Wait!" Give him a chance!"
- "OK Spot, what's on top of this building?"
- And Spot says, "Roof, Roof!"
- Jane stands up and points to the door.
- "One last chance!" pleads Dick.
- Jane sits down resignedly.
- "OK, Spot, who is the greatest baseball player of all time?"
- And naturally, Spot says, "Ruth, Ruth!"
- Jane escorts Dick and Spot out the door and slams it.

- Later, the two are sitting out on the front steps, looking disconsolate, when Spot looks up at Dick and asks, "What should I have said, Dimaggio?"

This joke has always reminded me of my childhood experience with God...

I had given God a chance. I had been more than fair. But the so-called proofs for God were worse than unconvincing -- they were transparent. They didn't just fail to prove God -- they seemed to disprove him instead.

And so while growing up, I had gradually become convinced that God was nothing more than the transparent figment of an overactive and desperate imagination, and that we humans had created him in our own image, out of our own needs -- and thin air -- rather than the other way around. And, for all intents and purposes, the case for God -- for me -- was closed.

But then, all of a sudden, I could see that there probably had to be a God...

"Naahh", I thought. "I just went through all that!" Those arguments were all so transparent. But, all of a sudden, there He was anyway. "What's going on here?"

I won't go into detail now, and I didn't actually “see” anything, but all at once, something became perfectly clear nevertheless. All at once, I could perceive some logic that I just couldn't perceive before. And, once I could, God -- or something very similar -- seemed almost necessary.


Spot really could talk, and Dick believed that Spot could talk -- Dick just didn't know how to present Spot's case. And what Dick kept presenting instead, in its apparent transparency, made Spot's gift seem like a trick, and served only to undermine Spot's case.

That seems to be what happened with God as well. God probably does exist, and the clergy of our childhood probably did believe in 'Him.' They just didn't know how to present his case. And, since they had to come up with something, they did. But being something of an invention, it was worse than nothing for many of us, and it actually helped to convince us that God did not exist.

Some of us needed an epistemological or intellectual basis for believing in God. Most of those we were counting on to provide such a basis, were not capable of providing it. And we wound up thinking that an intellectual case for God simply didn't exist -- and God probably didn't exist either.

So anyway... I would suggest that Jane invite our two heroes back in and that she and Dick figure out some better questions to ask. I'll play Spot. (Next)

(Or, go on to VIII. Prophecy)