First and Last Things by HG Wells, is part of the HackerNoon Books Series. You can jump to any chapter in this book here. ON USING THE NAME OF GOD
ON USING THE NAME OF GOD.
You may say if you will that this scheme I talk about, this something that gives importance and correlation and significance, is what is meant by God. You may embark upon a logical wrangle here with me if you have failed to master what I have hitherto said about the meaning of words. If a Scheme, you will say, then there must be a Schemer.
But, I repeat, I am using scheme and importance and significance here only in a spirit of analogy because I can find no better words, and I will not allow myself to be entangled by an insistence upon their implications.
Yet let me confess that I am greatly attracted by such fine phrases as the Will of God, the Hand of God, the Great Commander. These do most wonderfully express aspects of this belief I choose to hold. I think if there had been no gods before, I would call this God. But I feel that there is a great danger in doing this sort of thing unguardedly. Many people would be glad for rather trivial and unworthy reasons that I should confess a faith in God, and few would take offense. But the run of people even nowadays mean something more and something different when they say “God.” They intend a personality exterior to them and limited, and they will instantly conclude I mean the same thing. To permit that misconception is, I feel the first step on the slippery slope of meretricious complaisance, is to become in some small measure a successor of those who cried, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” Occasionally we may best serve the God of Truth by denying him.
Yet at times I admit the sense of personality in the universe is very strong. If I am confessing, I do not see why I should not confess up to the hilt. At times in the silence of the night and in rare lonely moments, I come upon a sort of communion of myself and something great that is not myself. It is perhaps poverty of mind and language obliges me to say that then this universal scheme takes on the effect of a sympathetic person—and my communion a quality of fearless worship. These moments happen, and they are the supreme fact in my religious life to me, they are the crown of my religious experiences.
None the less, I do not usually speak of God even in regard to these moments, and where I do use that word it must be understood that I use it as a personification of something entirely different in nature from the personality of a human being.
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This book is part of the public domain. H. G. Wells (2009). First and Last Things: A Confession of Faith and Rule of Life. Urbana, Illinois: Project Gutenberg. Retrieved October 2022, https://www.gutenberg.org/files/4225/4225-h/4225-h.htm
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