Poised to begin the final,
the philosophy teacher was asked,
“Do you believe in God?”
She gently smiled, bowed her head,
eyes falling upon the podium.
“This is the final exam period.
Shall we engage in this discussion
in lieu of a test?”
The headstrong saplings nodded eagerly.
The professor continued,
“This is a philosophy class, you see.
Before we can talk about that, we–
like those before–
must define God.
I must know
what it is to which I answer
yes or no.”
“God’s the creator.”
“And where does it say that?”
“Circular reasoning, next!” Said the professor
to the newly failed student who stood and left.
“Well, most people believe,
it makes life easier…”
“That bandwagon does not become you.”
Words ushering the student out of the class.
“Lack of proof is not disproof.”
“Who didn’t do the homework
on argumentum ex silentio? You.”
The door slammed again.
The professor paused,
maybe this was being too hard
on Phil101 students–
“We’ll all burn in hell if we don’t believe!”
“Really?! Really?! Argumentum ad baculum, next!”
After that student left, sat one more.
The clock punctuated the student’s thoughts,
The student shrank into their sweatsuit.
Frenzied explanations raced through the professor’s mind:
The God you think you know
and the God I think I know
are not the same.
Yes, I believe in my God.
No, I don’t believe in yours.
Yes, on paper they’re the same.
No, in our personal lives they act differently.
When the student softly spoke.
“I don’t really know what to say, except,
I would have been happy with the test.
So give me that first, and after that,
I’ll ask you why you think humans
can define God.”
John Matin-1851-The Great Day Of His Wrath