“When you buy a used car, it is insufficient to remember that you badly need a car. After all, it has to work. It is insufficient to say that the used-car salesman is a friendly fellow. What you generally do is kick the tires, you look at the odometer, you open up the hood. If you do not feel yourself expert in automobile engines, you bring along a friend who is. And you do this for something as unimportant as an automobile. But on issues of the transcendent, of ethics and morals, on the origin of the world, on the nature of human beings, on those issues should we not insist upon at least equally skeptical scrutiny?”
-Carl Sagan, The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God, p.145
Considering Sagan’s advice, it occurs to me that I went about the business of choosing a wife all wrong. After all, that decision was much more important than buying a car. I should have kicked her in the shins to see how strong her bones were; took account for how worn the years has made her; and looked under her skirt to make sure everything was in working order. In fact, I should have brought along a physician because he would know her better than I ever could.
To my wife, I shall be as Pygmalion the sculpter-king, who in his hatred of women carved in his block of white marble an image of the perfect, most beautiful woman and fell in love with a stone.
On a more transcendent subject, I don’t know how this would have worked with God. He has no form for me to recognize, neither is he made of matter for me to kick (assuming he had shins). I suppose I would just have to get on with my life, ignorant of his existence, for there’s no way for me to examine him and make a good decision.
To God, I shall be as a housewife, who in confusion at the fire engulfing her house and not being able to determine what needed to be saved, rescued the fire tongs instead. What shall mankind save from the great fire of life?