Let My People Know

"God, by any name, is still God"


The very concept of purpose is essentially a religious statement, and the quest for purpose is a spiritual journey. 

This may be an unpleasant revelation for some people, who vehemently claim that they are atheists or agnostics, that they do not believe in anything. 

Even people who see themselves as living in a labyrinth without an opening can nevertheless see life as a very dignified existence—an adventure filled with danger, challenge, and beauty, with opportunity to love, to pursue justice, to raise a family, and to care for others in the world. 

The grandeur and the challenge of that kind of existence do not seem trivial at all, even for people who believe that when they die, that is the end of it. 

That sense of the beauty, the grandeur, and the adventure give meaning and purpose to life. 

Without using God's name, that person is really a very believing person, with a deep faith that there is transcendental meaning in living the adventure of life in a dignified way.

That is the essence of faith. 

It is deep belief in things that cannot be proved. 

I cannot prove beauty, dignity, honesty, or integrity, yet I may live a life filled with all these things. 

A person who has nontrivial answers to these questions of purpose and meaning is, in one way or another, speaking about God—even if, for some inexplicable reason, he does not want to call it that. 

The atheist who is living a dignified, ethical, and spiritual life is an unconscious believer.

If he were not fighting it so hard, he would realize that he has a formulation for his faith, and if he put it in slightly different words, and arranged it slightly differently, it might almost be a well-organized religion. 

A rose, by any name, is still a rose.

Likewise God, by any name, is still God.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From the essay, "Faith," in Simple Words by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz