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What, if Anything, Did You Tell Your Children About God?

Interviewer: What, if anything, did you tell your children about God?

Norman Fischer: I communicated to my children what my parents communicated to me — God is obvious, necessary, and ubiquitous. It is not a matter of belief or faith. And you don’t need the word “God” if it seems to cause you problems. After all, does it make sense that God would be limited to positive feelings about a three-letter word in the English language, and that if you had a problem somehow with that word (because maybe where you live it is socially unacceptable) God ceased to exist for you? No, this makes no sense! There is no doubt that there is more to life than the material world. In fact, there is more to the material world than the material world! What is this “more” if not God? It’s also fine to call it something else. As to the question of God as personal: as the French Fewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas once said, “Of course God is personal, because we are persons.”

Norman Fischer, a Zen priest raised in a Jewish household
from When You Greet Me I Bow