What is “Real?”

I Wonder... painting by Je' Czaja
I Wonder…
painting by Je’ Czaja

That seems like a simple question, but the answer is rather startling.

Materialists say what is real is what can be detected with the senses. I see you, so you are real. I can also touch you and hear you, so, yup, you are real, all right. Are you real if I can’t detect you with my senses? Is my best friend an imaginary friend because she has moved far away? She exists in my imagination and she is my friend, but I cannot detect her with my senses.

Well, you might say, with the aid of some technology I could detect her with my senses. I could get in a vehicle and drive many hours and voila! My real friend. Are things beyond our current technology real? Was infrared real before we made the instruments that could detect it? How about ultraviolet? Are the sounds outside our hearing range real sounds? If a tree falls in the forest and no human is around to detect it, does it make a sound?

Sounds outside our hearing range are real to dogs, but does that count? Is only what MY senses detect real? I mean, otherwise, I must rely on what other people tell me. Have other people ever told me things that are not true? I believe there are many real stars and they are really very far away. I believe that because others have told me. I believe many things for this reason, and so do you.

Some dismiss God as an “imaginary friend” because he is not real according to the limited materialist definition. They live, they claim, in a “reality-based” world unlike my self. Because they don’t detect God, does that make God un-real? Perhaps with the right “technology” they could detect God. Perhaps with an admission that they choose to believe most of what they believe, they could open their mind up to more reality.






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