God is just a mental construct? No paycheck for you then


I have to laugh when atheists dismiss God as “just a mental construct.” God is just something you made up in your head,” they say, ” your imaginary friend,” implying that anyone who believes such things is  childish. They claim that THEY only rely on truth, which they limit to hard, scientific evidence.

This is utter nonsense on so many levels, but let’s talk about mental constructs. I have never been to Africa, but I hold a mental construct of a big chunk of landscape between the Atlantic and the Indian oceans. The evidence I have for this is other people’s words, verbal and written. Sure verbal and written words can be wrong, but I choose to believe that Africa exists and looks like the part of map on my wall labeled “Africa.” Furthermore, I have mental constructs of the Congo River, exotic wildlife, various tribal groups and the Kalahari desert. My imaginary continent, I guess, just a mental construct, because I’ve never been there.


I maintain that all the best things like love, truth and beauty-are abstract, mental constructs-and they are real. You can’t put love on a microscopic slide or measure beauty in a beaker. But they are REAL. If you want to be such a objectivist puritan that you reject love, truth and beauty because they are mental constructs, then I feel sorry for you.

And it gets even worse. “Three” is an abstract mental construct, like all numbers. Sure, it stands for “three” things, but the number by itself is a mental construct. If you wish to reject three on the grounds that it is an abstraction, good luck in math class.

Even closer to home, “money” is an abstract, mental construct. We may think of coins or the green folding stuff people used to carry in their wallets as money, but even those stood for something else and their value lay solely in the fact that people believed they had value. We still do; if we ever stop believing, the jig is up. And even those tokens of the abstract mental construct have dissolved into direct deposit of our paychecks-digits whizzing through cyberspace and landing in our bank accounts.

And we are perfectly OK with that faith-based system; because everything we think is a mental construct. Of course, if you reject money because it is a mental construct, then no paycheck for you. Your boss will have to deliver an equivalent number of goats to your doorstep every pay day, because goats are “real” and money is not.



  1. Excellent post!

    No I won’t feel so guilty about something so normal, healthy and useful going on in my head.

    Also, I have found that atheists couldn’t care less about authentic, modern scientific discoveries that actually prove the existence of God.

  2. If your christian beliefs work for you, that’s wonderful!

    However I don’t think the examples you’ve given of mental constructs are very good. Africa is not a mental construct because evidence exists for it being there…it exists whether you believe it’s there or not (while there is no map with god on it). Your example of money doesn’t work either, because money is a thing you can hold in your hand and exchange for goods (which you can’t do with god). You made the argument for the number three for me.

    Love and beauty are subjective and depend on the eye of the beholder. People are allowed to disagree about what those things are, but people are not allowed to disagree with christian dogma.

    Truth is something that a court of law demands evidence to prove, and science also demands evidence for it’s claims of truth. There is no evidence for god except your mental construct, which exists in your own head.

    I’m an atheist…go ahead and feel sorry for me, I don’t mind. I love all people, including christians, and including you. ❤

    1. Thanks for the love-truth is, we live on mental constructs and limiting reality to what our senses can detect seems very impoverished and silly to me. Best wishes, Je’

  3. “I have never been to Africa, but I hold a mental construct of a big chunk of landscape between the Atlantic and the Indian oceans. The evidence I have for this is other people’s words, verbal and written.” Have you ever met anyone who has been to Africa, has lived in Africa? Have you ever seen a documentary that was filmed in Africa or pictures of people in Africa? Have you ever gone to a zoo and seen African elephants or lions or other African wildlife? What about pictures of the pyramids, the Sphinx, the African desert, the Nile River? Have you ever heard of Nelson Mandela?

    You may never have been to Africa and perhaps your “mental construct” of Africa is made up of impressions from what people have said about it or written about it or from movies you’ve seen. But Africa is not a mental construct. It’s exists in reality.

    Have you ever met anyone who has been to heaven? Or hell? Anyone who has resided there? Have you ever seen a documentary filmed in heaven or hell, or photographs of it? Can you point it out to me on a map? What is its topography? Its geology?

    Your analogy here is ludicrous. You talk about Africa as your imaginary continent, just a mental construct, because you’ve never been there. Okay, have you ever been to heaven or hell? And yet you believe those places are real. Apparently you have more faith in the existence of heaven than you do in the existence of Africa.

    Good luck with that.

    1. Did I say anything about heaven and hell? Or about the existence of God? You are jumping to the conclusion that everyone who believes in God holds certainties about conditions in an afterlife-then challenging what I did not even mention.

      The fact is that what we claim to KNOW is from other people’s testimonies or sense experience (he told me, I read it, I saw it) all of which can be wrong. Yet we go on holding beliefs anyway and are rational to do so.

      1. Well, congratulations on your first step to insanity, because nothing else lies that way. If you want to believe that, then you don’t even know that the world actually EXISTED five minutes ago. You have memories, true, even evidence… But NOTHING can prove to you that the world was NOT created exactly five minutes ago, with all the evidence and your memories included.

        So, if you want to go that way, ok, feel free, but as long as you don’t consider it possible that aliens might abduct you tomorrow moring for your underpants, I call hypocrisy.

      2. What an irrational diatribe. My position is that you do NOT KNOW there is no God. And you do not. Try opening your mind a crack.

      3. I also don’t know that there is no flying inivisible pink unicorn. So what? I also don’t know that there aren’t any fairies. So what? It does not change anything. I will not put milk out for your potential fairies. I will not wear a helmet in case of low flying unicorns. Can you guess what else I don’t?

  4. If you’re not already in the pretzle business, you should be. You’re a natural. Let’s all just forget about the fact that money is simply used as a standard representation of something else so that goods and services can be exchanged more conveniently.

    1. I love pretzels, especially those big, soft one they sell on NY City streets. But I noticed they want money, not goods and services. Money is convenient and keeps working as long as we believe it represents something. Faith-based tokens. However, I’m all for barter when possible.

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