“Reality is merely an illusion, although a very persistent one”      –              Albert Einstein

Juxtaposing God and reality is one of the popular statements of the day. God is un-visible and therefore, the argument goes, not a reality. However, before we commit ourselves to this statement too quickly; let us, for a moment, think what reality is.

The term “reality” originates in the Late Latin word realis which refers even further back to res; which might be translated with a thing or object or a matter, affair or circumstance. It was only in 1597 that the meaning of “actually existing” and in 1647 that “real existence” was ascribed to the word reality. Before these dates reality wasn’t purely used in terms of that which is visible.

Modernity seemed to coerce people into accepting the visible as the only reality and that scientific proof is the golden definition of the visible. Proof of reality is however not as easy to come by as it sounds. Before scientific proof is accepted, as the last word on reality, we do have to question how we know that the world, as we experience it, is not a projection of the mind.

Do our bodies exist, do others exist, does the earth exist, do natural laws exist, do others have feelings, thought processes and experiences like ours and do we use language in the same way? These realities, which form the basis of our world and sciences, are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to proof. Using any of our senses as proof, results in a circle argument; very similar to the one religion is accused of.

The reality of the answers to these questions are not based on proof but on acceptance or faith, a throwback to the original meaning of the word reality; that which refer to an object, matter or circumstance of existence.

Each of us accepts the answers to these questions in different ways thus creating our perceptions and, as the saying goes, perception is reality. This makes it impossible for us not to acknowledge and respect each other’s realities and not to realize that Reality might be more than the sum of our realities.

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