Israel, Tel Aviv. A few years ago, I took a taxi.
The [male] driver did not wear a “Kippah”. There were no religious papers visible around. Not even the common religious stickers you can find on many cars in Israel. The busy Ayalon Highway 20, however, inevitably established the necessary atmosphere for a driver-passenger conversation.
The conversation started, as conversations do, with trivial matters: “Look how this idiot is driving”, “A few years ago I dated the daughter of…”, and also: “When will there be a subway in Tel Aviv” – “Never mind, it won’t run in weekends anyway”.
The Tel Aviv subway, not yet born but already doomed to not work on weekends – was an excellent bridge between the sacred and the profane. And it was the driver who crossed that bridge first:
“In the end we all die, and our souls ascend to the Heavens.”
“It is more accurate to say that the Heavens descend and enters our ‘soul’ while we’re still alive,” said I, semi-automatically.
“Don’t you believe in God?” asked our driver.
“It depends on what you mean when you say ‘God’. For example, I believe in Einstein’s God,” I began with a philosophical explanation about the laws of nature, Einstein, and Spinoza.
“Do you have other friends who think like you?” He was interested.
“Sure, a lot,” I said.
“And your wife, she also doesn’t believe in God?” the driver asked in apparent disbelief.
“And your children?”
“And aren’t you afraid that after you die, you’ll reach the Heavens and find out you were wrong?”
“And maybe you are wrong? Aren’t you afraid of that?”
“You talk nonsense. So how were you created? Who created us?”
“I personally was created by my parents…” I said innocently, trying to avoid a doomed-to-fail conversation about reproduction and survival of organisms.
But the man who is amazed by nature insisted:
“You don’t understand. We are so complex! There’s no way all of this was created by itself. God created us, and then chose our people…”
“Everything is relative. We are complex in relation to what we can perceive. That is why we invent all kinds of gods and other stories, to solve things for ourselves. And this is also what we are being taught since we are children, so altogether it works out beautifully in our minds. If your God created all these complex things, he must be even more complex, right?” – I tried to cram half a year of messages into one sentence, as the sight of the house was getting closer.
He took some time out to think, and maybe also to look for a parking place. we arrived and temporarily returned to reality: Money, receipt, you know.
“Thank you, goodbye,” I said.
“There is a God in heaven, and he created us, and our souls will go back to Him,” the right-emotional part of his brain finally won.
“Whatever you say, just drive carefully!” I said goodbye to the relatively-secular Israeli driver.