I have an excellent book here in my library called "How Real is Real". It was one of my wife's Pscychology Textbooks. It seems that what is "Real" is more fluid and slippery than you think I.A.! This is not just philosophy of the "Yes Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus" type of thought. Reality consists of Loyalty, Patiotism, Fervor, (none of which is "real" in that you can touch or bottle it)and a host of other things. Party platforms, Official policies, racial hatred, religious distrust and Peer Pressure can be VERY real. Maybe even more "real" than Human Rights and Human Dignity. (or so says an elderly friend of mine who still carries the tattoos from Auchwitz on his thigh) Two people witness a great football game. Witness one says "it was a great game...boys mixed it up pretty good, coach rotated the players well, good strategy throughout." Witness number two says "It was a bloodbath...from the first smashed nose to the last twisted ankle, the poor youngsters were forced to hurtle their tender bodies over and over into a tangle of limbs." Yet both witnesses saw the SAME GAME! The "Reality" is not somewhere in the middle, the "reality" is in the perceptions of the individuals. Which witness would you want to control the funding for your football team? In my chosen profession, I do a LOT of acting, a lot of role playing. (I make suits of armour, and swords, and you can rent me to be a Knight for your grand opening! Yeah..really!) Many of the people I hang with have their reality blur...they start to believe that they are actually "Lord High Muckymuck" or whatever, and start acting that way in their day to day life. Actors who buy into their own media hype are more common than you think! The actor who played the Jesuit Priest at St. Marie Among the Hurons told me that playing the part of a priest affected him materially! Carl Sagan was appalled that twice as much money was spent in North America on Astrology than on Astronomy. The money IS certainly real! My friend Joan feels that money spent to elect the Liberal Party of Canada is just as well spent! (she is a rock solid Tory!)
So, MY reality is way different from YOUR reality. You don't have to believe something to be affected by it,(Auchwitz then and Iraq now) so it behooves one to be very cautious around those that do!
This is different I think from Jennifer's feeling that the God of her childhood seems to have changed materially, perhaps even vanished from her life. That God still exists for thousands of people (as she aptly points out) and their BELIEF can still affect her in countless ways. Although I don't know it for sure, it seems to me that withdrawal of support from church and family members would be only natural, and could be devestating if she was dependant of that support. Their reality has remained unchanged. Theirs is certainly the same unquestioning belief in God as a four year old has in Santa Claus. Stop believing in Santa Claus, life unfolds as it should....you STILL get the prezzies. However, stop believing in God, and your church kicks you out. So believe in reality all you want. So what is real?