The Barbershop – A Short Spiritual Story About God

Man in a barber shopA man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation and talked about so many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: I don't believe that God exists.

Why do you say that? asked the customer.

Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things.

The customer thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument. The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop. Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt. The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber: You know what? Barbers do not exist.

How can you say that? asked the surprised barber.

I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!

No! the customer exclaimed. Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside.

Ah, but barbers DO exist! That's what happens when people do not come to me.

Exactly! affirmed the customer. That's the point! God, too, DOES exist! Because people do not look to God for help is why there's so much pain and suffering in the world.

The author of this spiritual story is unknown and greatly appreciated. If you know who wrote this, or can provide a source that we can cite then please contact us and let us know!

If you liked this story, you'll love this! We've compiled a list of the top 10 spiritual stories that our readers love. You can read them here.

What Is the Spiritual Meaning of the “Man In the Barbershop” Story?

In the intricate dance of life's conversations, there emerge moments that serve as subtle mirrors reflecting the intricacies of our beliefs and perceptions. Such was the discourse between a man and a barber—a dialogue that ventured into the territory of faith, touching upon the question of God's existence.

The barber, with the certainty of his disbelief, presented a reasoning born from the observations of human suffering. He pointed to the myriad afflictions that marred the world—the sick, the abandoned, the suffering—as evidence against the existence of a benevolent deity. In his eyes, the presence of pain and anguish negated the possibility of a loving and omnipotent God.

The customer, enveloped in contemplative silence, chose not to engage in a dispute. Instead, he allowed the conversation to ebb away like a gentle tide, carrying with it the unspoken thoughts that swirled within him.

However, it was the encounter with a disheveled soul on the streets that stirred the embers of realization within him. Turning back to the barber, he wove a tale, an allegory that unraveled the depth of his newfound understanding.

He professed that barbers did not exist—a proclamation that stirred confusion in the barber. Yet, the customer clarified his statement, drawing a parallel between the presence of unkempt individuals and the belief in the existence of barbers. Barbers, he declared, exist, but their absence is felt when people fail to seek their aid.

In this poetic dance of analogy, the customer unveiled a truth resonating far beyond the realm of grooming. It was a reflection on the nature of belief—a tender exploration of the presence of the divine amidst the struggles of humanity.

He articulated that the existence of God isn't defined by the absence of suffering but by the choice to seek divine solace amid life's trials. The soul's unkempt state mirrored not the absence of the divine, but rather the consequences of failing to seek divine guidance and solace.

This story whispers a profound spiritual truth—that the presence of a higher power isn't negated by the existence of suffering. Instead, it beckons us to recognize that in the seeking, in the willingness to open our hearts to the possibility of divine guidance, lies the essence of faith and solace.

In the tapestry of existence, this narrative stands as an ode to seeking, to the gentle reminder that amid life's tribulations, the divine presence is felt most profoundly when we turn our gaze and open our hearts to its guiding light.

Personal Reflection Questions

Spiritual stories are an opportunity to reflect on your own life. Here are 10 questions you can use to go deeper with the teachings in this story:

  1. Perception and Reality: Reflect on the theme of perception in the story. How does the customer's interaction with the barber challenge preconceived notions, and how might this apply to your own judgments and beliefs about the world?
  2. The Limitations of Observation: Explore the limitations of observational reasoning highlighted in the story. How does the customer's argument about barbers not existing parallel our own limited understanding of higher forces or concepts like God?
  3. Empathy and Understanding: Consider the customer's shift in perspective after encountering the man on the street. How can empathy and understanding alter our views about the existence of certain phenomena, both in the story and in your own life?
  4. Judgment and Compassion: Reflect on the judgments made by both the barber and the customer. How do these judgments influence their perceptions? In your own life, are there instances where initial judgments have shaped your views without deeper consideration?
  5. The Unseen Work: Contemplate the metaphor of the barber as a representation of God. How might the unseen work of a higher power or force be at play in the world, despite our inability to directly witness it?
  6. The Role of Individual Choice: Explore the idea that barbers (and God) exist, but their impact depends on individuals seeking their services (or guidance). How does this notion relate to personal responsibility and the choices we make in seeking support or understanding?
  7. Suffering and Divine Presence: Delve into the connection between human suffering and the presence of God in the story. How might the customer's argument offer insights into the coexistence of pain and the potential for divine intervention in your own life?
  8. Seeking Guidance: Consider the customer's statement, “That's what happens when people do not come to me.” How does this apply to seeking guidance, whether from a barber or a higher power? Are there instances where seeking help could alleviate suffering in your life or the lives of others?
  9. Causation and Responsibility: Reflect on the idea that the existence of barbers (and God) is not invalidated by the existence of people with unkempt appearances. How does this notion challenge our understanding of causation and responsibility for our own well-being?
  10. The Power of Perspective: Contemplate the power of perspective in shaping beliefs. How does the customer's final affirmation, “That's the point! God, too, DOES exist!” highlight the transformative potential of altering one's perspective on the divine and its role in the world?