I'm having trouble with a noun or metaphor that has the connotation of "definitely produce without exception." Below is the context.

"Note that the tendency to imbue the world with purposes per se is no _____ for belief in the existence of God but can easily set the ground for it because humans, as a species, are highly sensitive to the presence of agents in their environment."

For a sentence this long, it's tricky to write with phrases like "...per se is not able to produce the belief in..." or "per se will invariably lead to beliefs in..." Instead, something short and sweet (or even informal saying just to get the point across) probably works better.

A friend suggested "... per se is no magic brush for belief in the existence of God..." It sounds close to what I have in mind though is this metaphor well understood by everyone?

Thank you in advance!

  • Belief is not something that can be "produced" non-metaphorically. You've got the Factory metaphor already -- what more do you want? Commented Aug 19, 2018 at 21:36

2 Answers 2


Perhaps guarantee of rather than ____ for, possibly preceded by definite or inexorable.

Alternatively, inevitable precursor of

That said, I'd suggest a rewording of your sentence to say something like "A does not inexorably imply/dictate B", otherwise you risk people mistakenly reading your sentence as "A doesn't necessarily come before B" and thinking that B is going to happen, but A might not precede it. You want to say "A, which does exist, doesn't necessarily cause B" or "B is not always a consequence of known phenomenon A".

EDIT: inspired by Jason's answer inspired by this answer, "does not necessarily herald"

You want to say that the blowing of this horn does not necessarily imply Ragnarok, but the problem of metaphor is that people remember the most dramatic part of the image, which tends to be the result rather than the cause.


I think that magic brush can be taken in multiple ways, not all of which necessarily point directly to the meaning you're after.

But if you're open to metaphors (or at least poetic phrases) rather than direct words, I'm going to let myself be inspired by the other answer and suggest:

"... per se is no clarion call for belief in the existence of God..."


: a strong request for something to happen —usually singular • He used his speech to sound a clarion call for affordable health care. • the leader's clarion call to action


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.