11. Finding God in everyday life

November 13th, 2019

What this page is about

We have seen that some people appear to have experienced God through a healing, a vision or other “peak” experience. But what of the rest of us, who haven’t had such an experience? Does God communicate in more “ordinary” ways? Does this make a difference in people’s lives?

In this post we’ll look at people from many different backgrounds who found that God entered their lives in unexpected ways, providing help, guidance and the ability to make positive changes.

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12 reasons to believe in God

July 25th, 2019

It’s an age-old question. Is there really a God?

But it’s also a modern question.

Most cultures have evolved with a religion. For those living in that culture, believing in that religion was part of life. Not really to be questioned all that much.

But in modern western cultures at least, we have moved beyond blind acceptance, believing by faith in what has been passed down to us.

We demand evidence. We ask for proof. We need reasons.

12 reasons: evidence from an inquisitive life

I am a child of that modern quest for answers with substance.

I wasn’t raised with a strong belief, but for half a century I have searched out and questioned the evidence for God. I have rejected some beliefs and some reasons and accepted others.

I don’t believe there is proof of God, any more than there is proof of very much in life.

But I have concluded that God exists and he has left us clues to him being there and being interested in us. I believe we can follow the clues if we are interested, and find the answers. Answers that ring true and are satisfying.

None of my 12 reasons are new. Few of them are compelling on their own. But they are personal to me, for I have read, pondered, searched and discussed each one of them. And together they give me good reason to believe in God and to find in him purpose and meaning.

I share them hoping that you’ll also find them cumulatively helpful.

12 reasons: the series

So over the next weeks and months I’ll be trying to condense this evidence down to 12 short outlines, each with follow-up reading if you are interested.

What’s not to like?

But wait, there’s more!

After I’ve completed this series, I’ll have a look at reasons NOT to believe in God.

Begin the series

1. Why does the universe exist?

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Stereoscopic vision and God

December 17th, 2018

Stereoscopic vision is a useful and subtle aspect of how we, and some animals, see. Because our two eyes both face the front (unlike some animals and insects whose eyes face more left and right), they both see similar but subtly different views. For example, if two objects are in line, one behind the other, our left eye will see the object furthest away slightly to the left, while the right eye sees it slightly to the right.

The brain is able to notice this difference, and correctly infer that the distance to the rear object is greater. Without this stereoscopic vision it would be harder to estimate how far away objects are, and whether they are moving towards us, or away.

You see this in this stereo photo of a man in a narrow laneway. The two pictures are almost the same, but the left photo (which is what the left eye would see) shows more of the lane to the left of the man (as we see it) than what the right photo shows.

Award-winning physicist Aron Wall observes that knowing God may require something analogous to stereoscopic vision.

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Suspended between belief and disbelief

December 10th, 2018

Over the years I’ve talked to a number of people who find themselves unable to commit to belief in God, but equally unable to reject belief. They say they would like to believe, for they cannot think atheism is true, but they find themselves unable to give assent to a particular religion or set of beliefs about God. God may be there, somewhere, but maybe she’s unknowable? We can be sure of scientific information, they may think, but spiritual matters are somehow beyond our ability to know.

For some, their belief can depend on their mood or circumstances – some days they believe, some days they doubt.

I was wondering if there is any way forwards for these people when I realised there are at least some things they do feel we can know. Radical doubt doesn’t necessarily permeate their lives, it may only cripple their ability to feel sure about God, and it may only be temporary.

And that started me thinking ….

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Atheism vs religion: is there a scientific explanation for why we believe or disbelieve?

July 9th, 2018

Last post I looked at the differences between scientific thinking and religious thinking, at least as one social scientist sees it.

But where does religious thinking come from? Religious belief has been an important component in virtually every culture in human history. Why is this so?

Social scientists have studied this question extensively. Whether you believe in God, as I do, or you don’t, their conclusions help us understand religious belief and disbelief.

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Experiencing God?

April 9th, 2018

Many people claim to have experienced God directly in some way. They claim to have seen a vision, or received divine healing, or they have had some deep spiritual experience, or God has turned their lives around in some way. They come from different religions, even from no religion and atheism. Sometimes the experience changes their lives completely, sometimes not so much.

The interesting question, of course, is whether God is really the origin of their experience, or not. If so, then life takes on a different meaning. But even if these experiences have natural causes, they are still of great interest to psychologists.

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The doubt that breathes beside you

March 10th, 2018

People move into and out of faith. Probably most of us stay with the religious beliefs we form in our late teens, but a fair number change their basic belief somewhat later.

These changes in belief can be difficult to make and to carry through. But probably nothing is more difficult than when one partner in a close relationship changes their previously deeply held belief and the other does not.

Blogger, author, wife and christian, Stina Kielsmeier-Cook, has given us in The Doubt that Breathes Beside You a beautifully written and heart-breaking story of her experience when her formerly zealous christian husband decided he could no longer believe.

Whether you are a believer or a non-believer, I think you will find her reflections memorable and touching.

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God 0 – atheism 5 ?

February 8th, 2018

We all like to think we’re right in our beliefs, whether it be about God, politics or how our football team can play better. The interesting thing is how strongly we can disagree.

A while back I came across an old newspaper column by an atheist, titled The five best reasons not to believe in God, a clever title because it implies that the author has many other reasons not to believe, but he’s just giving us the best ones.

So I was interested to check it out to see how good the best reasons were. Is it really God 0 – atheism 5?

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“I don’t set much store by signs and wonders, but ….”

November 12th, 2017

Aussie novelist Tim Winton is without doubt my favourite writer. I especially love That Eye the Sky, a novel of a family that is put under pressure by a serious car accident, and finds relief in unexpected places. It has been made into a film and two stage plays.

And it turns out that so much of the storyline is taken from real events when Tim was just a boy, something that was maybe miraculous, and which made a deep impression on him and his whole family

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