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20 Comments

  1. It seems that there is so much discussion regarding the nature of God; does a God exist; can a God exist. It would seem that the answers to these questions are quite simple and are dependent on one’s personal belief. If there is indeed a supernatural, infinite being how can we with natural and finite minds expect to express any reasonable explanation. Was Jesus divine or created for example. The mainstream Christian doctrine is that he was divine; a part of the Godhead. However, if God is indeed all powerful and not bound by the constraints of space and time, could He not therefore create an additional part of the Godhead? It simply comes down to a matter of what one chooses to believe. This line of reasoning could be substantially extended but it will end here. Although it seems obvious to me that there is a God, compassion for all living creatures under ALL circumstances is the only way to find peace in this life and perhaps a next life. By compassion I refer to a strong feeling of sympathy or sorrow for the misfortune of others. At times we are not able to act on this compassion. At others we may be forced into a situation that may even increase another’s sorrow or misfortune. Neither of these should be used as reasons to withhold our compassion.

  2. Hi Chooley, thanks for visiting and making a comment. I think there is so much discussion because (1) many people want to know what’s true, but can’t find enough certainty, and (2) many other people think they know and have strong opinions about it.

  3. Thanks for that correction. I had it right in the text, but didn’t notice I’d mistyped in the intro. Glad someone was reading carefully!

  4. A long time ago, my cousin and her husband and her two babies perished in a house fire. My cousin was found with the two babies in her arms just a few steps away from the front door. As a clergyman, I was asked to give the eulogy. Rather than share happy memories, which seemed would trivialize what had happened, I tried to tackle the problem of evil head on.

    I said essentially two things. One was that evil was somehow wrapped up with the mystery of creation, that perhaps for God to create something outside Himself He had to create something totally different from Himself, opposite of Himself. Thus, the personal God created a largely impersonal universe. The purposeful God created randomness, arbitrariness, etc. Essentially what I tried to say was that a key of understanding creation may lie in the thought that God was so powerfully self-contained, with all of His divine attributes, that the only thing He could create was something unlike Himself. Thus with the gift of individual life, of being in some sense separate from God as his creation, came suffering and death, random and arbitrary, as inherent consequences.

    The second thing I said was that it was, for many like myself, the unspeakable tragedies like this house fire that compelled rather than repelled belief in God. Only God could set something like this right. It would take God to redeem the senseless death of this beautiful young family and the endless, countless instances of unendurable pain and suffering that humanity has suffered since creation. For some of us at least, these tragedies drive us to God, not away from Him. It’s believe or harden your heart or go mad.

    The eulogy was of some comfort to my relatives, so I’m glad God gave me the strength to give it. Whether the theology is sound or not is another thing.

  5. Hi Newton, that’s a very sad story. I think you are onto something in saying that anything God creates is not God and therefore limited and at least potentially faulty. And also that, in the end, belief makes sense of things in one way better than any other view, even if it can’t explain why. Thanks for the thoughts.

  6. For the past month; I’ve been struggling with my very first crisis of faith. As a ‘cradle Catholic’, I always thought I had it easy. People had to struggle to find belief; while they came ‘easily’ to me.
    Thankfully, seems I’m forced to fight for my belief in God.

    This page; by summing up everything quite simply and nicely; and keeping out the atheistic hate vitriol; really helped me in the closing stages of my crisis.
    Here’s hoping I can go back to my fruitful spiritual life sooner rather than later.

    Much thanks for your hard work!

  7. Hi Emmanuel,

    Thanks for your kind comments. I’m so glad you found this page helpful. I too hope you can find answers to the dilemmas you are facing. Please feel free to comment or discuss anything that would be helpful.

  8. Hello,
    I grew up in the Catholic church, but at age 15, I reasoned my way out of it. I was the only person I knew who did not believe in God. I have never found anyone who can justify their belief in God. I have browsed through the arguments here, and they seem quite week. I don’t think not having a complete explanation for the first 1/100,000,000 … seconds of the Universe leads to the necessary existence of the God of the Bible.
    The problem with all of the apologists that I have come across is that they throw up straw men and then tear them down with paper thin arguments.
    So…. I am looking for someone to actually engage in a discussion about their belief in God, on a rational level. You can reply to my email if interested.

  9. Hi Robert, thanks for reading and for leaving a comment.

    I’m sorry you found the reasons I have given for believing in God to be quite weak. I did the best I could, and I find them quite convincing. I guess, as the cliche goes, one man’s meat is another’s poisson!

    I would be happy to discuss some of these matters with you, to see whether we can find some common ground, or at least understand each other. I will email you as you suggest. Thanks.

  10. If there is a creation ,undoubtedly there should be a creator..To put it succintly man is the creation of god.Is there god -the statement is shallow and does not deserve any worthwhile comment for the simple reason that god exists in our midst in various forms of worship.Some call it nature, certain others worship the human form of god and some others adopting idol less form of obeisance.Many of them through prayers and worship of their chosen god get immense peace and bliss.We have to experience it before we talk about the existence of god or not. In this problem ridden world the only recourse to surmount this grave problems facing man is divine peace and happiness-k.mohan

  11. Thanks for allowing me here to express my mind. You are skewing the war numbers by almost 100%! Nice try! Religion is the single worst thing in the world!!!!! I am not saying if there is a god or not, or several! Doesn’t matter! And if you think it does, you are only proving my point more…Those (fill in the blank religion other than your own) are ruining the world! If you do believe god’s word, then start following the golden rule instead of racist crap! I am getting really tired of this, and might start disassembling this planet if you all don’t come to your senses! Signed, I Might Be God!

  12. Hi, thanks for your comment, I really appreciated the thoughts and the humour!

    I’m not sure what you mean by “skewing the war numbers by almost 100%”, but if you are referring to the page on religious wars, then it is based on good research by experts. If it was different to your perception or expectation, then that is what research is for!

    But I agree with your preference for “golden rule” rather than “racist crap”, so we are on the same page there.

  13. Yes. Is God the perception of what everyone religious system has presented? I don’t think so. I think all of these systems (and so, all of us) have gotten it wrong. I don’t think we can truly fathom God in our minds so we justify what God must be in order for us to be able to “explain”, to “present”, to “relate” to. I’ve gone back to the rudimentary questions and am trying to find responses without the preconceived doctrine of man-influenced documentation in the hopes that God will want to participate in the discovery (although one of my points is ‘why should God want or need to interact with us in the first place?’

  14. Hi Jack, thanks for your thoughts and questions. I’m happy to offer a few responses.

    I don’t think we can discover a lot about God ourselves. We lack a scientific (or any other) method to investigate God. I think there is enough evidence in the world and the universe to show that a creator God is behind all we see, but that only gives us a limited amount of information. After that, we need to find out if God has taken steps to tell us more about himself.

    I think he has. I agree that human thought too easily interferes with what God is saying to us, but I think we have enough information to speak with some confidence.

    And yes, it is rather amazing that God would want to interact with us, but our amazement is probably an indication of how we need to learn more about God.

    That’s how I see it.

  15. God is known in the at-One-ment (Union with Brahman) event, which is transpersonal; supramental, and given only to those who merit it-hence very rare. This is the ‘Enlightenment’ event, unknown to Buddhists but known to Hindus.
    Most minds are neurologically closed to Spiritual truth because of unavoidable infant/childhood trauma. When the mind (=Pandora’s box) opens following a great deal of work there is direct contact with Angels; Cherubs, and nominally deceased humans.
    Cherubs express pure joy as a primary emotion.
    There is Freudian denial of childhood trauma and Spiritual truth, raised to a societal level.

  16. My own simple, if not simplistic thoughts on God, are as follows:

    From a Western philosophical view I am a panentheist.
    Panentheism holds that God is both “here” (immanent) and “more than here” (transcendent).

    From an Eastern mystical and personal faith perspective I am a Jodo Shinshu/Shin Buddhist, for whom Amitabha Buddha is the ultimate reality, savior, and “Enlightener”.

    Having said that, then …

    I deny that “God” is a creator and/or an intervener.
    Not having created the world, God is not responsible for its existence or its maintenance.

    Corollary A: God – because God is not a creator or physical interventionist in the world – can neither be praised for the world’s goodness nor blamed for its deficiencies.

    Corollary B: Petitionary prayer, inasmuch and insofar as it seems to mostly function as a reminder to an omniscient deity of “His”(“Hers” / “Its”) business – and because it putatively expects a miraculous intervention by said deity – is inept.

    (If memory serves, it was Paul Tillich who said that the only legitimate form of prayer ought to be thought of, and expressed in, the words: “Thy will be done”.)

    The late atheist social critic Gore Vidal wrote:

    “God, or what have you, is not to be found at the far end of a syllogism, no matter how brilliantly phrased”.

    Thus – to my view – represents the philosophical deity’s irrelevance.
    Philosophy – depending on the particular school – both affirms and denies God. The God affirmed or denied by philosophy can always, only, be the abstract God of the intellect.

    For me, this only leaves mystical experience as an avenue to God, i.e., to God as an object not of science, faith, and philosophy, but rather as an object of immediate personal experience, as is claimed to occur in divine communion and divine union forms of mysticism.

    The advantage of this view is that a person can claim a “Gnostic” personal encounter with God or the Spirit / or the Holy / or the Ultimate /or the Tao, etc., which is unmediated by any stand-between such as a prophet, priest, pastor, sage, church, temple, or scripture.

    Its disadvantage, of course, is that such a God-union cannot be proved, since it is utterly subjective. It can be indicated, and any methods that led to it can be shared. But each seeker must follow the quest solitary and alone. No one can do it for him or her. Which fact shows how essentially ludicrous is the demand, “Show me your God!”, since the “showing” (more akin to a “private revelation”) can only be a private, subjective personal experience, but never a material object or process that can be publicly quantified by pointing to it and shouting, “See? There it is!”

    It is my contention that the entire modern God-debate could be moved to a more mature and pragmatic “playing field” if it could but move beyond the notion that for God to be real – for God to be God – God _must_ be creator/intervener.

    Limiting God to being a creator/intervener keeps the discussion on the (in my view) rather puerile level of doubters thinking that they have disproved God when they claim to have invalidated a cosmic creator/intervener – – and of believers thinking that they have proved God when they claim to have validated a creator/intervener … when, in reality, God just might be very different and much greater than a mere maker of, and tinkerer with, material objects and processes.

  17. Hi Steve, thanks for setting out your views. There is much there we might disagree on, but also some foundational ideas where we might have something in common. I would like to explore the latter for a moment.

    I think I understand your ideas on “immediate personal experience”, and how this can have both advantages and disadvantages.

    Have you written about your own immediate personal experience on your blog, so I could read about it, or do you regard it as impossible to explain?

    Secondly, I wonder why you think immediate personal experience should be the only way of knowing the divine, why you reject more objective ways of knowing God? After all, we are in contact via the internet because of objective realities (I presume you believe you and I and the internet are objectively real?), so why couldn’t God relate to us that way as well as via immediate personal experience?

    Interested in your thoughts.

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