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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Why do I believe in God?

I believe in God because I have felt the presence of God. I have been moved by God while looking in to the eyes of the Elder at Chalice saying, "The body of Christ, the cup of Salvation." I have been moved by God when filling a water tank in the Sonoran desert. I have been moved by God when I spied an old friend at my father's funeral.

I recognize the presence of God with the same power of perception that shows me Love and Beauty. My physical senses provided the data, but Love and Beauty are present at another level of abstraction. The physical world is like a carrier wave; Love, Beauty, and God are like messages carried on it.

A radio signal can be fully described, in some sense, by a Time-Frequency or Time-Amplitude plot. But if there is a message encoded on the signal, then there is more to be known about the signal than the particular modulations of the frequency or amplitude.

Likewise, the human experience is more than a series of electro-chemical reactions. Life is different from non-life. To reduce all human existence down to the physical world leaves no room for the Soul which observes super-natural things like Love, Beauty and God. Now, there is no physical, or natural, evidence of supernatural things. But my explanation of a world that is more than the natural world better fits my experience than a world that is only physical.

Sam Harris recognizes the need to feed the soul, although he thinks irrational religions are not the way to do it. I've witnessed much suffering and loneliness among those who neglect their non-physical selves. But what about my friends who profess to only believe in the physical world, but are happy? It is a bit of a conundrum for me; as my faith is a conundrum for them.

4 comments:

Matt Dick said...

Thank you!

Luke said...

Jim, I don't comment a lot, but I do want you to know how much I love and appreciate the way you write about faith. I find it so helpful and informative as I try to wrestle with my own beliefs to hear your voice on this articulated so very well.

Medardthoughts said...

There is no denying that personal history has much to do with my belief in God. Certainty reigned through my early life through 50 some years. No questions, no reflection either. I saw God in the good thigs that happened. Erosion slowly crept in. Problems of evil, scientific insights, evolution, damning information, facts about institutions, and growing personal cynicism. Most corrupting was the change in understanding of what scriptures were and who Jesus was.
Now I am more content to be like William James describes and see something like light that seems to glow around a closed door. I see God now more in the alluring better part of mankind, the sense that goodness is real and taking all to a happiness in this life is where God is pulling. He/she is not some other really outside bully intruding into this world, but the world and God are one. God is the driving force for nobility, higher values...a kind of goal of evolution. God drags me kicking and screaming into a better place here on earth. A Penentheist. I have to admit that I have never been one to have clear thoughts.

Lin said...

Wellll, I suppose that first of all I believe in God because someone gave me the language to say it. Saying helps with the believing and vice versa.

I remember when I was about 5 years old, sitting at my father's desk (it used to be very large and has grown smaller in time). I was looking out the window at the bush that was growing by the front porch. That morning the Missouri sun was bright, and it played on the leaves, making some of them light and leaving others dark. My young mind was amazed by the contrasts, by the beauty of this element of creation. Suddenly acutely aware of the Mystery alive in what I beheld, I knew there was a God. Aside from what I had picked up while I played at church and listened to my Sunday school teacher -- on this day I knew -- I understood, felt, experienced -- God was there.

That impulse to affirm God's existence -- I've come to suspect that even without someone to give me God-language, I still would have, at some time, called it God.

I'm a little older now (though not at all more sophistocated). With some 55 years more experience, here is what I've noticed: there is something that keeps pushing, or beckoning, us forward. We humans exhibit so many inclinations to dart off in myriad directions, and for the life of me, I can't find a pattern in our behaviors. But then there's this thing that redirects us, like some kind of spiritual sonar. And we end up going in a direction that, frankly, I don't think we could have found on our own.

Laugh me off if you want to, but I believe in God because I just can't come up with any other name that could explain such nonsense.