Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Believing in God is totally nuts

It seems to me that believing in God is totally nuts.

I mean, it's totally nuts, isn't it? It sort of surprises me that "religious" people don't admit this, but talk like "oh yeah, this religion stuff totally makes sense, how silly to be an atheist."

But it really, absolutely doesn't make sense. I mean, "religious" people talk like there's this person in their life, who's in charge, and who has plans for them, and who they love, yet there's no one there. I mean, obviously there's no one there. This person is invisible and can't be seen or heard, you can't point to them, and say "there they are, let me introduce you to my friend God." There's no one there to be introduced to, no one to shake your hand, not a human, not an anything.

It seems to me that any person who is not insane has to admit that this is true. Trying to say, "oh no, you see, it's really logical to believe in God, and here is why" and then presenting some kind of philosophical argument is just missing the point. And is never going to convince anyone. Because you're talking like there's this person there, and there isn't, and that's just nuts. 

Some people might be convinced of some kind of Creator Intelligence (but not many), a very few really intellectual people might accept some kind of deeply philosophical definition of God. Some accept some very metaphorical and poetic definition. But these kinds of things really don't have much to do with the Living God that is worshipped and prayed to by believers.

It seems to me that the only intellectually honest thing to do is to say, "I know this sounds totally stupid, but I have discovered (and I am not the only one) that there is this quality of internal experience that feels like the presence of a living Someone." That is what I would say. In the depths of inner silence I encounter a Presence that feels like a Someone who loves me. Not only that, but the more I lean into this Presence, the more I trust them, and talk to them, and talk as if they are a real person in my life the more it feels like they are there, and they do love me, and the more I discover an inner sense of joy and peace.

Now, if I was the only one who felt this way, I would probably think there was something wrong with me. But guess what? There are millions (billions?) of people who feel pretty much the same, today, and in the past. Not only that, but we have discovered that if we lean in together to this Presence we discover something even deeper - a power that binds us together more deeply and commits us to live our lives more fully.

And yes, it's not always as simple as I've made it out here. Sometimes you lean in and the Presence doesn't feel like they are there. Sometimes it feels like Absence. And communities committed to being in the presence of the Presence are often deeply frustrating places that are dysfunctional and sometimes forget what they are there for. But there is enough of a scent, of a whiff of this divine reality that it (for the most part) seems to kind of work, if you keep coming back every week and every day.

In an ordinary way, I know, I know, it really doesn't make sense. And I can totally understand why someone would think this sounds like bullshit. I think that half the time too. But it really is true what Blaise Pascal once said, "Earthly things must be known to be loved; Divine things must be loved to be known." There is this quality of internal experience that leads you to God, it's not all thunderbolts and visions, but just a quiet deepening sense. And it really doesn't make sense unless you experience it yourself. But my belief is still that this is possible for every person.

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