I doubt that very much

gadandadamReligion. It’s a strange business. On other matters we are asked, are we for or against? But when it comes to God, we must answer, do we believe or not? How peculiar.

You might have thought that God would give us free will to choose Him or not. Instead He neglected to tell us clearly whether He even exists. It’s pure negligence. A shocking abdication of divine responsibility.

Why make belief an issue at all? If God existed, wouldn’t it be so much better if He appeared to us, leaving no doubt about his existence?

I don’t mean appearing in a dream or a vision. I mean on CNN or the Jerry Springer show. He could pop in at the end of the programme on his fiery chariot and forgive the guests. Or smite them down like sinners, depending on whether it’s an Old or New Testament kind of day.

People could ask him questions. “Which side do you take in this war, God?” or “God, is Obamacare really the spawn of Satan?”

Then we would know. It would be up to us to decide if we were for or against Him.

Why the doubt? Why make people like me, who want so much to do the right thing, turn away from God and embrace other ways of thinking about the world instead?

If God were real, why would He do that?

29 responses to “I doubt that very much

  1. This is precisely the story that has wandered through my head for years, Steve … but you got it exactly right. In one of my novels, a character says, “If God existed, don’t you think he would have written his holy book in one accessible language, like Greek or Latin, and given it to everyone at the same time. You know, you wake up and there it is on the table.’ bravo

  2. abnormallydesigned

    Great post! I can’t say that I have all the answers, but I’ve been thinking a lot about this as well lately. My mother is strongly religious, and occasionally encourages me to go to church with her. I think it’s great that people can find hope and positivity through religion like my mother has!

    Though for me, I always found it challenging to have faith in something I can’t see. Not trying to say this to offend anyone, but it kind of reminds me of the things we believed in growing up as children. We believed there was a Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, etc. I found those things weren’t real in my childhood, and it tends to make me wonder the same things about our god(s) watching over us, because I’ve never witnessed it.

    What I do believe is that there is a “god” within all of us that we need to find in order to feel compassion, forgiveness and care for the people around us, but I’m not so sure about the idea of one God watching over all of us. I guess we will never truly know what the truth is until the day we die.

    • The thing about faith is that we can choose either to believe or not. It’s a reflection of our own personality and predispositions rather than anything external. With other fields of knowledge, we can be persuaded by evidence or debate. With faith, none of that counts.

      So it doesn’t matter whether God exists or not. If he doesn’t show himself, then he’s irrelevant. Until you die, lol.

  3. It has been said that it’s not god who created man in his image, but man who creates god in his. It makes sense then why our gods are so flawed.

    • Some of our gods are very flawed indeed, like the Greek gods! All told we have created thousands of gods, and that stands as a huge monument to human imagination and our deep desire to find explanations for the world.

  4. Oh, if only all religious people thought just this much deeper about their faith.

    First, I think we have to wonder why God (I almost wrote “He”!, LOL) created the world in the first place. And then why did he put us in it? Are we the only moral animals? But I diverge…

    Let’s presume that God created the world to be a sort of moral school. To teach us life lessons and build our moral character. Then, this little situation will help me explain his absence. Go back to when you were a little boy. You are in the kitchen and you want a cookie. But Mom making dinner. “No, you can’t have a cookie so close to dinner, it will spoil your appetite.” Would you just go take one anyway? Oh, but now she forgot an important ingredient and has to run off to the store. She’s gone! There are the cookies. Could I get away with it? Would she ever know? Is she right that it would ruin my appetite? I know my apetite better than her! Now you get to exercise sense of right and wrong. What would we ever learn from our struggles with God hanging out right in our face all the time?

    • When a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis it already knows how to fly. Why does morality need to be learned, if it is God-given?

      Perhaps because, like language and other higher skills, it is something that humans invented for themselves?

  5. very common question … if god created the universe, then who created God? i do not consider God who was introduced to us by the prophets in the bible (very wise people) but rather created for the needs of the human mind without a doubt very simple in its action… if there is a real God… because in the bible is only the image of imagination and vanity of the human mind where exactly was created for our needs! God cannot exist only just to indicate a man’s life goals… that showed us how to live! if there is a god who created our universe… isn’t from the bible who did it in six days… in this regard, the “real” God is something even more mysterious than our universe… our doubts don’t have any meaning for God and only the biblical God has endowed us with free will!

    • Yes, the Christian God, like the Greek and Roman gods is portrayed as a human with motives that are not completely alien to human ones. If there really is a god who created the universe through the Big Bang and then waited 14 billion years for intelligent life to evolve, that would be a very different kind of god.

  6. you say: “Religion. It’s a strange business.”

    I’ll say, religious-ness is difficult to discover as an individual that is disconnected from a loving community in practice of religion. Further, there are few places to turn where a person may find the spiritual solutions for living in a secular world.

    However, as deciding upon a belief; our little yes is important, yet, what we believe about what God may be is not of concern to others really. No matter what my belief is, you would still have to decide for yourself what you believe. As it sems, perhaps even in the cosmic sense, God’s plans for us are not easy to discern without access to God’s directions for living. All is in motion and all is said to be known by the One God. In Christian scripture, even Jesus, himslef the Christ (God the Son), the source for Christian worship practices (so they report) said regarding the future, “I do not know.” when asked about God’s timing for future events and the time of the end of world that is to be destroyed (“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” from Matthew 24:35) — and “only GOD Almighty Knows.” see Matthew 24:36 (NIV)… “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

    There are many questions that come up in proper Christian training and if one were to actually do his part to investigate Christ and Christian beliefs, the proper method is to seek from Christian elders the training that is necessary.

    Philosophical reading is not study of Christian God.

    All the logic in the universe that a man may apply may take a person to one side or the other of spiritual understanding. Decide to make progress to believe in God or decide to make progress to turn away. We cannot stay in the middle ground because there is nothing to stand on in the middle ground. We cannot stay long in the unbelief because perceptions are not unchangingly real. Perceptions change. Man’s perception is all that – unreal – compared to God unchanging.

    Spiritual understanding places a person in the presence of spiritual help for the good or spiritual help for the pains of disbelief. It takes getting some to get some more.

    Disbelief is very difficult – resistance requires tremendous use of energy.

    Christian beliefs on the other hand energize the believers. Even Christian elders sometimes forget this basic Christian training. I’ve been involved with a half dozen training programs due to my own circumstances. All of these offered spiritual training that will almost always bring a believer to a deep understanding of God and to a point where surrender to God’s will is the best decision to make. From that point forward, a Christian lives in faith. Before this, there is only trust of loved ones and leaders to get us through the questions and into the faith beliefs.

    Believers give love knowing this is what is best for us. We cannot direct God’s will and actually that seems juvenile to conceive that God ought do this or that and be this or that way.

    • Thank you for taking the time to make such a detailed reply, Eric. I think you have explained the process of faith rather well. If I may borrow an analogy from science – a magnet – you describe a process where if one is a long way from the magnet, one will not be attracted to it, but the closer one gets, the greater the attraction.

      I personally don’t find it at all difficult to remain far from the magnet. Also, from my vantage I see many different magnets, all exerting strong attractions on those close to them. Even if I wanted to become a believer, I would face the question – why this magnet and not that one? Why Christianity and not Buddhism or Islam or Judaism? Why not the religion of the ancient Greeks or the Egyptians or the Aztecs? Why not paganism or some New Age cult? Why not … I think you get the idea.

      • The magnet isn’t my analogy.
        The greater faith, the greater love isn’t similar to magnets… unless you want it to be so. If you were speaking of your faith and that made sense to you – fine.
        The point is, it takes faith to build faith. Finding it is a task. The lost and hopeless folks tend to come to belief quickly not because they get it poured into them – the God essence is there already – it’s in everything because God is the source of everything. The lost and hopeless find faith because they want it. Once they get some they grow every day I more and stronger faith if they do something to make progress.
        From your last paragraph, I understand it that you don’t want faith.

        • I think we all want faith. We are all seeking meaning in life and some certainty that what we believe is built on secure foundations. For me, religion doesn’t offer that security, because the foundations look very shaky to me.

  7. If God appeared on TV, that would be some sort of hallucination or a hoax. I wouldn’t believe it, for sure. How do we know or believe things that we don’t see or not sure of? That’s the real question. The idea of God is useful to understand ourselves, in the first place.

  8. “Thanks, Matt. I was hoping to goad some of my Christian blog followers into replying 🙂 ”

    I’m not following the need to get a Christian involved here really.

    you say: “I think we all want faith. We are all seeking meaning in life and some certainty that what we believe is built on secure foundations. For me, religion doesn’t offer that security, because the foundations look very shaky to me.”

    Steve; put religion aside at first. There are countless religions that offer services of various kinds. A religion is representative of a brand of worship. We didn’t get to worship yet.

    Is there a God? Are there gods?
    Did aliens bring life and technology here and then manipulate life on Earth?
    Did a D-brane slip or burp or bump or whatever they theoretically do and thus cause a big bang?
    Is our universe the product of a black hole?
    Is it really that a big bang just banged for no reason?
    Is this a computer simulation?
    Are we really here?

    Is that what you wonder when you say faith ==> “Is there a best theory to pursue?”

    If a believer would take the time to explain what, who, where, why, when, how — he’d have his own blog and say “Click here Steve: http://hunt4truth.wordpress.com/

    ~ Eric

    • Ha! Well replied, Eric. You know that I read your blog. We are both on the same journey, and perhaps even headed in the same direction, but are on different places along the path. Perhaps not so different.

  9. Oh boy, now that is really opening a can of worms. God actually did send proof of his existence. he sent us his son Jesus Christ. He performed miracles. We put him on a cross and stoned him to death. God brought him back to life to prove there is life after death. Faith is believing in something you can’t see. I can’t see the air I breathe but I know it is there. I find it rather interesting that there is so much written about trying to prove that God doesn’t exist. If he doesn’t,why do you need to speak of it at all?

    • People believe in a lot of things – that a UFO crash-landed at Roswell, that Elvis lives, and that water fluoridation is a government conspiracy intended to lower peoples IQ – and they can point to “evidence”. But it isn’t the kind of evidence that a scientist would accept.

      It seems to me that people believe whatever they want to. I try to gently debunk myths on this website. I am not specifically against Christians, and I am certainly not against the teachings of Jesus.

  10. Fair enough, you are certainly entitled to your opinions, as Am I. Core beliefs are touchy topics to debunk. It is quite like asking the question, are gay people choosing to be gay or do they just believe they are gay? that may spark quite a debate. Naturally they would feel the need to defend their core beliefs. Having said this, I do understand these topics make for great debates on your website however some things run a little too deep and perhaps better left alone. That is just my opinion and it would not sit well for me to not debunk” the myth that my father doesn’t exist. This does not affect how I feel about your writing and your website. I find it well written and I enjoy it, well most of it.

    • Thank you Shelley, and of course everyone is entitled to their beliefs. Beliefs fascinate me in fact. I never aim to offend or hurt anyone. Just to tickle gently 🙂

  11. Amen, ha ha!

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