Doubting God: A Spiritual Quest (and some definitions of the divine)
I’ve doubted God’s existence and came pretty close to not believing. At one point in life, I was agnostic and practically an atheist in action, having no fear or awe of God. Due to early profound spiritual experiences in my late teens and early twenties, I never became an atheist at heart. We all have our reasons. I won’t go into it, but I left mainstream Christianity in the early 90s – I believe it was a profound error that, at the time, seemed like Luther’s departure from Catholicism, the spiritual highway had been removed of toll booths, I thought.
Early in the departure, my longing for the spiritual led me to seek a relationship with the divine via new age (or new era) beliefs, which one can construct one’s own belief system – all dogs go to heaven. It seemed so very enlightened. I think, in a nutshell, it was because I wanted to sin like the devil without remorse in certain areas. The belief in an impersonal god, or a nebulous divine consciousness, affords such activity – but I digress. I began a slow return, which started with quasi-Christian theology mixed with new age beliefs some time ago prompted by what is called “the midlife crisis” i.e. the realization that I was indeed going to die. In early 2001 I began periodically attending the Unity Church of Dallas. They read from the Bible but to put in bluntly, don’t believe it. They suffuse eastern religions into the Bible and consider it another spiritual book like the Bhagavad Gita or A Course In Miracles (I’ve read both): all ways eventually lead to heaven or nirvana. An “enlightened” man there told me he was a recovering Baptist, too.
After 9-11-2001, I had had enough of the Hippy Jesus. But, instead of returning to Christianity, I delved into politics, dabbled in history, which led to philosophy, which led to God. Philosophy’s biggest problem is Death, which is the core of the midlife crises, but I think it can lead one to a more profound search than sitting crossed legged in a Buddhist monastery. I “officially” returned to Christianity when I started attending Frisco Bible Church regularly in July of ’06 (please don’t bother me with “just cuz ya goze to church don’t means you’s a good person” and other finger wagging …it bores me and it’s not the point of this entry). Even before that, I had been leaning that direction.
Along the way, I re-realized how many of us don’t even have a logical explanation for our beliefs. This is not new to me but I was leaning away the last time I ask these questions. It’s the reason we crumble when challenged. We don’t even understand what we believe and why we believe and 95% of the time we can’t defend it. Thus, feeling embarrassed, we attempt to be cool.
So here I am, I like to think of myself as a “Big Bang” but really I am a little flash in a pan (as if you needed to know), however, this is my little “decision tree”. Each sentence is the tip of an iceberg, there was/is much anxiety, and searching that lies under the surface and turn of the words. So, no decision point was made superficially
- Does God exist? Either there is or there is not a god. A thing cannot be and not be at the same time. I chose to believe God exists. So I am a theist not an atheist.
- Does this God care about me? Of the major religions on earth, there are many derivatives. There are religions with impersonal and/or indifferent gods or there is a so-called divine consciousness or a state of bliss/enlightenment. And there are religions with a god that desires a relationship with me.
- Hinduism is a polytheistic religion; the gods are basically indifferent to my existence. They could be aware of me but I matter very little to them, if at all. Buddhism is a non-theistic religion; basically one relinquishes all craving and blends (becomes one) with the universal consciousness. This “god” is impersonal. I cannot know this “god” at all and I’m assimilated into nothingness once I reach enlightenment.
- The religions with a personal god, or a god that desires a relationship with me, are basically, Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Because I believe God to be a personal God I choose from these listed immediately above. Of these three religions one’s founder claimed to be God in the flesh. The founder, Jesus Christ, cannot be and not be God at the same time. He either is, or He is not. If He is not God then He either belongs in a mental institute or He is a grand hoaxer. You have to conclude Jesus was a mad man, liar or is what He says He is. I chose to believe Jesus Christ is God.
Now this little tracing of the thought process in no way proves there is a God. That’s another blog entry.