Where Is God????

“First God created man,” the wag wrote, “ and then man created God.”

I laughed out loud when I read this statement simply because it struck a chord within that is all too familiar.  Isn’t it true that from the very beginning of time, in our attempt to try and understand God, to relate to God on some basic level, we have, in fact, projected onto God our desire to make God like us?   We want “Almightiness” on our own terms.  We want God to think, act, do, and feel as WE do.  We shape and stretch God to ourselves.   On some level, I think I have always known this, but at 41 years of age, I am just now beginning to wrap my mind around the implications of such.

A recent note a friend of mine wrote talked about how Jesus gave Bartimaeus the gift of sight, and in grateful response, Bartimaeus followed Jesus along the way.  Being the suspicious and fairly untrusting person that I am, I simply replied, “that’s all great and good, and basically a warm and fuzzy moment, but what do you do with all those other potential miracles that are asked for and not received?”  What do you do with God who set the whole Universe in motion and at times seems to be absent from the day-to-day activities of our own busy lives?

Maybe it is quiet simple, so simple that we take it for granted.  Instead of understanding God to be “supernatural” in relation to creation, maybe God is instead much more natural than credit is given.   Maybe God is intervening all of the time in the form of our Conscience, in the form of Love, and in the form of simple acts of Kindness performed towards those we know and do not know.  God is moving quite naturally through the Universe, and yet we do not see because we have been taught to look for a God that make us feel powerful, secure, in control, and sometimes even triumphant.

It is fairly baffling to me that the world of Science and Religion are at odds with one another when, in my small understanding of life, they seem to go hand in hand.  I like hearing of new discoveries in science.  Those discoveries challenge my comfort zones concerning my beliefs, but they also open up more possibilities of learning and (maybe) understanding life’s mysteries more fully.   What science does is tell us that there is more in life than meets the eye.  Joan Chittister poetically describes it like this: “physical reality is simply a chimera, a mask of the invisible labyrinth of life that underlies it, a container for the energy that electrifies a dynamic universe.”  Scientist have discovered that there is no such thing as solid matter.  Everything is made up of particles of electricity.  These particles are all living and are always in motion.  When one becomes dysfunctional, it becomes something else. Life continues on, transformed, but life all the same.  What this means to me, then, is that at our core we are all the same; we are all eternal.

Chittister’s conclusion to the understanding of “Almightiness” is that it is “not what we see; it is what we do not see. God is above us, beyond us, within us, around us, and beside us.  What can possibly be more almighty than that?”

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Where Is God????

  1. It is fairly baffling to me that the world of Science and Religion are at odds with one another when, in my small understanding of life, they seem to go hand in hand.

    Really? Hand in hand? How does, how can, religion help science? Can it offer us some way, some means, some method of inquiry that helps us understand what is? Can it show us a truth claim and inform it in a way that empowers us to come to know more fully what’s real, what’s true, what’s accurate, what’s right, what’s correct? Does it it any way increase the probability of ascertaining consistent, reliable, practical, workable knowledge? Does it provide us a way to apply knowledge in such a way that is wise? Does it provide a backdrop of values that helps us to inform our decisions to act in such a way to improve human rights and freedoms and dignity of personhood?

    If you can provide us with how religion supports the way, the means, the method to come to know anything about anything, then I will be first in line to thank you. But I suspect that you’ll find the devil in the details, so to speak and come to realize that religion – faith-based reasoning – directly competes with how science actually works. You’ll find that the epistemology of faith-based reasoning is broken, that it doesn’t work, that it yields platitudes and assumptions and assertions and excuses and tries to pass these off as legitimate and complimentary conclusions to those reached by methodological naturalism. I also suspect that when the two are shown to be contrasting methods incompatible with each other, you will have a very difficult time siding with what’s true over what you believe to be true. After all, geography – not what’s true – is the most trustworthy and indicative causal factor in determining someone’s religious beliefs. Geography holds no such sway in science. And there are good reasons for that. But do the reasons actually matter… to you?

    1. It’s interesting that you are coming at this from “how can religion help science?” and my approach was “science informs and helps “prove” some of the foundations and historic content of the Abrahamic religions.

      Ok some thoughts here: Religion is based on faith…. science is based on evidence, Religion tries to explain why things happen through life experience, metaphor, myth… science tries to recreate why things happen in a logical a+b=c fashion, Religion (the three big ones) is based on books and philosophies written thousands of years ago. Those books and ancient writings do not change, but society does. They are there for instruction based upon the needs of today…. Science is always changing and much more rapidly than understandings in religions. However, as both progress they “self correct” if only minutely over time. The major religions give the orientation of life to God…. science says this is an unknown because God has not been proven ( doesn’t mean it will not be proven or cannot be proven)

      Like Religion, science does not have all of the answers. It’s almost like they are in “yen/yang” relations. You cannot have good without bad, up without down, religion without science. They need each other to push each other forward. One thing they do have in common is IMAGINATION. For all of the “rules” that apply to science, without the ability to think outside the box, new ground is left untouched. There is a quote from the movie Contact that states, “we are bound by different covenants but we still both seek the truth. I think it is also good to remember that every fiction is based on truth.

      Two opposing views are found here :

      http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/2010-10-11-column11_ST_N.htm
      http://www.bethinking.org/resources/has-science-disproved-god.htm

      1. Let’s just back up a moment to your very first response: you say that religion is based on faith, science on evidence. If the two are hand in hand as you assert, then how does this fit together? How does the value of faith’s product in any way, shape, or fashion equal, enhance, compare, contrast with the product of scientific inquiry based on evidence? To answer that, we need to have a better understanding of what you mean by the word ‘faith’. In other words, what is it that informs religion and how is this different from what informs science? That’s where we will discover whether or not these methods of inquiry that produce answers are in fact compatible.

        Once you realize what faith actually means – the most common being belief in the absence of evidence – then you go to your next assertion that religion explains why things are the way they are in the world… but the basis of that ‘why’ answer is empty (or avoids) evidence to back it up! It’s an assertion, an assumption, a belief… none of which actually informs the ‘answer’ to the why question with anything knowable. Faith in this sense is a significant problem because its product is no different in quality that imaginings, wishful thinking, hope, superstition, magic, and so on. This kind of thinking is not a virtue in any other area of human inquiry that seeks answers. And because we are told to consider religious faith a virtue rather than an absurdity of bad reasoning, we confuse ourselves about how we can go about and find out what is actually knowable.

        1. Some things are simply not “knowable” in the context in which you present it. Even for the scientific mind, some things are ineffable. When we, as a human race, go as far as we can with our analytical thinking based on the facts we have been given, sometimes we come up against a void.

          Life experiences which produce wonder and imaginings are not to be tossed aside simply because there is no factual “bottom line”. We might very well be throwing out the dream of something more. The evolution of a brief thought or imagining brought forth the greatest gifts of some of our bravest and brightest minds.

          For me, faith is about trusting that there is something “more”, when all the brain-work has brought us to the brink of the next thing. What’s wrong with the quality of imaginings, wishful thinking, or hope? Would offer that those are the very characteristics which have provoked some of our most amazing scientific discoveries, both here on earth, in our oceans, in outer space, and in the inner “world” of humans.

          Science and faith may not walk “hand-in-hand”, yet. But consider that without the faithful imaginings of some of our most brilliant humans, science would still be looking for the edge of the world.

        2. Beautifully written, Geri; however, this sense of dreaming, of thinking wishfully, of imagining agency, and so, is fine if we recognize it as such and keep any truth claims about the universe and everything in it separate and distinct from this kind of wishful thinking, this faith in things unseen.

          Also, I heartily endorse your notion that some things are unknowable in principle as well as in practice and the notion of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, benevolent, and loving personal creator god falls squarely into this category. What disturbs me – and should disturb you – is when people act on the basis of pretending to ‘know’ god’s nature, god’s intentions, god’s desires, god’s wishes, and so. None of this is ‘knowable’ even in principle. None of this can possibly be considered a hand in hand method of inquiry with a method of knowing that leads to understanding informed by knowledge.

          We entrust with our lives on a daily basis to this method of knowing based on knowledge in all areas of human activity save one: the religious. What starts out as admittedly ineffable soon evolves into unsupported (and often unsupportable) truth claims that conflict directly with knowledge ascertained by the scientific method, and we don’t have to go very far to find this recurring conflict between religious truth claims and scientific ones (easily found in evolutionary biology, medicine, politics, law, education, public policy, the military, and so on). It is in THIS arena of day to day living where the two kinds of truth claims do not function hand in hand whatsoever, and not because many folk have failed to interpret their holy texts adequately but because they actually believe religiously inspired truth claims to be true!

          Wishful thinking in this regard does not support science in the warm and fuzzy way you describe. You seem to be suggesting that religious assumptions and religious assertions and religious wishful thinking and religious truth claims somehow enhance the scientific method through religiously-inspired imaginings rather than through the what-ifs and I-wonders and supposing-thats so often found at the bottom of any inquiry. The religious aspect of this kind of imagining seems to me to be completely unnecessary for the imagination to be a useful intellectual tool when it comes to honest inquiry using a method that yields practical, testable, consistent, reliable knowledge that works. But it is also important to recognize that religious truth claims are definitely at the forefront of most of science’s current conflicts in almost every area of human activity. And there is a good reason for religion being that ongoing impediment… and it isn’t because faith is an aid to inquiry when one of its misplaced truth claims is critically examined and found wanting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s