I think the night time must be my “Special Angry Time” or something, because it’s always at night that I feel motivated to write. Especially about things that bug me.
I read an article today about a religious debate in Salt Lake City. It was a Presbyterian Clergyman and some LDS returned missionary who had written a book. The debate was about the nature of the God of the Bible. The Mormon guy went first, but said some things that are absolutely untrue of Mormon doctrine, then the Clergyman went and indicated the importance of trusting in the Bible completely, versus choosing particular parts to believe.
Soooo…. I got angry at people who I disagree with. It’s what we awesome and continually correct people do.
Nah, I didn’t really get mad. But it reminded me again of what an interesting problem is faced by every person on the planet. The nature of God versus Me. And I don’t mean me, greg, I mean me: any individual. Because that’s all it comes down to. For instance, look at that returned missionary guy: his ideas of God were not representative of the self-stated beliefs of the group to which he professes membership. How does that happen?
It’s the Me part.
I take some beliefs for granted as obvious that other people would heartily disagree with. For instance, I say the nature of God is absolute, but our tools for understanding God are not. I mean that God can be quantified in terms of “God is ______, and not ______.” and be correct about it while recognizing that we may not have all the skills or tools or knowledge to rightfully make that kind of absolute statement. I have met people who say that God is not absolute in any way and people who say we do have the tools that are already perfect in defining God.
I suppose when discussing theology one has to take an initial leap of faith. To say something like “Okay, I’ll go with the idea that there is a God out there and God’s nature is in some ways understandable.” That takes guts for some, I imagine. Or, in our culture, I suppose it may take a lot of guts to stand up to tradition and say “There is no God and therefore no characteristics to study.” But I personally doubt that a reasonable person can say this with the word “Absolutely” before the word “no.”
I think that every person needs to have a time of self-examination and agnosticism which should be escaped as soon as is reasonably possible. I’ll say agnosticism in terms of somebody who says “I don’t know, but I’m open to some suggestions.” As soon as you have an opinion you’ve stopped being agnostic, and you ought to try experimenting on your new faith to see if it responds in any way predicted by those who claim to be inspired by God. This should lead you to truth.
I feel that truth is absolute, and, as my comm 4040 professor said earlier today, “reality is reality. Call the chair what you will it won’t change the fact that it’s a chair.” I also believe that the truth is to be sought after and tested by experimentation for our benefit.
I don’t have a place I’m going with this. I’m just mad at people who want to argue the semantics of topics like “What is real? what is truth? what is good? what is God? What is the purpose of life?” You get a lot of that in eastern culture. But I’m also mad at the mindless acceptance and faithless religion like we see so often in the west. It’s often the flip-side of the same coin. We say things like “God is good” or “Be saved.” without thinking about anything else. These attitudes both teach us to ignore the nature of God and focus on ourselves. These attitudes give us opportunity to debate, rationalize, and lean on our own understanding and perspectives.
If somebody believes the bible, they shouldn’t just believe the words that were written, they should believe the patterns as representative of how God acts.
Nobody “Doesn’t know” what he or she believes. They’re just too _____ to test out what they believe by analyzing, experimenting, evaluating, and growing.
I tend to think this God stuff is important. Many people have said it, but Oingo Boingo said it best: No one lives forever. It might just be that there’s a reason for that. It could be conceivable that if there is a God and this is all somehow God’s doing, there’s more to existence than just this brief span called life.
People say “I’ll find out when I get there.” but what if all these professors of religion are right and once you ‘get there’ it’s too late? Isn’t that worth checking into at least?
It’s too late in the evening for me to write this stuff. I just get more and more confrontational, and, despite how it appears and how I’ve been writing, I don’t think confrontational is any kind of way to foster personal growth.
Of course, that’s just my opinion.
I could be wrong.
I suppose I had better end with some things that I can feel confident in saying “I know.” Why? Simply through experience. For example:
I know there is a God and he is vastly beyond my own understanding. I also know there are miracles. I know that scripture can be a tool to help us understand more about God and our relationship with him. I know that the power of God is on the Earth today. I have felt the power of God given to man. I know that prayer is real and effective. I know that keeping commandments as given in scripture really does make a person happier.
I am willing to discuss, in a more private and personal way, the specifics of the events that have led me to this, my spirituality.