There is an interesting blog titled “A Year Without God” which caught my attention a few months ago. It is a provocative blog that describes a former Adventist pastor deciding to live a year as if God did not exist . He says in one of his posts titled “Where I stand: a six-month report” that he does not believe in God because of lack of empirical evidence. These are his exact words :
“I don’t see how there is any empirical, scientific evidence for God’s existence.I don’t see any evidence for any recognizable pattern of God’s interaction in the world. I don’t think the Bible records anything more than ancient people’s search for the divine.” (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/yearwithoutgod/)
This is a powerful and bold statement regarding the possible existence or non-existence of an all powerful being. Although I understand his point of view, I also tend to be cautious and vigilant about any conclusions I make about that which possibly created my mind in the first place. I sometimes ask myself : Can the cartoon character conclude that there is no cartoonist? Can the painting prove that there is no such thing as a painter? I cannot reach such a bold conclusion if I am not capable of fully understanding what the universe is all about and what other people are perceiving and experiencing. It is true that we may not be able to “prove” the existence of God by using physical evidence that only our five senses can detect. But do we have only five senses?
Having said this, I am currently in a position in my life where I felt the need to get on my knees and plead for an answer. I have been evolving in my spiritual journey, from being a catholic, to a pentecostal fundamentalist, to a more liberal reflective Christian. For the past two to three years, I have gradually distant myself from the traditional Christian faith. I chose to liberate myself from living a fundamental religious lifestyle, and adopt a more liberal and inclusive approach. I have learned a lot from other faiths and traditions in this journey of mine. You can read more about this spiritual journey in the following posts: Spiritual Roller coaster, Is this all there is to Life?, Am I Losing Faith?, Embarrassed by the Church, How NOT to be a Good Christian, Religiously Correct.
I am not ashamed to say this, because I also believe that doubt and skepticism can be utilized to learn more about the true nature of my existence, and also about God, as I am capable of understanding Him.
To make a long story short, I recently encountered trouble in my immediate family and felt desperate about it. More doubts came to my mind, but this time it was about the approach I have been taking in the last year. I started wondering if this “God business” was actually a bad thing to walk away from. The concept of hell, salvation through faith alone, the “forgiveness” of sins, the Holy Trinity, and the divinity of Jesus Christ were a few of many questionable doctrines that simply became too mystical for me to accept and believe any longer. But right now I am looking past these doubts and allowing God to work on me. I still have my doubts, but my recent experience in life has been like a a bucket of ice water spilled on my face. I needed to wake up.
So I started to pray, like I have not done in months. I humbled myself against my rational and intellectual nature, and started to talk to this “invisible” and “distant” God out of desperation. I often criticized the act of prayer as a manipulative way of getting God to do what I want, which you can read more in the post “Why pray?.” But I felt like a vegetarian craving for a hamburger in the middle of a desert.
I also started posting and sharing messages in a Christian forum and started reading an inspirational Christian book as well. As I read some of the pages, my rational mind kept saying to myself: “be careful…. don’t fall into the religious trap…. you know it is just superstitious….. this is only religious fanaticism… fairy tales.”
But my personal family ordeal was pulling me away from my rational mind, and towards the “unknown” of spiritual life. I craved for answers. So I decided to give God another chance. I blindly got to my knees and plead for my heart to be transformed. Instead of blaming others and expecting circumstances to change, I accepted the challenge of opening my heart again and let “God” do whatever needed to be done. I was basically “testing God.” I remember praying : “you want my attention?…. you got it!” I cried like a baby. I remember saying, “I don’t have a lot of faith… but I am here pleading, just in case you are listening!”
I then came across this other wonderful blog titled “Isaiah 53:5 Project” where it has a recent post called “God is calling, Pick up the Phone” The author described a time when he decided to open up to the possibility of God’s call:
” Since I couldn’t escape thinking about the possibility of God or continue to ignore His constant calls I finally, and reluctantly, “answered the phone”.
This post helped me realize that God may be “calling me.” I have asked God if He is listening. This post asked me if I have been listening to God. The answer is probably NO. Like the prodigal son, who walked away from his father, but returned after he has been starving to death. I still have my doubts. But that is ok. I don’t believe God expects me to know everything for certain in order to grow spiritually. Christianity may still not have all the answers, but I am willing to learn. I am willing to listen.
I am tuned in.