Tag Archives: books

Tuned in: Testing God once again

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.


Reflections of a Theist

fetusDefine life.  This is hard.  I was thinking today that this life, whatever it is, is very hard to define specifically.  I can use what the dictionary says, such as maybe the state of existence, being, my heart pumping blood, growing up, or my personal experience such as having a family ,having consciousness, meeting friends, learning, marrying and having beautiful children, etc.  But what is behind all of this?  Are we part of a big experiment? Are we one of millions and millions of galaxies with their own living beings?  Are we part of a gigantic atom that makes up another bigger world?   What started it all?   Too many questions without specific answers.  This is why I cannot rely on my own understanding, because it is simply too large, complex, and profound.  I cannot conclude there is nothing behind what I see either. God (or whatever you want to call it) is bigger than I can ever imagine.  I tend to use the analogy of writing a story with characters and different environments,  but the characters themselves will never have a full understanding of me, the author.  They will understand only as much as I allow them to. And because I have this understanding of life, I want to be this “character” who wants to continue to seek this God who started it all.  I understand and accept that I may not be able to understand God fully, but this does not discourage me from learning more.  Learning more from science is yet another way of learning more about God.  The more I learn about the complexity and structure of the universe, the more I appreciate the grandiosity of God.   There is so much suffering in this world.  There is so much injustice and disaster.  But I still have the urgency to seek more.  Suffering itself helps me to look for meaning.   It does not make much sense to me, but it begs the question “What is the purpose of this suffering?” I hold on to the faith that one day I will understand  God fully, but in the mean time, I accept my limitations and continue to seek meaning.  This is why I am so thankful for what Jesus taught, because his teachings help me to have a better idea of who God is and what I am supposed to do to experience Him more.  Thank you for reading.

universe


Which Cartoon Character Are You?


Does eternity really exist? How is it possible that God has no beginning and no end? Does God really know the future? These questions have been in my mind many times. I have found ways that can begin to answer these tough questions. I have learned that this life is more like a story. Life has been written like a story in a book. A book has a beginning and an end. A book also has an introduction, a climax, and a conclusion. Some books are about mystery, others are romances, and some are children books. I rather perceive my life as a cartoon script. If my life is seen as a cartoon, then God is the cartoonist. I am one of the cartoon characters. By looking at my life using this analogy, I can more easily understand the concept of life having a beginning and an end, within an eternal state of existence. The same way that an author can begin to read his own book from beginning to end, God can “read our lives” from beginning to end. The author’s life is not bound to the story that he wrote in the book. The author can see ahead in the book and read its final chapter. The same way, God can look ahead in our lives and see the final moments in this life. But, the same way that the author can go back and forth on the same book, God can see our lives entirely from the day we are born and the day we die.  We cannot see the end of our “story” but the author of Life can. So, in thinking about this analogy, which cartoon character would you identify with?  Or what book character would you be if your life would be written like a story? How about a movie or TV program?