Not Experiencing God

In the last blog entry I asked readers, “Can you describe God without quoting the Bible or using imagery?” I was trying to show that it can’t be done because God can’t be proven.

Several people communicated their thoughtful replies. I want to be respectful but I’m going to argue back.  

Some said that there had to be someone who created everything that exists. “Just look around you, David. Does it make sense that all this just HAPPENED?”  

I’m told that physics actually does explain how everything “just” happened.  However, I’m not a scientist and neither are the people who posed this argument and it didn’t seem productive to continue this discussion.

Except I want to make this observation:

This argument reduces God to a vague entity, a hint that something out there might be behind the appearance of the universe. This is very different from the God of Christianity, which describes a heavenly father who loves people passionately, responds to prayer, communes with our spirits, and remains in charge of everything that is. 

Christianity has formed massive bureaucratic institutions, produced endless volumes of doctrine, and has influenced governments. And the argument for this God’s existence is that there might be something out there that created everything?  

That’s very weak. 

Another argument is that God is immeasurable and the fact that God cannot be proven indicates that God actually exists.  So, not seeing any evidence of God actually reveals his existence…?    

That’s very weak, too. 

Some admitted that their understanding of God was based only on personal experience: their inner feelings and thoughts. They saw God through their interpretation of events in their lives.

I am reluctant to refute someone’s subjective experiences. But I’ll offer my experiences in comparison:    

By faith I believed God to be true. I committed a life of service to this God. I did my best to help the people who followed him. I spent years in school honing my theology as well as my skills as a pastor. I prayed, meditated, worshiped, and studied. My experience is that no one answered me except my own thoughts. 

At some point when my energy failed and I felt utterly alone, I gave up believing. And I’ll tell you something else. If this God really does exist, I don’t care. I won’t continue to pursue a relationship with someone who has ignored me my entire life.

I know there are other people who are haunted by similar thoughts but are reluctant to tell anyone. So I’m saying it for them and I’m here if they want to talk. 

11 thoughts on “Not Experiencing God

  1. Yes, it seems like the god that’s supposed to be proven by “taking a look around” could NEVER be the god of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus, Muhammad or Joseph Smith. It’s a relief really. From there the search can begin, and, again, from there it really doesn’t matter.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Your first paragraph is a non sequitur. You asked us to DESCRIBE God then claim our inability to PROVE God proves your point. non sequitur: “A conclusion that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement.”

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      1. I wouldn’t presume to even want to “save you, ” so my responses are intended to engage with you on an intellectual level. I do, however, want to suggest two apologetic works that could move the discussion along. “Jesus Among Other Gods” by Ravi Zacharias and on which you are most certainly familiar: “Mere Christianity” by C. S. Lewis. I would be interested in how you view their works. Ttyl

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been enjoying Gordon Kaufman’s writing (mentioned on Rational Doubt). He thinks “God” is a useful symbol for “an ultimate point of reference for all that is (and, indeed, is not) … intended to gather up, comprehend, and hold together all reality and experience, all possibilities and imaginings in a meaningful interconnection that can orient human life — an intention surely transcending all human capabilities of knowing, conceiving, or imagining.” [In the Beginning… Creativity, 26] Starting from everything we understand about “life, the universe, and everything” in the 21st Century, he thinks of this ultimate mystery as “serendipitous creativity,” and works out a Christian theology/philosophy from that standpoint.
    For decades I’ve felt sad that I don’t have that wise, compassionate, all-encompassing Companion to my thoughts any longer — but as I’ve tried to imagine how something like that would work, considering how consciousness & our brains seem composed of moving bits of energy, it suddenly crossed my mind the other day that maybe that “compassionate Companion” is really a smaller companion than something that is even more vast than that, and even more “companionable” — and maybe that’s what the mystics are sensing when they talk about feeling “one with everything.”
    Thanks for the thinking!,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “At some point when my energy failed and I felt utterly alone, I gave up believing. And I’ll tell you something else. If this God really does exist, I don’t care. I won’t continue to pursue a relationship with someone who has ignored me my entire life.”

    More than a few I bet. Frederick Buechner wrote, “With no God to point the way, humans must find their own way. With no God to save the world, humans must save their own world if it’s going to be saved. They must save it from themselves, if nothing else. A true atheist does not dance on the grave of God.”

    That last sentence. I believe that. Oh, how I wish it were true.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “I won’t continue to pursue a relationship with someone who has ignored me my entire life.” I didn’t either. I decided that 40 years was a Biblical amount of time to wait for God to reveal himself to me, and that I wouldn’t spend the rest of my life waiting for him.

    Liked by 1 person

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