Wednesday, September 21, 2005

God

This morning Fellow Seeker texted me to see how I was doing and we got to talking. I sent him a message telling him that I want to go to church with him on Sunday. To my surprise, he e-mailed back that he has also been doing some soul searching lately. He asked what conclusions I have come to. I told him that I haven't come to any yet, but that I don't think that being so angry at God is helping matters. He said that he thinks that we have been accusing God of the things He has done wrong but not acknowledging the good things. Hard to disagree with that.

Why be angry at God? Well, look around the world for a minute and I think you'll have sufficient reason. But you could also do the same in order to find reasons to be thankful to God. So... I don't know.

What I wanted to say about idealism is that I think it often gets confused with pessimism. I can't find the text I wanted to quote from, but it said that idealists (based on the Myers-Briggs Personality Test I wrote about here) are constantly working towards self-actualization and perfection. We are often disappointed because things fall short of the ideal we have in mind (for ourselves, the world, etc.). So, for example, if I see the glass as half empty, it is because I can imagine a glass that is completely full and wonderful and refreshing! Maybe it is the same thing as pessimism, but somehow I think there is a difference, and that difference is essential to my philosophical outlook.

This all relates to God because I cannot simply sit back and thank Her/Him for everything good in the world while so much evil exists. It is not because I like to focus on the evil alone; it is because I think the world should be perfect if a perfect God created it. Why the hell not? I can't reconcile a loving, omnipotent God with the way Her/His creation has turned out - it just doesn't make sense to me. People come up with explanations like, "God did make the world perfect, but we sinned and ruined it," but give me a break. That doesn't solve anything. If anything, by that logic we have more power than the omnipotent God does because we can undo what She/He has done.

My problem arises when emotions come into play. Intellectually, I have been having a very hard time believing in God, but emotionally, sometimes I wonder if I'm one of those people who needs to believe in Her/Him. Is God a crutch for those of us weak enough to need one in order to get through life? If God really exists, I would hate to think of Her/Him that way. In the song that I used to title this post, John Lennon wrote, "God is a concept by which we can measure our pain."

U2 also has a lot of spiritual quotes. In "When I Look At The World," it goes: "When you look at the world / What is it that you see? / People find all kinds of things / That bring them to their knees / [...] I can't see what you see / When I look at the world / [...] I'm in the waiting room / I can't see for the smoke / I think of you and your holy book / While the rest of us choke." In "Peace on Earth," they sing, "Jesus, can you take the time / To throw a drowning man a line?"

***

All bitching aside, I miss God. I miss the hope She/He gave me. I don't really have much hope anymore.

2 comments:

Ariella said...

Here is a poem I liked, speaks to me in my wonderings/wanderings

Pharaoh's Cross
by Madeleine L'Engle

It would be easier to be an atheist; it is the simple way out.
But each time I turn toward that wide and welcoming door
it slams in my face, and I- like my forbears- Adam, Eve--
am left outside the garden of reason and limited, chill science
and the arguments of intellect.
Who is this wild cherubim who whirls the flaming sword
'twixt the door to the house of atheism and me?

Sometime in the groping dark of my not knowing
I am exhausted wit hthe struggle to believe in you, O God.
Your ways are not our ways. Your ways are extraordinary.
You sent evil angels to the Egyptians and killed;
you killed countless babes in order that Pharaoh,
whose heaer was hardened by you (that worries me, Lord)
might be slow to let the Hebrew children go.
You turned back the waters of the Red Sea
and yur Chosen People went through on dry land
and the Egyptians were drowned, men with wives and children,
young men with mothers and fathers (your ways are not our ways)
and there was much rejoicing at all this death,
and the angels laughed and sang, and you stopped then, saying,
"How can you sing when my children are drowning?"

When your people reached Mount Sinai you warned Moses
not to let any of them near you lest you break forth
on them with death in your hand.

You are Love, and you command us to love,
and yet you yourself turn men's hearts to evil,
and you wipe out nations with one sweep of the hand-
the Amorites and the Hittities and the Peruzzites-
gone, all gone. It seems that any means will do, and yet-
all these things are but stories told about you by fallen man,
part of the story (for your ways are not our ways)
but not the whole story. You are our author,
and we try to listen and set down what you say,
but we suffer from faulty hearing and loss of language
and we get the words wrong.
Listen: you came as one of us
and lived with us an died for us and descended into hell for us
and burst out into life for us:

Do you now hold Pharaoh in your arms?

sojourness said...

That is wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing it.