Taste and See the Mystery

March 6, 2009 at 11:25 pm 33 comments

I tasted, and I saw that the Lord was good.  At one point in my life, I did take refuge in God, the Almighty.  However, my solid belief in the God of the Bible underwent severe trauma that severed my connection with him, or at least the concept of God I was led to believe from my exposure to Christian theology.  When you remove absolute certainty that the words of the scriptures is divinely inspired, what do you have left to hold on to?  Only experience.

So the question had to be asked: was my experience of God merely emotional excitement and fervour that is part and parcel of Christian ritual and celebration?  When I face most Christians with the question on how we can be sure that the Bible is the Word of God, given that it is a collection of books that a group of men decided was divinely inspired, they merely point back to faith.  They suggest a simple trust in God that he did guide this group, and the widespread acceptance of the Bible as ultimate truth attests to God’s intervention.  I would concur that such trust exists in large portions of the world population – not just amongst Christians, but also Jews and Muslims, who all sharply disagree on this point of their particular perspective being the only true one (not all adherents do hold this position, but the majority do very much outweigh the progressives). 

It seems to me to be supreme arrogance to assert that God has chosen a certain portion of the population, and a small one at that compared with the vast portion of the other major faiths.  To those who would suggest that God does not choose, but the matter of faith is of free will, I would remind them that those born into strict Muslim families will never have the opportunity to exercise such free will to choose another path.  This idea of free will is a fantasy very much restricted to democratic western societies.

Did I taste and see that the Lord is good, or was I merely trying to fulfill an emotional need?  At this stage, even while I do find so-called evidence of the existence of God wanting, I find myself unable to assert that there is simply no God at all.  I do not buy into the notion that God (or divinity, or Spirit) must in some way be an observable phenomenon to be considered true.  Yet I do think that the arguments of atheism are important as a counter-measure to fundamentalist Christianity, given that the notions of God found there are more within the realm of fantasy than speaking to Ultimate Reality.

Ideas of God, whether derived from the Bible or from other sacred texts, are psychological projections.  Human consciousness considered the vastness of reality, and has always had to dream up some kind of higher beings/Being to account for the wonderful world.  Have we now outgrown God, now that we have evolutionary theory to account for much of what was previously a mystery?  I would suggest that we let go of these ancient ideas of God, in much the same way as we let go of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, and maintain the depth of mystery that has always held us together in awe and wonder.  How this works, how it will progress in my own life, is an exciting and challenging journey.

- Gary

Entry filed under: Gary. Tags: , , .

A Look at Liberal Christianity My journey into and, later, out of Christianity (Born Again)

33 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lorena  |  March 5, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this lately. As a Christian, I was nothing short of delusional, since I ascribed to an imaginary Jesus everything good that happened to me, and to myself all the bad.

    Having that cozy little thought that sweet Jesus was taking care of me was really nice. It was like having mommy tuck me in at night and kiss me good night. There was a lot security in the thought of Jesus being my helper, but it didn’t have to be real. Anybody can imagine a helper and feel comforted by it.

    In fact, sometimes I wish I could construct myself another imaginary friend, just for the sake of the cozy feelings.

  • 2. atimetorend  |  March 8, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    “When I face most Christians with the question on how we can be sure that the Bible is the Word of God, given that it is a collection of books that a group of men decided was divinely inspired, they merely point back to faith. They suggest a simple trust in God that he did guide this group, and the widespread acceptance of the Bible as ultimate truth attests to God’s intervention. “

    That is such a huge leap of faith, but in my experience, conservative christians do not typically discuss just how much of an article of faith believing the bible is, and that is a real problem. It is presented as very reasonable to believe. It makes sense that conservative christians draw a hard line here, as their faith really depends on faith in the biblical texts.

  • 3. Francisco  |  March 8, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Simply, “religion” is Anti-messiah…….

    Sadly, the pagan harlot “catholicism” ane her perverse “christiain” daughters have had their way with you.

    Yet while there is breath(spirit) there is hope!

    For Miracles do happen…….

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this world and it’s systems of religion, for “the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one”(!Jn5:19) indeed and Truth…….

  • 4. Gary  |  March 8, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    The above comment from Francisco is a perfect example of the kind of irrationality that comes from the “huge leap of faith” in the so-called inerrancy of scripture. Quoting the Bible as a source of authority is as strong as ever in this age of reason.

    Superstition does not die easily…..

  • 5. paleale  |  March 8, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    DING DING DING!!! WE HAVE A WINNER!!!

    Let’s all give it up foooooooorrrrrrrRRRR…

    FRAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaanCISSSSCOoooooooo!!!!

    Francisco, ladies and gentlemen. Francisco gets the ‘intolerant religious bigot of the day’ award and wins an all expenses paid trip to the Holy Land theme park in sunny Florida where he will receive further propagandist indoctrinations and a lifetime supply of JesusO’s Holy Oats cereal.

  • 6. Francisco  |  March 8, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Sadly, it is qutie obvious you have never experienced a Miracle…….

    Yet while there is breath(spirit) there is hope, for Miracles do happen!

  • 7. Francisco  |  March 8, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Oh, and btw, your “jesus” is but the name given to one-head of the three-headed pagan catholic/christian ‘god’…….

  • 8. paleale  |  March 9, 2009 at 12:07 am

    wow.

  • 9. paleale  |  March 9, 2009 at 12:08 am

    and you are correct. I have never experienced a miracle.

  • 10. Francisco  |  March 9, 2009 at 12:48 am

    There is hope!

    For Miracles do happen…….

    Faith grounded in Miracles is established on a firm foundation, but faith grounded in mere “colored marks written on a dead tree” is the faith of the pharisee(religious).

    Mere words, void of The Spirit and experience, are used by the religiious ones, the theo’ry’logians, in their abuse of that which of The Truth, and so it is that “The Way of Truth is evil spoken of”…….

    Faith grounded in Miracles will not create a system of religion.

  • 11. paleale  |  March 9, 2009 at 10:29 am

    I have no words.

  • 12. LeoPardus  |  March 9, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Faith grounded in delusion………. Sheesh!

  • 13. Francisco  |  March 9, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Believe The Messiah, He Who is The Son of The Only True Living G-D(Father, Creator, Great Spirit,, etc.)…….

    Follow The Messiah on The Way to The Truth of The Life, just as He followed Our Father……. The Messiah testified, “As The Only True GOD sent Me, so send I you”…….

    Be not of those children who say and do not, those children who continue to deny and defy their Creator(Father)…….

    Be of those children who have experienced The Miracle that is receiving “the love of The Truth”…….

    Thankfully Truth is never ending…….

  • 14. BigHouse  |  March 9, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Fransicso, the ellipsis store called and wants to know if you need to place an order to replenish your supply.

  • 15. LeoPardus  |  March 9, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Hey y’all !! Drop in on Francisco’s web site.

    http://thedestructionoftheearth.wordpress.com/

    Ye gods and little fishies. The words “whack job” just don’t do justice.

  • 16. SnugglyBuffalo  |  March 9, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Rofl, just reading the URL has me giggling in anticipation.

  • 17. paleale  |  March 9, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Thanks for the link! Truth is never ending and neither is the entertainment!

  • 18. Francisco  |  March 9, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    simply, sad for all who are of a reporbate mind.

  • 19. Ubi Dubium  |  March 9, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    “reporbate” ???

    Now he’s making up new words! Maybe that one means “refuses to believe blindly everything they are told”! Well, at least he’s a refreshing change from Yurka.

  • 20. SnugglyBuffalo  |  March 9, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    My mom caught me reporbating once… that was embarrassing.

  • 21. paleale  |  March 9, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Maybe it’s sad for you, Franny, but for all us ‘reporbators’ it’s pretty hilarious!

  • 22. exrelayman  |  March 9, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    When your mind is intertwined with Infinite Mind, logic and spelling are mere bagatelles.

  • 23. Gary  |  March 10, 2009 at 3:45 am

    Thanks guys for the great laugh just now! This is just too easy.

  • 24. VeridicusX  |  March 12, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    “I do not buy into the notion that God (or divinity, or Spirit) must in some way be an observable phenomenon to be considered true.”

    So anything someone makes up may be considered true?

    If you’re not completely relying on Physical Evidence And Reasoned Logic (PEARL) then you’ll quickly become a victim of potentially deadly FISHes (Fantasy, Intuition, Superstition and Hearsay).
    Out of the infinite sea of possibilities keep the PEARLs, but kill and dispose of the FISHes. It’s immoral to keep and share them, because they’re extremely poisonous and too often deadly.

    [Thanks to “Thunderf00t” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0zSCpsOSSw&feature=channel_page and “Deacon Duncan” http://blog.evangelicalrealism.com/2008/02/21/disproving-the-existence-of-god/%5D

    Anyway, what are the chances of someone’s baseless, (usually highly improbable and immaterial), conjecture being The One™?
    There are a potentially infinite amount of wild conjectures, so the chance of their baseless and unnecessary conjecture being true is 1/infinity which is zero, (or more properly: the limit of 1/x as x approaches infinity = 0).

  • 25. Gary  |  March 12, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    I like that PEARL and FISH metaphor. There’s been this little thing within me that still desires to hold onto some concept of divinity. Yet now that I am considering the value or usefulness of beliefs, I wonder just how useful having a belief in God/Spirit is to me.

  • 26. VeridicusX  |  March 13, 2009 at 4:06 am

    Gary:
    Check out nobeliefs.com.

    There’s no such thing as “Spirit” by definition. As for God, God is “that than which none greater can be conceived”. That description can only apply to Reality.

    While we may assign “intelligence” to reality, the whole certainly isn’t personal in any human sense of the word. Nevertheless, reality/nature is a beautiful and terrible mystery that becomes increasingly fulfilling the more we learn of her.

  • 27. paleale  |  March 13, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    That’s a rather Platonic definition of God, isn’t it?

  • 28. paleale  |  March 13, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Not a critique on your conclusion, btw. Just an observation on that particular definition of ‘god’.

  • 29. VeridicusX  |  March 14, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    paleale:

    Plato conjectured some independent, magical realm of ideas, but I am pointing at actual, material, physical reality. I was just going with a traditional definition of God that I favored when I was a Bible-believing supernaturalist.

    Strangely, although the “omni” attributes of God break down and become contradictory when we posit “God” as existing within reality, they do apply, (but in non-anthropomorphic ways), to nature or reality as a whole …

    Omnipresent – check. Present at all times and at all places.
    Omnipotent – check.
    Omniscient – check. Reality/nature contains (is) all information and entropy, all wisdom and intelligence.
    Omnibenevolent – check.

    Omnibenevolent?! Yes, if seen as “good” from different points of view including that of a face-eating virus. If something were omnibenevolent it wouldn’t favor one entity over another. (If something were omni-malevolent it would destroy itself instantly).
    Of course, this view of omnibenevolence is identical to utter, impersonal indifference, which is what we observe.
    But a pessimistic take would not be quite correct. It is nature which gives us the drive and the means to live and to procreate. It is nature which gives us the drive to form societies and practice compassion. It is nature which stuns us with her beauty and overawes us with her power. And it is the knowledge of nature which gives us all the good things that we enjoy in the modern world. The “knowledge of gods” has never given us anything.

  • 30. Joshua  |  March 14, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    “Omnipresent – check. Present at all times and at all places.
    Omnipotent – check.
    Omniscient – check. Reality/nature contains (is) all information and entropy, all wisdom and intelligence.
    Omnibenevolent – check.”

    Brilliant! I’d never thought of it this way before :) Thanks for sharing!

  • 31. paleale  |  March 14, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Thanks for the explanation V. Interesting viewpoint. :-)

  • 32. Paradigm Shifting « Beyond Black and White  |  March 14, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    [...] occurred in the last few weeks, resulting in recent blog posts, a return to contributing to the de-conversion.com blog, and a move away from spiritual [...]

  • 33. Gary  |  March 16, 2009 at 1:56 am

    I have to add an update here as a result of my quickly evolving perspective. I’m no longer so enamored by the concept of mystery. It is far too ambiguous and open to wonderful speculation. For far too long I have been under the spell of metaphysics, and this has influenced my thinking and writing.

    I won’t retract the article, as it serves as just one marker in my intellectual development.

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

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Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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