OK, excuse the weakness of my writing on this one. I haven’t had many opportunities to exercise my logic muscles for a number of years and they are pretty flabby. But as I’ve said, there are some things I just want to get out and this venue is more for me than for you, so here goes.
I’ve been bothered for a number of years at the attitudes of some people towards the concept of God. Specifically, the idea that God can somehow be defined by our beliefs or desires. All the time we hear people use phrases like, ‘well MY God doesn’t do that.’ I see people choosing a religious denomination for its after school programs or how nice the people are or even how close it is to their house and if it’s ‘fun,’ things that have little to do with their relationship to God. And, gratingly, the intense intellectual and archaeological studies of the near east 2000+ years ago and clinging dogmatically to the crumbs of information and the conclusions drawn from them in the mistaken belief that by studying the footprints we can somehow come to know & understand the person who made them.
Either God is, or He isn’t. What you believe has no effect on that fact. If you are content with worshipping an idea, then go ahead, pick something that meshes with whatever values you want. Make it male or female or vengeful or fluffy or purple or whatever suits your fancy. Belief by itself has some power, so if it brings good out in you, that’s great. But to really get more benefits out of the deal and tap into something that is more than yourself, you have to get to know the REAL God. Which means you may need to change some of the ideas or beliefs that you’ve had, since reality won’t change to fit your beliefs, and when it comes to something as big and complex as the Creator, we can’t expect to be able to know or comprehend everything about Him, either, no matter how much we study.
Archaeological studies can give some idea of things that have happened in the past, but they are incomplete and no matter how well-intentioned the interpretation of the data, interpretations on driblets are highly fallible.
Personally, I am a big fan of the scientific method. Simply, gather information and decide on a ‘hypothesis,’ or belief system that you want to test. Then test it, as spiritual things can best be tested. That is the first part of Faith and it’s rather tricky with things like this, because of the complexities of getting to know anyone, so it’s not like the results can be 100% consistent in the short term. But you take your hypothesis and test it. You pray, you act, you seek. If it grows in a positive way and you feel the positive effects of it, work off that and move forward. If you reach a point where you feel you have dead-ended, or received everything from that path that you can, then there is something else out there that can give you more truth and light and you might need to move to move forward. The important thing is to get a working theory. Even science mostly works with theories — where they have enough data to move forward and it’s not fact yet, but it’s enough to work with. Scientists sometimes forget that and think that they are working with immutable facts more often than they are, while faithful persons sometimes forget that God works with facts as well as faith.
I’m glad God gives us the choices to find information on our own, but He still gives us sources of information so we don’t have to be completely blind. I have tested my hypothesis and I’m glad I have; I feel a close relationship to God that has wrought miracles in my own life. Where do you stand?