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It’s difficult to imagine living with the idea that God doesn’t exist - Bowling Green Daily News: Faith And Values

It’s difficult to imagine living with the idea that God doesn’t exist

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Posted: Friday, February 10, 2012 9:34 am | Updated: 8:54 am, Wed Dec 10, 2014.

This week I was in a place where a majority of the population does not believe in God. Listening to the lifestyles and outlooks of those who live without a sense of God's presence got my mind racing.

There are many that live with a God awareness. As a young person, I believed in God, but I did not truly know Him or love Him. I treated Him like a good luck charm or the ultimate Santa Claus. It was not until God engaged me with His Spirit and enabled me to understand who Jesus is and how God is one essence in three persons that my life was changed.

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Welcome to the discussion.

3 comments:

  • mungoman posted at 11:54 pm on Sat, Feb 11, 2012.

    mungoman Posts: 7

    Thanks so much to mercurialohearn and djb12030 for the fantastic responses to this fundamentalist preachers' sad confusion. Apparently this `minister' has never investigated atheism thoroughly, or he would find more people who are seriously concerned and interested in helping their fellow man in a real and true sense than the followers in his pews who are there because they are looking for answers and they're gullible enough to believe the malarkey that he spouts. I also suppose that it must mean nothing to him that the majority of the worlds living humans do not believe in his particular theism. Guess he's just taking his ministry from the pulpit to the editorial page. I'll bet he can't respond to any of the counter arguments that have been presented here.

     
  • mercurialohearn posted at 12:59 pm on Fri, Feb 10, 2012.

    mercurialohearn Posts: 1

    This week I was in a place where a majority of the population believes in God. Listening to the lifestyles and outlooks of those who hallucinate the physical presence of a fictional being got my mind racing.

    There are few who don't suffer from such hallucinations. Even as a young person, I realized that God did not appear to exist, and so i thought it bizarre that so many supposed adults claimed to truly know Him, even to love Him. I treated Him like a good luck charm or the ultimate Santa Claus, but it was not until my philosophy professor engaged me with logic and reason and enabled me to understand how religion works and how God is, in essence, a license for men who lust after power to justify the horrible things they do that my life was changed.

    The idea of mindless obedience to a fictitious entity is very difficult for me to imagine. When I do imagine that kind of life, it leads me to despair and despondency. It is amazing to me that there are many who live this way.

    In some ways I admire their ability to live a life without self-examination or the pursuit of knowledge. Each day they get up and live with little to live for except the need to fill the emptiness in their lives by worshipping a metaphor for the human ego. The goal it seems is to keep their thoughts from careening off into an abyss of uncertainty and doubt, and to create for themselves a proxy reality with no gray areas in order to quiet the fear that their mind and body will deteriorate and then it's done. Life is over. They are gone. In the meantime, they busy themselves by trying to control other people's lives, because misery loves company, and they might as well try to prevent everyone else from enjoying life, too, so that they won't feel bad for denying themselves happiness in their very brief existence.

    The hardest part for me to understand is how they deal with pain. The existence of pain is one of the arguments against the existence of God for some who do not believe. The fact of pain tells me that the the world we live in was not created for humanity's benefit, and that things happen to us that are beyond our control and cannot be justified by the existence of a god. God's redemptive plan as explained in the Bible makes no sense whatsoever, other than to give a reason to believers to accept pain without acting themselves to lessen its sting.

    For those who live in a world where life is a part of God's ineffable plan, I imagine pain would be the most challenging attack upon the psychological defenses they have built to keep from facing the cold hard fact of their own mortality. The fact that we can learn and grow from pain, and that we must rely on our own strength of will to deal with pain, and to overcome pain, are things that make me feel truly alive, and which give my life purpose. Those with a defined understanding of God and His "grace" and "mercy" can avoid taking responsibility for the pain and suffering in their lives, and allow it to continue, for the sake of maintaining a cognitively dissonant relationship to themselves and to the world. Living with so little personal responsibility is amazing. It is a wonder that anyone who believes in God could accomplish anything of importance at all in their lives.

    The "hope" of God and the "power" of His "sovereign care" in life appear to be nothing more than rationalizations for pain and an excuse to "let go and let God." The promises of God found in the Bible have not only failed to materialize for most people, but have actually led some people to further hardship and hurt through their inaction.

    One of the most confusing "promises" is found in Isaiah 30:20-21. "And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,' when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left."

    This text tells christians that God is the one who causes us pain. They believe that it is a natural consequence of sin and death, though why God would cause his worshippers pain for not sinning and for remaining alive is not exactly clear. But they believe that with God there is a "purpose" in it. It is in the midst of pain that we learn the most about who we are. Pain itself is the teacher. It is when life is hardest and seemingly the most undesirable that we are given the opportunity to reach for clarity and understanding. Through pain, we learn that this world does not exist for our benefit. Through pain, we understand our weakness and feel the desire to overcome that weakness in order to grow as human beings. Through pain, we gain an appreciation for the good that we have managed give and receive. Through pain, we see what love is.

    There are those who say that the Christ of Christianity is a crutch for the weak. That is not true. Christ is not a crutch. He is a wheelchair. A person walking on crutches must still exert the effort to walk. Our existence as miniscule organisms in this vast and confounding universe gives us the freedom to provide our own meaning and purpose to our lives. Before God the son, there was life. Without God the Son there is still life. Without God's Spirit we realize that we must empower ourselves. Without God the Father, we can base our hope on our faith in ourselves, and our friends and family. Without God, we can learn to accept uncertainty and doubt, and even to thrive in the midst of uncertainty and doubt. God is not something worth using. God is prevents us from achieving our full potential as human beings, to do and love and be. Life is too precious to be left in the hands of God.

     
  • djb12030 posted at 10:39 am on Fri, Feb 10, 2012.

    djb12030 Posts: 347

    "In some ways I admire their ability to live a life without a lasting meaning or purpose." The fact that life is not infinite is what gives it a meaning and purpose. If life on earth is just a testing ground for another level of life it is sick, unfair and a waste of time. What test would have each person taking it get different questions, different answers and no one having the same amount of time to take the test? That would be very hard to live with every day; to know its true that your life is just a cruel test. That every seemingly meaningful thing you do (other than your god stuff) wasn't worth doing and every person you ever loved will not be recognizable in the afterlife.

    From this editorial I believe your proof for god is through a personal experience "It was not until God engaged me with His Spirit and enabled me to understand who Jesus is and how God is one essence in three persons that my life was changed." So either you had a good feeling at church and you knew that good feeling must be God OR God "personally revealed himself to you". Why is it do you think that people of other religions never have Jesus revealed to them? Muslims have said the same thing and so have Hindus. But why is it when they have God reveal himself to them they get revealed to Muhammed or Vishnu or Krishna? Its so strange you never hear of Muslims or Hindus telling that God revealed himself to them and he came in the form of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

    When I was in college I got sick after returning home from Guatemala. I got so sick in fact that I had hallucinations of dancing vegatables (carrots to be exact). After this I didn't say to myself "oh wow there must be something devine about carrots!" I said "my brain must have been fried." If we used personal experience to justifiy your belief in God what is to stop us from believing every personal experience we hear from other religions?

     

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