Sat Oct 30th, 2010 at 08:15:58 PM EST
"Why do you experience this [my faith] as "Truth"? If it's true or false, there must be some level of explainable logic behind the structure of these thoughts, which one would assume would be explainable." (ceebs/27.10.-6:35:01pmEST)
"It feels right" doesn't feel right for an answer. Neither, "this is simply so because this is what it's always been like."
The following is an attempt to continue what was begun in the debate following Sven Triloqvist's latest diary.
Views were expressed that ranged from not believing in a God and a spiritual world to faith in a spiritual realm presided by God and manifesting itself as a religion. And then, there were many in-betweeners, -
1) There is no God, and spirituality is nothing but a delusion. Big Bang and evolution explain everything well enough.
2) There is a spiritual realm but it's mostly irrational and inconsistent pre-industrial hogwash. Why pay attention to it?
3a) There is a spiritual sphere that belongs to the individual. Every person can experience it but it's everyone's private business.
3b) In today's world, we each individually need to make transcendental experiences.
3c) We live in an emerging world that doesn't need a god.
4) There is one specific Creator-God who is universal and absolute and can be personally experienced.
5) = 4), practiced as a Religion.
I assume that everyone will find himself somewhere in this list.
All participants in the debate, believers or non-believers appeared to have a Judeo-Christian cultural background. From there, the discussion revolved mostly around the question whether there would be any good reason at all to believe in the spiritual, to have faith in a god, why would he exist, and is religion any good at all?
Faith can be discussed but religion is off. The big churches are corrupt, power-hungry, hierarchical, promote a theology that is shaped by the need of rulers etc. There are deep-sitting negative experiences in many.
Religion - what is it? Religion, it was said, tells us how things are/it explains the world, and it tells as how to act/it organizes the society and the individual.
I add that religion is based on Holy Scripture which is an account of God's walk with man. The laws found in Scripture are the basis of church dogma (with amendments..). Scripture, though, is more than a set of rules and a history book. There's an inner wisdom to it, and it's a door through which we can experience God.
The God. If there is a god, are we dealing with a personal or a universal god? Is he outside and above us or within our selves or both?
A Swedish kind of death said, "C S Lewis warned about arguing that we cannot explain X, thus god caused X. He called it the god-in-the-holes argument."
JakeS added, " even if the space were not shrinking, it would still be demeaning to God to be placed within the confines of what we do not have a good scientific model for."
IF there is a God, we don't want to be able to keep him in a shoebox and belittle him. He should leave us in awe...
Someone had the idea that "any reasonably competent God should anyway have the power to make itself known to all beings, if that is what it wishes..." - an expectation that contains an image of God, how he is supposed to be. It doesn't work that way.
Spiritually speaking and from my own subjective point of view, God has his reasons why he doesn't show up like this...
As to faith in general, it occurred to me that it is very much like love.
We don't need a theory of love. We know that it is there because we experience it, and it is an absolutely vital experience for everyone. Babies don't thrive without love and adults get depressed. We need it like the air we breathe, like the water we drink...
We feel love within ourselves, no matter what the object of love may be. But in the case of love for a partner, flowery, romantic feelings may not be enough. We will also want to know who the person is that causes us to feel the way we do. We want a rational assessment. In societies where weddings are arranged, these rational aspects take precedence over everything else.
Romantic love alone without taking into account material details may lead to deception - or not, as much as arranged marriages may remain emotionally empty - or not.
Therefore love and marriage are very similar to faith and religion. Faith is love of God, a longing for God, it means to trust God. We can follow a feeling and drop into the "right" religion or fall prey to the Scientology movement. We can be born into a Catholic family and will follow the religious tradition of our ancestors and find faith and spirituality under this roof - or feel misunderstood and don't find faith in this structure.
In both cases, it is clear, that we want to feel that everything's alright but whether it is or not also depends on some hard facts.
The personal faith experience is an intimate thing between God and the person.
The story of God itself is of general, universal interest, subject to debate, doubt and scrutiny. What is the story that we wish to believe? Why? What church, religion or religious sub-group is the one closest to the Truth, to Reality, as we perceive it?
We are entitled to ask all our questions, to doubt and protest. This is how we grow towards the Truth and closer to God. As we seek, the Truth will reveal itself to us and we will experience God. This journey is irrational - as irrational as love. If we want to find, we will find because it's already there. Love is there, and a God who's longing for us is there as well.
IF there is a god, as I claim, we want him to be there for us individually. We want the intimate experience, and we want him to make sense globally and be there for everyone, as it was, as it is and as it will be forever and ever.
Now, I haven't replied to the question why I experience my faith as Truth. The cool thing really is that I sense that I don't have to. It's my own intimate experience, and I have looked and found truth, reality in Christianity. Look at history, study timelines, try to understand biblical prophecy and how it was fulfilled. Pray and long for God, and you'll find what's true. Seek and you shall find. If you long for God and the Truth, not just for a personal spiritual experience (there are many ways to have this), you will find The Right One.
There was the question of whether knowledge of this reality would be useful in any way. We can e.g. ask for full employment and new resources but awareness of true reality may teach us that our world isn't made to last. Life as we know it is just a transitional stage, real, yet passing, and it is part of a larger plan, and we may find consolation therein. (No, I'm not promoting environmental rough-housing.)
The theory of an "emerging" world is soothing - but is it real?