My struggle with God

A personal reflection

This Hub is a highly personal reflection, not a dogmatic or systematic dissertation, on my belief or lack of belief, in God. I do not presume to tell other people what they should believe, nor do I in any way presume to tell other people that what they do (or do not) believe is wrong (or right, for that matter).

I really do struggle with God, or the idea of God. Perhaps it comes from growing up with a father who had a strong belief in God. Everything he did, and he did some really great things in his life, things that I truly admire, he did in some way “for God”. I suppose I wish he had done them because they were enjoyable to do, because they were fun, or simply because he wanted to do them.

So this Hub is not written in condemnation of nor in competition with anyone, just to portray as honestly as I can a struggle I have – a philosophical and emotional struggle between belief and scepticism. I have dear friends with whom I share a lot on both sides of that divide.

I am no theologian, just a traveller on life's sometimes rocky road trying to make some sense out of what often seems like a lot of nonsense around me. I'm not asking for agreement or disagreement, nor am I asking for help. I would like some understanding, though!

Jacob wrestling with the Angel by Rembrandt
Jacob wrestling with the Angel by Rembrandt
Famous Time magazine cover from 1966
Famous Time magazine cover from 1966
Icon showing the Council at Nicaea which drafted the famous Creed
Icon showing the Council at Nicaea which drafted the famous Creed

“I believe in one God...”

Right there, that's where it starts.

Because I really don't know that I do. I'm not sure what it means to believe in one God. I feel unable to say those words with honesty.

At the same time I'm not sure that there is no God either. I feel very uncomfortable when people make derogatory remarks about other people who do believe in God. It seems somehow mean and petty.

On the other hand, I want to run and hide when I hear a person talk about “my personal relationship with God.” Huh? Got me there. If there is a God, is it honestly possible to have a “personal relationship” with “him” (or “her” for that matter)?

I know I can have a personal relationship with another person. After all, that's what “personal” means – it has to do with a person. So, with God? So God is a person? But then he (or she) could not have “made heaven and earth”, and definitely not in six days. So I get a bit stuck.

And then I go to church, as I did last Sunday. And meet these lovely people, people whose only concern is to make others feel at home, and who are so happy, it seems, with saying that phrase, “I believe in one God.”

What I do get is a nice feeling being there, even though the singing is crappy, the tunes sentimental and the words – well, the less said about the words of the hymns the better. With a few exceptions, of course.

Sometimes the preacher will preach a sermon that really touches me in some way. The preacher on Sunday did. He spoke of change in the world, and how many people have this expectation that the church will be a refuge for them, a place where they can get away from the confusion caused by what the preacher called “discontinuous change.” But, he said, that's not really what the church is about. Sure, there are some things about the church that haven't changed much in almost 2000 years. Like the liturgy around the Lord's Supper. The words we hear at the consecration are pretty much what the people of the first churches in the countries around the eastern Mediterranean heard in the first few centuries of the common era. And the Nicene Creed was written in the Fourth Century. So its been around a while.

But the church stands for discontinuous change also, the preacher said. The disciples were challenged by the discontinuous change that happened on that Good Friday 2000 years ago. Their world fell apart. They were left stranded, as the saying goes, up a creek without a paddle.

Photo Tony McGregor
Photo Tony McGregor

The Church at the periphery of life

And that is the feeling we so often have these days, when very little seems certain and the pace of change seems to be increasing exponentially. We often feel directionless and without motivation. And the church does not provide a refuge from that, but a challenge to go and be fully human in the midst of that change, to embrace the change, be the change.

And that brings me back to the God thing, my struggle with the idea of God. Because I don't need a God to help me deal with these things. Or not the kind of God so many people seem to talk about when they talk of their “personal relationship” with him (or her). And this is why I don't ask too many questions about God, or I don't ask other people to tell me about God. Because they tell me they believe things because they are in the Bible. And that's where we get into a circular argument because, of course, the Bible doesn't prove anything. To believe that the Bible has the answers presupposes a belief in God. So it doesn't help to say it's in the Bible.

We live in a world in which, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer so graphically put it, God has been moved, like our churches, from the centre to the periphery of our lives. In the Middle Ages and before, villages and towns used to grow up around a church or a cathedral. Now as a town grows at its centre are banks, shopping malls, office blocks, movie theatres and other places of entertainment, and the church buildings are tucked away, far from the action, in the 'burbs. And when did you last see a church flourishing where people actually work, like around factories and office blocks?

A contingency approach

To deal with the flow and flux of life I need a contingency approach. What is certain today, might be at least questionable tomorrow, and I have somehow to deal with that, honestly and without resorting to flights of fancy. I am not interested in a God who is paraded among people who are desperate for certainty, for comfort, even a delusional comfort. That seems to me to be dishonest.

At the same time I cannot judge those who find such a God meaningful, a decent escape from all the troubles and uncertainties in their lives. All I know is that I cannot take that kind of refuge. I cannot say in all honesty “I believe in one God” because I'm not sure what that means in terms of the daily struggles of life.

And again, I cannot say with any dogmatic certainty, “I don't believe in one God (or indeed, many Gods).” Maybe I'll walk into a bank, or into the head office of some multi-national corporation (maybe even General Motors, for goodness sake!) one day and meet God. And then where will I be? A little surprised, I guess!

Jesus had some harsh words for those who are “lukewarm” about their faith. I'm not lukewarm, I'm pretty cold actually. About faith, that is. Is that OK, Jesus?

You see, about Jesus I don't have too many doubts, because even if he didn't really, historically, exist, as some historians claim, he represents a very human and I believe, necessary, approach to life. Which is why I liked the preacher's sermon yesterday. Jesus, as I was taught at Sunday School when I was about five, “went about doing good.” Now that makes sense to me.

In the midst of discontinuous change, in the midst of violence or indifference, it is still possible to do good. It is still possible, without getting too hung up about “what is good”, to actually help folk, it is still possible to take time to listen to another person and try to understand them. It is still possible, and we don't need a lot of theory to understand this, to side with the woman in an abusive relationship, and not write off the person abusing her either.

It is still possible, when things start to get out of hand, and hatred and judgement seem to be called for, to refuse to cast the first (or any) stone. In short, it is still possible to side with the victim rather than with the executioner. We don't have to have an elaborate theology or philosophy to do that. Just an acute awareness of what it is to be human. To be able to see that the labels we believe people have – white, black, religious, irreligious, terrorist, conservative, rich, poor – are labels we put on people. The labels are ours, they don't belong to the people we so easily stick them onto. We tend, as the saying goes, to see the world (and other people) as we are, not as it is (or they are).

That is I think the wonderful thing about Jesus (or, if you prefer, the myth of Jesus). He was totally, fully on the side of the people and against those who were oppressing the people. He wanted people to live fully as humans, to be joyful not sorrowful, to be kind and generous, not grasping (look at the lilies of the field, how they are clothed), to give comfort to those in prison, those in hospital, those who are thirsty, those who are lonely or in pain. By caring for them in very practical, earthy ways, not preaching to them. And not by promising them that God will comfort them.

That's why I love Jesus (but I'm still not sure about believing in God).

A postcript

I am grateful to fellow-Hubber Jane Bovary for this wonderful quote from Andre Gide: “Believe those who seek the truth. Doubt those who find it.” I found this after I had written the foregoing, and it seems somehow relevant to what I was trying to say.

And I hasten to add that Jane has absolutely nothing to do with this Hub, and I "stole" the above quote from her profile page. Thanks Jane!

More by this Author


Comments 169 comments

DiamondRN profile image

DiamondRN 6 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

I have had a similar journey. I am more than comfortable with my faith now. Take a look at this passage. "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." 1 John 5:13(NIV)

Also, here's the link to an article about a time in my life when I was struggling: http://hubpages.com/hub/God_author_of_life


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Thanks Diamond, I appreciate your dropping by and commenting. I guess it's not a unique struggle!

Love and peace

Tony


Techwriter21 6 years ago

Check out my hub tony. I'm full of facts that. I could have wrote in this hub. But that would be nonsense to a diety


Missi Darnell profile image

Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California

A wonderful hub tony, I am sure that many struggle with this, or believe as you do. Well thought and written. I enjoyed this very much.


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

Untill every question is answered in life I feel you have to or get to believe in a Higher Power whether you like it or not.


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

Until every question is answered in life I feel you have to or get to believe in a Higher Power whether you like it or not.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

I have some acquaintenances who preach about "their" God and it is "their way or the highway"...so to speak. I find that kind of thinking very hard to digest...in fact, I gag on it. There are many wonderful world religions. Who is to say that a Supreme Being did not influence all of them? Is only ONE religion or variation of that religion the ONLY correct one? Personally, I think the Creator will make allowances for different ideas and practices of religion. Most of them teach good ways of living and how to treat others. We would not have been given free will if we were all to march in step with one cookie cutter type of religion.

Think of all the wars that have been fought in the name of religion! Something gone amiss? I think so!

I absolutely believe that life exists beyond this one and it pays to lead as good a life as one can while here. We will all find out the answers to your questions and our own at the time of our individual deaths.

Good hub, Tony.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Tony, this is an honest and heartfelt hub that I really enjoyed. Many people struggle with this, so you're in good company. I hope you find the answers you seek.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

Jane's quotation by Gide is marvelous, Tony. As is this hub. I find myself in a constant quandry about God/Christ, and noticed you mentioned the Nicene Creed. Episcopal, eh? :) I, too, find myself hypocritical when reciting it and stopped attending church not long ago.

But for different reasons. I have trouble with the 'Christ Concept' not with a personal God. But this hub has honestly given me pause and I will think on it!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Techwriter - I will read you Hub and comment there.

Missi - I thank you for your kind words.

Mentalist - I am not aware (and Ihope I'm not being arrogant writing this) of any question I would have that would necessitate belief in a higher power. And that is part of my dilemma.

Peggy - the possessive way people speak about "their" God is indeed one of the things that puts me off. I get the feeling that instead of their being made in the image of God, "their" God is made in their image.

Habee - I appreciate your comment very much.

Laurel - yes it is sometimes difficult to say certain words and really mean them. We tend to rattle off things like the Creed in much the same way as we habitually say "How are you?" when we see someone for the first time in the morning - it is ritual and rote, without real meaning.

Thanks all for your much valued comments.

Love and peace

Tony


DiamondRN profile image

DiamondRN 6 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

Tony, In my opinion, evolution in areas of survival of the fittest, might fit a Biblical model; but life itself as evidenced by the complexity of the DNA/RNA complex probably had to come from an intelligent source. I have several years of biochemical, physics and organic chemistry education that definitely points to an amazing complexity of bio-systems, bio-diversity and interdependence of species indicating that you can't have one without the other, etc. Have you ever seen a genetic mutation or genetic deviation in your life that was beneficial? Normally, you will see either extra limbs, or not enough limbs or cancer-like growths, whenever you see cellular-level anomalies.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Diamond - genetic anomalies might not be the way evolution works. In fact they are anti-evolutionary in that they make the organism less adapted to the environment while the thrust of evolution is to make the organism more adapted to the environment.

I think human evolution is possibly moving away from the physical into a more "spiritual", for lack of a better word, direction. Which is not to say that our bodies won't still evolve.

Humans are probably not the end of evolution on earth. Life will not stand still. I am busy reading a lot of material on this with an eye to writing a Hub, or series of Hubs, on this. But that will be quite a while in coming!

Thanks for dropping by again and making a very insightful comment.

Love and peace

Tony


msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

This is a difficult topic, Tony, for everyone. I can only say that the only truth you must believe is that which you experience yourself, during moments of silence.

As God is love everyone who loves is of God, this is a truth for me.


loriamoore 6 years ago

I can appreciate your struggle, Tony. Been there, done that, made a decision which you've probably seen in some of my hubs.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Melinda - I like the idea of finding my own truth. That is why I am so attracted to Zen, I think.

Lori - thanks for the supportive comment.

Love and peace

Tony


Mystique1957 profile image

Mystique1957 6 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

My brother Tony...

I feel that one of the greatest gift The Great Architect bestowed upon us was Free Will. You choose how to interrelate with Him. Nobody has to tell you what to do! It is your choice. I became an eclectic because for me, everyone has a piece of the truth. No religion has the absolute truth or answer. If it wasn't true, we would all have the same beliefs and religion. But We choose! For me, God loves variety. That is why we are black, white, Asian, red, mulattoes, Latinos, etc. It is your prerogative! Well put, my friend!

Rated up, Bookmarked and Stumbled!

Warmest regards and infinite eternal blessings,

Al


Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

Dear Tony...it must have taken you much courage to be so open and honest about your thoughts, and beliefs. I cannot force you nor do I want to, to feel as I do. It is a journey each individual must take. We cannot live anothers life nor make them see truth as we see it. Just know that I am thinking of you as you find your place in all this! Thanks for sharing!


eerddff123 profile image

eerddff123 6 years ago

An excellent read


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

My brother Al - your words are a balm to my soul! Thank you so much.

Ann - thank you for your kind words and thoughts. Deeply appreciated indeed!

Eerddff123 - thanks for dropping by and commenting.

Love and peace

Tony


ocbill profile image

ocbill 6 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

Struggles with belief do come when you have a friend or acquaintance become a victim of a violence act or fatal crime.

I have struggled lately with this and do wonder is it still possible for a victim's yell for help to be acted upon instantly instead of dismissing it until the next day when it is too late & her 5 & 3 yr old kids are motherless. It did not come and so she was murdered. Many take it in stride as media coverage until, they say, "Hey I knew that person."

Tony, Great contribution again, I do ultimately believe it is still possible, with and without, to do good. It is the person's character in the end.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Bill, I thank you for your considerate and thoughtful comment. I know how hard it is to deal with the brutal death of someone close. And it happens far too often.

Thanks again fro dropping by.

Love and peace

Tony


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Tony. Within this hub is the essence of God. God is this simple. God is not out there to be found. God is in you... whether you know or not. So, when you go to the grocery store, you do not recognize God because you think you need to look for someone mighty and powerful, an image created by man. God is the small, questioning voice inside us all who has spoken so beautifully throughout this entire hub. Every single word, tonymac. Every single word comes from God.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Story - as always your comment is so, so meaningful to me. Thank you so much. I need a hug, I need a HUG!!!

Thanks my dear so much.

Love and peace

Tony


cvanthul profile image

cvanthul 6 years ago from Florida

Excellent hub, Tony. I think your struggle is a universal one. The church sometimes asks us to believe unconditionally and that can be a very difficult thing to do. I believe there's ... something, and each person has their own individual definition of what or who God is. In that way, it's possible to have a personal relationship with him (or her). It's not so much that God is a person but that the person has a personal (perhaps personalized?) definition of God. I'm Catholic and I know my definition of God is quite different than my church's but I still attend mass because I enjoy it, because it's almost like a group meditation hour, because at some masses I do enjoy the hymns or songs (one mass is dedicated to teens so they sing Christian rock instead of traditional hymns) and because the sermons and readings often seem to mirror what is going on my life so much that week that it's uncanny at times.

Anyway, enjoyed the hub. It's quite a bit to think about and like someone else said, until all the questions of the universe are answered there will belief (and disbelief) in God.

Cris


Techwriter21 6 years ago

Tony, don't let people like mentalist coud your judgement. Because there indeed are facts out there that disprove a creator. In sooo many different ways. Why would you live your life accordingly to something your not even sure of? There is a gap between science and god. And as science advances this gap gets smaller. Its quite interesting how church bodies deny science, but if science were to discover that the almighty really does exist, it would then be trumpeted to the skies.


Williamjordan profile image

Williamjordan 6 years ago from Houston TX

Great writing Tony I feel you except that your struggle is not odd or strange I had the same struggle about others I deal of God until he became my God.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Cris - thanks for the supporting comment. I know what you mean about mass being like a group meditation. I have experienced that too. (Glad to know your name now!)

Techwriter - the point is that I don't know that science can ever disprove the existence of a God, just as it can't prove the existence of one. I guess the struggle is with the metaphors. And so I can accept the metaphor that Story uses in her comment above, and I feel OK with William's comment below, also.

It seems to me that the question almost becomes not "if" God exists but rather "where" God exists.

I can accept to call what happens in a really loving relationship "God" because then I can relate. What I battle with is those who calim to have a relationship with a God who who is outside of life, in a way, and so they can claim to know and almost own this God. And they know exactly what this God wants, what his (and to such people God is always a male)who he accepts and who he doesn't accept.

But a God who is in every word, in every loving gesture (like a hug - I love hugs!), in the coming together around a table of fellowship, that starts to make sense to me.

But I'm still not sure that such a metaphorical, if you like, God is what is meant in the Creed, and then I get stuck again!

But thanks everyone who has commented, your comments mean a lot to me.

Love and peace

Tony


Merlin Fraser profile image

Merlin Fraser 6 years ago from Cotswold Hills

For what it's worth I have always had trouble with this whole God thing. Of course I'm sure it all started at school where Religious Instruction was manditory and any questions I asked that were too dificult for the teacher to answer were swept aside or I was just told to shut up and not interupt.

So to this day, as far as Genesis is concerned, I still don't know where Mrs. Cain came from !

By my own research as far as I can see the current One God idea was invented about 700 BC by Hezekiah King of Judah who passed various laws punishable by death for anyone who disagreed with him. Prior to him the notion of just One God was inconceivable to the simple people of the period. After all god was very obviously a man, and a God wouldn't be by himself he'd need a wife, or wives, after all he is a God. And of course, where you have wives there are going to be children, and they are going to be good Gods and Bad Gods....so on an so forth just like the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Norsemen both before and during. so up steps Hezekiah and puts a tin lid on it all.

Then we have the Roman Emperor Constantine, who first of all claims he is a Christian, which was fairly obviously a bit of political spin for the time, because he was known to have carried on most of the pagan practices that the Roman's so enjoyed at the time. Who in their right mind is going to give up orgies for Lent ! But he too passed a law decreeing Christianity as the official religion throughout the whole Roman Empire, what a red letter day that must have been for JC's holy gang... they must have thought all their Christmases had come at once, so to speak ! Yet again the decree had the sting of imineant death to all those who disobeyed the law, I guess back then even I might have paid lip service to the notion, being a bit of a wimp when it comes to pain and/or death as an alternative.

What I can't quite get my head around is why the Christians at the time went along with it. Up until then they had wandered around bending ears about, Love thy neighbour, turn the other cheek, Thou shalt not Kill and don't covet your neighbour's arse or whatever. Now they seem to have thrown their lot in with one of the most brutal military dictatorships around at the time. No one else but me it seems can see a contradiction, or a fairly modest conflict of interest here; I have often wondered why ?

What was that quote that started all this, Ah Yes ! "As Ye sow, So Shall ye Reap !" What can I say, if the early Christian acceptance of the Emperor Constantine was them sowing the seeds of Christianity then look at the wonderful harvests they had: The Church of Rome who tortured and burnt any who disagreed with them. They who invented the Inquisition, sanctioned and ordered the Crusades, ordered and help fund the European Wars Catholics against Protestant... Took their God fearing brand of Evil to the New Worlds of North and South America, need I go on....? And of course through all of this you notice I hardly have time to mention the current activities of Christine Versus Muslim, Jewish Versus Muslim ETC.

Isn't it all supposed to be the same ONE GOD ?

And this all seeing all loving deity sits on high watching, I guess it must be better than watching SKY TV....


BDazzler profile image

BDazzler 6 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

As far away as you feel, Tony, I believe you are closer than you think. Great writing! Peace.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 6 years ago from Stepping past clutter

You've got it, Tony. I am sending you the biggest hug ever! I see God in you, my friend.


brethodge profile image

brethodge 6 years ago from USA

I have read so much on god and heard about it a lot but this one is really unique and impressive.. Nice to know about GOD! its one!!


Techwriter21 6 years ago

Its almost impossible to disprove something that does not exist. It may seem almost too improbable for earth and us to have happened by pure chance. But this idea shoots itself in the foot. The misfiring then suggests that there was a creator, but what most fail to do is question. Who or what or how was the creator created? Which requires an even bigger explanation then the question it answers.I would almost beg for you to change your question from where, to if again not because I care personally what you believe, but because religion is a hinder not only on science, but human advancement as a whole because some things may seem immoral. Granted there are morals within religion that should be held onto, it is a hinder. Humanity would be a billion times smarter today without it.....


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD

Thanks for sharing, Tony. Enjoyed the honesty expressed in your philosophical & spiritual wrestling. I appreciate it because there are times I travl some of the same landscape.

When push comes to shove for me, here's what I know: "God is...and I ain't him."


terced ojos profile image

terced ojos 6 years ago from terced_ojos@yahoo.com

Ken.

I'm a Christian man and I'm struggling with the intense and ugly effects of "White Christian Racism."

The existence of white christian racism has made me reconsider my beliefs altogether.

I am where you are in the process.

Questioning...

Thank you for thinking out loud.

I think more people than not question exactly the way you do. They just don't say those things out loud.

Your honesty is refreshing and I am your brother in this struggle.

Sincerely

Terced


Lee B profile image

Lee B 6 years ago from New Mexico

I gotta say, Tony, I trust people who say they don't know or who are searching for the truth. If someone "knows," then I am wary because God (or whatever) is inherently unknowable.

I appreciate your struggle--I think many of us are going through the same type of thing. Thank you for putting it so eloquently into words!


Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

Tatjana-Mihaela 6 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

Beautiful Tony...

Whenever I go in the nature I see this power of love and creation that is "God or Gods". Whenever I look in the stars I am very sure that there is "God" in everything and everybody. All what exists is God - you, me, other people, animals,plants nature...are sparkling parts of God.

Every religion can be misused (as it is) because is created by priests (who are just small part of God) so "God" - She, He or It is far above each of them - because God is Whole.

Love and peace


BJBenson profile image

BJBenson 6 years ago from USA

I have had my faith my whole life. I am feel I lucky. I have no doubt in how I feel. But that is because I have had experiences in my life that taken me on that path.I have learned Angels don't talk to everyone. I don't judge those who do not feel the same as I do. I hope that you find what you need in your life.Please just don't fall for any false Prophets. They seem to be popping up everywhere. May the Lord bless you just for trying to find him.


Raymond Tremain profile image

Raymond Tremain 6 years ago from Metro Manila Philippines

Tony my friend,you have a lot here, all I can say is that I did not go through all that as my father was a preacher, well I come from a christian family and it goes back 100's of years, but I have come across many just like how you feel and think.

God is as we know it a Spirit,but He was able to come to earth as human form, and when we die we will become as spirit form, but I feel in a way that we can still move about on earth when the right time comes.

and as God is Spirit he was able to create the earth in 6 days, humans take about 6 months just to make a tall building.

I never try to push anything onto anyone, but I do tell them there is only one TRUE GOD though there are many gods they are what people make things to be come, it is something that they worship, can be money, eating, sport, or anything.

I never judge any one they must make up their own minds.

BUT the TRUE GOD LOVES YOU ANYWAY

God Bless you in your walk to find peace with God.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Merlin - yes the Constantinian compromise was a puzzle and I have often wondered also why the Christians fell for it at the time - maybe just sheer exhaustion at having endured all that torture and suppression for so long? And you are so right - it led to all sorts of things that are, in my view, inimical to the message that Jesus was preaching of love and acceptance.

Thanks for the read and the very thoughtful comment. I appreciate it very much indeed.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

BDazzler - thanks for the kind words and support.

Story - your hug is incredibly important to me!

Brethodge - thanks for the great compliment. Deeply appreciated.

Techwriter - again I appreciate where you're coming from. I think part of the problem is that science and religion are two different metaphorical representations of reality and so to use the metaphor of the one to understand the metaphor of the other is an ultimately futile exercise. And I agree that religion has, through the ages, caused a great deal of harm. I accepet evolution and the "big bang" theory as adequate explanations of reality. But the same question can be asked of science: "What came before the big bang?" It is as mysterious and philosophical (in the sense of being conjectural) as the question of who created the creator?

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Ken - thanks for your kind and thoughtfull words.

Terced - I fully agree with you that I cannot see how a follower of Jesus can be a racist. And the churches (and other religions) have through the ages done some really horrible things. That is precisely why I question and will no doubt go on questioning.

Lee - I really appreciate your kind words. Thank you.

Tatjana - "God is Whole" - I really like that. Thanks for you kind words.

BJ - I guess it is precisely in trying not to fall for the "false prophets" that I go on questioning. Thanks for your kind words.

Thanks everyone for comenting here so thoughtfully. I really apprecite it.

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Raymond - thanks for your thoughts on this. I also come from a long line of deeply committed Christians. My grandfather and great-grandfather were both ministers and many other "men of the cloth" on both sides of the family. I think that is why I have these questions - it's about not wanting to just follow their footsteps because it's easy (not that I think that is true for you!).

Thanks for dropping by.

Love and peace

Tony


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 6 years ago from United States

Thank you for this very thoughtful piece. The search for the deity is such a big motivator in life.


debugs profile image

debugs 6 years ago from Odessey777, Umbris

The fact that you have written this hub can only prove that you are a spiritual person. I do not mean "religious". A-1 hub!


Smireles profile image

Smireles 6 years ago from Texas

Tony, you have written a wonderfully honest and open hub. I believe in God, am a follower of Jesus Christ, and was filled with the Holy Spirit as a child. My relationship with God is very real to me and as a result I have difficulty understanding when others question.

However, I recently had someone close to me begin to question the reality of God and this really shook me and caused me to reevaluate my position. I can say that I still have no doubts but I also know that it is very difficult for a believer such as myself to offer the reassurance someone with questions may have. The reason is that our belief is based on faith. You will never find concrete evidence. Jesus stated, "Except you believe that I am He you will die in your sins." This puts the concept of faith right up front.

Thank you for your honesty. I hope you find what you are seeking.


cameciob profile image

cameciob 6 years ago

Hi Tony, I very liked your hub. You justified, or explained, very well the point of view of a sceptic. And, for sure, you have my understanding.

I am living this struggle with believing or not believing for long time too. Everyday when I drive by the cemetery, in my way back from work, I look at the stones and some kind of regrets, very deep and restless feelings, come to me, and then I'm sorry I'm not a true believer. I wrote about it in a hub called Awaiting for resurrection. What matter for me is to be happy and not having faith makes me sad.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

Hi Tony,

You didn't have to thank me fro the Gide quote..after all, it was his, not mine but thanks anyway!

I don't know what to say about his hub, accept that it is so honest and articulate that I'm blown away...[not that I'd expect any less from you]. I'll leave it at that.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

Tony, reading this was like hearing my jumbled up thoughts eloquently expressed. Though wanting to believe through training and having difficulty in believing through logic, I still get emotional when listening to the poetry of the Byzantine Liturgy for Easter. How odd is that? :-)

And your description of Christ, by the way, is a perfect description of the Great Gandhi! How pleasant that was to read :-))


Sky321 profile image

Sky321 6 years ago from Canada

Hi there, I liked your hub and the honesty you shared. I agree with you about not trying to make people believe what you believe. And Tony I think we all have certain struggles so keep reading and writing.


brotheryochanan profile image

brotheryochanan 6 years ago from BC, canada

I suppose the leap of faith to believe in god is tantamount for many, many people.

It all starts from repentance. You seem like a nice guy, without too many vices i assume, if so, what hurt will it do you? Just ask jesus to come into your life and ask for your sins to be forgiven. Talk honestly and openly to him for a span of time. When i did this i had an incredible forgiveness experience, unforgettable! and i know many who have also had similar.

Doctrine and beliefs do not matter, initially, what really counts is your love and appreciation for God, which takes time and care to nurture and grow. When we stand before god to enter heaven the first question god is NOT going to ask us is "and how did you interpret genesis 3"? "Did you grasp the trinity?" (the spirit of truth leads us into all truth).

Just do your best and see where god takes you. Its all very personal and very wonderful. God bless you. I hope you give god(s) of your understanding a chance to teach you the truth. God bless you tony, i'm sure he wants to.


kirstein.peter53 profile image

kirstein.peter53 6 years ago from Maseru

A great read thanks Tony. As has been stated this is a struggle so many of us has had, is having and will have. I, thankfully, can put this struggle, for the greater part, behind me as I am now pretty comfortable with my faith. I believe "Storytellersrus" has put it in a nut-shell. As put by one John Michael Talbot:

"Here I am, standing right beside you,

Here I am do not be afraid,

Here I am, waiting like a lover,

I am here, here I am,...

I am here in the face of every child,

I am here in every warm embrace,

I am here with tenderness and mercy,

Here I am, I am here.

I am here in the midst of every trial,

I am here in the face of your despair,

I am here in pardon and forgiveness,

Here I am, I am here."

I truly believe that God is Love.

Love and peace to you and yours Tony.


Debarshi Dutta profile image

Debarshi Dutta 6 years ago from Calcutta

Hi Tony,

Another very fine hub.Extremely well written and well-observed, succinct and lucid.

I understand your concern in this passage...

'In the midst of discontinuous change, in the midst of violence or indifference, it is still possible to do good. It is still possible, without getting too hung up about “what is good”, to actually help folk, it is still possible to take time to listen to another person and try to understand them. It is still possible, and we don't need a lot of theory to understand this, to side with the woman in an abusive relationship, and not write off the person abusing her either.'

To be able to see that the labels we believe people have – white, black, religious, irreligious, terrorist, conservative, rich, poor – are labels we put on people. The labels are ours, they don't belong to the people we so easily stick them onto. We tend, as the saying goes, to see the world (and other people) as we are, not as it is )or they are)..

However it is not GOD that worries you, but humanity.

And I share the love and affection for humanity like you do.

However when one means personal relationship with GOD, if there is truly any personal relationship with GOD, one would know the right from the wrong, righteousness from wrongdoing and would indeed strive to do the same, and if that is not possible would turn a monk, saint or mendicant.. and most necessarily be a saintly and frugal; person with nothing more than basic needs.

And that would be the case through all ages, before Christ or after Christ...even when there is no GOD... And the very lack of such saintly or frugal men in our times is proof that there is no GOD.

If there was really a GOD there would be more such men.

Humanity is what fails itself.

Because the personal relationship is only another way of expressing our innate desire to achieve the most sublime in us. Our highest spiritual ideals wants us too see ourselves in the best possible light, instead we see ourselves differently, and it is only because we lack the aspiration to these ideals, not as individuals but as a group.

And the habits of modern society in a technological framework no longer make those spiritual ideals possible.


green tea-cher profile image

green tea-cher 6 years ago

Tony, your hub speaks for so many of us. I am presently reading a book called "The Case For a Creator" by Lee Strobel. A journalist investigates scientific evidence that points toward God. It is very interesting to read about the science that proves the existence of a divine intelligence that created our universe - I'm not finished the book yet, but I thought it might help you - it certainly is helping me. Thanks for showing us that we are not alone in trying to solve this dilemma.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Firstly an apology to all who have commented - I have been very busy completing a report writing project and so have not been able to respond to your much appreciate3d comments until now.

Tom - thanks for dropping by and commenting.

Debugs - thanks for your thoughts.

Smireles - thank you, the search is in itself important!

Camelia - thanks, I will check out your Hub.

Jane - thanks for your kind words and, of course, I thanked you for drawing my attention to the Gide quote, for which I am grateful.

DG - I don't think it odd at all that you ae moved by the poetry of the Liturgy. I am also moved by it and would not miss the Holy Thursday Liturgy for anything! It is very moving and beautiful.

Sky - yes the sharing of our struggles helps to build understanding and community, both essential to peace.

Brotheryochanan - thank you for the kindness of your words, which I really appreciate. And blessings on you also!

Pete - thanks for sharing that wonderful poem and your thoughts. And yes, if I believe anything it is that God is love. This process of struggle is important to me because I learn so much about myself and my beleifs through it. I appreciate your blessing also!

Debarshi - thank you for your thoughful comment. I think there are frugal and saintly people around. But in the rush and bustle of our technological era we very often overlook them. And you are right - what worries me is humanity, a humanity that seems so often to fall short of its real potential, and often does so in the name of God. So it remains a huge puzzle to me. But the effort to solve the puzzle remains a worthwhile one, don't you think?

Green tea-cher - thanks for the heads-up about the book by Strobel - I will look out for it.

Thanks everyone for enriching my journey!

Love and peace

Tony


vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 6 years ago

Dear Tony,

you wrote a great hub and I absolutely understand what you mean. I must add, I definitely, firmly, believe in Jesus Christ and his ''mission'' on earth, his resurrection and promises. I believe, God is a person, which refers to the spirit and soul, and not the physical body, therefore, he or ''she'' could have created the sky and earth in six days. Anyway, does it matter whether he is a ''he'' or a ''she''? Does it matter whether the Church is more positive or negative (Church as an institution, and not the ''house of God'')? What we need to think about instead, is how to be a better person each day, as I believe this is what brings man closer to God.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Vox - thank you for dropping by and leaving such a thoughtful comment. I appreciate it very much.

I agree that working every day to be a better person is the most important thing.

Love and peace

Tony


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

Tony,

I enjoyed reading your Hub and I truly appreciate the mental struggle you described so well. I would like to add just three thoughts to this conversation.

One is, I do have a personal relationship with God, meaning, we have conversations. I talk to him and He talks to me. He provides guidance and assures me that He loves me.

Two, some of your commenters suggest that only ignorant folks believe in God, because these poor fools just don't know any better, and need a crutch that superior minds don't have any use for. I would like to point out that millions of brilliant human beings have believed in the Christian message, because of well thought reasonings, not blind faith. One of them is C.S. Lewis. I will close with a quote from him here. Thank you!

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. ... Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God."


sherlocksujith profile image

sherlocksujith 6 years ago from Thiruvanathapuram

Very unique... your ideas are nice.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

This message was left for you, but obviouslyyou did not return: :-))

Tony, you are kind as usual. For that, I shall let you know a Latin gem that few people know about:

Certe, toto, sentio nos in kansate non iam adesse


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

The truth is always difficult to find, and we all have struggles in some ways Tony, great and thought provoking hub. Thank you for the share. Take care, Maita


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

James - thank you so much for your thoughful comments. I certainly do not subscribe to the idea that only ingorant folk believe in God. I have known personally many, many highly intelligent and sincere people who deeply believe in God. People for whom I have the greatest respect. And that is partly what makes my struggle so difficult - I want to believe with my heart, but my head has too many questions! It is that "leap of faith" thing - and, of course, the ego thing. I recognise that and at the same time struggle to get past it.

The thing is I want to be honest about believing or not believing. You say God talks to you and I respect that. And I want to know, how does He talk to you and how do you know it is God? I would worry that God is telling me what I, at some level of consciousness, want to hear. You see there is the matter of God being prayed to by, for example, people on both sides in a war. The same God being asked for victory by two enemies. Both sides sincerely believing that God is on their side. Both sides reciting the same Creed, having the same liturgies.

The Lewis quote also does not speak to me, because it relies on acceptance of the Bible - now if I doubt God, why would I accept the Bible? And I disagree (with all due humility) with Lewis - I do think that Jesus was a great moral teacher and I don't think that a madman would have said the things he said. Only a person very deeply in touch with humanity, and with a deep love and compassion, would say challenging things like "turn the other cheek." Most of the Sermon on the Mount shows an incredible psychological insight on the part of whoever wrote it. But I don't have to believe that Jesus was God to agree with that sermon.

I would like to share a quotation with you that I have recently come across. It is from Karen Armstrong's wonderful anthology of poetry called "Tongues of Fire." She writes that perhaps there are only two kinds of religion, which she terms the "mystical" and the "sectarian". She explains: "In the Pentacost story we have an example of Mysitcal religion based not so much on dogma and organisation as on direct contact with God, which results in ecstatic inspiration. The result is harmony and understanding among men. However, the second form that man's religious bent takes, that of Sectarian religion, is too often like the Babel story. It tends to build man-made structures of theology in an attempt to reach God. The strongholds of faith thus constructed with great human skill and insight provide comfort for all who dwell therein. But sometimes it forgets that God is greater than man's ideas of Him; it thinks that its human structures are impregnable, and this must bring about an insecurity as the structures tend to crumble over the years. The insecurity breeds intolerance, and it leads practically to worshipping a human creation; it is idolatry to be dogmatic."


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Sherlock - thanks for your kind words.

DG - my Latin fails me! As does my memory! But that gem sounds good. Thanks very much. Will study it deeply.

Maita - thanks, my dear. I always appreciate your comments.

Love and peace

Tony


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

wonderfully open and honest hub. really enjoyed it but I feel for your dilemma. Believing Christ was a real historical person makes a huge difference. The jewish historian Josephus wrote a history of the jews, never became a christian,but wrote of the man they called the Christ as a real person. I have a copy of |Josephus packed somewhere on its journey from Tenerife to Britain. When my boxes arrive I'll see what I can find or who the publishers are, Again lovely hub peace and love as always, Dim


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Dim - your visits always encourage me. Thank you so much.

Love and peace

Tony


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 6 years ago from West Virginia

Wow, Tony, I thought I had already commented here. I was wrong! I am glad that I came by though as I also went through a struggle. I was brought up in the Welsh Baptist religion and changed religions/Dogmas/Doctrines twice since. I came to realize that what is in the Bible is not always what religion teaches and so that what is also in the Bible is not true to the first one that was put together. Being that as it is I have been mis-understood about how my thoughts and feelings have formed and questioned repeatedly about my values in Jesus and God. I find it hard to explain the things that I have come to know, just as you have. Most parts of the Bible are mainstay and I do beleive in what Jesus is trying to tell us as I look at the bigger picture and not take apart each verse. Most don't understand that either. I do beleive the God is within us and in everything in our Universe and beyond. It isn't a person that you can actually go up to and say hi and shake hands with. I believe that Jesu did what he said that he was going to do and that was put everything within us. All the love and all the knowledge is Within us. I know how hard it is to write about personal things like this. I have a few of them myself that instead of bringing understanding the only brought some to try to convert me and such. As you have done with yours, I didn't try to tell others what they should believe, but boy were there many that told me what to believe. I can see that in some of the comments here as well.

While religious folk always say Peace Be With You, I say Peace Be IN You


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Lady G - thanks so much for your understanding and making such a lovely comment. It is much appreciated indeed!

And I say Love and peace within you too!

Tony


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

My comment vanished so I will try again :)

I wrote a similar hub but mine was about the loss of my faith. This could change with time but currently I don't think it will.

I still live a decent life and try to be kind but I am no saint and often get things wrong. Still that's life.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Ethel - thanks for the comment, and especially for coming back to make it after losing it before! I appreciate that more than I can say. Interesting that you also have lost a comment - I have lost several in the past few days. Don't know why?

Thanks again, you have made my day! And son't we all get things wrong? I know for sure I do, many times a day! But as you say, we try to live a decent life and be good to those around us.

Love and peace

Tony


GTKY 6 years ago

Don't be afraid you'll get through it. 'God is still on the throne and prayer changes things always'. The Bible often says to fear God and keep his commandment. This saying is the entire duty of each one, who seek him. I hope you have had a nice day today. Have a good one tomorrow.

Cheers!


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas

Tony, excellent hub. I have very similar feelings. In my early 20s, I finally admitted outloud to another person that I just didn't believe all the things I learned in Sunday School. It was more like good folklore, or like appreciating mythology. I find Jesus a seemingly genuine, caring person, and pretty good example for living. Old Testament God seems angry and vengeful to me.


lisadpreston profile image

lisadpreston 6 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

Tony- I admire your not being a conformist to the masses. That takes courage. I have learned to question everything and the more I do, I find religion to be a hypocritical farce. Spirituality is wonderful and we should all be seekers of truth and kind to our fellow man. When I see priests raping children over and over, I lose my faith in religion quickly. I hear so many people say they have found Jesus or God. Well I wasn't aware that he was lost. If so, I wish one of the good christians that have found him would offer him a map. No disrespect intended. Thanks for sharing.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

GTKY - I appreciate your comment.

Rmcrayne - the OT God does often come across as mean and vengeful, and I think many Christians seem to take the same sort of line, which is why so many have problems with Christicanity.

Lisa - conformity has never been my strong suite, I have to admit! There is much in religiosity that is distasteful and hypocritical and churches generally are structures that act primarily to preserve themselves. It seems to be the human way.

Thanks all for sharing in my struggle.

Love and peace

Tony


Don Simkovich profile image

Don Simkovich 6 years ago from Pasadena, CA

I've had a "problem" with God, too, recently during some intense family struggles. I felt as though I had never been to church before during some intense dark times. Yet, reaching a crescendo and people who were praying for us, I also found myself coming back to the very image of a welcoming Christ which has sustained me in my own faith. Thanks for taking the time in writing this and approaching the topic delicately.


JannyC profile image

JannyC 6 years ago

Wow a lot of comments on this. I was drawn to this for I have had the same thoughts as you. It is why I am not much into organized religion and churches. I am not that fond of social gathering and my worship is mine alone and I do not understand why I should share it and save souls. On occasion I do praise for things happen that is just so amazing to me that it's my personal proof and sign there is a God I mean how can you explain it otherwise? A lot of people do not understand the concept of "God" either in how he works and that we have free will as well. *gets off soapbox* My Im quite vocal today hahaha.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

I enjoyed the words of Karen Armstrong. I know when God speaks to me, Tony, because over decades I have learned to recognize His voice. His voice always rings with eternal truths, never contradicts anything He has said before, immediately strikes me as "Wow! Am I glad to have received this message." God does not waste or mince words. How He talks to me is usually when I pray. Now I pray several times a day. I say what I want to say, or ask what I want to ask. And then comes the most important part. I sit still in silence and ask Him to speak to me. He only does maybe 20, 30 times per year. It's not like an ongoing conversation. Many times my question is answered without words—by what happens in life. I may sit in silence for five minutes with no Word. That's OK. The situation is not mine to dictate. Now and again I'm sitting there and here He comes. Never more than a sentence or two or three. Always profound. Understand, this is not like a skeptic saying, "Show yourself!" This is seeking in meekness, awe, and reverence. It is rare, but maybe a few times a year God speaks to me out of the clear blue—no matter what I'm doing. This is always a shock.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Don - your struggles must have been painful. I am glad you feel welcomed again.

Janny - thanks for your words. I appreciate where you're coming from.

James - thanks for coming back again. I am deeply touched that you did. It means a lot. I think your certainty must be very comforting to you and I can appreciate the sitting in silence. I can also imagine the shock.

Thanks all for your visit and your comments which I deeply appreciate.

Love and peace

Tony


Zac828 profile image

Zac828 6 years ago from England

Hey, thanks for your comments on my hub and this is the first one I picked up of yours and...wow! How it reflects how I feel about faith. Yes, Jesus existed, I can believe that much, but after that...who knows, we won't until we end.

This has been a really wonderful read, thank you.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Zac - thanks so much for readiing and commenting. I appreciate it. And yes, except I'm not sure that we will be able to know anything when we end?

Love and peace

Tony


Duchess OBlunt 6 years ago

This was a hub I read with great interest. I can see by your replies to others that it is a real struggle for you. I sincerely hope you find some answers and peace about them.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Duchess - thanks for the visit and the comment. I appreciate it very much. And yes, it is a truggle for me but I think the struggle might be worth more than the destination!

Love and peace

Tony


ralwus 6 years ago

LOL thief! I sooo like you tony, love you actually, a man of wisdom you are. I love how you put your self out there with this. I have found peace in belief and comfort, 'nuff said about that, and the really good ones don't go about boasting of their good deeds or expect any thing in return, even a 'sinner' can be like that after all. thanks old son! But never give up the quest for what you desire. Love and peace Charlie


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Charlie, you warm the cockles of me heart! Your words are tonic and strength! Thanks so much.

Love and peace

Tony


Wealthmadehealthy profile image

Wealthmadehealthy 6 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

Tony, this was a great hub. I can certainly understand as man has struggled with the Faith in God. It is a faith thing, and unless you are in a church which is Bible based, it is hard to understand the true God. The catholic "religion" which I recognized from "...I believe in one God"....has led many people astray as it does not teach what a loving, kind and forgiving God who gave us and gives us all things.

Many people today have turned their faces away from Him, but as you say you love Jesus, keep loving Him, and follow His ways, not a religeon. It is written that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. We are made rich in our humility toward the Lord and Faith in His Words. And I think maybe it is faith you are struggling with, not belief.....Have faith in Jesus and know He is coming soon to take away all our tears of grief, sorrows and trials we are having now. Have Faith. Believe in Him, not the Words of human beings. Have faith the size of a mustard seed and continue to thank Him for all the things He has done for you and will do for you in the future. Have a blessed day!!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

WMH - thanks for the visit and the understanding. I can only promise that I will hang in there and see this race to the end!

Love and peace

Tony


Wealthmadehealthy profile image

Wealthmadehealthy 6 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

It is definitely a race tony. The evil one (satan) is trying hard to get people not to believe in God, In Jesus for he has one last chance to pull us all away from Him. We must all believe, even tho we are unable to see Him. We see His glory daily with the sunrise and the sunset...the beautiful rainbows after the rains. And the great deceiver has entered the churches so as they do not proclaim the Good News...which is that Jesus is coming again as I spoke of before....He will lead the world in peace, harmony and joy....All He asks is that we follow His Commandments and believe on Him. I pray for you Tony, I pray In Jesus Name that you will understand what it means to believe to have faith....say! You trust the chair you sit down on every day don't you? You know it won't let you fall....You have faith because you can see it. Even tho you are unable to see God, see His glory in creation and lean on Him when you have troubles. Have you been baptised by immersion??? When you are baptised this way as an adult, there is a cleansing of your soul...a new feeling enters your being....This is God. He gives you new thoughts, and new actions....Accepting Him is the key. When you are baptised, you are not being baptised into a church, but into the Family of God. It is a loving family....Look into this if you would. It may help you overcome all....Have a blessed day!!


BDazzler profile image

BDazzler 6 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

One of the things I look for, Tony, is honest seeking. In my own personal opinion (which is all I can ever have, right or wrong ... humbly say right most of the time LOL!!! ) that's the key because Jesus said "Everyone who seeks finds."

If I believe in Jesus (regardless of what other people say or don't say), which I do ...

And If I believe you are honestly seeking, which I do ...

Then, at the right time and the right plce, you will indeed "find"! And then, I think God will say, in a way only you can fully understand, "Helluva ride, wasn't it Tony!? Wanna go again!??"


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

WMH - thanks for coming back! I appreciate your support and the loving intentionss. Thanks very much indeed!

BDazzler - thanks for the visit and the comment. It is a "helluva ride" and mostly I am enjoying it. I will not stop looking and exploring. Because that's what makes me excited and motivated.

Love and peace

Tony


kimberlyslyrics 6 years ago

Tony

we are definitely on the same page

Incredible read, truly, got me thinking

xo

Kimberly


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Kimberly - thank you so much for the support. I appreciate your comment very much and glad you found the Hub interesting.

Love and peace

Tony


M Selvey, MSc profile image

M Selvey, MSc 6 years ago from United Kingdom

Tony,

This is an excellent hub and it expresses so much of what I have felt through the years as I was raised in a fundamentalist pentecostal household. It was very strict and our whole social and spiritual life was built around this church. But, I always found that when I had questions, I was treated like the devil incarnate - rather than having my questions answered, they were responded to with "how dare you ask that!"

Now, I truly believe that if God does exist, I have no doubts that he/she understands any struggle people might have with his or her existence or non-existence. There are those from my background who would say that is where faith comes in but blind faith is hard to reckon with, at least for me.

I remember reading a passage by a theologian over twenty-five years ago. I cannot remember his name but if I recall, I think the passage was quoted in the Road Less Traveled by M.Scott Peck. It was about how we cannot have a second-hand God where we take someone else's word for his existence. There must be a first hand experience for it to be real. Without that, the questions will always be there.

Thank you for a thought-provoking hub and stimulating discussion!

Margit


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Margit - I so appreciate your stopping by and commenting! Thanks very much.

There is a lot of truth for me in the quote - I guess I am looking for that first hand experience.

Love and peace

Tony


ugivetheword profile image

ugivetheword 6 years ago from somewhere between leaving and arriving

tony,

this hub really hit home for me...i have felt this way most of my life..which was a difficult thing being reared in the "bible belt" thank you for your sweet words; you have given my struggle a voice...that's as powerful as it gets.

AND thanks for stopping by or it would have taken me longer to find you and this hub. ~U


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Tony, I hung on your every word and what happened was confirmation in what I believe...I feel simply that this universe consist of two basic components and that being positive and negative energy,this world is energy, the universe is energy and a wonderous mix of amazing and beautiful occurances are a relection of that. I enjoy basking in the glow of the postive and in fact dancing about in it's splendor although there is much negative I have found my positive and unshakeable energy always tosses those of negative off kilter a wee bit. I enjoyed your spiritual expression and shared thoughts of My Struggle with God! I will maintain every positive thought, energy and hope that you be radically and abundantly over whelmed with knowing nothing but peace. Where there is doubt peace cannot be. Whatever the greater power and or powers I operate in I choose it to be good. That is what it boils down to for me good or bad, I've heard it said good people do bad things, Ah yes but do they feel remorse. Living in the good and being good feels right to me and time is something I have a great respect for wanting not to waste any. I can't imagine an end to my existence, I feel an unending within me that is stronger than anything else, where I go from this life begs to question, but for me it's an exciting adventure I know! Thanks and Peace :)


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Ugivetheword - thanks for stopping by. I am flattered by your kind words. And really appreciate the.

Katie - thank you for your very interesting comment. That thought of "dancing about in splendor" is so beautiful. And yes, the whole search is a very exciting adventure!

Love and peace

Tony


reddog1027 profile image

reddog1027 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

A struggle I can relate to. Is there a God? Whose God is the right God? How did God create the world in 6 days. Did Jesus really rise from the dead on the third day? And the big one for me, how can one have a personal relationship with God?

When, I stopped questioning the right or wrong, the did or didn't, the how or why, my walk became easier. This world was not created by a cosmic accident. Why couldn't God create the world in 6 of His days (what is a day in God's time?). I don't worry about which is the right god, God is God. Why couldn't Jesus rise on the third day? My walk of faith became much easier. But I still struggle every day.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Red - I agree that it is a struggle every day to know and believe. Maybe one day I'll get there!

Thanks for the comment which I really appreciate.

Love and peace

Tony


sagbee profile image

sagbee 6 years ago from Delhi

Controversies always keep an eye on the GOd .. Whether god exist or not.. you have given some relevant points ... An interesting hub indeed...


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Thank you Sagbee for your kind comment.

Love and peace

Tony


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

Tonymac thanks for an exceptional read. I have been struggling with this for years. I come from a mother that is similar to the mother in Carrie if you are familiar with that movie, but not as exaggerated as that, she was always shoving God and Jesus down my throat and very judgemental for not believing in her faith. I admire her for having so much faith and sticking to her guns but at the same time have always resented the pressure. I even joined the Catholic Church because that is what my exhusband was and we wanted to raise our children in only one faith and if you know any Catholics they will not budge in their faith so I knew it would have to be me to change religions as I was raised Baptist full of fire and brimstone that always left me perplexed and fearful of God. Anyway, I feel the same way as you do in many respects. I watched the movie Religulous with Bill Mahre and I related to it completely. Enjoyed your hub. Cheers.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Jane - thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. The fire and brimstone is what gets to me also. I will look our for that movie - have not heard of it before.

Love and peace

Tony


formerbronxboy profile image

formerbronxboy 6 years ago from NOT THE BRONX

Tony, Very nicely done, I don't see how anyone could be offended.

I have an old quote for you. "I woke up today, so it is a good day."

Religion is what you believe in your heart. It can come and go, like anything else. It always depends on what is going on at the time.

Being Jewish, I must add something. Jesus DID live! The things that have never been answered to my satisfaction are;

1- Since there was no New Testiment during his life; what must he have preached. My belief is that he taught what his Jewish father taught him. He is considered a Rabbi by Jews because that's what teachers were called then.

2- Why is Joseph hardly mentioned?

3- Did Mary convert before she died? If not, all Catholics are praying to a Jewish lady.

4- I believein a combination of what I was taught (Judaism) and what I have experienced.

5- I can't follow you back, because I am asked for my verification code. What is that?


ALL4JESUS profile image

ALL4JESUS 6 years ago from USA

Very well stated and very heart felt Hub. Love the comments. Love God. God bless you and your family. Keep up the great work - God wants us to be closer to him - you are serving him very well.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Former Bronx Boy - thanks for your thoughtful comments. I guess we all are following a Jewish man, since Jesus and his parents were definitely Jewish! As for your fifth question, I have no idea. I have never been asked for that! Maybe ask a question in the forum. Hope that wwill help.

All4Jesus - thanks for dropping by and commenting. I appreciate your supportive words very much indeed.

Love and peace

Tony


wrenfrost56 profile image

wrenfrost56 6 years ago from U.K.

Another very well written hub Tony and very honest. Like you I don't have too many doubts about Jesus but I do struggle with the concept of god or as you said gods. Very much enjoy your work, your extensive vocabulary and writing style is one of the best I have come across on hubpages so far. :)


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Wren - I so much appreciate your kind words. Thank you very much. Your support is also worth a lot to me.

Love and peace

Tony


lctodd1947 profile image

lctodd1947 6 years ago from USA

I have never doubted there is God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He does dwell within and He is accepted by faith. I have never had God to speak to me out loud. I have seen the time that I came upon a scripture or an email or an answer some other way and those are time I feel He spoke to me. My Father was a minster also, but I developed my own knowing of the Lord. I believe He gives us thoughts sometimes as well, when He speaks. There are many questions one might have, but think on this....if something drastic happened in your life; I mean something really, really bad....who would you call on for help? Usually when disaster comes to all men; the first thing out of their mouth is; Oh God! No one can give peace after pain so great except an Almighty God. He can and He will..


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Ictodd - thanks for your thoughtful comment. I really appreciate it very much. These are not easy questions for me and your understanding helps.

Love and peace

Tony


Frank Menchise profile image

Frank Menchise 6 years ago from Brisbane Australia

God is a bit different to everyone of us, so I hope that you find your own God one day, not in the form of a person perhaps, because I cannot see god as a person and yet be able to do god's things, so I understand what you mean, which is we all struggle to understand God.

Anyhow your hub is great reading, just keep asking yourself how God could be like and one day you may find him/it.

May god bless you somehow.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Frank - thanks for a really thoughtful and supportive comment.

Love and peace

Tony


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 6 years ago from Northern California

WHat a beautiful, touching Hub--so honest and so eloquent. Although I believe in God I found it difficult to maintain my faith until I started reading CS Lewis and his work on the subject (he was a former atheist) This Hub is refreshing.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Your kind words mean a lot to me, Garnet. Thanks for the read and the comment. Much appreciated.

Love and peace

Tony


ceciliabeltran profile image

ceciliabeltran 6 years ago from New York

In my younger years, I went to a Jesuit priest for confession. I think if there are any great priests around they would be Jesuits. I confessed having doubts at the age of 18. And he said, "As for Jesus, it is very easy to see that there are historical evidences of his impact...as for G-d, those questions are very disturbing and you may need to accept that you will spend your whole life asking those questions. I was 18, I never doubted the existence of G-d until that day, from that priest. I guess he was having those doubts as well.

I have since come to terms with G-d and my place in that entire concept. But to ask is the first stage to getting to a place where G-d and the self are intertwined that you cannot almost separate the two ideas apart.

Interesting hub, I was involved in it.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Cecilia - thanks very much for your thoughtful and interesting comment. The story of my doubts also involved a priest. One who said to me, when I said I doubted life after death, that then I could not be a Christian. Interestingly he was not prepared to discuss my difficulty, just dismissed it like that.

Thanks for the visit and for your kind words.

Love and peace

Tony


terced ojos profile image

terced ojos 6 years ago from terced_ojos@yahoo.com

Wow TonyMac...

I read this again and it had a particularly profound effect on me.

I have no worries about you. You got it. I mean Jesus is with you brother.

In the most powerful way. It is so simple that the vastly intellectual overly deep individual is going to miss it completely.

Jesus preached so simply and lovingly. The message is for everyone and he made it very easy to understand. So often we hear people "eschatologize," "hebrewnize," "greekenize" or "aramaicinize" the very simple and powerful message of God.

You understand that message Tonymac...

As I was reading your hub again a movie came to mind...I started thinking about Close Encounters of the third Kind.

I remember everyone who had been in the light of the ship had this very simple compulsion to "go to the mountain"...the "aliens" had communicated a very simple and powerful message and everyone who had received it felt drawn to go...!!!

You got the message loud and clear Tonymac. Jesus is that light and you hear him clearly and truthfully and this is a beautiful thing.

God has asked us in no uncertain terms to be as he is and you understand that; you try to stand in the other persons shoes.

I imagine that God sits among us and weeps the way a parent weeps for siblings who fight amongst each other; who kill one another, who do every manner of evil to one another.

Can you imagine being that parent. Loving all of your children and not wanting to punish any of them because you love them all and you understand them completely...

I sometimes feel like God is saying..."please stop hurting each other...please...can you try to love each other like I love you? Please?

You have a heart after God Tonymac

God Bless You

Sincerely

Terced_Ojos


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Terced - thanks for a really heartwarming comment. I really apprecitate that you took the time to visit and write such a lovely comment.

Love and peace

Tony


hair2nv profile image

hair2nv 6 years ago from Huntsville, Alabama

Well written. I just know that without God there would be no Jesus and I believe that Jesus is the son of God. Great comments and expressions of your feelings.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Hair - thanks so much for dropping by and commenting. I deeply appreciate it.

Love and peace

Tony


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago

Hi Tony...I read this hub with great interest. The Dalai Lama was quoted when asked by Theologian and ex Catholic Priest Leonardo Boff. "What is the best religion?" The Dalai Lama replied, "It is the one that makes you a better person."...This quote has given me some peace lately in my struggle with religious beliefs. Just thought I would share this with you...I believe in the good of humans and being a good human...Striving to be a better person. Being able to quote scripture doesn't make me a better person...Loving my fellow humans and striving to make my world and others a better place does.

[[HUGS]] Tammy


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Tammy, thanks for your kind and understanding comments. Boff was a great inspiration to me is years gone by and I still think him great. I quite agree with you about making the worlod a better place for all - that's the real deal, I think!

Love and peace

Tony


qwark profile image

qwark 6 years ago

Hi Tony:

I'm a little younger than you but not by much.

You've read and commented on my "hubs" so you have a pretty good idea what my thoughts are concerning the subject of this "hub."

It is very well thought out and written.

Your concern is appreciated by all "thinkers" and students of human life.

I've spent a life time studying and have come to the conclusion that "imagination" is an overwhelming characteristic of human consciousness.

"ALL" defininitions of this god thing exist as opinion.

Even as they are referred to in scripture.

Until this god thing can be defined, to me, in other than opinion and conjecture, I cannot even consider it to be anything other than a "concept" existing without the slightest involvement of "fact."

You wrote and presented your thoughts dynamically and poignantly....well done! :-)


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

qwark - thanks for your thoughtful and supportive comments. I appreciate it that you took the time to visit and read my humble offering to the debate.

Love and peace

Tony


qwark profile image

qwark 6 years ago

My pleasure!...:-)


mwatkins profile image

mwatkins 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC

You have so many great comments on this that I just wanted to add mine too. I grew up with religion, had a personal tragedy at 16 years old, struggle with it today, but it was in church 25 years ago that I began to question some of the things I learned and I also have struggles, but keep coming back to my core - learned teachings - in times of crisis and times of thankfulness. thanks for sharing your intimate thoughts on a controversial topic while respecting other points of view! Well done!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Mischelle - thanks so much for dropping by and commenting so thoughtfully. Sorry to hear about the tragedy that you still struggle with. Some things take long to process and deal with. Hope you have some good support.

Thanks again for your kind words.

Love and peace

Tony


M. T. Dremer profile image

M. T. Dremer 6 years ago from United States

Very insightful, and I thank you for sharing something so personal with the hubpage community. I'm a non-believer in gods of any kind, but I don't necessarily have anything against the idea of religion. It can lead a great deal of people to do great things in the world. My struggle with it is the separation between teaching good values versus teaching a fairy tale. That is to say, if you read your child a book about a boy who lied and then got in trouble; the moral of the story is to not lie. But if you tell your child that there is a literal god, angels and devil, how is it different from telling them santa claus is real? (Santa is another story to encourage children to be good, but adults would scoff if another adult still believed in Santa.)

To me, religion has always been a means to an end; a way to tell people how to be good and give them incentive to do so (heaven). And I think that's why it's been pushed to the sidelines in today's society because our government has taken over the role of issuing laws about what is right and what isn't. You could grow up thinking you shouldn't kill because you'll go to hell, or because you'll get arrested. Both have the same outcome; it keeps everyone from murdering each other. I'm not saying we'd all go crazy without either of these things, but humans have a tendency to gravitate towards these things. If it wasn't religion or government it would be something else.

Anyway, I think I'm rambling now. My comment was just that I agree with the moral lessons religion can teach us, I just get an eye-twitch each time someone claims the bible is the truth. There are always human truths in stories, but that doesn't mean they are 'factual'.

So in short, great hub! It really gets the mind going.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

You bring to the table a juicy topic for discussion. Such willingness to be open in this personal investigation. That is courage. Along with the strength to refuse to accept someone else's dogma or belief's without question. You are on the Path of Truth Seeking. You are not alone, although it is a journey that each of us travels in our own way-at our own pace. Know that others are here to support you in your quest to understand. You raise good questions.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

MTD - thanks for a very thoughtful comment. I agree that the incongruence of the values taught and the values actually lived out is a problem. The Santa problem! You have described very well some of the issues I have also.

Thanks again

Love and peace

Tony


Lgali profile image

Lgali 6 years ago

well-written hub thanks


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Lgali - thanks for the kind words.

Love and peace

Tony


always exploring profile image

always exploring 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

Hello Tony,

hair2nv said it all. I believe in God, and i believe in Jesus. I believe in the bible. The reason i believe in all iv,e stated, is one day ,i asked God to forgive me for my sins, the reason i know that he did is because i feel God in my being, i feel anew, i have love for others.I am not a church member, i wish i could be sometimes, then i hear the religious right speak and i know that,s not for me. God is within you, not in a building. The money spent on multi dollar churches could feed the hungry people all over the world. Seek and you will find. I might add this also, i used to read the bible and didn,t understand, i asked God to help me , and he did. There are many things in this old world that i can,t grab onto, but God is real, none of us will ever be without sin, but if we do our very best, God will be with us til the end.

God Bless You


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Denise - thanks for the thoughtful comment and I do feel that I am on a journey all the time, always searching and the searching is good.

Always Exploring - thanks for the blessing and thanks for the thohghtful comment. I agree that the churches spend too much money and other resources on the physical plant which could be far better used developing people to be self-sufficient.

Love and peace

Tony


LogicalSpark profile image

LogicalSpark 6 years ago from India

Interesting hub. My greatest discomfort with God is when He is potrayed as a positive entity. Where does that leave negativity?

Please see my hub on "Ugliness of God"


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Thanks Logical spark - I will read your Hub and comment there. Thanks for the visit and the comment.

Love and peace

Tony


HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

I grew up a Lutheran via my mother who is devout. She like your father is a great person. I quickly rebelled against this upbringing though when my old time Pastor stated that only those who believed in the Protestant Christ would be saved. I found that sort of dogma repulsive. I finished my confirmation for my mother's sake and then moved on to my own search. I enjoy reading about all religions and try to find the common good and similarities in all. To pick one out of the multitude is useless to me. My belief is that there must be some sort of force which initiated all of this, but what it is, who knows. I try to read all, look within, and find the common good. This is my personal path to an eternal truth. Thankfully it's a never ending process which keeps life enjoyable and interesting. Great hub Tony. Thoughtful and provocative. I very much can relate to your struggle.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

HS - thanks very much for your thoughtful comment. I agree that the search is important and keeps life enjoyable and interesting, as you say! Never a dull moment!

Thanks again.

Love and peace

Tony


equealla profile image

equealla 6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

Problem is: We are too human.

Solution is: Stay human.

Reason: We must become like God.

Who is God: I am who I am

Where is God: Centre of the universe

Where are you: Centre of the universe. Nobody can stand in your shoes and put the stars and constelations in exactly the same position as his , because there will be a degree of difference as to the position from where you observe.

Moral: Being you will ultimately give you completion. We are all different and diverse So I will not be able to answer your problem, and neither can others do the same. Everyone must come and grow to their own understanding.

Confusing: Yes

Thanks for this hub. It is very stimulating, just look at the ammount of comments.

Another stimulating and "well worth the time to investigate" resource I had seen was the DVD : "What the Bleep Do we (k)now!?"

Still watch it a lot, cause my questions also never stops.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Equealla - thanks so much for your thoughful comment. I really appreciate it. Have never heard of that DVD but will look out for it. Thanks again

Love and peace

Tony


Leafy Den profile image

Leafy Den 6 years ago from the heart

"I am not interested in a God who is paraded among people who are desperate for certainty, for comfort, even a delusional comfort. That seems to me to be dishonest."

You hit it on the head there for me! Although, that was me at one time!

A very fair and well-written evaluation of the "God problem"

Loved this!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Anne - thank you so much. I really apreciate it that you took the time to read my humble offering and make such an insightful comment.

Love and peace

Tony


OscarWilde profile image

OscarWilde 6 years ago from In the gutter, looking at the stars

I think that when God created man he somewhat overestimated his ability. People fashion their God after their own understanding. They make their God first and worship him afterwards. You ask for understanding of your struggle to understand how to think about God and forget that nothing worth knowing can be taught. You have it backwards. If God is as powerful and knowing and good as people say, who are you to determine the scope of a deity so you can worship that?


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

OW - yes, I was asking I guess for understanding of the struggle, not to be taught. And part of the struggle I have with the concept of God is precisely that those who would teach me about God want to teach me about the God they have created, not the God who created them, if such a God exists.

The plea is for tolerance and understanding in the face of those who would separate us like sheep into those who "believe" in the "right" God and those who do not. I just think that is a totally false dichotomy.

Thanks for the comment

Love and peace

Tony


mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 6 years ago

I can empathize with your confusion on this matter. I'm not sure what I do and don't believe regarding God. I cringe at arguments on both sides sometimes. I guess I'll just say I'm open either way at this point. Religion scares the heck out of me, it's so manipulated and used for such evil by so many. But that's all separate from God.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Christine - yes, I guess my "problem" really is less with God than with the people who are so dogmatic about who and what God is. Agree with you about religion too.

Love and peace

Tony


OscarWilde profile image

OscarWilde 6 years ago from In the gutter, looking at the stars


Gerjo 6 years ago

Tony has just answered my question.If I where God Tony in my opinion is arock you can build on.Good attitude,good thinking,strong in himzelf.He doesn't need God to lean on,because he is a rock in himself.Can God be personal in a relationship?In my opinion how can it be anything other than personal?It is in my feeling a real relationship,like with any other person.Close or distant,intimate or unpersonal,it is THERE because it's the stuff we are made off.I know we are spirit inhabitated in the human body as our vehicle to express ourselfes in this world.In this ever faster changing world we do not need a church anymore .God is cool,more than ever,because it is only and only personal.As the world changes so does our vision and feeling about God too,and that is okay also.If it helpes you,I find the books of Karen Armstrong,a former nun,who had a hard time believing in God something to recomment,especially a"history of God".Fourthousens years of judaism,christianity and islam.She also speaks of the God of the mystics,hinduism-a real source of ptofound understanding.

Love and peace

Gerjo


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Gerjo - thanks for the visit and the comment. I do know Karen Armstrong's books and have read several of the. Thanks for the suggestion.

Love and peace

Tony


Gerjo 6 years ago

Iam shure you doe.Still I do like your guts.As Denise put it so nicely-yes there are others struggeling with the same questions and Iam one of them.How would I feel trapped in the twin tower ,in the morning you go to work on a regulare day-one hour later you jump out of a window on the Top floors-or you are stuck in one office unable to get out-a time like this creates heroes.The man who would not leave his colleage in a wheelchair-kwnowing they would not make it out of the building.The two girls/woman jumping out of the window from the 4hundred something floor,holding hands,making the sighn of the cross before jumping-the firefighters,giving there lives by trying to save lives,the man who constructed the elevators,getting everyone out until he vanished with the entire building-what greatness of character,what faith or just something you doe.Awesome,how couragous.Love and Peace,Gerjo


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Gerjo - thanks for coming back. Such courage is indeed difficult to understand. We can only admire and be grateful!

Love and peace

Tony


soumyasrajan 6 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

Hi! Tony

Thanks a lot for your visit, that made me come to your hub and I read this nice article. Very illuminating indeed. It makes one feel "well! you are one of us" You express exactly as most good people think and dilemma they go through often and each time conviction becomes stronger "to be a good guy/girl- nothing but good"

I liked specially your sentences

"I am no theologian, just a traveller on life's sometimes rocky road trying to make some sense out of what often seems like a lot of nonsense around me."-- "I would like some understanding, though!"

"I feel very uncomfortable when people make derogatory remarks about other people who do believe in God. It seems somehow mean and petty."

(is that not the feeling one gets actually when some body does that for any thing which does not look highly unreasonable?)

But then after these observations, you your self answer it also a bit

"What I do get is a nice feeling being there, even though the singing is crappy, the tunes sentimental and the words – well, the less said about the words of the hymns the better."

You must be indeed very nice person so it does not matter what happens in the Church (or any temple) - what you get is a "nice feeling which is strongly there"

A Church is indeed a nice place where even a criminal will generally have a nice thought, such a place has quite strong such "Nice feeling". That is why we feel it also more easily in a Church or Temple such a feeling.

If one tries harder slowly one realizes that this "Nice feeling" is actually every where just we are lost in daily routine and so we do not pay attention to it.

I feel sure from your article that you must have also realized it often. Is that not much more important towards understanding "God" then all the usual talk (or as you say crappy) of "God" or "not God" etc.?

Actually is it not true that it is in our genes - we do understand right from childhood - get some sort of hunch "what is right behavior or what is not right?"

Is God not there in that our hunch - in a way, it is all the time with us. Visit to Church gives us that feeling in a concentrated way -no doubt?

One does not have to look for this feeling just in religious talks. You can see that every where in different thoughts. Here is an example from the classical movie "Grapes of Wrath".

On being asked by the mother of the hero, who looked to be departing for ever to some unknown far away place, where or how will she find him.

The hero Tom Joad says (just replace I with God, if you like, though it is not really needed to bring the word God unnecessarily- feeling is more important, I think you also know that):

"I'll be all around in the dark. I'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look, wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad. I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready, and when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build, I'll be there, too."


jo miller profile image

jo miller 6 years ago from Tennessee

I just came across this delightful hub today. It's wonderful, as were many of the comments. I especially like Ken Abel's. I read someplace many years ago "the first step in accepting God, is accepting that we're not." That was meaningful to me since I still have a few things to learn. And I probably am not going to figure it all out, so I've let go of many of my struggles to do so.

Thank you.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Soumyasrajan - thank you so much for your detailed and very supportive comment, which I truly appreciate.

I agree that we often get so lost in the daily routines and occasional crises that we lose touch with what is important, indeed essential in our lives.

I loved both the book and the movie "Grapes of Wrath" but last read the book and saw the movie many years ago. Your comment has inspired me to look for the book again and have another read.

Thanks again

Love and peace

Tony


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Jo - thanks so much for your delightful comment. Glad you enjoyed this Hub.

Love and peace

Tony


Baileybear 6 years ago

Your honesty and frankness is refreshing. I read a few of your hubs, and it is apparent that you are a very logical person. My 7 year old son is very logical (he has aspergers) and he got kicked out of religious ed class because he is atheist and announced, "god is not real!"(not my influence - he concluded himself that he can't see god, so god doesn't exist). I am a thinker and wasn't comfortable in the church. Churches seem to attract people that make decisions on emotion rather than logic & who enjoy being part of a social group & who are very particular about following rules


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Bailey - thanks for your very kind words. I like the story about your son. Thanks for sharing it.

I tend to agree with your last sentence too.

Love and peace

Tony


AnnieRoseVA 6 years ago

Tony,

This is very honest - thank you for sharing your innermost thoughts on a profound subject.

I've not had this struggle myself - I just decided early on to believe like a child and have continued that. For me it works and brings me great comfort and joy.

My higher power is so expansive that "He" could fit any name or any description - could meet anyone in a way that they needed to be met. So, I've stopped trying to figure out how people work that out and just have faith that as a friend of mine used to say, "If you are seeking God, He has already found you."

Wishing you much happiness on your journey.

Annie Rose


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

AnnieRose - I am truly grateful for your thoughtful comment here. It is a great addition to the discussion.

Love and peace

Tony


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Wow Tony! What a discussion you have started. :-) I almost envy those who have such a strong belief, whatever it may be. It's enough for me just to find out who I am and what I'm all about. :-) Meanwhile, I have so darn much love in me I just wander around wanting to hug everyone and reasurre them of their beauty and talents. But, I know how you feel and what you are seeking. We probably won't have the answers as long as we are living. You, my friend are a beautiful person, loving, caring, brilliant and kind. Your little "Sophie" loves you so much. What else really matters? Having said all this, I will share something with you. Just days after I lost my son, I was taking a walk thinking about this tragedy, full of pain, angry, empty and almost losing myself in the process. I remember stopping at a corner and looking up to the sky where for a brief moment in time my son appeared, dressed in white with a huge smile on his beautiful face. The words he spoke were, "Mom....this is awesome!" Immediately everything was back to normal. Sometimes I think I imagined this vision...but it seemed so real. Love to you Tony and Keep An Open Heart.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Audrey - thank you so much for this wonderful comment which I deeply appreciate. I do have so much love in my life and I am truly very fortunate in that regard - Sophie is just one (and a very special one, to be sure) of many whom I deeply love and appreciate. Your words are so true.

As for you your experience I am not qualified to make any judgement on that just to say that your son was clearly a very special person, much like you.

Love and peace

Tony


Hugh Williamson profile image

Hugh Williamson 5 years ago from Northeast USA

I think the world could use a little less rhetoric and a little more thoughtful reflection, such as this Hub.

Nice work.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Hugh - I really appreciate your words, thank you very much. Thanks for stopping by.

Love and peace

Tony


cindi h profile image

cindi h 5 years ago

Hi Tonymac I am fairly new to 'hubbing' but I am so glad I came across your hub. I usually don't respond to religious hubs because they can be so volatile. We all know the 'religious fanatics' out there who (not that there's anything wrong with that) sometimes are so passionate about their beliefs that they almost make you feel wrong, or worse yet, condemned. I was raised a catholic and spent the better part of my youth in catholic schools back when nuns wore habits. The hypocrisy of their teachings against their actions towards us children provided the impetus for me to question 'God' as you have. I thoroughly enjoyed your hub and connected with you as I'm sure many others did as well. I'm sorry I have no answer for you, I only know what I feel and believe and I try to live my life accordingly. I treat people the way I like to be treated; with love, compassion, forgiveness and understanding. I think any or all Gods would be proud of that! Thank you so much for sharing your brilliant observations.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Cindi - thank you for sharing your brilliant comment! I think the important thing is to keep asking the questions, searching, not relying on other people's answers.

I appreciate your stopping by and commenting very much indeed!

Love and peace

Tony


ivanpoleti profile image

ivanpoleti 5 years ago from Rijeka,Croatia

Man,this is great..You are surely a good person just for thinking the way you do.Your work is easy to read and interesting in a way that you have a great opinion of God and religion.Your work inspired me for a new article.Be sure ill include a link to your Hub.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Ivan - thanks for stopping by and leaving such kind words. I appreciate that very much indeed. Also for the link.

Love and peace

Tony


Yeshuan profile image

Yeshuan 5 years ago from North Carolina

What I struggled with and still sometimes do is the traditional understanding of God. I was raised Southern Baptist and the dogmatic approach never set well with me. As an adult, I found myself wanting more than what religion had to offer. If there is a transcendent being, are we really capable of putting everything to know in books. To me, God is love. The teaching of Christ have led me to strive to learn how to love people where they are in life. I have written quite a bit on this topic. In poetry and in regular articles. I invite you to check them out sometime.


The Stages Of ME profile image

The Stages Of ME 5 years ago

Tony ~

I am so proud of you for your honesty ~ It is not that many do not struggle with these points or questions it is they do not vocalize or state them ~ FAITH is such an amazingly interesting thing ~ Regardless of how strong and present it is ~ It still has a tendency to cycle~ Jesus was a man and confused and angry at times ~ I thank God for giving us His man form example ~ I have no specific answers ~ I do like the book Mere Christianity by C.S.Lewis ~ I mostly like that you were brave enough to say how you feel in an appropriate way ~ You are loved to be chosen to be the writer of such honest seeking ~ The hungry will be fed ~ in His Timing ~ Romans Chapter 7 says we remain in the flesh but one day I believe we will have all the answers ~ Just not here ~ hang in there Tony


Joseph Kemp 4 years ago

I understand precisely where you are approaching this issue. It is utterly familiar to me. I do very much distrust those people who believe that religion is all about answers. It does not. The most intelligent and enlightened priests and theologian/philosophers agree that religion is about embracing ambiguity. About confronting the unanswered questions honestly. It is the only honest way to approach life.

I quite agree with your uneasiness with some of your father's behavior. You wrote:

"Everything he did...he did in some way “for God”. I suppose I wish he had done them because they were enjoyable to do, because they were fun, or simply because he wanted to do them."

This is an eminently healthy point of view. I am a Roman Catholic myself. And Roman Catholicism does not require people to always be doing things "for God." We should be motivated naturally by our own subjective moral inclinations, whenever such things might arise (just as in any atheist). Thus there is a vast amount of room for rational ethical philosophy in the Catholic understanding. If you are not moved to do something, don't do it.

I suspect your father may have been somewhat scrupulous, injecting God into everything because of an unhealthy fear of going to Hell. I encounter this attitude often in religious people, and it is unbelievably destructive. It is the result of bad reasoning, not religious piety. There is nothing moral about it. Doing "good works" out of fear is not moral behavior. Children exposed to scrupulous parents often drift away from religion because it seems too confining and rigid. I rather suspect this is why you have trouble embracing religion. It is a perfectly justifiable position. Scrupulosity is the greatest problem faced by religion today. And almost no one talks about it.

Catholicism, at least, teaches that you don't have to do anything specific to get into Heaven. The only thing that would keep a person out of Heaven would be mortal sin, not an insufficient number of "good works." http://www.jimmyakin.org/2006/01/fear_of_going_t.h...

Also, I utterly agree with your lack of use for the words of those who tout belief in a "personal God." Such belief is often very shallow and superficial, to say the least. Many people in this world are (sad to say) of very low intelligence, particularly in terms of moral intelligence. And saying that something is true and good just because it is in the Bible is a ridiculous position to take.

You mention that Jesus has "harsh words" for those who are "lukewarm" in their faith. But there is nothing lukewarm about your view of religion at all. It is an honest view. Some people have a seemingly impossible time believing in God. This is nobody's fault. Catholicism teaches that faith is a gift. And you cannot force a gift. There are some very compelling reasons for a person to refrain from religious belief. It is based on your personal history. And it would be judgmental and evil for someone to tell you to have faith just because "it's written in the Bible."

I myself have religious faith. And one thing that I noticed time and again is the extraordinary patience of God. To be questioning or to be agnostic is a potentially holy state of being. It is only those who think they have all the answers who cause all the trouble in the world - those who think they are right, and that everybody else is wrong (which, philosophically, is an absolutely absurd position to take.) Such rigidity does not help anyone, particularly those who are honest in their questioning or of gentle intent, who are not looking for rigid belief but for understanding.

It was Gandhi who once said: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” Meaning that many Christians are often unkind, ignorant, unpleasant, and intolerant. I see this most clearly on the Internet. The Internet is an absolutely dreadful way to learn about God and religion. There are so many silly opinions and inaccuracies from virtually everyone. I almost always see people using religion as a club with which to beat up others who may not share their views. This is about as immoral as it is possible to get. And Internet talk is often so snarky and insulting, and such things help no one.

The only web resource I would EVER recommend to anybody on the subject of religion is a Catholic website called "Scrupulous Anonymous." I understand that you go to an Anglican Church, but Anglicanism is often very similar to Catholicism. "Scrupulous Anonymous" is run by the Redemptorist Order of Catholic priests, and is specifically set up to provide accurate information to those who may be suffering from doubts and fears about their salvation. This is seemingly not your issue, of course. But I am at a loss to identify any other truly reliable source of religious information in the Internet. The format is deliberately precise and non-threatening. If anything, it should at least provide some exact information on religious issues that are not often understood by the more critical majority of Christians.

Here are some links to the site, if you care to use them:

How Can I Be Sure? http://mission.liguori.org/newsletters/pdf_archive...

MAIN ARCHIVES http://mission.liguori.org/newsletters/archives.ht...

Unnecessary Baggage: http://mission.liguori.org/newsletters/pdf_archive...


Trtuh 4 years ago

Concept of God well explained in major religions(29 pages only):-

http://www.slideshare.net/nng_agus/concept-of-god-...


Harishprasad profile image

Harishprasad 2 years ago from India

Tony, you have portrayed your struggle very sincerely. Nobody can be dead sure of a single concept of God singularly applicable to the whole humanity. God experience of every individual is unique. What Jesus Christ, Budha,Prophet Mohammad or other enlightended beings experienced can never be experienced by any other individual exactly. So your dilemma is quite right. Really enjoyed reading the stuff of this hub.

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