Opinions About God

What do you believe about God?

From time to time, various magazines and television channels tackle the perennial question, “Who is God?”.   Much space is devoted to  personal views of a cross-section of people concerning who, or what, God might be.  Well-known personalities are interviewed as well as other lesser-known people from around the world, including professed Christians of different varieties, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Mormons, agnostics and free thinkers.

As a student of world religion and Christian leader I find such inquiries to be intensely fascinating because they give us the pulse of what people are thinking in our wider world.  For example, a Hindu beggar from Benares, India, reverences a variety of deities and wonders why he has been stricken with leprosy.  He suggests that it may be because he is being punished by Brahma for bad karma in previous lives.
A California woman was raised in an Orthodox synagogue but says she can’t connect with God or with being Jewish anymore.  The idea of God as she has understood it simply doesn’t connect in her life experience.  A British biologist views God as the “ultimate reality” and believes that the destiny of individuals is to be absorbed into this supreme truth.
A Columbian hit man describes life as a dark experience in which God makes each person pay for the evil they commit.  Yet he goes on to say , “God pardons everyone who seeks him, so pretty much you can do what you want.”
A Presbyterian minister defends his gay lifestyle by saying, “God loves you just the way you are”.  He blames strong feelings against homosexuals on traditional religion.
A Palestinian sheikh views Allah as a vengeful God, and boasts of his willingness to die in holy war.

These views of God are indeed fascinating.  Yet even so, they ought to prod our thinking a bit.  Given the fact that people have an almost endless variety of opinions about what God is, it certainly does not follow that every opinion is equally valid.  We Americans cherish our religious freedom.  However, simply because people are free under the law to practice religion as conscience may dictate, this does not mean that all religions are equally true, or even equally beneficial.

This brings up the question, “How can we sort through the menu of religious ideas and recognize the truth when we stumble across it?”  The Bible’s answer to this is simply that the whole question of religious opinion is  irrelevant.  It is not what we think about God that really matters, but what God has revealed about Himself to us that counts.

To this many people say, “Wait!”  Who says the Bible’s portrayal of God is any better than the views of an Indian peasant or a Hollywood producer?”  This is an excellent question.  If what the Bible says about God is simply just another human opinion, then Christianity (and the ancient religion of Israel for that matter) crumbles like a house with no foundation.

So let’s narrow the field a bit.  The Bible does not belong alongside the religious opinions of ordinary people simply because the Bible claims to be divinely inspired.  It claims to be God’s word as revealed through the prophets and apostles.  There is a quantum difference between what your neighbor thinks about God, and an ancient and widely revered document that claims divine inspiration.

What about the other books which share this claim?  Many Christians answer this by pointing to the need to simply have faith in the Bible.  While it is true that faith is necessary, it would be wrong to assume that there is no evidence for the Bible’s final authority.  Consider these bits of evidence for the Bible’s unique inspiration:  the amazing unity of its message, though written over a span of roughly 1500 years through more than 40 human authors; its triumph time and again over those who actively sought its destruction; the dozens of literally fulfilled prophecies; the impact it has had on millions of lives.

Also consider the historical fact of the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I understand that many people consider this to be a matter for faith as well.  This is true, but not without some evidence.  A major piece of this evidence is the ease with which those who wished to stop the rumor could have disproved it by opening the grave and displaying the body.  They didn’t.  Why would hundreds die willingly, knowing that the resurrection which they claimed to witness was a lie?  Indeed, the Resurrection is the foundational fact on which the Christian gospel was and still is based.

So there is compelling evidence for the authority of the Bible in what it says about God.  It proclaims Him to be the Eternal One:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It shows Him to be holy, yet also merciful in sending His Son Jesus to die for our sins.  It invites us to know Him through Christ and become His children.  This, and much more God has revealed.  Why settle for mere opinions?

Michael Bogart

mbogart.com

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Comments 12 comments

Dgerrimea profile image

Dgerrimea 7 years ago

Interesting hub. The first section which details various different people's opinions of God has really got me thinking. However I do think you are a little generous to Christianity towards the end, but good article nonetheless!


Mike Bogart 7 years ago

Hi Dgerrimea. Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you found my article thought-provoking.


RicoSuave profile image

RicoSuave 6 years ago from Kirksville, Missouri

I liked this hub, very thought provoking. I do have an issue though (and I am an atheist, so I guess I'm biased) but isn't using the Bible as a factual text for an argument on religion kind of a paradox? If relgion is the thing in question, you can't just say that the religion says it's right so it's right. I may be reading this wrong, but enlighten me please.


mboagrt 6 years ago

Hi RicoSuave! Thanks for your very civil comment. I have received others at different times which were not so nice. My argument in the article was simply that the Bible might deserve a second look from people who have written it off as just another religious text. If what it says can be backed up with facts and reasonable deductions, then it may be worth considering that its claims about God's existence and nature are valid. That's basically it. M. Bogart


RicoSuave profile image

RicoSuave 6 years ago from Kirksville, Missouri

Oh Okay I just didn't exactly understand your argument. I like this hub and this idea. I agree completely that things need to be looked at seriously before you just pass them off, and I take religion and religious people very seriously. Same thing regarding my civility, I believe that almost everyone but extremists have valid points and ideas, and as long as they leave me free to express and believe my ideas, then I have no problem with them.


Green Wasabi profile image

Green Wasabi 5 years ago

Interesting hub. I respect your believes, also your attempt to find some arguments instead of believing it blindly. However, a lot of arguments you have provided are valid to all major religions - they all have survived for centuries, had impact on people's lives, represent complex cosmology and ethics, claim to be divinely inspired etc. I also do not quite understand the evidence for resurrection of Christ, that you have provided. If the body was not found, does it prove resurrection?


Mike Bogart 5 years ago

Thanks for your frank comments.


Dan 5 years ago

I agree. Many people think that there is n oGod because of all the horrible things going on in our world. But think about. God gave us a choice. If he hadnt we would have been like puppets and that would make life meaningless. All these bad things going on are because of our choice and God isnt going to puppet us everytime something bad happens. We die because of the mistake of man. God intended for us to live forever had it not been for Adam.


Dan 5 years ago

I agree. Many people think that there is n oGod because of all the horrible things going on in our world. But think about. God gave us a choice. If he hadnt we would have been like puppets and that would make life meaningless. All these bad things going on are because of our choice and God isnt going to puppet us everytime something bad happens. We die because of the mistake of man. God intended for us to live forever had it not been for Adam.


Mike 5 years ago

Thanks for the comment.


ANDRE 4 years ago

I LOVE GOD tHERE IS NO ELSE BEYOND MY ALMIGHTY GOD HE IS HTE ONE!!!!!!!


nate 4 years ago

god is pathetic just like the devil

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