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My struggle with God

Updated on October 17, 2012

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?

Did Jesus look something like this?
Did Jesus look something like this?
The Buddha teaching
The Buddha teaching

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!

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    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 3 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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      Trtuh 5 years ago

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

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

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      Joseph Kemp 5 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...

    • 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

    • Yeshuan profile image

      Yeshuan 6 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.

    • tonymac04 profile image
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      Tony McGregor 6 years ago from South Africa

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

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • ivanpoleti profile image

      ivanpoleti 6 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
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      Tony McGregor 6 years ago from South Africa

      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

    • cindi h profile image

      cindi h 6 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
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      Tony McGregor 6 years ago from South Africa

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

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • Hugh Williamson profile image

      Hugh Williamson 6 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
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      Tony McGregor 6 years ago from South Africa

      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

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 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
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      Tony McGregor 6 years ago from South Africa

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

      Love and peace

      Tony

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      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
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      Tony McGregor 6 years ago from South Africa

      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

    • profile image

      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
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      Tony McGregor 6 years ago from South Africa

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

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • tonymac04 profile image
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      Tony McGregor 6 years ago from South Africa

      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

    • 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.

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      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."

    • tonymac04 profile image
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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

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

      Love and peace

      Tony

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      Gerjo 7 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
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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      Gerjo 7 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

    • OscarWilde profile image

      OscarWilde 7 years ago from In the gutter, looking at the stars

    • tonymac04 profile image
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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

    • mulberry1 profile image

      mulberry1 7 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
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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

    • OscarWilde profile image

      OscarWilde 7 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
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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

    • Leafy Den profile image

      Leafy Den 7 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
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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

    • equealla profile image

      equealla 7 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.

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      Howard Schneider 7 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.

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

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

      Love and peace

      Tony

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      LogicalSpark 7 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"

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 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

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      Lgali - thanks for the kind words.

      Love and peace

      Tony

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      Lgali 7 years ago

      well-written hub thanks

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      Denise Handlon 7 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.

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      M. T. Dremer 7 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.

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      mwatkins 7 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!

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      qwark 7 years ago

      My pleasure!...:-)

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      qwark 7 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! :-)

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      Tammy Lochmann 7 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

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

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

      Love and peace

      Tony

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      hair2nv 7 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.

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      terced ojos 7 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

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      Cecilia 7 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.

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

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

      Love and peace

      Tony

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      Gloria Siess 7 years ago from Wrightwood, 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.

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      Frank - thanks for a really thoughtful and supportive comment.

      Love and peace

      Tony

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      Francesco Menchise 7 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.

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      lctodd1947 7 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..

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      wrenfrost56 7 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. :)

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      ALL4JESUS 7 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.

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      formerbronxboy 7 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?

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      ladyjane1 7 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.

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      Thank you Sagbee for your kind comment.

      Love and peace

      Tony

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      sagbee 7 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...

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      reddog1027 7 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.

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      katiem2 7 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 :)

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      ugivetheword 7 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

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      M Selvey, MSc 7 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

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      kimberlyslyrics 7 years ago

      Tony

      we are definitely on the same page

      Incredible read, truly, got me thinking

      xo

      Kimberly

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      BDazzler 7 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!??"

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      Wealthmadehealthy 7 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!!

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      Wealthmadehealthy 7 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!!

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

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

      Love and peace

      Tony

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      ralwus 7 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

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      Duchess OBlunt 7 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.

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

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      Zac828 7 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.

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      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 7 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.

    • JannyC profile image

      JannyC 7 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.

    • Don Simkovich profile image

      Don Simkovich 7 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.

    • tonymac04 profile image
      Author

      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      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

    • lisadpreston profile image

      lisadpreston 7 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.

    • rmcrayne profile image

      rmcrayne 7 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.