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RETHINKING God or god
Rethinking God and god
After my "rethinking the Bible" hub, rethinking "Ggod" is natural. My earliest memories of hearing about God came from family and church using the Bible and the singing...always the singing...and eating and praying and preaching. God was everywhere. Now, a decade or so short of my century, where is God? Should I do a reality check or just forget it? Where do I turn first for answers? The Bible, of course, where else would I look? But then, which of the numerous translations?
Quote from the Web Bible Encyclopedia, "The word "God" does not appear in the original Hebrew or Greek manuscripts of the Bible. "God" is an old English word...meaning "that which is invoked"....
Therefore to get to my term of "God" I go to the King James version where I find, "God is spirit." Jesus' quote in John 4:24. According to a concordance search, the words "God is" link God with 30 or more other words with "same" meanings such as love, fire, light, faithful, etc. in the New Testament alone. God in the Old Testament is linked more than 50 times directly with King, lord, judge, et.al., definitely a ruler or at least a rule-giver/enforcer. "God" in the New Testament is very different. Using "red letter" words ascribed to Jesus, God seemed to be the spirit of a father figure. To other writers of the N.T. God was "true," "love," "light," "word," etc. mostly non physical descriptors. This analysis seems trite compared to that of scholars and theologians I have read over the years. The point is this, who or what God is changes with who is doing the describing and to what purpose.
What does science say about God? Is there any evidence of God's existence? Francis Collins called building the human genome the "language of God" or something to that effect, well, not exactly. Since then many have searched earnestly for the so-called "God gene" to no avail. Neuroscientists even developed a "God helmet" to hopefully see a real reaction in the brain which would prove the existence of God at least in one brain, again, not yet. The probability of there ever being a research design that results in the slightest prediction of a supernatural entity or that even suggests the need for further research in the area is remote in the extreme.
This reminds me of an experience I had half a century ago. Set the scene: major university, grad course in philosophy, final exam, three hours. First question: "Prove the existence of God." Write for one and one half hours. Take the paper to the prof who hands me a second paper. Open it. Question: "Disprove all the proofs previously presented." An hour and a half later, I had done it. No problem. Yet, I just sat there. Finally, I wrote, "P.S. I have faith that there is a God. It can't be proven. It can't be disproven." Later, I got my paper back from Prof. Flexner with an A- (minus) on the front. "What is this?" I asked. "You can't let go," he said. One of those things one never forgets. From that point till now, I still think about it; but today from a slightly different angle. Not due to my readings in philosophy or the Bible but due to my inner battles. Explain myself? I'll try.
A year back, a political pollster called me. I was asked my views on many issues of national concern. The last questions were demographic, that is, age, sex, education level, churchgoer, and so on to the final question...."Do you believe in God or are you and atheist?" I stumbled because I do not believe God's wrath came to "sinful" New Orleans via Katrina. In my mind, I equated the pollster's "god" to that in some of today's political circles which is not my idea of god. So, for the first time in my life I said, "atheist." But that is not quite right either.
There had to be a power or a force that caused the singularity 13.758(?) billion years ago which got it all started. Call that push or pull or gravity or whatever...it was what it was. Since our earliest consciousness we see, hear, touch, smell the physical world around us. There are barriers we humans have overcome because we have had the will to overcome in spite of the odds. In my view, each generation has built on the previous. We humans have developed the will to continue. Whether that be a blessing or a burden depends on each of us and all at the same time. It did not come from outside ourselves but from within. Our collective will is the idea of will in each of our minds. What should my individual spirit added to our collective will be called? I do not have a word for it; but it definitely is not that in my current world.
The WebBible refers to this as the moral or anthropological argument for the existence of God based on the history of human consciousness of life and purpose.
David Brooks, columnist for the NYTimes, stated in a column recently that despite the despair in life, we're all part of humanity. Brooks noted that one of the most joyful people he knew, Kennedy Odede, credited his outlook amid the chaos and violence in his life to ... "My mom taught me that while there is a God, that one God might be very busy, so we have to rely on the people we encounter in our life to become what she called "small gods." I am OK with that or am I?
Source: WebBible Encyclopedia, christiananswers.net
Some good Ggod reads: Francis Collins, The Language of God (2006); Robert Wright, The Evolution of God (2009); J.Anderson Thomson,Jr.,MD, why we believe in god(s) (2011); God, a biography by Jack Mills (Pulitzer, 1995); Marcus Borg, Convictions: How I learned what matters most. (2014)