I’ve got class tonight and am thinking about our topic of the philosophy of God (not to be confused with the religion of God, somehow), so it’s what I’m gab-bing about this morning over coffee. It sounds like a classmate was raised in a very Christian environment, possibly even evangelical like I was, so this particular topic has the gravitational pull and threat of the sun. Watch out! Your views may be challenged, it says.
My views are of an agnostic nature these days. Some of them come up in my book. It is, after all, about the apprentice who created Earth. He did not, however, create the multiverse.
This week’s lectures and discussion have me delving into the idea of comparison. In many traditions, comparison is considered the ideal that holds us back from reaching our full potential (in itself a comparison…oy vey!). The premise of God for philosophical purposes, specifically ontological,relies on comparison. If there is a God, they are a perfect being; all knowing, all good, all powerful, etc. See what I mean? Compared to what? Lesser Gods? Us?? So we are inferior by nature. Well that feels great. Until you consider the Bible’s idea that God lives within us. That we are all God. I’ll let thethree people who read this post unpack that one.
Then there is the idea of God as designer. If God is perfect and created a world where people kill one another because their egos can’t be controlled, how is that considered perfect? So, maybe God started the whole thing and left evolution to itself. I find myself leaning toward the latter explanation.
I won’t get into Pascal’s Wager that it’s better to believe in God because of the consequences. Honestly, most of the theories are very circular in their logic. Then again, don’t most things eventually circle back? Look at far right and far left wingers agreeing on things these days. But I digress…
What’s really got me thinking is this discussion point from the classmate mentioned above:
"Interestingly enough, I attend church weekly and am a part of a small group that is focused on mission work both local and global. The vast majority of my closest friends are "true believers" and I care deeply for all of them as they are very good people. I have found ways to compartmentalize the needfor a diety with my involvement in communities of faith. Pascal suggests that repetitive action will lead us to be true believers and not just "betting believers". In my case, it has gone the other way. In short, I do not have to be a believer in a diety to enjoy Christmas Carols."
This Sunday I’ll be attending my little sister’s wedding in east Texas. Dad felt called to be in the first class of Christ for the Nations back 1970, left his career as a CPA, married my mom in Dallas, and I’m one of the results. He’s done work in Mexico, Ukraine, Romania, Cuba, Peru, Haiti, and the list goes on. He and mom also ran a boys home on Swiss Avenue for many years while he bought and restored area homes to pay the bills.
Back to the wedding. I know to expect a lot of praying and right wing politics. Normally, I hardly tolerate it. However, what if I considered my professor’s perspective? There are some things about religion and a belief in a higher power that are a net positive, right? And if I split the two, religion and God, might I find more depth and acceptance in my relationship with my father?
We talked about it when Dad visited with his wife and my littlest sister a couple of years ago. His view isn’t so literal Bible as he always made it out to be, but I didn’t get him to elaborate. Maybe one day I will.
And THIS is what made my first novel so difficult to write, but so important to finish. I was afraid my dad wouldn’t approve. Writing about an apprentice who created Earth felt like a direct challenge (it wasn't).
Which leads to a final question. Do we need approval to feel loved? I actually do question my father’s love for me because of this. But should I?? I love him even if I don't believe in the same things. I know a lot of people who were raised in very religious homes struggle with this. I hope one day we find peace.