Excusing God

Having reached almost the end of Finding Faith, I have decided to stop reading and give it to a secondhand bookshop.  While I was enthusiastic with the opening chapters, I felt the flow slowly go down into the same territory that I have already found dissatisfying.  God, as a personal deity, is expected to be trusted no matter what.  Doubt and disbelief in such a God is seen as an anomaly, as a kind of sickness that requires healing.  Fortunately, there are voices that consider doubt a virtue, such as Peter Rollins.  He is a rare breed in an arena crowded with voices claiming with all certainty that God is this and God is that.

I once thought that I had God pinned down, that I had a vital relationship with him.  Now, I wonder whether that was just wishful thinking.  I really don’t think religion or atheism are right-and-wrong positions (Rollins delves into this beautifully); they are simply conceptual frameworks for identifying with certain positions.  Anything – and I mean anything – that is said about God is no more than language, no more than a signifier.  If you are experienced with philosophy at all, you may begin to suspect that I am delving into the subjective-objective domain here, and you are correct.  But regardless of how technical I get at describing faith and belief (or lack thereof), it does all come back to ideas.

The concept of God is not static.  It is a contstruction over thousands of years involving the mental projections of men and women (primarily men, given the most common gender-typing of God as He).  Does the projection accurately reflect the reality of that which it points to?  The Bible (and other sacred scriptures) is an attempt to create a static impression of God, however even the concepts contained therein are dynamically interpreted to fit within particular worldviews.  Even still, the Bible itself contains no static impression of God, but has apparent contradictory (or maybe paradoxial) accounts of his nature and being.

I see the Bible now more or less as a conceptual framework that unites certain people in the belief system contained therein.  People have all manner of reasons why they hold to faith, and all manner of personal experiences that testify to the reality of their faith.  It is not a question of whether they are right or wrong, or whether their concepts accurately reflect a domain of existence that is not objectively verifiable.  I am more interested in questioning concepts themselves, and living within the domain of paradox.

Certainty is so yesterday ;)

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4 responses to “Excusing God

  • Luke

    “Even still, the Bible itself contains no static impression of God, but has apparent contradictory (or maybe paradoxial) accounts of his nature and being.”

    hell yeah! The God of the Bible certainly isn’t static! They’ll pull out a Psalm or Prophet that says “God doesn’t change…” but miss the fact that God doesn’t change in God’s faithfulness to the world… but that’s where it ends! (and even that is debateable, just see process theology!)

    how i view the bible is through the Jungian lens of Symbol and through the Cultural Studies term of “Articulation.” Articulation shows a linkage which is not necessary, determinded, absolute or essential for all time (Stuart Hall’s definition). IN short, this enables the fish to see the water in which they swim. IT’s how an ideology empowers people, enabling them to make some sense or intelligibility of their socio-economic or class location or social position.

    RAWK dude!

  • Mike aka MonolithTMA

    Great post! The way I’m starting to look at it is that many of us are seeking an ultimate reality, and there are many ways to view and express that ultimate reality. So often baggage brings that quest to a halt, and we settle on something like Christianity and then stagnate instead of saying “Ok, I’m here now, but where am I going?” Some Christians will admit that not even Christianity has all the answers, that, if a god exists, he must be much bigger than anything we could put into words.

    If there is one thing that my de-conversion has taught me, it is that I’m not through yet. I have no idea what I will believe in 10 years.

  • Gary

    The series of blog entries based on my reading of Finding Faith has been combined, edited, and posted at de-conversion.com – thank you Roopster.

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