Monthly Archives: August 2008

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 😉