Monday, February 10, 2014

If You Love God, Let Him Go

We can never really know each other. Our views of our friends, neighbors, lovers, enemies, and even ourselves, have to ultimately be mere fragments of what is actually the case.

This is because there is so much hidden from us. So much of our view of others is based not only upon scant evidence, but also is infused so irreparably with our own experiences and biases. Our perceptions of others are only shells--crude mockeries--of their true and dynamic selves.

If this is so when dealing with other human beings, how much more must it be the case when dealing with a potential creator being? What makes approaching a potential deity even harder is that you can ask me about your perception of me. You and I can sit down and talk about you or me and hash out some of our misconceptions about who you and me are--and thus maybe get a little closer to the truth--but there is no sitting down for coffee with Jesus, Mohamed, Zoroaster, or Thor. We can approach these characters from a mytho-historic perspective, but that doesn't bring us into personal contact with said proposed beings. Ultimately our views of possible gods are fated to be projections of our own goals and ideals or the deification of the goals and ideas of other people.

Every God we solidify our mind around is thus bound to be a false idol. Only by giving up belief in gods altogether could we possibly remain open to such a complicated, enormous being...and only then in the smallest and most humble of ways.

By abandoning belief in gods you clear your mind of preconceptions of what that being is made of, motivated by, and desiring of. You allow your brain to appreciate its unpreparedness for the task at hand, and encourage it to embrace humility. The word 'god' is so crowded with preconceptions...there is practically a different god for each believer in the world; each god fashioned after that believer's own image (or desired image). To abandon belief is to admit that any potential god is too large and incomprehensible for the human mind. It is to cease trying to catch the wind in a net.

We are all agnostics. None of us know whether there are gods or not. What I am advocating is not agnosticism, but a practical atheism that says 'I do not believe in god, because that word could not even begin to comprehend what it tries to articulate'. Paradoxically, the atheist may be in a much better place to fully appreciate any possible supreme being because of their lack of belief--they have already busted down the false idols constructed by themselves and others, and stand ready--blank--in the eventuality of contact with such a being as a god.

So not only does reason advocate the acquisition of an atheistic stance, so does humility. So does any desire to fully appreciate the sheer bigness of this life and what it potentially entails. If you already don't believe in god, good. If you do believe in God, reconsider; it is probable that you are investing your energy in self created illusion. If God loves you, let him show you. If you love God, let him go.


Genell said...

This is a terrible article. Strongly advising people not to believe in God. Our only hope. Do you are actually know what you doing????

Philip said...

Christians for the longest time have known the danger of turning God into an idol. Even before that there is a story of Moses where his father leaves the house only to come back and find all the household idols destroyed, all but one that is. When asked, Moses replies because there is only one. Human beings want a paradoxical thing from God. We want to see God physically manifest and yet we also reasonably demand that he cannot be made manifest. The Christian would argue that this has taken place oddly enough; but that is something for another day.

So let us do talk about the aseity of God. That is what this, this is the unknowable aspect of God's glory. Christians have been dealing with this for aeons. While many people today demand that we know God, Christians have argued that there is a beauty in the unknowableness of God. We believe that like any personal entity, there has to be something unknowable about the person of God otherwise the personal nature would be null and void. Whether this is a result of the fall and sin, I don't know. Both lead to a logical answer in the affirmative as well.

So we read of God giving only the name "I Am." We read of God hiding his plans from Abraham and hiding presence from Moses. We read that God doesn't want any graven images of Himself. Yet it is never the secretive nature that bothers the Israelites. They seem to enjoy it. They would've caved to the idol-making natures of their neighbors long ago if such was the case.

Later we see Jesus going off to pray. We read about His being set apart. His plans aren't made known to the disciples because the moment they were, Peter has a fit.

But not knowing God is not the same thing as not believing in God. There is a tremendous leap in logic there. Just because I do not know a person doesn't mean I do not believe in people. To know a person for a second or a lifetime gives us a glimpse into humanity. But we have a faith that humanity is supposed to be like something, not necessarily even like ourselves because we know we fall short too often. We have to apologize to coworkers, parents, friends, lovers far too often to believe that the ideal human is in ourselves. It is out amongst the either. The real God is out there and just as we see this created order as through a glass dimly, we see Him as well … or so the Christian would say … dimly.

Our conversations sketch not the contours of a face, but of a soul. I believe in the God of the unknowable place just as much as the revealed God because that is what people do; they show us only what we can see but can never bring us any closer. We can choose to let God go. The greatest Christians I know do that on a daily basis, because it was never about our desire to find Him; but rather in His desire to never be turned into an idol. He has always desired to be a someone, not our something.