Thursday, November 17, 2005

God

From re-reading my last few posts I think one looking from the outside might find me to be an atheist. While I may be trying to hammer out exactly what I believe I think I should clarify, I still believe in God.

Why?

I have seen too many things not to believe. I have personally called on God to heal someone who had lived with excruciating degenerative arthritis and watched her rise and walk without pain for the first time in decades. She continued pain free for as long as I knew her. I have participated in an exorcism and while Mormon exorcism is not as flamboyant as the Rituale Romanum it is equally shocking. I have felt the presence of spirits and seen things for which no science can account.

Many of the things I have seen and felt would be explained away by anyone who has never experienced them but for me these things are real. Seeing the dead rise from a prayer called to God after all other medical efforts failed may be explained a myriad of ways. For me though, I know there is something greater than ourselves out there. My question is instead, who is he and is his plan really to let all the good people hang around heaven eating Bon-Bons while the wicked rot in hell? Or is this life here in this savage garden called Earth merely a developmental stage in our own evolution?

9 comments:

Brock Neilson said...

Ok,
So I may have stated that we are different in the ways that we see religion, but a lot of this post reminds me of something I might write.

My prayers have been answered in the most absurd and dire circumstances, and in the most perfect and un-predictible ways.
I know science could not explain these things either, not earthly science anyway.

Speaking of exorcism, half, maybe more than half of my faith in God originates in the satanic confrontations I have had.

From when I was fourteen, and studied satanism, I began having some very horrific supernatural experiances, which I still have every once and a while, but they are very real and convince me even further that there is a secret force that is seeking our destruction.

I am curious, Michael, as to how you see Heaven and Hell. I have always been fascinated with the ways in which different religions see the afterlife.

I often think that we will have to live in our minds, our souls, and that the ways in which we improve or degrade them determine our eternal dwelling place.

Because I believe that people are an extension of God I think that he created us in such a way that we would damn or save ourselves through our own actions, that we would sort ourselves out into catagories of good, evil, and the zillions of degrees in between.

I am not sure what your questions at the end of this post mean but what do you think?

Michael J. Clarkson, Jr. said...

For me Hell is a place of our own making, cold and dark, where there is no light or growth. Heaven is what I am unsure of. I think there will be degrees of glory and those will be based on personal growth. I also think that there is a deeper purpose for all of the strife and pain on earth. We are training for a greater battle. Think about it. Why would a God of peace have a warrior class of angels (Archangels and Seriphim). For Mormons the Archangel called Michael became Adam, father of man. It makes sense.

Angel said...

...and THIS is why faith in a higher power will never be fully erased from the Earth. People believe in the experiences they've had (or claim to have), and unless every single person can be convinced otherwise, their faith will remain...though questions will arise and others will cast doubt into their hearts - ultimately people will believe their own perception of the world around them (both seen and un-seen). I'm not saying that's wrong or right - I've always stuck by the theory that faith is there because people want/need to believe. If you can't believe and trust what you feel to be true for you, what can you believe in?

- Rev_Sapphire

As far as Deities are concerned, I've yet to "experience" any evidence of their existance.

JC said...

I think you are taking a big leap or (in honor of vocabulary word day) making an unwarranted extrapolation from having some experiences that seem unexplainable to the existence of gods or an afterlife.

Yes, we've most of us had some odd experiences, and yes prayer works, or at least seems to.

Neither proves the existence of god.

Prayer may just be a way of tapping in to latent power that we have as human beings, and the same can be said for just about any "unexplainable" phenomena, but in the end, whatever one believes on the matter is a personal choice or belief about something that seems to be unknowable.

I've also had some unexplainable things happen to me in my life. Often I've thought that if my life was a book the critics would hate it, saying the author was awful, relying on 'deus ex machina' and improbable coincedences to move the plot.

It's good to enjoy the weirdness of life, but I can't let you get away with an easy out like this.

If you believe in God, it's going to have to be a choice you make, not something you know from experience. It is impossible to know for sure, thats why they call it belief and make a big deal about faith.

Saying there's something greater than ourselves is a bit of a cop out, (back to my normal low-falutin language, sorry SAT board)

Of course there's domething greater than ourselves. Look outside! The universe is impossibly huge.

I live in the same world as everyone else, I experience the same weird things as everyone else, but in my world, God is the creation of man.

Michael J. Clarkson, Jr. said...

Ok JC and Angel, lets explore this a bit more. If prayer unleashes a greater power within ourselves, what is that power? Further, do spirits exist? Is there life after this? If there is a God, for lack of a better word, did he create us or did our own combined latent power create him? Given my own observations cannot be used as empirical evidence, how can one prove the existance of God?

I know faith is not solid scientific ground to stand on. But when you have the experiences I have had, you cannot deny the possibility of God.

I further pose the question, do any of you believe in spirits, ghosts, or any of the supernatural?

Angel said...

I believe in natural phenomenon, many of which can be considered "unexplainable". I'd like to believe there are spirits, and that my departed loved ones are watching over me...but that could just as easily be the transfer of life energy back into the universe (since energy cannot be created nor distroyed). Its a romantic idea, one which many of us grew up with - but that doesn't make it real.

I'm not asking any one person (or group of people) to prove the existance of any sort of deity...I'm simply stating that faith is a personal choice made by those who feel their experiences, in life, prove (to them) that a god/goddess/whatever actually does exist. I have no problem with people having faith in whatever they wish, grew up with, find to be true for themselves...as long as people don't smother their own happiness in order to fit certain man-made molds for them to be considered Godly people.

- Rev_Sapphire

JC said...

I think what it comes down to is this:

Do you believe in revelation?

Are some people given a direct line to God, and/or are some books direct instructions from God?

For me, the answer is easy. I've been around enough of these "scriptures" to know they were written by men as clueless or more so as us.

For many, its not so easy. I don't know why, but lots of people take these "scriptures" very seriously. I suspect it's because they're not reading them.

Revelation is important because without it, we have no way of knowing what god wants.

Lets say we start with the premise there is a god.

Given that, what changes for us?

Nothing, unless we know what this god wants. Thats where these "holy" books come in.

thou shalt not

etc.

If you deny the authority of "scripture," then you have to enter the realm of "I don't know."

Out here in the world of "I don't know," we only have our gut instincts and our reason to tell us what's right and wrong, and we don't have any idea what, if anything, God wants from us.

From the outside, this looks no different from the life of an atheist, that is, they are equivalent.

Perhaps God wants us to become atheists?

I have a hard time believing that the supreme being, creator of the universe, cares one whit whether or not I sacrifice a chicken to him.

JC said...

I couln't stop...

I do accept that people have beliefs, and they must be allowed to have whatever beliefs they want to have, but I'm hard pressed to find an example of belief in the supernatural (that would include all religious belief) as having any sort of positive effect on our life here on earth.

I ask myself, what good does it do?

So I'm left with this, whether or not there's a god or a thousand, I'm going to live my life pretty much the same.

I, like everybody else, am afraid of death. When my loved ones die, I weep, but I don't need to be consoled with an afterlife. I'm not saying there is no afterlife, just that it's existence or non-existence has no effect on how I choose to live my life.

So every now and then I run across an event that is totally unexplainable with the science we learned in school. I may have a prophetic dream or a "feeling" or seem to read another's thoughts. Sometimes the dead seem to speak to us, sometimes we see a miraculous, seemingly impossible thing happen, sometimes we participate in it.

So what?

What I'm saying is, it doesn't change the way we live.

So, it comes down to what you feel comfortable with. I feel comfortable with the idea that I don't know very much about the world at all. Even the greatest among us knows almost nothing.

Anonymous said...

hey, im not the most active guy in the LDS church, but i know God has a more eternal understanding than we. those things youve heard and seen are very real as theyve always been.hell is the state of being outside of Gods grace, and im sure it feels like forever. especially outside time and space.