Thinking about God

I normally try to stay off the subject of God. Partially because I do not want to sound like some of the hypocrites I hear on the TV and radio (they're not all hypocrites, but some of them...).

But I want to explain why it is difficult for me to be an agnostic. How I think I may have been able to prove to myself that, "Yes David, there is a God."

During a moment of personal turmoil I reached out my hand to God because I was desperate and felt I was alone. God grabbed ahold. Not literally. I asked for a sign and I was granted it. Actually for my first sign I only asked for the probable and came to the understanding that this was going to be too easy for God, and I was going to see the impossible happen. The impossible happened.

Note I said "first sign". Yup, I have been granted more then one. I would be embarrassed to tell you of some of my signs but let me just state all of them involve natural, weather related events.

I will explain what I experienced for my last sign, which happened several months ago. I was traveling West on I-80 headed towards Reno. I was in an area where there are few radio stations and I was pretty much left alone with my thoughts. As they sometimes do my thoughts turned to what is going on in the world and my mood became dark. Once again I doubted the existence of God and I asked him to once again send me a sign. Off in the distance was a mountain who's peak was shrouded by clouds. I got specific with God. I asked "God if you exist show me that mountain peak." I even put a time limit on it. I gave God 30 minutes to act. What happened as a result? Almost immediately the sun, which had been shining on the mountain, went behind a cloud. How to explain what happened in the "real world" I came up with this for an explanation, maybe a meteorologist can correct me if I am wrong. This happened in late spring and the mountain top was covered with snow. The warm sun was heating up and melting the snow. The resulting liquid then condensed in the cold, high altitude air and the mountain was throwing off a cloud. Within 15 minutes of my asking for my sign, and the sun going behind the cloud, I had a clear view of the peak. Ah, but was it a coincidence? Ole doubting David says to God, "OK, if that was you then hide the peak again." Almost immediately the sun came out from behind the clouds and within a few minutes the cloud again started forming.

Could this just be a coincidence? Yeah. If I had not asked for the sign I guess it is possible that the sun would have went behind the clouds anyway etc etc. But my own personal problem is that I have asked for signs like this in the past and been given them. Can they all be coincidences?

This happened many months ago and I have tried to avoid asking God for signs since that one. Why? What good would it do me? Actually I am fearful that if I ask for another sign I will just be given it. Why be fearful? Because if I dare to doubt that there is a God after all the signs I have been given (he has already answered my prayers and proven he exists) then another sign would mean he wants me to do something. Many people ask for signs and are not given them. Why me? I am afraid that he wants me to attempt to do the impossible. I am not up to the task. I am, after all, only human... and a pretty sorry one at that.

Call me crazy if you want, but I have to deal with reality and this stuff really happened. I am not trying to convert anyone to anything. I am only going public with my own personal anguish.

What anguish? Why, I should be rejoicing right? Not in my mind. Think about it. Think about Jesus. I do not know if Jesus was God or not, but I do know he was a good man. (If Jesus didn't end up in heaven I do not think I want to go there.) On the one hand I think of how some preach "If God is with us then who can stand against us?" But then I think of Jesus. When Jesus finally hung up there on the cross (he who was supposed to be God) he asked? What was it? "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Well if Jesus could ask that question, I do not think it is wrong for me to harbor some personal doubts. Jesus might have been God, I do not know. What is inarguable is that he was a better man then me (particularly if we discount the Parable of the Shrewd Manager). Jesus might have been God and if he could ask such a question while he hung on the cross? Well I know for fact that I am only human. If Jesus can get away with doubting then so can I. I just wish God would stop messing with me in the mean time. God might want me to do something. Well he's going to have to find somebody else. I am not up to the job. I think it is impossible.


Blogger Michael said...

Yes, it is co-incidence.

I'm an atheist. I'm also a scientist and Occam's razor tells me that it is much more likely that the meterological changes you witnessed were going to happen anyway rather than a divine entity listening to your rather petty requests and "showing you a sign" as a mark of their divinity.

If you ask an educated Christian theologian (not a Bible beating, "literal word of God" fundamentalist), he or she will tell you the same thing. The God of the Christians (apparently) blesses man with free will which is why you cannot blame all your woes and troubles on Him. He, also no longer directly intervenes in worldly affairs.

So, if you take your experience with the cloud and the mountains as evidence for the divine (which I don't), it suggests that an interventionalist, and non-Christian God is at play.

Personally, I'm rather partial to Zeus, father of gods and men!


Michael Tam
vitualis' Medical Rants

12/01/2005 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger Little David said...


Your first sentence and last sentence are opposites.

I can understand how you might question the existance of God. It is my belief that God will forgive you for questioning his existance as long as you continue to live a "good life". Not "the" good life, rather "a" good life. I am rather confident that you fit into the latter.

However I think that if you would have been confronted with the signs (note plural) that I have been confronted with then you too would understand that God does exist. Which God? I prefer to think of my God as being the God of Abraham because that was Jesus's God. From the foundation of Jesus is how I try to understand God.

Jesus might not have been God but he at least was the finest Jew to ever walk the face of this earth. You should spend some time reading about him. Read the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It will help you to understand how your nation (Australia) came to be. There might be some of what you would call "hocus pocus" in there but keep going and find the wisdom. Facts are there was a "man" called Jesus. Even if some of it is "hocus pocus" that simple man, son of a carpenter, saved the world.

I dare you to confront the wisdom and start understanding from which mustard seed it was that everything you love grew.

12/02/2005 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Hmm, I strongly suggest that you read the Bible more carefully. Much of your sentiment in that last post constitutes heresy.

The modern lay "understanding" of God and Jesus has very little to the written world of the Bible. The God of Abraham and Moses was jealous, vengeful, inconsistent and happy to punish with death.

"The mustard seed"... The rise of Christianity had little to do with the rise of representative democratic governments, secular law, religious tolerance and religious pluralism, market economics and the scientific method.

As for "your first and last sentences are opposites", yes, they are. That is, the last sentence is meant to be taken as sarcasm (hence the smiley face). However, for those looking for a god, Zeus has a lot going for him. He is not a "high and mighty" or "perfect" god. Rather, he is personable and his exploits are parables for the human condition.


12/02/2005 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

A good example of Christian mythology:

"... son of a Carpenter".

There is nothing in the Bible that says that Jesus was a carpenter of that he was the son of one. However, many Christians will assume this to be fact!

There is much evidence throughout the Bible that Jesus came from a well-to-do and politically significant family. Joseph, explicity is from the royal line of David.


12/02/2005 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Little David said...

Well I am not a Bible Scholar.

I just look at the facts. The facts are that there was a man named Jesus who once walked on the face of this earth. There might be alot of hocus pocus about him but the man did have an impact on at least Western Society. These are the facts.

The only "history" we have of him is that which we read of in the Bible. Even if the Bible is full of hocus pocus, even if the miracles are myth, even if he never rose from the dead... there was something about him. I ask myself what it was about him that made him so special that his life continues to live through the ages.

Jesus was "special". Read the Gospels to understand him and to understand your own society.

12/03/2005 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Not to be blunt, but that sort of ideology is only a little bit short of idolatry, which is a big no-no.

Throughout the world regardless of religion, many "lazy" religious devotees do the same thing:

(1) Assume that their religion was responsible for current society (insofar as the "good" and "positive" aspects) without actually any analysis of history

(2) Put greater importance in the "mythology" of their faith rather than carefully considering the written world of the holy texts and reading/learning the canonical interpretation of thoses texts along with debates and arguments about them.

(3) To cherry pick selective phrases from the holy text as a way of pronouncing judgement (to their favour) on just about any issue. For example: Leviticus 18:22, therefore, homosexuality is bad/evil/etc.

However, no one seems to pick up on Leviticus 11:10-12:

11:10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
11:11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
11:12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

That is clams, oysters, crabs, lobsters, and shrimp are (just like men who have sex with men) abominations.

You can understanding a religious parable or learn about a religion without being a religious devotee. As I stated before, I'm an atheist but arguably, I have a much better understanding of the history of the Christian Church and religion than most of my Christian friends. Taking a English translation of a text like the Bible as "truth" without placing it in the appropriate historical context puts you up to all sorts of trouble.


12/03/2005 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger Little David said...


Well I never pointed you towards Leviticus, I pointed you towards the Gospels.

Not all Christians believe the Bible is infallible. They might "cherry pick" but as long as the cherries they pick include the Gospels you can't fault them too much. But even the Gospels are not infallible. If, for example, Jesus really did tell the Parable of the Shrewd Manager (Luke Chapter 16 starting with the first verse) then that proves to me he was not God.

My problem with "some" Christians is that they completely ignore the Gospels and spend all their time preaching the Old Testament. My guess is because they do not want their audiences screaming back at them "practice what you preach". Preaching the Gospels would be difficult because few Christians other then "saints" like Mother Theresa live by them.

12/04/2005 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Little David said...

Ack, I should have included this in the last reply.

As for religion having no impact on society I think your "analysis of history" is lacking if you deny the impact of religion.

I recently read an article relating to the subject written by a secular author (see here) which mentioned how Thomas Jefferson (an American "founding father") took a scissors to the Gospels and removed all the hocus pocus and stuff about the birth of Jesus leaving only the teachings on morals of the man.

At least in my nation Jesus had a big impact. I do not fault you, since you are Australian, for not understanding American history. I would imagine American history is not a required course in Australian High Schools, grin. If you had taken such a course you would understand that some of what motivated the first settlers of the "Thirteen colonies" on the North American continent was religious freedom.

And if Jesus had such a big impact on "my society" does not logic dictate that it also had an impact on yours? Or will you deny the influence of the USA on Australian society?

12/04/2005 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Religious freedom, however, comes as a double-edged sword. Your "founding fathers" understood that well which is why the separation between church and state is entrenched in your constitution lest the "victims" of religious persecution become the new "persecutors".

Michael Tam

12/11/2005 12:36:00 AM  

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