My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Friday, February 17, 2012

Philosophical Friday

I believe, help thou my unbelief.  (Mark 9:24)

I pass this little church in Demorest on my way home from work every day. It's a tiny church... room for about twenty cars, at best, in their parking lot... sandwiched in between an old mattress store and some homes. A simple little church... with a simple little thought posted on the sign out front that reads, "Eternity is a long time to be wrong". 

I found it witty and thought provoking so I posted it as my facebook status. I got a couple of "amens" and likes and so forth but my brother left an incredibly articulate argument exploring Pascal's Wager and Voltaire's response and you... like me... are probably saying, "whaaaaa? Who is Pascal?"  And because I can't stand to not be "in the know", especially with my little brother (who is a highly educated and extremely intelligent attorney, therefore much better equipped to make an argument than myself)... because I didn't know... I googled Pascal.

Basically... Pascal was a French Philosopher and mathematician who posed the theory that there was everything to be gained in believing that God exists and nothing to be lost... which goes right along with what I frequently say... that I'd rather get to the end of my life and find out I was wrong about God (Heaven, eternity) than NOT believe and find out at the end that there IS a God and I've been on the wrong road all along. Pascal, unlike myself, was an extremely logical person and applied his highly evolved reasoning techniques to the argument of whether or not God exists.

I'm never comfortable with having to present an argument to convince someone that God exists. I only know what I know. My biblical education is limited to a childhood of Sunday School and Vacation Bible School and an adulthood of seeking, searching and desperately needing a Higher Power. And although I can quote a lot of scripture... and have a lot of really great biblical knowledge... if your argument is with someone who doesn't accept the validity of the Scriptures... or take it literally as divinely inspired... then I might as well be arguing with Shakespeare or some other ancient text.

One miserable Christmas when I was married to Michael... we spent most of Christmas Day driving from Atlanta to Jacksonville. And we spent most of that drive arguing about religion. Finally, at some point Austin piped up from the back seat and said, "YOU. ARE. ARGUING.... ABOUT..... GOD!!"  We had our own little replica of the struggles in the middle east happening in Michael's car.

Voltaire's reply was something along the lines (and I'm oversimplifying here because it would take longer to explain than you would have patience to read and because I'm dealing with material that I was introduced to barely 12 hours ago and am therefore in no way an authority on the subject!) was that there were too many variables to narrow down which god, which religion, by which means within a religion... etc.

For me... I've always taken the existence of God as indisputable fact. I've never really prepared an argument because, from my perspective, anything that anyone has to convince you of - you haven't really accepted based on faith. You've accepted based on proof. I believe that you have to first and foremost have faith and without that... you might as well be reading Shakespeare. You've missed the point of Christianity in the first place. And while I certainly, without a doubt, would tell you that I  have seen evidence of God in MY life, many could (and would and have) argued that the "God things" in my life are simply coincidence.

I frequently have the argument with myself... that I can have a tendency to be a "crisis Christian"... who waits to seek a deeper relationship with God at the times in my life when I have run out of options... sort of like the college kid who doesn't write home until he needs money. Is my life an example of true Christianity or of Christianity by default... since nothing else is working for me, I'll try Jesus again.

Somewhere in the pages and pages that I quickly scanned yesterday about Pascal, there was the argument that belief out of fear of not believing wasn't true belief and... I don't know that I agree. IF you believe the Psalmist's assertion that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, then you have to believe that we were created to fear God... and fearing God (as I've discussed often) is realizing there is a God and at some point you will be accountable to Him.

Are you still with me? I'm sure I'll continue this discussion when I have more time to do it justice but I thought it was a great challenge and a great opportunity to explore MY relationship with God, especially since I seem to be destined to live my life "out loud". I hope that those of you who are more knowledgeable and educated in such matters will offer me your thoughts on the subject.

The thing is... all of us approach the subject of God based on our own unique view. While I believe that there is One God (in three forms... in the same way that water can be ice, liquid or vapor) even within myself, my perspective of God is ever changing... even though, I believe, God Himself never changes. Our belief in God (or lack there of) is uniquely based on our unique experiences and our unique characters which, again, I believe that we are fearfully and wonderfully made... the Maker understands far better than we do, the process by which we find our way to Him.

Deep theology for a Friday, I know. I love how life continues to be a learning experience, long after the formal education has ended. And while I am woefully inadequate to provide a logical argument ...I am eternally grateful to be a person of faith.

God is good, y'all. That's all I'm sayin'.
Have a great Friday! Love and hugs!