Monday, January 09, 2006

I found God on the Internet

I met God. Ok, that’s not really true. I found God on the Internet. Sounds like a song:
“I found God on the Internet, He was blogging for peace. I found God on the Internet, Helping harmony Increase.”
I first ran into God over at Poobah’s place in the comments box and lately I have seen him elsewhere as well. I say “Him” because it is convenient. He might be a She, or an It or a Thought or my Cup of Coffee in the morning. Whatever, He is in cyberspace and blogging. Not being overly religious, but always wishing to understand my spiritual side, I visited His blog. God has few entries, but what He offers us is helpful and refreshing. Being bold and a bit obnoxious, I decided to leave a comment and ask God a question—one that has repeatedly nagged at me. My question was simple: What is faith? Almost five years ago now, I watched my mom die. She was young and amazing and had been in a great deal of pain for many, many years. The news of her death was a surprise and, not a surprise. I remembered saying to George, my husband, one day that she would die once she found peace. I had made this prediction about two years before she left us. A few months before her death, actually right around this time five years ago, I got a call from her. She called to tell me that she felt peace, that she felt good and wanted me to know. When I hung up the phone from our conversation, I cried. By the end of February she was dead. In those last moments before her death, she told me that she was more worried about me than my sister because my sister understood faith and I did not. I protested. I told her that I would be fine and that she was wrong, I did understand faith. I was wrong . . . I understood it conceptually, intellectually, but not emotionally. I still don’t embody faith in a “religious” context. I find this strange because I do believe in many things I can’t see, so one would think that faith in an all encompassing, omnipotent creator would only be a short step away. But I am one of those people who need evidence and the evidence offered me has been unsatisfying at best. Facts do not induce faith, which brings me to my main point. I asked God about faith and a month later he answered me. It was a good answer and one that helped clarify my feelings. How could I have faith in concepts such as Karma and not have faith in a religion’s concept of God? I was confusing “Facts” with “emotion” or “feeling.” When “God” is prompted, the concept of “God” is often promoted with statements of facts. Yet, the truth is, there are no “facts” to prove “God’s” existence. You may feel like there are facts, you may in fact have met God, shook hands with God and played a hand of poker with Him. In that case, good for you. Congratulations, salutation and so on. If you have not had this first hand experience, have not stood at the side of Mount Sinai and debated with Him on how and why the tablets were smashed, well, then, please do not tell me who God is and what God thinks because you do not know. What you do know is what your religion has told you about God and that is not the same as having a first hand poker game with The Man. Now, THIS IS NOT TO SAY THAT YOU SHOULD DUMP YOUR FAITH IN GOD! God No! I am not suggesting that or accusing you of being insane because you believe in your particular concept of God. Who am I to tell you how to believe? And, with that said, I come to my last point: Intelligent design. On Wednesday, August 24, 2005, I wrote a post called “Evolution and Creationism – The Monkey Trials Continues.” In this post, I had some problems articulating how I feel about this issue and debate. The comments are missing now from this post, but I had commenters who thought I was endorsing Intelligent Design. As God pointed out in his answer to me on faith, faith is not a concept dealing with facts but a concept dealing with feelings, emotions. For this reason, Intelligent Design should not be taught in science classes as an alternative. And Thank God the courts have backed this opinion. What I was endorsing in my former post was that comparative religion should be taught. Why? Simply because we don’t understand each other and keep killing each other in the name of God. I know a lot of folks who would object to this, but I want you to take a moment and think about it. Most of the conflicts in history have been partly, if not absolutely, a result of specific religious ideas on God. I am right, you are wrong is the dichotomy being spouted and is still spouted today. It is a problem in this country. It is a problem in the world. It has been a problem when different religious folks comes to my door and are horrified to find out that I am interested in what they have to say, but not interested in joining up (of course the fact that my dear pooch wants to hump anyone who shows up is also an issue as well). We don’t understand each other and so we don’t listen to each other. Comparative religion teaches us that we are not all that different and we hold the same underlining ideas. Most of the foundations that differing religions are based upon are the same; it is only the rules and regulations and some “facts” that differ. These are the things that get us into trouble and cause wars. Faith is not facts, facts are not absolute – hell even science is based upon disproving so-called facts. As God said, do not confuse faith with facts – indeed it is a dangerous combination.

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