The Idea Of God

​All in philosophical terms, our thoughts are contingent to reality; something about reality itself and humanity give rise to the idea of some “Big Other”. That idea cannot be created out of a vacuum, so no one invented it. However, that doesn’t mean there is or isn’t a God. Moreover, the idea of God starts as a concept from this perception. From concepts come images. All images of God are man-made, invented. These images are what folks have in mind when taking about God. This image cannot signify the “Big Other” we have the impression exists; the one transcends the other. And in that case, we literally have no idea what we’re talking about when we talk about God at all. But, this at least explains why we’re thinking about gods in the first place.

Theologically, it is God’s active presence in the world (grace) which creates faith (pistis, persuation to the good, conscience) in humanity, and the idea of God becomes a more concrete image as we participate in the good. It is our iconic likeness to God which resonates the tuning fork of faith. The idea of God emerges from the experience of good in the world. The concept of God being goodness, then the images of God we have are coming from the atoning encounter with God as an experience of doing good. That encounter being utterly transformative, salvation is the result. This is the Jewish theology of Participatory Pedagogy, the Islamic theology of Fitrah, and the Christian theology of Natural Law.

In the end, if there are two universes that are identical except one has a God and the other doesn’t, how would we tell which one we lived in?

We can’t tell, and moreover, this illustrates there is no fact of the matter about reality one can point to and say it proves God or even implies God. No matter how queer reality or how long the odds for any phenomenon, these are all actual. God is the only dubious idea in the mix.

Unless Protestants come to grips with faith and employ reason rather than fantastic stupidity, Christianity will continue to be seen as absurd and continue to see people leave it and the rest, keep a rightful, healthy distance from it.

If there is no experience of God, then there literally is no reality of God in any practical or meaningful sense. If some theology exists which speaks of everything else but how to encounter God, it has no practical value at all. Perhaps it’s good for church membership; who cares about church membership.

There’s no big mystery about why we think about the gods. There’s no big mystery about how it crossed our minds to begin with. But if we are not sacraments, visible signs of God in the world, why the idea of God should linger would be the biggest mystery of all. 

Just a thought.

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3 thoughts on “The Idea Of God

  1. kcchief1 says:

    “Unless Protestants come to grips with faith and employ reason rather than fantastic stupidity, Christianity will continue to be seen as absurd and continue to see people leave it and the rest, keep a rightful, healthy distance from it.”

    Have you read any of Bishop John Shelby Spong’s work ? He feels the same way. I do too.
    Nice post , Steve.

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