The Difficulty Of, 'Conceptualizing' God!
Are those of us unable to believe .... broken? If we honestly are just unable to accept what others so easily embrace are we doomed? If our minds simply work in ways that will not allow us to have a "come to Jesus" moment, are we condemned?
I'm not asking what the church says, I don't wanna know what you think you should say, I wanna know your thoughts, keeping in mind what I said before. That there are people (many more than will admit it) that simply cannot accept any religion.
Hope this made sense. I'm recovering from my first experience with a (possible) migraine.[/quote]
Normally I wouldn't answer you. (Because you've taught me to know better!) ;) However, your questions appear to be sincere; so, my own faith requires me to make an exception:
ALL real faith, strong faith, begins in doubt. The Bible emphatically shows this to us - over and over again, and from a variety of different angles - in the outstanding Book of Job. It is not, 'wrong' to doubt the existence of God. Personally, I think most men start out this way. It is only a sin to blaspheme against or, ‘take in vain’ the, 'Name' (the Revealed Character or, ‘Expressed Will’) of God.
The Bible teaches us that, ‘natural men’ are NOT (for lack of better words) true believers in either: God, His Purposes, or His Expressed Will. King David, writing under inspiration, states, ‘[COLOR="Navy"][I]The, ‘sacrifices of God’ are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart.[/I][/COLOR]’ Then, David goes onto say, ‘[COLOR="Navy"][I]Surely, O’ Lord, Thou shalt not despise me, forever; but, instead, let the hour of my salvation be at hand![/I][/COLOR]’ David is, of course, referring to every human personality in its natural and unenlightened state of conscious awareness, as well as the difficulty all men have in gaining access to spiritual maturity. (Refer: Psalm 51)
Christ taught that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a, ‘rich man’ to achieve salvation! (‘Rich’ in the sense of possessing an overabundance of both material AND conscious perceptions.) None of this - none of this - comes easily to the conscious mind! Frankly, without a spiritually contrite personal attitude I very much doubt that it’s possible for anyone to commune, effectively, with The Holy Spirit.
(Refer: Matthew 19:24)
Neither am I able to explain (or rationalize) communion with The Holy Spirit for you. I barely understand The Spirit, myself; and, whenever it’s appeared to me, it always came as a complete surprise, and left me with this ineffable sense of both largess and personal unworthiness. (Moses and Christ, both, taught us that if a man were to actually look upon, 'The Face Of God’, he would be, ‘struck down’ by his own inherent sinfulness.)
Christ, also, taught that it is not normally within the nature of a natural man to be attracted to God. Instead, it's exactly the other way around: It is God, Himself, who draws men to Him. It should be obvious that any such, ‘journey of revelation’ has to begin in serious personal confusion. The natural state of human consciousness is to ignore, both, God as well as all POSITIVE spiritual matters.
If you're not playing games and just having, 'a little fun', the mere fact that you would conceptualize and ask this question tells me something about you - Something that bodes well for your future! (When you were a kid did you ever stick your finger into an electrical outlet in order to see, 'What' would happen?) :shocked:
For reasons I won’t profess to fully understand, God demands that we place our faith in Him. What is faith? The Apostle Paul gives an adequate, but rather simplistic, explanation: ‘[COLOR="navy"][I]Faith is THE SUBSTANCE OF THINGS which are hoped for[/I][/COLOR].' In other words, ‘faith’ must be firmly rooted in something; it must have a permanent basis: in thought, in belief, and in reality as well.
(Refer: Hebrews 11:1)
My own answer is that faith came about in my own life through: a, ‘heart’ (a component of my emotional being) that became contrite; a, ‘spirit’ (a personal way of feeling, or a motivation to behave a certain way) that became, ‘broken’ to both thinking ungodly thoughts and committing evil deeds.
Along with this growing gentle disposition and motivation to behave well, there was, also, a growing personal awareness that some sort of spiritual presence or, ‘good fortune’ was mysteriously willing to remain with me. (Words are inadequate; and I find myself unable to explain any further. I will say, though, that my wife has often thought that God, somehow, seems to favor me.) :dunno:
I've written a number of articles in my Glock Talk blog about: faith, absolute truth, and the necessity of personal study in order to rise above one's own, ‘natural states’ of self-service and disbelief. I would suggest that you forget about something like, ‘the church’.
In my experience, if it’s any sort of popular expression of the mind of man, then it’s wrong! Christ warned us, ‘[COLOR="navy"][I]Enter ye in at the strait gate: For wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: [/I][/COLOR]’ I assure you: Any effort you make to, ‘look past' the predominant perceptions of the conscious mind are, ultimately, going to cause you to proceed forward largely on your own.
(Refer: Matthew 7:13)
On my own journey, ‘home’ I have remained on the outskirts and fringes of various churches and synagogues my entire life. (Perhaps this behavior is a consequence of my attendance at a Protestant college early in my life - An academic experience that nearly collapsed what little faith I’d already managed to acquire. I went into that synod school a, somewhat, naïve Christian believer; and I left it an angry, bitter and badly confused, cynical, human being.)
Ironically, many respondents on Glock Talk’s Religious Issues Forum are always saying how belief in God doesn’t work for them; and they are quick to give myriad personal reasons and observations why not. Know what? I’ve already, ‘been there and done that’. It’s not believing in The Holy Spirit, or the, ‘power of Essential Goodness’, or (to be frank) GOD that didn’t work for me. Instead, it was the other way around.
As you appear to be finding out for yourself: A man can’t hide from God; ignore Him? Yes! Be angry with Him, or His apparent purposes and will? Yes! However, no man is able to successfully hide from God! Consequently, I've long found it more difficult NOT to believe in God. (This might have something to do with the fact that - at the core of their intellectual beings - ALL men are intuitively, 'religious'.
There have been times in my life when, without question, I should have, ‘died right there’. Circumstances were against me; and there was no rational explanation for, ‘Why’ I remained alive; (Other than it simply wasn’t my time! :supergrin: ) but there I would be standing, unscathed, without any logical reason for my continued existence.
The only other person I’ve ever seen discuss this curious existential phenomenon is United States Army Lieutenant Colonel Anthony B. Herbert. When I read Colonel Herbert’s comments about finding it to be almost impossible to get himself shot in Korea I understood EXACTLY what he was talking about.
Not only belief in God, but human survival, itself, might also be a function of The Greater Living Spirit! It is then both necessary as well as mentally healthy to believe in spiritual forces - both good, and bad - that are greater than one’s own self! Colonel Herbert has admitted that he experienced this unusual psychic phenomenon; and so have I. This sort of interaction between, ‘material and ethereal phenomena’ changes you, too. In Colonel Herbert’s later life he felt strongly compelled to, ‘do the right thing’ - even at the expense of his army career. Me, too! I’ve, also, done almost exactly the same thing.
In my opinion, there are two ways to view material existence: Either you pursue and take your material rewards now; or you discipline yourself to forego any immediate material rewards; and, in faith, (an assured expectation of things to come) look to the future. For most men, locked within the strictures of their conscious minds and enslaved by Satan the devil, life stops at physical death; but, like most things on this badly confused planet, not everybody shares in this (actually unproven) assumption.
In fact, I’ve often thought to myself: If He’s the, ‘God Of Life’ and He cannot be contradicted, then (1) the devil is a craven coward; (Because when Satan rebelled HE KNEW that rebellion wouldn’t cost him his life!) and (2) all forms of, ‘death’ MUST BE illusory states of, both, psychic and material being. (Which helps explain Christ’s remark about allowing, ‘the dead’ to bury, ‘the dead’.) ;)
Do NOT, however, make the serious intellectual mistake of dismissing the concept and reality of mortal death. Never forget the Apostle Paul’s dire warning, ‘[COLOR="Navy"][I]It is, indeed, a terrible thing to enter into judgment, and fall into The Hands Of The Living God![/I][/COLOR]’ (Hebrews 10:30-31)
Here, some of this might be of good use to you. [url]http://www.glocktalk.com/forums/blog.php?u=28326&blogcategoryid=9[/url]
03/01/13: Arc Angel/Glock Talk > Political & Other Important Issues > Religious Issues > An Open Question About Faith, or the lack of ..... . Asked By, ‘Lone Wolf8634’)