A God Even For Atheists

Mike Conversation Continues
July, ‘82

“Okay,” I said, “but what I’m about to say is not exactly user
friendly. It’s about a different kind of God, one that, as far as I
can tell, nobody is familiar with.”

“Well, does God have foreknowledge or not?” Mike responded.

“He knows everything that is known,” I said. “It’s hard to describe,
but He knows it all without foreknowledge.”

“You’ve got my attention now,” Mike replied, “How exactly does He
pull that off?”

“It’s in his freedom,” I said. “In nature, life, and culture we find
God’s `self-expression’, and that–is an affirmation of God and God’s
freedom.”

“Oh, this ought to be good,” replied Mike, “what kind of image is
that? Is He still the old man on high, divine worker of miracles,
dispenser of rewards and punishments, or am I missing something?”

“That image is a bit outdated, wouldn’t you say?” I said.

“Well is He limited by time or not? replied Mike.”

“No,” I said.

“Is He omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient?”

“Yes to all three,” I replied.

“Well, I rest my case. It’s the same-o, same-o,” Mike responded. “We
humans are bound by law and limited by death. We don’t like it, so we
imagine a God without limits. We get sick, but God does not. We are
caught in space and time—not God. We face horrendous hardships and
suffering—not God. Both Freud, and Feuerbach before him, had it right;
god is a product of our own desires because, as cripples, we need a
crutch. We need god, but he remains forever out of reach. Religion was
born out of that need. God is our security blanket. In reality God is
based in false hopes and promises, and exists only in our dreams.”

“There’s more to the story than that,” I responded. “The theologian,
Paul Tillich, had a different idea. In fact, he believed the image of
a superhuman God should be replaced by a more internalized `depth
image.’ Instead of believing in an external God, he chose to believe
in a God that was the ground of all that is. God, for him, became
`infinite center,’ a presence, a feeling, a reality, an opening to
all sacredness and divinity. That’s kind of what I’m talking about
when I talk about God, but I came to that image in my own way. And, by
the way, as far as gender is concerned, God doesn’t have any.”

“That sound’s a bit pantheistic to me,” Mike responded. “So who or
what is this god?”

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About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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One Response to A God Even For Atheists

  1. bwinwnbwi says:

    By virtue of being not-God (~~b) God becomes, in the verb sense, “free to be,” while also, in the noun sense, free to be “God of all creation,” i.e., the implied God of creation. This state of affairs suggests to me the original significance of John Paul Sartre’s definition of pre-reflective cogito (the double movement of conscious reflection). In so far as Sartre’s pre-reflective cogito (the ~bb of b~b~bb) is a product of freedom, i.e., a product of universe, life, and the symbol-generating movement of free thought, it reflects both the backside of God (the time of not being—the affirmative ideal) and the “face of God” (our emotional experience of beliefs, concerns, intentions, and deeds). Absent the “face of God” knowledge—language with its lexical, syntactical, and contextual designations, science, ethical behavior, existential meaning, and religion(s) —would not/could not exist.

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