Thursday, March 18, 2010


Does God exist?

I can’t prove he doesn’t or that he does. And why should I be the one to cut the Gordian Knot when atheists and theists have been at it for centuries without much progress?

I was raised a Greek Orthodox Christian, attended a Roman Catholic girls' school and going to church was pretty much a part of my upbringing. I was bred on God. Surprisingly enough, every time I find myself in turbulence, I just instinctively pray. (Admittedly, I also knock on wood to avoid tempting fate). Naturally my heart wishes to believe the truth of what I was raised on, but my bothersome brain keeps getting in the way.

Maybe I reject God because, growing up, I felt a little like a convict at mass on Sundays. It was positively stifling. Not to mention my mother’s pokes every so often when my mind drifted. And I even got booted off to Christian camp. What an ordeal that was! As everyone chimed “Oh, Lord, Jesus Christ have mercy on us” in a drone again and again and again through to dawn, there was a heathen in me that could not keep from comparing this constant back and forth chanting to symptoms displayed by those suffering from obsession neurosis. The group leaders would give me happy smiles as though they’d just popped Prozac and I’d smile back and think to myself, “Don’t think I haven’t figured out that this sleep and food deprivation is just part of your brainwashing techniques.” (I even managed to sneak in D. H. Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterly’s Lover” to counter all the indoctrination).

Not that I should have minded the catechism. Had it worked, it would have ended this inner struggle I have. How soothing it would be to just KNOW there’s a God and put an end to the confusion.

Friends who are believers state that they feel certainty of God's existence because they can admire the majesty of a sunset and feel one with nature. While I agree that sunsets and starry skies are most certainly spectacular and that we are indeed part of nature, I don’t think that this proves God.

Then there is that little voice within. Some even claim to have conversations with the One. There’s even a passage in the Bible where the Creator says, “I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts.” (Jer. 31:33).

But how can we be sure that these are the Laws of the Creator and not just projections of messages our parents gave us when we were kids? Had we grown up in cultures where it was considered good to destroy deformed babies as soon as they are born or lived in a culture that encouraged us to partake in orgies then I don’t think we’d feel guilt when encountering what are considered “atrocities” according to our current values. And how can we be certain that our values are any better than anyone elses?

It would appear though, judging from history, that people have this innate need to believe in a Creator. Perhaps we are genetically hardwired for belief. That would explain the numbers of believers. But inventing a God and wishing the truth of this does not necessarily prove anything.

That aside, it is hard to refute the possibility of some Intelligence, some Order when there is too much mathematical precision in this complex universe to render its existence just another random event. Perhaps science and maths hold the answers. Who knows, perhaps there may be some vestige of God revealed in years to come.

For the time being though, all religion has to offer is an airiness of God.

* Michelangelo’s famous Sistine Chapel fresco depicting the hand of God reaching to Adam really shows how I feel. Like the hands almost, but not quite, touching, I, too, feel that there is this unattainable ecstacy hovering just beyond the grasp of my consciousness. But how can I satiate my need for the Divine when my reasoning gets the better of me?


Sharon said...

"Us and them," the egotism and conflicts of organized religion have left me unable to participate. The existence of god has been an enigma for me as well. I did see a public television segment (I think it was Nova) indicating that our brain is indeed hard-wired to believe in a god. As for me, I remain exactly where you are - unsure and searching. Very thoughtful post.

Robin said...

Well, crap, you just wrote my blog for me today. AND I can't post it on facebook unless I want to get nailed by a bunch of Jesus freaks throwing scripture at me. So that means I have to write TWO again today. It won't ultimately answer your God question. In fact, it is just the launch of a long story. This might be the beginning of a two-parter. And I woke up with a migraine. How do these days happen?????

moleculeColony said...

God is a supernatural being in our brain. It really exists, and the fact that it's ...
Well, have to stop. Just googled that sentence, and thought such a good sentence must have been invented and used many times already, but no! I'm the first. Again. And again nobody will understand. What a wonderful destiny this is.
(And this sentence really is so deep with meaning, I could write an essay on it.)

Sandy, Sisters of Season said...

I'm not religious, or a so called "Jesus fanatic", but I do believe I have a relationship with God. I don't believe in the different faiths out there with all there traditions and how they tell you how to worship God. I don't feel it has to be that complicated to have a relationship with God . . I don't think he really intended it to be that way . . Man has step in and destroy that. We are coming into a time when God will show us something different, a new kind of world to live in. Life is definitely becoming more simpler and we are learning to find happiness in the little things. People are becoming more willing to speak up and express themselves like never before. We blog to people we have never met and yet able to be so honest and raw. Gee, when did this world get so comfortable . . are we trusting people now? This could be a good thing.

Propoquerian said...

hmmm now that i think of it. I've only taken the minimal number of math and sciences classes i've had to to pass school, and i've even slept through most of those. Perhaps we would also find a good statistic of "lost souls" if you will in all those who studied the Humanities, instead of maths or sciences. I am not saying we would find God if we switched our areas of concentration. On the contrary.
I am saying studying math or science probably would have given us certainty that God does NOT exist.
But....aren't us "lost souls" just a little more fun and querky because of our "lostness" ?

Purple Cow said...

Sharon - We're on the same page.

Robin - Just read your post. Left a comment.

Molecule Colony - Can you please finish the sentence.

Sandy - I pray/meditate - not in a church way - but in a way where I can at least come in tune with myself. Truth is, church ceremonies in Greece (unlike the forced ones of my childhood) are beautiful and filled with tradition, but when I attend I feel a little like an illegal immigrant. I'm still waiting for my conversion experience...something to click within myself so that I can say "BANG - yes, there is a God!" Still, I take comfort from people like you who have such unassuming, unswerving faith.

Propequarian - We ALL - believers or not - are LOST souls. Let's not forget we enter the world basked in original sin (another concept I don't get). Humanity, if you like, is just one big LOST soul basking in original sin...(and don't joke by saying - "At least its original!" cause I'm being serious here.)

Thanks for all your responses!
Have a great weekend!

George said...

'Worship at the altar of doubt' is, I think, as good a piece of advice as I have heard. When I was little I had drummed into me a lot of nonsense by the grown-ups (?) who should have known better.
Now I wonder how anyone can take seriously men who feel they have to dress up in a frock and intone an archaic language in a sing-song voice, in order to propound a theory.
From time to time my views will crop up in 'GEORGE SAYS', but for now I will just say that I am 'non-religious' but like to think of myself as spiritual.

By the way, I think you have expressed yourself brilliantly here.

Purple Cow said...

George thank you for your response. If you have a blog of your own please place the link as I would be glad to read some.