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Why God?

February 6, 2013

Man Shrugging his ShouldersThis is a question I have asked myself many times over the years. Being raised on a philosophical understanding of the world and trying always to think things through for myself. The very notion of a god has oftentimes baffled me. Or, should I say, not so much the notion in itself of a god. But the notion that so many people would come to believe in a god. There seems to be no rationale for it. My recent reading through of parts of the bible has given me some better ideas of what it is all about.

To the prophets in ancient times, an appeal to the authority of god was a great counterpoint to the general tendency of current kings and leaders in their society to become corrupted by their power. So many times in the bible, through the prophets, god is presented as punishing people for various worldly corruptions. Here then, in this society, god seemed to be a refuge from worldly indulgence, and something to make all people humble in the face of it, to prevent people becoming corrupt and complacent in their powerful worldly positions.

It makes a lot of sense that people would decide upon a practice like this. It gives, for me, some sort of historical rationale for the emergence of god. But it still does not explain how and why, here and now, people would believe in such a thing as god. And what this god is supposed to be or represent to them when they say they believe in it. Clearly a lot more thought needs to go into these things.

My view for some time is that there is a spiritual side to this world on an equal, if not higher, footing than the physical realm, and there are many indirect signs of this to help us to come to believe in it. The very fact of our awareness being the first and most definitive sign. But I can’t bring myself to personalise or humanise this spiritual realm in the way that some people are doing when they talk of god, our father. We do not know what may be in store for us. Maybe there will be answers in the spiritual realm after death, maybe there will not. But I certainly don’t think we can know the answers before death, as for some god seems to provide.

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