What we Know About God
Let’s look at what the history of man has shown us about God. The most obvious thing for a person who believes in reason is that if there were a specific path to pleasing God, no one has found it. There is no one person or group of worshippers or non-worshippers that illness, poverty, suffering and loss have not visited. There exists no list of do’s and don’ts that when followed will exempt anyone or any group from suffering or that will guarantee anyone or any group happiness on this earth. Reasonably, we may presume that whatever God is, it is neutral.
If God were to write a book, one and only one with words that could not in any way be altered, omitted or added to, any God that is worthy of that divine status would not write one word that would not be true and accurate until the end of time, perhaps a great feet for mortal man, but nothing at all for the one and only God who knows all that was, all that is and all that ever will be. As a reasonable person of the twenty-first century, I would expect no less if I were asked, or required to believe that every word in the book came from this omnipresent, all knowing, all seeing God. I would expect that the book would not state that the sun, the moon and the stars revolve around the earth. I would expect that God would know that this is not true. I would expect that God would not say “Thou shalt not kill” and then devote whole chapters in His Book to who and when to kill. Exactly what part of “contradiction” could I reasonably assume that this God does not understand?
It is just the fact that killing is so final, and the ‘who, when, and where’ are often so confusing, that that makes the book itself a map to failure. Let’s look at one of the reasons for death that I am personally very sensitive to, the killing of false prophets:
Kill False Prophets
Deuteronomy 13:1-5 NLT
“Suppose there are prophets among you, or those who have dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, and the predicted signs or miracles take place. If the prophets then say, ‘Come, let us worship the gods of foreign nations,’ do not listen to them. The LORD your God is testing you to see if you love him with all your heart and soul. Serve only the LORD your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him. The false prophets or dreamers who try to lead you astray must be put to death, for they encourage rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of slavery in the land of Egypt. Since they try to keep you from following the LORD your God, you must execute them to remove the evil from among you.”
Deuteronomy 18:20-22 NLT
“ But any prophet who claims to give a message from another god or who falsely claims to speak for me must die.’ You may wonder, ‘How will we know whether the prophecy is from the LORD or not?’ If the prophet predicts something in the LORD’s name and it does not happen, the LORD did not give the message. That prophet has spoken on his own and need not be feared,”
In the first passage, God states that if the prediction comes true, then God is testing you to see if you love him enough to know that this is a false prophet, then a few passages down God answers the question on everyone’s mind, “How do we know a false prophet?” Here, the answer is that we know a false prophet because what he says will not come true. Could God be a tricky God? Could part of the test be figuring out which commands are to be followed and which are just meant to weed out the unholy?
If God created man, then God created the ability to reason that man has been endowed with, that ability which helps us to discern what is valid and enduring from what is not. Our reason and our intelligence evolve as the world in which we must survive evolves, and our ability to be discriminating evolves with ever growing quantity of choices that we face. Man does not have fur; he neither has claws, nor sharp teeth. He does have the mental agility to adapt to the world as it changes. This means that in 2007, we will not put a woman in jail for wearing patent leather shoes because they allow a man to see her tempting private parts. We are able to remove laws, made by men, which have no obvious relevance to our time and do not in any way protect or enhance our quality of life.
These gifts of reason and intelligence with which we have been endowed in order to insure our ultimate survival must be allowed, to examine the Books that many call the “Literal words and doctrine of the One True God”. The fact that throughout the long history of these books, and in the name of the God within their pages, man has committed the most violent, cruel, and inhumane crimes and atrocities that mankind has ever witnessed, obligates every member of our species to relegate these books to the classification of mythology and place them on the same shelves as those housing the books of all other ancient gods.
If we do not do this, we will suffer a fate that has been seen by no man since the dawn of history. Our weapons of mass destruction will be used by those who place their faith in the literal words and doctrine within the pages of these books, and they will ultimately do what is unequivocally demanded by anyone who calls himself faithful to the Word, and that will be to bring about the near extinction of humanity. This will happen because those whom we are labeling terrorists are in truth not terrorists at all but simply the most deeply devout. So long as these books are held as the ‘only true’ words of God, those demands of the complete annihilation of non-believers that run through their pages will find those who are faithful enough to fulfill.
What we know is that consciousness in a mechanical outcome of any physical processes, that we not only exist, that our world exists and that we are able to be conscious of this world and of ourselves is something beyond material explanation and therefore it falls into the realms of the spiritual. So perhaps it is that realm of the spiritual that we can begin to call God. That there are and have always been people who could see the future – some, in astounding detail, must tell the reasonable person that there is some form of a plan laid out before us. Perhaps, we could call a part of what is God. We may begin to get an idea of what God is by observing those things and experiences that seem to be just beyond the “how?” of the world and somewhere within the “why?”, of it.
Intelligent reason is important to us, for it is what we must use in order to eliminate what is not God. We cannot use our brains to know God because we only know what we ourselves to be. As human beings, we can only know God if we attribute humanness to God. We cannot understand God with our minds without attributing thinking, and feeling to God. However, this does not mean that we cannot experience God.
We can experience God when we leave our minds, our thoughts, our feelings, our desires, our fears, and journey within through meditation or deep contemplation into that place that is devoid of all of those things. When we do this, we find peace, we find joy, we find everything and we find nothing. We experience God when we are so centered and so focused that for a small window in time we know that every arrow we send out will hit its mark; we are in the “zone”, thereto, we experience God. No description of this experience can be adequate.