Sent: Sunday, March 17, 2019 11:03 PM
To: Thomas Abshier <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: faith in God as blasphemy
There is nothing more blasphemous than a belief in God. It’s by asking the question, that we answer the question.
Certainly, anyone that feels compelled to attend a “church” of 1000 congregants has no faith.
Dear Jonathan, as usual, you have responded with an unexpected objection/comment to my essay! And, of course, I disagree.
Since you did not elaborate or substantiate your statement “that it is blasphemous to believe in God,” I will project into your declaration a few possible meanings that you may have intended but did not articulate.
It is blasphemous to believe in God because….
God is so obvious in His existence, and so good, and so clearly the Creator, that it would be an insult of the Divine One (rough translation of the word “blasphemy”) to even bring up the concept of “belief.” Talking about God in terms of believing in Him would be an insult because even considering the concept of “belief” in the context of His existence, automatically generates the opposite possibility of “non-belief”, which we obviously consider as possible, since we are declaring our “belief”, as opposed to just assuming it because He is so omnipresent and real in our hearts/minds/experience of knowing Him. Thus, to even have the thought of His non-existence would be to lower our praise, our acknowledgment, our awe, of Him!
In your frame/according to your declaration of our proper relationship to God with regards to “belief”, to consider God as someone/something/a force as something in which we have belief would be akin to the absurdity of holding a hand in front of our eyes and wondering if the world was still there when our vision was blocked for a moment.
To have imagined that the world went away just because it was out of sight for a moment indicates an extremely weak grasp on the concept of reality as permanent – as though reality’s reality depended upon our perception of it.
I particularly like this imagery and comparison of faith to blasphemy, since it challenges us to bring our faith to such a high level where we are not even asking the question about His existence/reality and omnipresence!
I think that is a wonderful challenge, to have such a strong knowing/feeling of his presence that we rest in His nurturance, and bask in the glory and awe of His magnificence, power, and omnipotent authority. That is a wonderful state to know/feel his presence so strongly that the concept of “belief” vs. “unbelief” never even arises as a question/consideration. Such a relationship with God is taking belief to its ultimate fruition, where our relationship with God is so real that He is closer than our breath, more real than our perceptions, more filling than our emotions/thoughts/experiences. Yes, that is the place where belief is truly obsolete!
But, I must counter this evaluation/comment, that “belief is blasphemous,” as I don’t think that is true. Embedded within your comment is the hidden assumption that God expects us to have an overpowering knowing/feeling/experience of His reality. I don’t think that is true for several reasons, 1) We see no obvious, unequivocal proof of His existence/reality in our daily experience, 2) Science has looked very hard for ultimate cause, and has not found any trails in the sequence where He must exist, 3) The Bible makes it very clear that God is to be sought, and that belief is one of the highest of virtues. (1 Corinthians 13:13 (KJV) And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.)
I wish this was true that God was as obvious as you imply, but for most people, this is not true. You, for example, do not even consider that God exists, and yet you have made strong declarations about what the nature of God, without even acknowledging His existence.
In other words, you have postulated the existence of an imaginary being and stated that He has XYZ characteristics, and He must be treated with ABC behaviors to show Him proper respect. This is obviously an unjustifiable assertion about the nature of God and His proper respect.
You have looked at what you consider to be a cultural delusion, the existence of God, and then declared that you know what the proper relationship that people/the creatures, should have in relationship to this imaginary delusion.
If God is real, how would you know His true nature? You have assumed that you know what His nature should be if He was real, but how would you know that? You have made up conditions about the nature of God out of your mind. But, your assumptions are entirely self-generated – they have no causative effect in creating who/how God is, nor is there a logical necessity that He be that way, based upon our experience of Him or life, or upon premises which are axiomatically True. In other words, you do not know the nature of God, you do not know what he considers blasphemous or not from unassailable/unquestionable axiomatic first principles. In other words, this is a concept which exists only in your mind and has no necessary relationship with the reality of who God is.
A person who goes to a large church has no faith:
Regarding your second point. You declare that a person who goes to a large church has no faith. That is an interesting comparison and test of whether a man has faith or not!
As I read the Bible, the “going to church” (whether large or small) was not a demonstration of faith. Rather, Paul admonished the church in Jerusalem, in Hebrews 10:25
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
The purpose of “going to church” is not to prove our faith, but rather, to support each other in good works.
Living life well/according to Godly precepts is a very difficult thing to do consistently. This is because the passions of the human heart/soul oppose the Way of God/Christ. Thus, the natural way of men is to oppose/reject/violate God’s way. By so doing, we separate ourselves from His fellowship and favor.
A life lived well requires regulating the animal passions of the human heart and moderating them into proper use and time. The Bible, in its history, prophecy, epistles, and recording of the words of Christ and His acts, gives a broad picture, and some degree of specificity of how we should act and be in relationship to God in this world. We demonstrate our faith that He “is”, by our acts, by following His Way, as was revealed in scriptures.
I believe the Truth of the Bible and its understanding comes by revelation, by asking, by sincerely praying for that revelation to come. I believe the beginning of faith comes by asking sincerely for the revelation of Truth. At least this was my experience. The question which caused me to leave Christianity as an adolescent was that I could not rationalize why it was necessary for Jesus to die for our sins. As a result, I left Christianity for about 20 years to explore the other world religions. But, I was sincere, and my questions were eventually answered to my satisfaction. This website and its writings, my faith, and my counseling practice were the fruit of that search and its answers.
I recommend reading the Bible, even if you do not understand it or believe it. Maintain a sincere heart as you ask for Truth to be revealed and known. I believe this posture of sincere desire to know the Truth was an important factor in the eventual revelation of the answers to my questions.