Saturday, October 9, 2010
Pilot asked Jesus, “What is truth?” It seems to have been a rhetorical question. Pilot’s answer to his own question would have probably been, “Truth is whatever I need it to be” or “Truth is what works for me.”
“Truth is what is.” Given some contexts, you might say, “Truth is what is, independent of what we think or know about what is.” Einstein would have agreed with that, I think. If and/or how we know what is, well, that’s a different subject. But if something is, then its existence isn’t shaped by what we think or know about it. If it’s physical, and we touch it in some way, say to measure it, or whatever, then maybe it is shaped by our touch. But to measure it in our minds doesn’t change anything except, maybe, our minds.
So I think about God. God said, “I AM.” Jesus said, “Before Abraham was born, I AM.”
We can talk about God being there or not, but in the end, it doesn’t matter what we think or say about it. Our “experience” of God (or non experience) may be subjective by degrees, but God is not subjective. God is either real or not. God exists or does not exist as a person or a thing (though not a physical thing, unless some people are right, thinking the universe is a "god"). If God is “there,” then God isn’t shaped by our opinions anymore than the Grand Canyon is. We can talk subjectively all day long about whether or not we think the Grand Canyon is a beautiful thing or a big, ugly hole in the ground. But arguing about whether or not it’s there wouldn’t change whether or not it’s there. That would be the kind of empty philosophy that makes people want to stay as far away from philosophy classes as possible. It’s either there or it’s not. Opinions don’t matter. It’s not subjective. It just is. Or it isn’t.
I remember once (and I hate to admit this), I was watching the old Sally Jesse Raphael show. She had some overbearing “religious” people on with some carny show types who were completely over the top and she just let them at each other. The conflict was the point of the show. It was quite entertaining in a despicable sort of way. But Sally herself became frustrated with the “religious” people. They were, after all, kind of idiotic. And, in her frustration, Sally put her face right up in the camera and said something like, “I will NOT believe in a hateful, vengeful God.”
I get what she was saying. I get what a lot of people are saying when they try to define God. They want God, if God exists, to be a certain way. They have some personal ideal that’s subjective. And on an emotional level this is understandable. If you’ve been hurt a lot, you want a “god” who will stop the hurt. If you’re full of doubt, you want a “god” who will affirm your thoughts against doubt.
But if God is there, if God is, God can’t be defined by what has been created. God can only be discovered in some way. If God exists, and I believe God exists, our discovery of God does not change God’s nature. God is not whatever we want God to be. If God is there, then God is the one who does the defining.
God is not defined by us. We are defined by God.
Peace to you.
© LW Publishing 2010