I have recently come to the conclusion that I am a rationalist, a cognitive realist. I have come to see the world less clearly than I once did when I thought I knew what there was needed to know and I trusted that reality. Things have changed for me. And, I might add, for some of my acquaintances. Life and its issues are not so simple. Having discoursed with some of divergent opinions regarding politics and religion one wrote that he was bored with the conversation as it had basically reached its end. I disagree as the conversation around religion and politics seems to have merely scratched the surface. When it comes to cognition I can’t expect much in return as reputations are on the line. FB is an open forum that does not lend itself to disagreements or disagreeable discussions as most are fearful of how they might appear if dabbling in non-accepted kinds of thinking. I’m too old and past my prime to concern myself with that. Take this diatribe, and any of my other short diatribes, as coming from a senior citizen who has chosen to question a few of the “realities” of life. I am a seeker of truth and find that truth can burn into the soul’s imaginations and cause it to question life-long held suppositions.
I am reminded of a quote I have pondered off and on for many years. (For clarification, the quote comes from a liberal theologian’s point of view.) If counseled to suspend reason, as I often am told to do, I respond with this quote: “I am convinced that a God the mind rejects will never be a God the heart can adore.”
-John Shelby Spong, Jesus for the Non-Religious
If I am to be true to my person I must acknowledge that God made my mind. Yet, If God is perceived as unable to handle my puny questions about His universe and my realities I cannot serve that god. It/He/She must be the wrong one. There has to be another to whom I can turn. The God most of us have served is a God we have been told about, and most of us sadly accept that idea without question. We have been told that the Bible is the way to truth and we do not question that as we are told that it is because the Bible says it is so. That may be sufficient for most but it is not sufficient for me. (I have been told: “Ed you’ve got to have faith!”)
So, I am a seeker of God, not because the Bible tells me so but because I am on the lookout for reasons, both cognitive and spiritual, to experience Him. The real “Him” not the imagined Him, not the church Him, not even your Him. But Him who would accept and answer my questions without judging me as wrong for asking or ridiculing me in front of my peers, or assigning me to the Devil’s playground for having questions most don’t seem to have.
August 11th, 2022 at 1:59 pm
“‘Come, let us reason together,’ says the Lord.'” The God of the Bible welcomes honest seekers. In no way does He reject, ridicule or dismiss the sincere question. Every person of faith has had real questions raised by real life experiences. Doubt is a necessary fertilizer for faith. Questions resolved lead to stronger faith and closer relationship with the living God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Early in life, mid-teens, I dealt with a faith crisis. None of the claims of Christianity seemed reasonable. All of the educated people I knew belittled Biblical truth and faith.
One day I verbally articulated my doubts to my parents with tears and powerful emotion.
“How do I know there’s life after death?
“How do I know God is real?”
“How do I know whether heaven or hell exist?”
All the time I “heard” an internal gentle whisper insisting, “Oh, You know, George. You know it’s all true.”
I continued to question the things I had been taught by my simple, Bible believing, Pentecostal parents. I studied and researched historical and scientific claims that seemed to contradict Biblical claims.
Gradually I began to set aside the meaningless elements of my inherited faith. What was left is still today a strong affirmation of the fundamental truths of Scripture, the Holy Bible as understood in classic orthodox Christianity.
I have never stopped questioning and searching out truth. How can I hope to persuade unbelievers (my assignment in Christ’s great commission) if I am unwilling to consider other world view interpretations of the meaning of life?
I did find a place of peace with myself, my intellect, my faith and my God that freed me from a constant focus on “evidence for my faith.” This happened when I “surrendered” my life to Christ’s Lordship and accepted my calling to church pastor ministry.
I spent 42+ years in full time, career, local church leadership in fulfillment of that perceived calling. I have no regrets. I’ve had a happy, fulfilled life. I believe I’ve helped a few fellow travelers along the pathway through life towards eternity.
In the words you sang at our wedding, I’ve spent my life trying to…
“Serve Him with all of your heart. Give of the best of your years.
If you need someone to comfort, He’ll wipe away all your tears.
He’ll make it well worth your while,
I you’ll be faithful and true.
The windows of heaven He will open
And He’ll shower His Blessings on you.”
“‘Tis true, Oh yes, ‘Tis true. God’s wonderful promise is true. For I’ve tasted and tested and tried it and I know God’s promise is true.”
I could have chosen a lucrative career in electrical engineering and professional music and made a ton more money than I did in the ministry. But, again, I reiterate, I have no regrets. I only regret not doing more and excelling greater in applying my God-given giftedness, talents and time in a more disciplined manner in serving my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.