Friday, April 04, 2008

Doubting ...

Is God imaginary?
Earlier in the week I read a blog post titled “Ten Questions Christians Should Know” (or something like that – I don’t exactly remember). I linked to the post, more out of curiosity than a sense of needing to make sure I knew.

The author posed some of the tough questions of life. Questions like “If God has the power to heal, why doesn’t he heal amputees?” “If God is good, why do bad things happen in the world?” and the list went on. The point the author made was that Christians can’t give definitive, conclusive answers without sounding like they’re talking in circles, and the only Then there was a link to a YouTube-type film that supported the argument that “prayer = superstition.” definitive, conclusive answer is “God is imaginary.”

The whole thing had me actually questioning what I believe, and why I believe it. What if I had been lied to all this time? What if the things I had attributed to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were all fake? If I were less mature in my faith than where I am now, this whole thought process could have really messed with my head.

You know how sometimes you have someone who has no way of knowing what you’re going through telling you something that makes you think they’ve been reading your private journal, except there’s no way they could have done it? Well, the next morning it happened. Except it came from a stranger, through a blog from a guy named Josh, who had read my previous blog post. He was talking about how adamant non-believers try to question us in order to question ourselves, and that our job as Christians is not to defend our Lord and Savior, He can do that well enough on His own. Our job is to love these confused souls and spread the love of Christ.

Reading that was like splashing cool, refreshing water on my face, although I am still trying to find out how this guy in Houston got his hands on my hand-written journal in California J

Searching for God Knows What
This past week I’ve also been reading Donald Miller’s book Searching for God Knows What. Wouldn’t you know it, but the day after reading Josh’s blog I read the part in the book where Miller talks about how he tells God that he (God) doesn’t exist. Think about it … If someone does not exist, then how can you tell him that he doesn’t exist? It’s like … I can’t even think of an analogy for it. The non-existent being won’t cease to be, because it never was!

Miller later explains that the God he banished is the “formula” God that we make out of him. The “Do steps one through seven, and you’ll find that your spiritual life is soaring on wings of eagles” type. The problem with this is that if God uses formulas, then the same formula should work for everyone, right? But not every formula self-help book or formula church “program” works the same.

So the “formula God” is out. The God of the Bible, the relational God, the one Miller explores deeper, is the true God of the universe. The Bible is not a “formula” self-help book. It is the story of our perfect creator who wants to be – even longs for – an intimate friendship with imperfect men and women who, it seems, can never get their lives right and keep them right.

I can’t seem to name the emotion that comes to mind when I think that perfect holiness actually wants to have friendship with impure, dirty friends. Parents tell their kids to stay away from the “bad” kids and pray that they befriend and become one of the “good” ones. But when God determined that the time had come to send his perfect Son to the world that we live in, he sent Jesus for the purpose, and with the expectation that he would hang out with the “wrong” crowd.

To me, that sounds like a curious method of parenting. But that statement alone just tried to put God into the step-by-step format that should not exist.

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