Someone asked me for my view of God. He is my answer:
I have really only a very fuzzy view on the matter. All I know is that throughout human history some of the most brilliant minds and spiritually (?) evolved individuals in all cultures have given utterance in multiple ways to their visions/experiences of some Principle beyond the material phenomenal world, and referred to it as God (or an equivalent term in other languages).
There have also been no less brilliant minds who have rejected the idea/notion of God as an external aspect of the universe, calling it a magnificent creation of the human mind at best, or an unfortunate hallucination arising from confusion, fear, dire need of a father figure, alteration in brain chemistry, etc.
I also know that faith in God has given rise to some of the most magnificent art, music, poetry, and philosophy in human culture, as well as to the most abominable hate, hurt, persecution, and wars.
In the face of all this, and recognizing the limitations of my own mind in grasping the Grand Mysteries (to me) of Existence, transience of embodies consciousness, beauty, love, compassion, and poetry in a world where there is also so much death, ugliness, hate, cruelty, and spiritual chaos, and inter-religious conflict, it is beyond my capacity to say anything on the question of God, let alone with the conviction of so many (perhaps more fortunate) people who swear by their scriptures about the nature, number, and qualities of God. .
I do respect those who have unshakable belief in God of one kind or other in so far as that belief enables them to find peace within themselves and do acts of love towards others. I can also understand why some others, from their analytical and rational framework, find the notion not only unacceptable but deserving to be discarded, indeed eliminated from human culture.
I fear that given the double nature (positive and negative) of belief and disbelief, and the enormous cultural, traditional, and humanistic dimensions associated with God-belief, let alone its potential for inducing religious ecstasy and consolation in life’s tragic moments, God simply cannot/will not be eradicated in the foreseeable future.
On the other hand, given the advances in science that are becoming more and more successful in accounting for more and more phenomena on non-theistic foundations, and the unstoppable misbehavior of many who mindlessly create mayhem in the name of God the Great, there will always be thinkers/writers who will try to dissuade people from theistic beliefs.
So, like technology which too has both beneficial and destructive potential, the God belief is likely to persist as long as humans have feelings, and it will also be combated as long some (some) humans reason out every joy and poetry of life.
To me, then, God is essentially the Mystery that surrounds me in the world from the subatomic and galactic, in the splendor of the biological world, and in the human capacity to reflect, probe, and create, in the magic of mathematics with its trigonometric series and transcendental numbers, as well as in the human condition. As to post-mortem persistence, the inscrutable and metaphorical God alone knows.
January 9, 2011
[If you have a provocative question like this, please send it to me.]