Thursday, May 30, 2013

We Can Have Certinty About God's Love


A comment was sent in:

How can God have any human characteristics since it is not human? Why is God referred to a "he" or "him" when it is more like an alien with supernatural powers. It has the ability to create an entire universe and at least one planet with millions of plant and animal species from nothing? How would any being that could do that be ANYTHING like the human animal or someone's daddy?

That's a good question because not only is it valid, logical and important, but I feel it leads to one of the better answers Christians can offer.
All religious language is metaphor and analogical. Its' all an attempt to relate what we know to that which is beyond our understanding. What we can know with certainty is what we experience. We can't necessarily relate it to others but we can experience it. One basic thing we can experience and not mistake is love. We know when we are loved and we know when we love.

We can know that God is love. That's the only thing we can be truly certain about, God, that God loves us, that God is real (which is a function of the conformation of being loved).I can see other atheists asking questions like "how do you know God is not lying?" Or "How do you know God is not really evil. Some who think they are being really tricky and clever say stuff like "how do you know that what God calls good is not really evil? so God is just tricking you into being evil?" Of cousre that would be a stupid fear because God's will is the standard so if God says it's good it is. Then of course is raised the question, well God can just order murdering babies for fun and you would say it's good.

All such questions can easily be dashed if you know God in a true personal encounter. Of course the hearty skeptic will laugh at the very notion. Yet the fact of of the confidence with which I speak of it I think is a proof that it is real experience and since it leads to stronger personhood the better ability to endure life's storms and ultimately more and deeper sense of God's presence all of that is a good indication indication, and probalby the best we can have, that God is true. It's not the case that lies and falsehood work out to make us better in a positive sense. Sure if they don't kill us we may be stronger for having endured but love doesn't work that way. I love is a lie it usually dissipates and laves one broken rather than healed. The kind of strength that comes form God's love is not this bitter taste in the mouth sort of "what kill me makes me stronger" but a nurturing sort of love one finds form the good things in life. Part of the basis of skepticism is looking at the glass half empty.

From the nature of love we can deduce several things. Han Urs Von Balthasar made the point that it's the positive basis of love and the giving out of itself nature of both and being that link the two. Love is an attribute of being itself. That connection is a good way to understand the reason why God is right, God can't be a liar, can't be evil, and is the basis of the good. Love is nurturing and building. Love and being both give themselves out to produce more of what they are. Love and Being are the original. Evil is the absense of this original and it tends toward tearing down. That's an indication that it's a mockery of what comes first, thus it can't be the good.

Love is the best means we have of understanding anything about God. We can only speak of God in analogical terms and the analogical only makes sense if we have some frame of reference. the only frame of which we can be certain concerning God is the experience of God's presence and love.

Of course all of this is a lot of raving about nothing if it isn't real. The only way to know of it's reality is to experience it. Stop reading about it on paper and go pray. As God to show you his love. Ask God to let you feel his presence of love. Stop reading...get off the net...move away from the computer...close your eyes and pray.


Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"The only way to know of it's reality is to experience it."

How do you know you are not delusional? I admit that I could be totally deluded in my atheism.

Metacrock said...

Mike, my old friend, says:"How do you know you are not delusional? I admit that I could be totally deluded in my atheism."

You can't know with the kind of absolute certainty of mathematics, maybe not even with the kind of retaliative certainty of scientific data. That's the point of my argument "from epistemic judgement." we have to make a judgement, we can't know certifiably so we have to judge (educated guess).

that can be better than just a blind guess by going with what is consistent and waht works. But we don't have any better of an understanding with scinece or materialism. Not for big picture issues like meaning of life. So if we want to make the best judgement we can we go by what works. Religious experience works.

I call that "certainty" because its as much certainty as we get about anything; it's existential certainty.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Thanks. I figured as much. "Certainty" is sort of a trigger word for me, because I had an unhealthy certainty during my years in Christianity. That, and too many treat their existential certainty as more than that.

Metacrock said...

I think you (meaning us) need to be more careful about what exactly is giving uncertainty. Is it the reality of God or the particular way that God is construed in your milieu?

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

For me it's the complete lack of experience of anything that makes me even think any kind of god exists.

I know inexplicable things happen, but anecdotal evidence doesn't do much for me. When people ask me what it would take for me to believe in God again, I can't answer, because I never made a conscious decision to stop believing.

Metacrock said...

There are a couple of things to be said to those who feel they have not had such experiences: I thought when I was an atheist I could never have such experienced. I was shocked when I started having them. Maybe that's why I went i that direction and continued to seek them. One can seek and find them.

It really depends upon how far you are willing to go, but eventual there has to be a leap of faith. Arguments and such only narrow the gap but you still have to leap over it.

Expectations play a role. I never had any becuase I thought if there was a God he didn't make me to be the kind of person who has such experiences. One can nix the deal by expecting too much and not making enough of the experiences one gets; I'm not talking about exaggerating. Just be open to whatever from it takes.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Oh I'm open, and I'm always around believers of one sort or another.

Metacrock said...

I know. you got great parents who are Christians. I wish I could meet them. you too. Mabey some day I'll take a sasquaching trip up there.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

How did you know this is where we hide the sasquatches?

Metacrock said...

I see your picture! ;-)

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Well, I have to blend in with them. ;-)