The Final Word Less One - on any subject anywhere any time that the author finds interesting -

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Is There a God?

(Doesn't anybody screen these questions?)

God knows if He exists, honey, but you won't find his address and phone number in the phone book. That's not an argument one way or another it just indicates that God isn't limited to a particular location or mode of communication which is exactly what His followers claim.

Certainly some people have reason to believe. I am reminded of a story about a Marine during World War II, fighting in the Pacific under General MacArthur. His unit participated in a bloody island assault. His friends were killed but he was unhurt. Fresh troops were brought in to fill the gaps; he went on another assault and once again was unhurt but only a few men survived. The same thing happened again. This man went through a meat grinder and not only did he live but he was unhurt. He felt that God must have preserved him for a purpose and after the war he spent his life working for a publisher/distributor of religious books.

I wouldn't argue with that man, or with any believer. Faith is not a subject for argument or even for rational discourse. Faith comes as a gift from God; it isn't something for mere humans to meddle with.  I find that I come closest to faith when I listen to the music written by believers:

The 99 Names of God

Andreas Scholl singing Bach

About 2400 years ago, Buddha told the parable about the blind men and the elephant. Each man got hold of a different body part: trunk, tail, flank, leg, etc. and stubbornly maintained that his was the one true nature of the elephant. In this story, the elephant stands in for God and the blind men are the religions of the world. Once there was a disciple of the Buddha who threatened to leave because Buddha had not revealed whether God existed or not. Buddha asked if he had ever promised that to the disciple who said no, Buddha had never promised that. Buddha said, "And I never will. You are asking the wrong question because it is unanswerable. I am trying to teach you the path to Enlightenment."

Buddha wanted his followers to reach for Enlightenment because that was attainable. I think this is wisdom, because if one needs a God to scare or reward you into proper behavior, then I think you may be truly damned.

If God exists, then the proof is found in the actions of his believers. Certainly the idea of God has been a force for small acts of of kindness that work greatly upon the individual or in huge acts of evil that blight generations. Ideology is not the same thing as God, but it sometimes substitutes for Him in this imperfect world.

If the world would practice peace and meditation, if all human beings could strive for and achieve Enlightenment and find their inner Buddha, and deal on the basis of compassion and clarity rather than passion and ignorance...then by that light, I suspect we would all see God, that he has been hidden from us only by ourselves. By that light we would have no problem in submitting to God as a good Muslim or loving our fellow men as a good Christian--we would have attained the Buddha's Nirvana. But I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen.

So the answer is "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." Go off and read that essay which was written by a much wiser man than I. Remember that it was a tale for little children and take it with a grain of salt. If you know enough to ask the question, then I suspect you are already pretty far down the road into doubting God's existence. That's an intelligent, rational choice and I'm not one to argue with either faith or reason. Either one gets you only halfway down the road. If you have both legs, use them. If you have only one leg, hop. It may take longer but you will get there when you arrive, and no sooner.

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