mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS, AT THE intersection OF god & humanity

God, 2 (continued from)

"God created man because he loved stories." Elie Wiesel said this in the epigram to one of his stories.

My youthful influence Nikos Kazanzakis wondered whether God created man to help him work out the chaos.

In "Angels In America" the angels are upset because God has left heaven because he enjoys watching humans so much.

Is God simply a voyeur? And if so, what good is that?

I was taught that God was all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful. "He" was transcendant (in heaven, not inhabiting nature as a pantheist would believe) and personal (not simply a "life force"). Jews, Muslims and Christians (when they aren't being bullied by clerics) have a grand tradition of conversing directly to God — not only asking for favors, but arguing and discussing. (The Catholic hierarchy, in my day, discouraged this direct conversation in favor of letting the Pope tell us what God had on His mind.)

Sophisticated believers know that God isn't in the business of granting favors or preventing bad things from happening. He lets the world take its course and allows our free will to run rampant. Supposedly God the Son became Jesus to die for our sins. Christianity was spawned. The results of that are not in.

I digress. (The sociology of organized religion is not today's topic.)

My question is this: Do I not feel God's presence in the world because he is absent, because "he doesn't work that way," or because I'm an insensitive materialist who couldn't sense God if I tripped over a burning bush?

Is sensing God a gift? "The gift of faith" — I've heard that expression. If you're expected to believe, then shouldn't you get some cool sensations — a little God orgasm now and then? — even if it's considered poor form to "ask for a sign"?

Or is it a skill to be learned? If you get the knack of praying — like meditation — can you achieve direct communion with God? Is that what prayer is? Or is prayer really about examining your own behavior to make sure you haven't strayed from your beliefs?

Or is God like the imaginary friends of our childhood? — someone to talk to when no one else will, who is never too busy and who never tells you you're stupid. The poetry that gets you through the dark night.

I wouldn't mind achieving a higher state of awareness. I don't like thinking of myself as a materialist. But I may be stuck with being a secular humanist. Religious philosophers struggle to demonstrate to us the existence of God as our personal Creator, then wind up saying it all boils down to faith. I think it's easier — and more interesting in many ways — to say that humans created God.