Flinders Ranges under cloud Nov 2014. North of Merna Mora on the way to Brachina, looking east.

God (1)

Greg:  The problem is I can't make any live connection between my life and the Faith anymore.  I can believe... well I do believe.. that there is some driving principle or force and that the cosmos we live in is not just some profoundly unaccountable accident.  I also believe that this principle, force... whatever... is somehow good.  I mean that I experience the world as a place where what we call "good" is, in fact, good, and that good is what is meant to be despite the non-good we see so much of.

Where I've sort of lost is in getting past this point.  There's a priest in an Andrew Greeley book who says "Good Catholics don't believe in very much, but what they do believe they believe strongly."  I guess that's me... but the Christian faith personalises God.  It calls God "he", "she", "Father".... a whole string of names that instantly imply something beyond a 'force.'  I can't connect with that aspect of things anymore.  It annoys the hell out of me, because my sense that the "Force" is good, is already moving from an impersonal principle toward the 'personalisation' of God.

Jan: You don't like the idea of a personal God, and yet you want one?

Greg: It's not that I don't like the idea. I mean, if there is just an impersonal force, what are we?  What is anything?  It's that I can't imagine how a personal God works.  I'm an Aussie male in 2000, not someone in 60 AD who kind of gets it all,  and I can't imagine anything that works.

Everything is imagination. Atheist, agnostic, or believer of whatever shade, ultimate reality is beyond us to comprehend in any way except by a model or imagination of that reality.  I'm not even sure what those terms mean anymore.  I go to church still, I find the New Testament fascinating, but by some people's definition I'm an atheist!

Jan:  Tell me more about the imagining.

Greg:  There is no God.  However you or I or the Archbishop understand God, God is not that.  We have an imagining, if we're lucky, which has enough connection with ultimate reality and enough correlation with our everyday life that it feels real.  It almost fools us into thinking it might be true.  It may even enhance our perception of ultimate reality.  But I can't find something that I can imagine anymore, that makes sense.  All the stuff they talk about in my church is so imaginary it's illusory.

Jan:   ...er- lost you!

Greg:  "God loves us all and will provide for us all."  Well, what about the Christians currently being slaughtered in Ambon by the Muslim Jihad.  God's not providing much for them... the Muslims must just be shouting to God a whole lot louder these days!  Or things like "God sent his Son to die for me."  That's crap.  What sort of Father does that-- don't tell me that atonement theory has got beyond that-- it's what we sing and say and pray every Sunday.  When it comes down to what we do and say we haven't got far past Abraham and Isaac 3000 years ago when Abraham's going to burn the boy-- you still hear us make excuses for him.

Jan: I can't reproduce your tone on the page, but you're incredibly angry about this!

Greg:  Well of course I bloody am!  I've given 25 years of my life to this!  It's cost me.  And it's let me down...... I guess I'm sad too... well, depressed, to be honest.  I've kind of lost a lot of the sense of who I am.  Like, I haven't said "OK it's all crap.  I don't believe, so it's wine women, and son for me!"  Instead, I'm more passionate about the core values of the faith.  Compassion, and love, and justice are just so important.  But some how it's cut me out of the church.  I don't belong...  The awesomeness of existence and the complexity of nature... all of life is more amazing.  My sense of wonder at things is maybe grater than  it ever was. And yet I feel more inarticulate than ever... not just in relating to other people... in myself.  It's like I can't talk to myself.  Once I could imagine, I could feel.  At least I knew who I was.  But now I can't imagine.  And it's sucked the life out of any energy for justice or compassion. I don't know if I've lost God, or just my heart.

Jan: Yet you stay a part of the faith despite all this alienation and discomfort.  Why is that?

Greg:  Maybe I'm on the way out, and in two years I'll be living in another paradigm and wont be able to imagine why I was ever here.  but right now I'm still here,- it's all the reality I've got; even if it is falling apart.       I don't think that's it though.  The thing is that the totality of the Faith still attracts me.


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