Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Incomprehensible and/or Imperceptible God

In a previous post I wrote about the hypocrisy and hubris evidenced by people who claim to be the only ones who “really” understand what the Bible actually says (see The Hypocrisy and Hubris of Biblical Interpretation). The basic point was that it was incredibly arrogant for anybody to think that (a) God actually wants people to know what He wants people to do and (b) throughout all of human history nobody has been able to figure it out until now (meaning, of course, that billions of people in the past got it all wrong and were presumably doomed to go to Hell as a result).
On a related note, I have recently run into a similar group of incredibly arrogant theists. No, they don’t claim to understand the Bible better than anybody else. Instead, they claim to understand the essential nature of God better than anybody else. God, you see, is wholly incomprehensible to the human mind and therefore every single religion throughout history that has ever described God in any particular way just got it wrong.
For example:
As “God”, by the very nature of it’s defined and understood being, exists outside of the physical Universe, there will be no exclusively applicable, scientifically validated or accepted physical or empirical “evidence” of the existence of God.
Or this:
God is an inner experience that no words can explain. The one Creator God created all other gods (small “g”) including the ones you named. None are equal to the Creator God who created them.
The truth of God can be known only by reaching beyond the relativity of the material realm consciousness. It is an inner experience perceived when the human’s consciousness is raised to its higher mind.
Those who meditate know of the higher mind. There are no outer writings or teachings that can explain God for the conscious mind of the human and no religion is necessary for the inner experience of God. When the human is ready the teacher will appear. That teacher is the inner experience of God.
Now, as I mentioned, this appears to be just another example of people who are so full of themselves, who think they are so special, that they honestly believe that they are among the select few in the history of religion to truly understand who and what God “really” is. I’m sure it makes them feel good about themselves, but what type of person can believe in a God who actually cares about us and then thinks that billions of humans throughout history just got it wrong.

However, I think there may be more to it than just sheer arrogance. I suspect that at least part of this has to do with an acknowledgement that there really is no valid evidence to support a belief in the existence of God. And rather than just admit this, these people have decided to redefine God in a way that does not require any evidence. As with the deist notion of a non-interventionist God, however, what’s left is an empty meaningless concept of a god who doesn’t perform miracles, doesn’t promise an afterlife or salvation, doesn’t provide moral guidance, etc. It’s just yet another cop-out to justify why they can’t provide any evidence for God’s existence.

Of course, one question that never seems to get fully addressed is how, if God is so incomprehensible, do people like this seem to know so much about Him what He wants us to do, what He can do for us, etc. Now that’s the real mystery! For example, somebody recently posed the following question to me:
If the maker of a show is not inside the shoe, why do scientists expect God to be perceivable inside the universe?
The clear implication being, of course, that the reason scientists have never been able to detect God is because He is not actually perceptible within this universe. Oh, really? The thing is, if you’re actually talking about one of the many, many gods actually worshiped by anybody throughout all of recorded human history, its not scientists who expect “God” to be perceivable but believers themselves. After all, the gods that people actually worship have not exactly been shy about showing themselves (or allowing themselves to be perceived, if you prefer) in the past, at least if you believe all the various accounts in the various holy books that provide the only source of knowledge that believers actually have regarding their gods.

It’s rather disingenuous to claim that the particular “God” you worship created the universe, performed a multitude of miracles, talked to various people, sent down representatives to interact with humans, made specific promises, provided moral guidelines for us to follow, etc., etc., etc., and then go on to claim that this “God” cannot be perceived in any way. After all, if your “God” cannot be perceived in any way, how do you even know about it in the first place?

Sure, if you define your “God” as wholly imperceptible, then science has nothing to say on the matter. But then again, neither do you. That’s what imperceptible means. On the other hand, the minute you claim to be able know anything whatsoever about your “God” (what it has said, done, promised, etc.), then you are making testable claims that should be verifiable by scientists.

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