I'm a curious guy. I enjoy learning how people view the Big Questions of Life, including one of the biggest, Does God exist?
I used to answer "Yes." Now I'm an atheist who says, "Almost certainly, no."
But I'm well aware that many of those who visit this blog and leave comments on the posts here are believers in God.
So I'm inviting you to leave a comment on this post that explains why you believe that God exists. Or, if you have some doubts about this, why you're almost certain that God exists.
I'm defining "God" as a conscious supernatural being with miraculous powers. If you're a believer with a markedly different definition, include that definition in your comment.
There's no prize for the most persuasive explanation of why someone believes in God.
However, I'll single the best explanations out for praise in another blog post. Pretty darn good prize! (Unless you were expecting $100.)
What would the Brian of twenty or thirty years ago have answered? Why did you think there's a God?
I used to think there's a God too. Not with teflon conviction, but provisionally. I used to believe it because that's what most people around me used to believe, so it was kind of learned wisdom that one ...well, simply takes in.
But even when very young, I remember my belief was provisional. For me this was a very important question, and I remember I had every intention, even when very young, of resolving it to my full satisfaction if I possibly could. Which I'd try to do, when much younger, by reading up stuff as best I could, and trying to engage such of those elders who were willing to indulge a child's curiosity about things spiritual.
It's not a done thing, this process, but where I'm at right now, it seems less and less likely that that might be the case. You'd suggested some days ago (that is, you may have quoted someone, Julia Galef perhaps, or those may have been your own words, I don't remember) that maintaining a 20% uncertainty on most things helps us keep perspective, helps us keep the provisional nature of our knowledge in mind. Well, I'd say my belief that God exists was kind of 60% when young, and I guess my belief that God probably does not exist is now around 25% to 30%.
So, how would the young Brian have answered your question?
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | June 10, 2021 at 10:46 PM
>> But I'm well aware that many of those who visit this blog and leave comments on the posts here are believers in God.<<
If you think , I do, you know more than I do about myself.
I can write Words, like god, love, faith, believe etc and hear and read how others use these words but otherwise there conceptual meaning is the like of reading a book like the "lord of the ring"
Language, concepts are very strange things to say the least, so much so, that there are whole branches at the university that study language with well known scholars the like of Chomsky.
Without analysing an person in depth, words like god, are to consider empty as they do not refer to anything beyond the needs, understanding, feelings and socio cultural background of a person.
Realising that some teachers have divided their followers in groups according their motivations and found that the majority had more or less deep rooted selfish motivations and only a tiny minority were really interested in the transcendental.
In the end the population of human beings can be devided in those who had inner experiences about what THEY call the divine and what the have to say about it, using the language and the concepts of THIS world, words that reflect THIS world and a particular society and culture in time .... and those who talk about what they have heard them saying.
The last group can only speak about these inner experiences as if they took reading "the lords of the ring" as being an reality, forgetting that what they had in mind was nothing more than a personal fantasy.
Beyond the world we share together, words tend to become meaningless.
To give an example of this world ... men, even if they have assisted their wives to give birth to their children, will never know what it is to "give birth" whatever they say or write however lofty and empathic, will be empty talk.
Posted by: um | June 11, 2021 at 04:14 AM
This is not a position to look for ... being surrounded by people claiming to know, have faith, experienced this or that.
Realizing, not having the possibilities to expose them as, let us say as liars etc or being able to use what they say....Everyday life is all their is left.
The path that Appreciative Reader has chosen for himself is for that reason not attractive.
Posted by: um | June 11, 2021 at 04:37 AM
Ouch, what? I'm not out to "expose" anyone! I'm simply trying to find out if there is any truth to this business, and if there is, to see how one might access it. I've done that in quiet study, by reading in privacy; I've done that by speaking IRL with people, from across diverse traditions, who claim to have accessed some kind of higher reality; and I do that in meditation; and I've done that in Ashrams and monasteries and retreats as well. And I look for my key under the street light as well, as here.
My intention is not to "expose" Osho Robbins, at all, for instance. If I were convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, convinced fully 100% in my own mind, that he is deluded and/or a fraud and/or that he is out trolling or something, then I'd politely and simply take my leave, and leave him to his own devices. I wouldn't waste my time and attention simply to "expose" someone.
I'm engaging with his ideas in earnest, um, I'm not somehow playing him. What you see in that thread is me engaging with him entirely in earnest.
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | June 11, 2021 at 06:27 AM
In THIS thread I didn't write or suggest that you are out to expose Robbins.
And in fact not even in the what I wrote in the "open thread 38"
Searching outside can take many forms and be done with many intentions.
Those who like one can offer him/her flowers,
but not all that offer flowers will do it with those intentions.
All the efforts you described do not tell anything about you, they are just the roads you took, the places where you were seeking for answers.
It is all a matter of the heart in the end ... and its products are GIFTS from you.
Posted by: Um | June 11, 2021 at 06:55 AM
In my whole life I never did anything for myself, others or the community in general that was useful.
OIn comparison with your and others credentials The owner should ban people like me and you deserve better companions.
So feel good about yourself and what you have accomplished; sooner or later you will also reach the goals that Spencer, Osho, Manjit and Brian have reach if you not already have done so.
Posted by: Um | June 11, 2021 at 07:03 AM
Hey, um. I'm not sure I understand. Why on earth should Brian ban you?
I thought you'd said, in your last comment, that you thought that I've set myself to exposing charlatans and liars who're out to bilk the gullible, which "path" you found not quite attractive. And I simply wanted to correct that misapprehension of yours, as I thought it was. Apologies if that was not what you were saying in your comment there, and if I'd somehow misunderstood you.
Please don't deride your own credentials, or in any way elevate mine. We seem both to have gotten into some ...misunderstanding, over what the other meant to say. I have no disagreement with you, at all.
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | June 11, 2021 at 07:19 AM
>> I thought you'd said, in your last comment, that you thought that I've set myself to exposing charlatans and liars who're out to bilk the gullible, which "path" you found not quite attractive.<<
Entering an intellectual tug of war can be done with many different motivations that will never surface or if seen be rectified as correct.
Even if your discourse with Osho is on the level of the famous Buddhist university of Nalanda.and motivated by the honest desire to find the truth, it is still a rational discourse.
And for the rest they are simple an conclusive fact ... You and the people I named have done many a thing to arrive at that height of rational thinking and understanding, things I didn't do. Moreover it tells also indirectly of what all of you accomplished in society.
I should have heed the words of my father .... I did not learn a thing why should you?... Hahahahaa ... dad was not impressed by anybody, and nothing what they did, he never gave it a though, never spoke about them and was satisfied with what came out of his own hands ...an common attitude with peoble born and raised on a farm.
Posted by: um | June 11, 2021 at 07:44 AM
"You and the people I named have done many a thing to arrive at that height of rational thinking and understanding, things I didn't do. Moreover it tells also indirectly of what all of you accomplished in society."
um, my friend:
(a) Not. Emphatically not.
(b) Does it matter?
Span of 90, 95, maybe 100. Even with the higher expectancy of modern times, probably that's it. What *does* any of that matter?
Come, let's talk of other things, now. Let's talk of belief in God. And why people indulge in such. Before Brian banishes us both to the Open Thread for these off-topic pleasantries!
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | June 11, 2021 at 10:40 AM
Yes, yes ...
Things are what they are
Seldom what they look like
Let alone how they are presented.
Yes., let it be as it is.
Posted by: Um | June 11, 2021 at 10:53 AM
I DEFINITELY used to believe (but with conviction and I thought I knew it because I could not distinguish between belief and knowledge) in a specific GOD.
My God was Sat Purush in all his glory. I knew exactly where he lived - Sach Khand. I knew he had three buddies - Alakh, Anami and Agam.
My ambition was to get to that place and meet him and shake hands and sit down with him and have some nice zen tea.
It was a traumatic day when I was first told (but I never believed it at first) that there was no such person. It was like when you tell a child or the day the child discovers that there is no santa and it was the parents that put those presents there.
But we all have to grow up. No tooth fairy, no santa and no God.
Well - not all us HAVE to grow up - there are no rules to life. You can stay a child - become a peter pan. Which is other areas of my life I am. I love remaining a child - no need to grow up and become a serious adult - there are no prizes. When I play with children - I become one of them and it's the best fun.
As for God - well the old one died and a new one was born. Nobody lives forever - not even in the image of God.
The new one was a strange God. He didnt live in Sach Khand - he left his home like Buddha did.
He became invisible, no form. He exited TIME and SPACE and disappeared into nothingness. Now the only way to meet him was to disappear into the same nothingness. And the two nothingness'es can become one nothingness.
The new God is not romantic at all unless you find 'nothingness' romantic.
He or She is not love - because love is an attribute and God has none.
The only consolation that God has is that he is the only real thing and he is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Something impossible for anyone else to claim. Not that God claims it because the claimer has gone and also there is nobody to boast about it to. A hollow victory - but then again - he seeks no victory - he seeks nothing - and he has that already since he is it.
Of course someone may denounce my new found God and say nasty things like "He doesn't exist" - but what can I say? the statement is true! No believers or doubters can make any difference to him. Non-existence is as true a claim as the claim that he exists - both are simultaneously true and false,
Indeed - my new God is a weird God - but we got along just fine - because I guess I am just as weird as my God!
I mean - what kind of an idiot claims to have an invisible God?
As Alice might say, "Weirder and weirder......"
Posted by: Osho Robbins | June 11, 2021 at 11:16 AM
Yes I believe in God..
But I'm learning about God, like a child learning about their mom and dad. The child lives with their mom and dad every day, they see their mom and dad takes care of them, personally, shower love on them, chide them occasionally, and encourage them to proceed ahead using their child's best judgment. And God takes care of my family, sometimes through unusual and unexpected events, and sometimes through lessons that remind their child to turn to them and live in their home. Because while an individual can be thrown off track, it's harder for a family. A rope of many threads is much stronger than a little string. So I cling to the rope I was handed, when life brings me fear. And that clinging to my Master, that worship always ends in peace, inspiration, and the power to go on.
You would need to be an adult to articulate who God is or isn't.
I'm a child in a man's body. But that is my condition, and I'm thankful for it.
Posted by: Spence Tepper | June 11, 2021 at 06:15 PM
A. R. : "Perceptions are neither fallible nor infallible, neither right nor wrong, they are simply what they are. But when we go beyond perception itself, to knowledge derived from perception (and/or from mental constructs or reasoning, and/or from cultural constructs or beliefs), then that resultant knowledge is always fallible, and never inerrant."
Unfortunately, I believe too often perception tends to impart the notion of a static
sensory experience which requires a cognitive post analysis to comprehend. We
devalue or forget the assessment of a heightened awareness driven by and from
within consciousness itself. Tapping into all of the data of the subconscious and,
using its innate power, consciousness perceives and "knows" in an instant...
leaving plodding intellect behind.
Awareness will often manifest as a hunch or a flash of intuition. Dagleish senses
that poor chum suspected of murder isn't guilty. His faithful intellect then jumps in
and launches an investigation to "prove it". Behind the curtain, awareness sighs
"Elementary, my dear old friend... elementary."
So, heightened awareness ("direct perception" or DMP) within knows. But who
can explain it? It certainly won't happen back at the crime scene with intellect's
Keystone Cops squad running helter-skelter outside pursuing the usual suspects.
The K. Cops play an essential role though. It's part of the play's script. Without a
script, the audience jeers and demands its money back. Wearying, however, in
an attempt to really understand what's really going on, the spiritual detective will
eventually turn to the prime suspect: the power of consciousness within.
Posted by: Dungeness | June 11, 2021 at 07:24 PM
Oops, my previous masterful comment in this thread should have been posted
in "Open Thread 38". My apology. An object lesson in increasing one's blog
Posted by: Dungeness | June 11, 2021 at 10:50 PM
We are part of something much larger, call it god, spirit or what ever. We are here to experience and learn from our past experience, and to help the poor sheep. Allot of so called sheep have been stuck in cults like RSSB, for eons that need to be jolted out. Gurinder Singh Dhillan being the latest, leader (the deceiver, Lucifer, the magician ) who cleverly mimics indirectly that he is god, to lure in a desperate people in this hell earth realm, directing them to a fake safety net, which itself is a trick to lock you in the spiders web. He is the complete and utter contradiction to his own teachings and the sangat are following the yellow brick road to hell to serve a demon/ alien god. Ever wondered what Radha means ??? It means Krishna, and who is blue Krishna??? an incarnation of vishnu. So who does GSD and RSSB worship ? so called alien gods. Obama has began to disclose the existence of UFOs and aliens.
Posted by: Uchit | June 13, 2021 at 03:18 PM
"Did Sri Krishna come from an alien civilisation?"
Yes! Jesus, Buddha and Confucius too!
Posted by: 👽👾👽👾👽 | June 14, 2021 at 06:14 AM
"We are part of something much larger, call it god, spirit or what ever. We are here to experience and learn from our past experience, and to help the poor sheep. Allot of so called sheep have been stuck in cults like RSSB, for eons that need to be jolted out. Gurinder Singh Dhillan being the latest, leader (the deceiver, Lucifer, the magician ) who cleverly mimics indirectly that he is god, to lure in a desperate people in this hell earth realm, directing them to a fake safety net, which itself is a trick to lock you in the spiders web. He is the complete and utter contradiction to his own teachings and the sangat are following the yellow brick road to hell to serve a demon/ alien god. Ever wondered what Radha means ??? It means Krishna, and who is blue Krishna??? an incarnation of vishnu. So who does GSD and RSSB worship ? so called alien gods. Obama has began to disclose the existence of UFOs and aliens."
Posted by: Uchit | June 13, 2021 at 03:18 PM
Absolutely, Uchit, but a Churchless platform, a platform given to rationality, might be the right place to point out that it is exactly as sheep-like, exactly as ridiculous, to keep believing that "We are part of something much larger, call it god, spirit or what ever", or to believe in "the deceiver, Lucifer, the magician", as well as the existence of Krishna and Vishnu.
In any case, this was about the reasons why people believe their particular god-ideas (and also, I guess, devil-ideas).
Would you like to talk about why you believe that "We are part of something much larger, call it god, spirit or what ever", and why you believe there exists "the deceiver, Lucifer, the magician", as well as why you think Krishna and Vishnu actually exist? That might make for interesting reading.
(To clarify --- because we haven't interacted before, and you may not therefore get where I'm coming from --- I'm not for a minute trying to defend GSD and RSSB. I agree fully with you that GSD does appear to be not quite trustworthy, to put it mildly, basis everything Brian has discussed on this blog.)
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | June 14, 2021 at 07:55 AM