Okay, God 4

At the end of my last interview with you, I said that this time I would ask you about clues.  So what about the clues you have given us humans as to how we experience and understand the Divine? As you know I have been a loyal church goer my entire life. I am what they call a cradle Episcopalian and will end up surely a cradle-to-grave Episcopalian. My mother pointed out to me at a young age that being an Episcopalian was not the same as being an ordinary Christian like a lowly Baptist or Methodist or even a Presbyterian. But even so I think we Christians all pretty much believe the same thing about your clues, and that is that the biggest clue you have given us is Jesus. So this one is a no-brainer.

Silence

Why do you say “Be careful, it may not be a no-brainer.”

Silence

Well, I certainly can’t disagree that there is a whole lot of difference in understanding what Jesus really means or what he did or who he was. In fact I have done a lot of studying myself on this very subject. I remember when I was in college reading Albert Schweitzer’s book, Quest for the Historical Jesus and concluded that there is no way that anyone can actually prove any of the details about the life of Jesus or that the resurrection actually happened. I even got a masters degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York, which resulted in more questions than answers. So I realize it boils down to a matter of faith and belief, and people believe a whole lot of different things. So where does that leave us?

Silence

So what do I think the meaning of Jesus is? Gosh, this is a really hard question, but I do not think that you need definitive, historical proof about Jesus to draw some conclusions about what the Jesus story means. I believe it all has to do with understanding that the Divine as we experience it on Earth has to do with love, not romantic love, but with selfless love for our fellow humans and, really, love for life itself. So Jesus is a clue you have given us that the true meaning of the life we humans experience on Earth is love for our fellow humans and, I believe, acting on this. Doing something about it. The Jesus story involves healing, making people whole, caring for the poor and the sick and making the world a better place. I would go even farther and say it has to do with social justice and changing the structures in society that enslave people. It means that in a mystical way that through selfless love we can experience the Divine, in other words, we can experience you. It also offers hope that maybe there is something beyond death.

Silence

You are right, God, this is just one person’s interpretation, and I will be the last person to even suggest that I have got it all right. I know there is much more to it than this. I am just saying what I understand to be true.

Silence

What do I think about the resurrection? Well, this is another tough one. What happened after Jesus died that we know is true is this: That his disciples experienced what they called the “resurrected Jesus.” They truly believed that Jesus, who had been crucified and declared dead, was still alive and then “ascended into heaven” to be with you. Their belief became contagious, influencing a whole lot of other people to become believers who had not themselves experienced the resurrected Jesus or the “Risen Christ” as he soon became to be known. They believed that you, God, in a mysterious way had become part of human history giving us a clue as to what the meaning of life is and how we should lead our lives.  Maybe even more important, it provided a clue as to what you are like   and through prayer how we humans can relate to you. That led to a growing movement throughout the Roman Empire resulting in a new religion, Christianity, becoming the generally accepted religion in the Roman Empire by the fourth century. The rest is history. There are today over two billion people on Earth who are classified as Christians, almost a third of all people living on the planet, and more than any other religion. Pretty impressive if you ask me, but still, in my opinion, not the only pathway to truth.

Silence

Yes, you are exactly right that I should not forget about the Apostle Paul. He was the guy who figured out before anyone else did that the most important meaning of the Jesus story is that you, God, actually love us humans. Now given the sorry state we humans are in and have been in  forever as far as I can tell, this was back then a pretty big deal. In fact it still is. Paul put it in terms of a sacrifice that you, God, made in order to make us humans whole from a spiritual perspective. It is kind of like, “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” on steroids. And that is why they called this message, “The Good News.”

Silence

Agreed, God. There is a whole lot more to the story than that, and I would like to return to this again later. But assuming for the moment that the Jesus story is one clue you have given us—even though there are lots of dimensions to the story and different ways of interpreting it—what I also want to know is are there other clues you can point to.

Silence

More than I will ever know? Like what?

Silence

Well, I certainly would agree that Moses and the prophets in the Old Testament would fall into this category along with a long list of other “holy people” who have lived “holy lives” and have had a profound, positive, spiritual influence on peoples lives—Mohammed, Lao Tzu, Buddha, Zarathustra, just to name a few. I would probably throw in the names of some philosophers to boot and even artists and writers, but maybe that might be stretching it a bit.

Silence

Well, I have also got to agree that it is not just the “rich and famous” holy people we are talking about here. Just a figure of speech, God, I know these holy people were not rich. It is ordinary people whose lives are filled with mercy, kindness and understanding. And what really resonates with me is what you just said about “clues everywhere, all the time for people who have eyes to see and ears to hear.” Now I have to admit my hearing is not so good—and I do not  mean this in just a metaphorical sense—and my eyes do not see these clues very often. But occasionally they do. And my faith tells me that you are right. The Divine is real, if mysterious, and there is more to life than what can be “proved” from science and observation. This mystery is important in our effort to make some sense out of our lives and the universe and to try to understand the meaning of life.

Silence

Yes, I am aware that there are a lot of very good people who do not agree with me on this and many who are leading moral, ethical lives without having any belief in the Divine. I hope that that does not hurt your feelings too much. I might also add that I have had my doubts more often than I would like to admit. My guess is that this comes as no surprise. I have trouble reconciling the suffering in the world—surely some deserved, but a lot that is not. I have trouble reconciling this with the kind and merciful God that I know you to be. You add to that the pretty poor track record of the Christian Church, and probably all religious institutions, and I can understand where the skeptics are coming from. But in my advanced age I have come to accept the fact that our knowledge as humans is limited. Questions remain. But I promise not to push you too hard on this in future interviews.

The main problem for me gets down to the alternative, which is to believe that there is no meaning or purpose to the universe or to our lives here on Earth. That life is just a matter of chance. Quantum physics rules the day. Life is only what we make of it, and there are winners and losers. It is a roll of the dice. I just can’t go there because I realize, as you have reminded me in our interviews, how little we actually know and I also know how much you have meant to so many people during our times of suffering and grief.  You are there for us when we need you. 

Silence

Glad to hear that you understand the human dilemma, and really glad to hear you love us humans, warts and all, regardless of race, creed or no creed, color, or national origin, and that this is really the message you want me to get out to the vast readership of Faux News.  

Well, I will do that, and will do even more. I will ask the skeptics if they think they know everything to explain the Big Bang and to answer the big question “Why.”

  And I will ask them an even more important question: If God is not a Tar Heel, then how come the sky is Carolina blue. 

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