There Might as Well Not Be a God.

I was brought up believing in an all-powerful god. He was bigger than anything that you could imagine. He could do anything. He was anywhere, any time. He listened to what people asked. He was like us, in that we were made in his image. Thinking about God always blew my mind, because I would try to imagine what it was like at the beginning of the universe. There was nothing there, just God. There was no time, no space, nothing. Just god. In the beginning, the beginning of all time, God was there, even though nothing was there.

I used to lie awake at night thinking about that. Nothing was there, and God was there … but God is everything, so everything was there in the form of nothing. But what was before that? God was before that. Did god have a god that made him? No, he just was. Nobody knows how he got there. Does God know how He got there? Maybe … yes he must, because he knows everything. Well why didn’t he tell us how he got here then? No idea.

I was taught what I suppose can best be described as sort of axioms: God is all-knowing, God is all-powerful, God is everywhere at every time, God made everything, God is love, God is good. And there is another one: God works in mysterious ways. Using these axioms one can describe the universe with perfect accuracy, better than any scientist could, and answer any question with infallible logic. For instance:

Where did we come from? Axiom: God made everything, therefore god made us, because the set of everything includes us.

Why were we made? Axiom: God works in mysterious ways; axiom: God is all-knowing. We don’t really know why God made us, but he knows, and that’s all that matters. The one thing we know is that God is good (another axiom) and that he did it because he loves us – axiom: God is love.

This satisfied me to a certain degree, in as much that I was unable to argue with any of the statements without questioning the authenticity of God. But there was always something that didn’t quite feel right. I never felt like I could solve any real world problems with these axioms.

If god is all-powerful and protects those he loves, then why do we have to wear a seat-belt in a car? I never had a very good answer for that one that didn’t involve logical hand-waving.

Other questions were tumbling about in my head, and they scared me. I didn’t really know why though. Maybe it is because deep down I was discovering that the beliefs I built my world around were like chaff, that can blow away in the wind. So I decided to find God for myself. I shut myself off from the world and spent months trying to pick apart my beliefs and find what was holding them together. I decided that God would reveal the truth to me no matter what happened and so I opened up my mind as a receptacle for any thought that may come my way, no matter what the axioms said.

Then things started to get strange. I saw turmoil and confusion. If God is love, then why would he choose to torture those who did not believe in him by sending them to hell for eternity? If I had a friend who decided that he didn’t believe that I existed, would I lock him in a torture chamber for the rest of his or her life? No, that would be something an evil person would do. Then I wrote down a sentence that probably changed my life, because it was the first time in my life I had elevated myself to the level of God and challenged him. I wrote, ‘If somebody goes to hell because they could not find evidence for God and therefore could not believe, then they, being punished eternally for a misunderstanding, are more righteous than God.’

Is God so weak that he cannot stand up against questioning? If I cannot question my god, then my god is too weak.

After that the floodgates were open, and there was no holding back the thoughts. Some part of me still believed deep down, but another part of me was putting God on trial. If you can’t test god, then how can we follow him? Maybe we are not made in the image of god. Maybe god is made in the image of us. That would explain why god keeps changing his mind about what is good or bad. For instance, it was okay to kill unbelievers, but now that’s somehow not right anymore, and we should love our enemies.

Also, I came to the conclusion that belief is not a decision, it happens on its own, usually from experience. For instance, you can be told all you want about fire and how it burns and how you should not touch it, but somehow it doesn’t really sink in until you can test it. You can stand next to a fire and feel its radiant heat, and touch it and feel it burn. But you can’t touch God, and feel him. You can’t look at him. You can’t feel his power. I used to think I could, but really the things I could feel where only there when I expected them to be there, and existed in my imagination. God always said exactly what I expected him to say, almost as if he was a fabrication of my mind. I guess it boils down to this: if one can’t tell the difference between a god one made up in one’s own mind, and and the One True God that one claims to follow, that god might as well not exist.

But even after all of this transformation happened, I still believe in the thing they call God. There is something deep within us that we can never understand. Something in our mind that we will never control. It makes dreams seem real and sometimes speaks to us with wisdom that we cannot fathom. It is neither good nor evil. Some choose to call this thing a god, but I call it myself. The thing that is within me is a real thing to me; the thing that is within me is the me that I do not understand. God is within me, and I put him in my image, and I am him.

Perhaps Jesus was thinking on similar lines when he said, ‘Before Abraham was, I am.’ Perhaps the message of the Messiah is that what we believe does not matter.

9 thoughts on “There Might as Well Not Be a God.

  1. As my name implies, excuse me…
    I am wondering why you never got past the axioms told to little children. Any god that could be reduced to a few bumper stickers could not be a god, and esp. not “God.” Most adults realize that. I do not doubt that your god is yourself. You explained it well. I have been saying that for a long time to people who claim there is no god. (We all have a god.) If these little gods are the only gods there are, then why hold back? Why exist under the ideas and morality of any other god…esp. the one most Judeo/Christian people and cultures do? Why are you borrowing anything from that “God” that you think does not exist? You need to step up and really be a god.

    So, from one little god to another, it is funny that you want to test or touch “God” on some physical level. Like that would somehow prove that He is “God”? Would a coffee table know that I was its creator and judge if it got to touch me? I could touch that table in every way imaginable and it would never know me as its “God.” It would not even know it had been touched. Why would it be any different between us and “God”? If there is a “God,” He as a person or even a force is not physical and no amount of physical contact that He allows us gives any impression to us that He is “God.” I guess you should have figured that out by now. You think. (Maybe not as deeply as you think you think.) Where did that come from? Now, thinking is something that a real “God” does and the smaller imposters do too. There is a little promise in that regard as far as knowing when you have been “touched” by “God.”

    So, I am glad that you have finally given up on your childish ideas of “God.” Of course, you have now entered only the adolescent ideas about “God.” It will likely take you some time grow up from these. You will likely start doing things that you have been taught were sin and find some of them to be quite fun and exhilarating. I am guessing that this desire to do them or the fact that you have already experienced some of them is part of your disavowal of “God.” I am also guessing that you have been hurt by some people that have claimed to know “God” and that has played into your new direction. Whatever it is that has pushed you to the center of the garden to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will find it to have deceived you. You will likely find that you have deceived yourself…that is what small gods do. For now, you are like “God,” but you will not be able to control much of what goes on around you. You will get cold and ashamed and realize that you are naked. When you realize that the insufficient clothing you have made for yourself is worthless, then the real “God” will come looking for you and you will know for sure there is one.

    Then, you will have an adult idea of “God.” And you will have a choice to make. Do you want to continue to be god or do you want to have the real “God” as your Father and Master. Let’s keep this short. It will not be the childish or adolescent god that damns anyone to hell. He does not exist. It will be the adult “God” that offers you a chance to spend forever with Him in what really satisfies and it will be you that might chose destruction instead. The real adult “God” does not damn those who never knew. He will crush all that rebel against His kingdom in the end though.

    So, I would suggest that you stop throwing temper tantrums and really do what it takes to find out if there is a “God.” Get over how much you have been hurt and get on with the hand you have been delt. If you are unwilling to do so, it only proves that you do not really want there to be one because you want things that you know are contrary to what the real “God” allows. The real “God” will never be a god of convenience like the god that lives inside of you right now. He is an adult “God” and He expects self-sacrifice and service to others for their sake and not for ego or good feelings. You will have to put on your big boy pants and step up if you really want to know the real “God.” You will have to become more honest intellectually and honest with yourself to do that search.

    I leave you with this: Read “Mere Christianity” by CS Lewis…or listen to the youtube videos of it. It is short and relatively complete. Get back to us on what your thoughts are about the real “God.” then.

    Shalom

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shalom!

      Thank you for your insight. I can see how you came to those conclusions about me from what I have written. I feel that you have not quite understood what it is I was actually trying to say. I think you and I agree on a lot more things than we both realise, but we have different ways of expressing it.

      I do not think of myself as a god. I understand that I did say that, but what I meant was that there exists something deep within us that cannot be explained and that thing is a part of us, and that some of us call that God. Whether this unexplained thing is the One True God or not, I think is irrelevant to my day to day life, because I can’t tell the difference between the God of my imagination and the Elohim of the Universe. I am not a wise person. I don’t know what I am or why I am here. I have always been thoughtful, but I think the reason I have always spent a lot of time thinking is because I’m a very slow thinker, so I have to spend a lot more time doing it than most other people do. Most people seem to be able to come to fast logical conclusions, but I get lost in a wilderness of thought that often leads nowhere. The purpose of this blog is to bring to light the inner thoughts of my mind, hence the name ‘Brining my Mind to the Surface.’ I do not claim this to be fact, just what I am thinking at the time.

      Your analogy of a coffee table is a good one. I completely agree with that analogy. But I would take it a step further: if the coffee table I created does not believe in a creator, does it cease to be a ‘good’ coffee table? It matters not what the coffee table believes, but what it does. (I wrote a blog post called ‘The Unimportance of Belief Without Deeds’ in which I ponder this idea.)

      ‘You will likely start doing things that you have been taught were sin and find some of them to be quite fun and exhilarating.’ No I haven’t, in fact I would probably say I have gone in the opposite direction. I am more pious as an atheist than I ever was as a man of faith. Unless you say believing in evolution is a sin, or calling myself an atheist is a sin. Also I no longer keep Kosher, which some would say is a sin, but I am (as far as I know) a gentile, and the kosher laws are not mandated to gentiles. My family kept kosher because they didn’t want to ‘pick and choose’ what parts of the bible they wanted to follow.

      ‘You will likely find that you have deceived yourself …’ Quite right! And I have no doubt about that! I constantly deceive myself every day, without even knowing it. I was deceiving myself when I used to claim belief in God, and I’m quite possibly deceiving myself in my claim of unbelief as well. There’s only one thing I know for certain and that is this: the more I learn the less I know. The bigger my knowledge of the universe, the more mysterious my ignorance becomes. Like the universe, my ignorance is accelerating in its expansion.

      And finally, I must say that although perhaps I sometimes come across as angry, I am not. I’m not sure why, but a lot of believers assume that I am angry at God or have been hurt by someone. That is nonsense. I loved God with all my heart. And I have not been hurt by anyone, fortunately. All the believers who supported me through my belief are now supporting me through my unbelief. I have been truly blessed with the accepting family I was raised in. My parents were a little bit taken aback when I told them I was an agnostic atheist, but after many long talks they have accepted me and my agnosticism, and loved me for my atheism, because it hasn’t really changed the way I act at all. If anything it has improved my life, because although an atheist has nothing to die for, we have everything to live for.

      Interesting you should bring C. S. Lewis up. I am a fan of his books, and also those of George MacDonald they both have a very thought-provoking way of writing. (If you have not read George MacDonald, I highly recommend you do; I believe he was good friends with C. S. Lewis and their writings have a lot of common themes between them.)

      Again, toda raba for reading my post, and for taking the time to write your thoughts. I apologise for the fact that your comment didn’t appear straight away, for some reason — I’m not sure why — it was put in a spam folder.

      B’ezrat HaShem we will one day both know the truth.

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  2. Oves, I’m very saddened to see this. I would say this, Don’t lean on your own understanding. It’ll be much easier to find the answers you seek and not so many falls, if you humble yourself before the Lord. Sometimes we are sorely blinded by our very own making, and in thinking we’re wise, we become fools. He loves you, Oves. That’s no figment of your imagination. No other God ever came to the earth He created to give His life because of His great love. He is wiser, smarter, and more righteous than you, as you will come to see. I’m reminded of a song that says, “Many a man has thought to be God, destroying the world on his way. But only One God ever thought to be man.” saving the world He had made.

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    1. Your opinion is one that I, too, held myself in the past. I respect your opinion and would never try to change what you believe, I am simply stating what I believe. The trouble is, I think that if there is no evidence that something exists, it might as well not exist. I would much prefer to spend my life searching for the truth in this world than putting faith in something that I have no evidence of. I can’t help that I don’t believe in God. I would be perfectly happy to believe in God if there was enough evidence; it would be the biggest discovery in the known history of humanity. I am not destroying the world by claiming that god is a figment of my imagination, I am simply saying that I have no way to prove that He is anything other than a figment of my imagination. A father is not a father unless he is there. And a god is not my God if he can’t be found. I searched for God for my whole life, and all I found was an idea, a belief.

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      1. So, do you not believe in God (that He sees you, and knows and loves you, and formed you for Himself, and gives you all that you need in order to live and flourish, and know Him and love Him?) or do you not believe that He exists? Because it takes more faith to believe He doesn’t exist and this beautiful world just happened by chance than to believe He exists and made it. See, the table analogy is good, but there is a one major difference. He didn’t make us inanimate, without choice, built for one main purpose and used for that purpose until it’s old and can’t be used for anything but firewood. He made us in His Image, with a deep desire for relationship, for love, and innumerable other things deeply molded into our human souls that are there to be filled by Him. Although we were made for Him, and that is where we will find our deepest pleasures and joys and satisfaction fulfilled, He also gave us a choice, unlike the table. Because He wants our hearts, like a bridegroom who wants the heart of his bride. He doesn’t only want her “stuff”. He wants a true friendship, and He’s offered His whole heart as well. We aren’t bodies with a soul, we are souls with a body. And our souls are made for eternity. Let me ask you a question, what do you picture when you think of paradise?
        Did you think of a place with beauty and peace, with kindness, and truth, where there is no war, or tears, or death? Why does every person, in every culture and language, have the same general idea of what paradise is? I think it’s because it is as He says in His Word, in Ecc. 3:11 ‘He has put eternity in their hearts.’ In our souls we all know where we came from. And we all know that still small voice inside calling us back to the garden and the Friend we left. Faith is answering the call, and accepting the invitation even though we can’t “see” it yet. Then… we begin to see. The world you see around you wasn’t made out of the things you can see. It was made from things you can’t. Do you see your words? No. But do you see the physical affects of them? Yes. God spoke the world into existence with words we can’t see and the world we can see was created. There will never be “enough” evidence if you don’t walk by faith.
        There’s so much more I’d like to say, but I hate “talking” over the internet and not face to face. So I’ll leave you with this,
        If what you’re living for, isn’t worth dying for, then you aren’t really living.
        If you ever are in CA and want to talk face to face, look us up! We work with a ministry out here. Here’s their website. http://www.growingintorah.com

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      2. Again, I completely understand your point of view, because it is the same point of view that I also had. I neither believe in god nor do I think he exists. It’s not that I believe he doesn’t exist, it’s that I don’t believe he does. You are putting my unbelief into the box of a belief, but it isn’t technically a belief, but a lack of a belief.

        People say ‘I’ll believe it when I see it,’ which is complete nonsense. You see things when you believe in them, and that’s why belief and science don’t really go hand in hand. Belief does not require evidence, but some ideas that lead to belief are derived from evidence. For instance, I believe that when someone throws a brick at my head, it will knock me out and I will wake up with a terrible headache; and that’s why I will try to dodge a brick or other missile that is thrown at me. Nobody can convince me that I can take a brick to the head without getting hurt, that is the strength of that belief. I can’t help that I believe that, the belief just sort of made itself when I was hit in the head by a brick as a kid. These type of beliefs can be tested.

        But there are beliefs that cannot be tested. The obvious one is the belief in god. I did believe in god, and I thought I could experience him as well, and you probably think the same thing yourself. But the problem is, I have an extremely vivid imagination. So vivid in fact that I sometimes cannot tell the difference between what I can experience and what I can imagine. I have no doubt that no matter what god I prayed to, I would be able to experience something. But without being able to test my experiences I am nothing but a false prophet. Even now that my belief in God has evaporated for these reasons, I can still close my eyes and see whatever I want to see–or rather, what I expect to see. My imagination is real to me, but not real in the sense of the real world.

        When I think of paradise, I think of the kingdom inside my head. In paradise there is struggle, turmoil, love, happiness, sadness, joy, fear, everything. For without sadness, happiness would be nothing, and without struggle, peace would not be special. Through my mind I can bring paradise to earth, for I know that fear will come and go as well as everything else. If we chase happiness, we will end up unsatisfied. It’s like the waves on the beach, they come and go, and if you try to control them you will waste a lot of time. To me, my mind is my paradise. And my mind is like a piece of string on a harp; if it is pulled too tight it will snap, and if it is too loose it cannot sing, the key is to walk the line between everything, that is the straight and narrow line I walk, for there, the walk is easy and the burden is light.

        I would say the opposite to you, I would say that if what you’re dying for isn’t worth living for, you aren’t really living. I live for my paradise while you die for yours. You can only die once but you live every moment. I would love to talk in person as well, because I think you would find that you and I agree on more things than we think, but that we have different ways of expressing it.

        Thank you for your thoughts! I’ll keep writing my thoughts down, and hopefully one day we will understand each other.

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  3. As my name implies, excuse me…

    I am wondering why you never got past the axioms told to little children. Any god that could be reduced to a few bumper stickers could not be a god, and esp. not “God.” Most adults realize that. I do not doubt that your god is yourself. You explained it well. I have been saying that for a long time to people who claim there is no god. (We all have a god.) If these little gods are the only gods there are, then why hold back? Why exist under the ideas and morality of any other god…esp. the one most Judeo/Christian people and cultures do? Why are you borrowing anything from that “God” that you think does not exist? You need to step up and really be a god.

    So, from one little god to another, it is funny that you want to test or touch “God” on some physical level. Like that would somehow prove that He is “God”? Would a coffee table know that I was its creator and judge if it got to touch me? I could touch that table in every way imaginable and it would never know me as its “God.” It would not even know it had been touched. Why would it be any different between us and “God”? If there is a “God,” He as a person or even a force is not physical and no amount of physical contact that He allows us gives any impression to us that He is “God.” I guess you should have figured that out by now. You think. (Maybe not as deeply as you think you think.) Where did that come from? Now, thinking is something that a real “God” does and the smaller imposters do too. There is a little promise in that regard as far as knowing when you have been “touched” by “God.”

    So, I am glad that you have finally given up on your childish ideas of “God.” Of course, you have now entered only the adolescent ideas about “God.” It will likely take you some time grow up from these. You will likely start doing things that you have been taught were sin and find some of them to be quite fun and exhilarating. I am guessing that this desire to do them or the fact that you have already experienced some of them are part of your disavowal of “God.” I am also guessing that you have been hurt by some people that have claimed to know “God” and that has played into your new direction. Whatever it is that has pushed you to the center of the garden to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will find it to have deceived you. You will likely find that you have deceived yourself…that is what small gods do. For now, you are like “God,” but you will not be able to control much of what goes on around you. You will get cold and ashamed and realize that you are naked. When you realize that the insufficient clothing you have made for yourself is worthless, then the real “God” will come looking for you and you will know for sure there is one.

    Then, you will have an adult idea of “God.” And you will have a choice to make. Do you want to continue to be god or do you want to have the real “God” as your Father and Master. Let’s keep this short. It will not be the childish or adolescent god that damns anyone to hell. He does not exist. It will be the adult “God” that offers you a chance to spend forever with Him in what really satisfies and it will be you that might chose destruction instead. The real adult “God” does not damn those who never knew. He will crush all that rebel against His kingdom in the end though.

    So, I would suggest that you stop throwing temper tantrums and really do what it takes to find out if there is a “God.” Get over how much you have been hurt and get on with the hand you have been delt. If you are unwilling to do so, it only proves that you do not really want there to be one because you want things that you know are contrary to what the real “God” allows. The real “God” will never be a god of convenience like the god that lives inside of you right now. He is an adult “God” and He expects self-sacrifice and service to others for their sake and not for ego or good feelings. You will have to put on your big boy pants and step up if you really want to know the real “God.” You will have to become more honest intellectually and honest with yourself to do that search.

    I leave you with this: Read “Mere Christianity” by CS Lewis…or listen to the youtube videos of it. It is short and relatively complete. Get back to us on what your thoughts are about the real “God.” then.

    Shalom

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  4. I’d be interested in more writings of this nature. They are very much relatable to how my mind has been leaning for a while now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting, I’d love to chat about that further. I didn’t realize anyone was still following me, so it’s good to hear from you! I was prompted to write this blasphemy because someone who is very dear to me has recently joined a fundamentalist church that is controlling almost to the point of being a cult. There will definitely be more posts along this theme, as it has captured my mind for the greater part of the last decade.

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