Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Ron Rolheiser on ATHEISM AND BELIEF...

Interesting in the light of 1 John 4:12... "In the first instance, you have just experienced a religious high. Through prayer or some other religious or human experience, you have a strong, imaginative sense of God’s reality. At that particular moment, you feel sure of God’s existence and have an indubitable sense that God is real. Your faith feels strong. You could walk on water!

 Then imagine different moment: You are lying in your bed, restless, agitated, feeling chaos around you, staring holes into the darkness, unable to imagine the existence of God, and unable to think of yourself as having faith. Try as you might, you cannot conjure up any feeling that God exists. You feel you are an atheist.

 Does this mean that in one instance you have a strong faith and in the other you have a weak one? No. What it means is that in one instance you have a strong imagination and in the other you have a weak imagination. Faith in God is not to be confused with the capacity or incapacity to imagine God’s existence. Infinity cannot be circumscribed by the imagination.

God can be known, but not pictured. God can be experienced, but not imagined.

 When the prophet Isaiah glimpsed God in a vision, all he could do was stammer the words: Holy, holy, holy! Holy is the Lord God of hosts!

But we misunderstand his meaning because we take “holy” in its moral sense, that is, as virtue. Isaiah however meant the word in its metaphysical sense, namely, as referring to God’s transcendence, God’s otherness, God’s difference from us, God’s ineffability. In essence, he is saying: Other, completely different, utterly ineffable, is the Lord God of hosts!

 Accepting that God is ineffable and that all of our thoughts and imaginative constructs about God are inadequate helps us in two ways: We stop identifying our faith with our imagination, and, more importantly, we stop creating God in our own image and likeness."

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