God-struggles, a Compendium
©2020 by Vernon Miles Kerr, VernonMilesKerr.com
Just now — no sooner than I had thought-up this title, an image of Jacob in the Bible, wrestling with God came to mind. He wrestled all night-long, never giving up, not winning but not losing either. For his persistence, God gave him a new name “Israel” meaning one who prevails with God.
“Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” (Genesis 32:28)https://www.haaretz.com/.premium-why-is-israel-called-israel-1.5353207
Similar to Jacob’s wrestling with God, I’ve wrestled with the concept of a God since childhood. Both my parents were unchurched because of unrelated and individual traumatic -interactions with the churches of their teenage-years. So, my two brothers and I got no training in religion at all.
I became an athiest as a child, but around 30 years-old, was drawn into a cult which professed “Christianity.” Fortunately — along with some heretical beliefs — they demanded a familiarity with the 1611 King James version of the Bible. After 20 years of sermons, bible-studies and correspondence courses I did gain enough familiarity with this foundation of Judaeo-Christian thought to ignite some skepticism. As a scientific atheist, I came to the Bible loaded for bear, and found a few — in the form of statements made that modern scientific discoveries had since belied. (I also gained enough familiarity with the English rhetoric of Shakespeare’s time to feel quite comfortable reading his works without much need to refer to commentaries. But, that was a side benefit which has nothing to do with this discussion.)
I was propelled into writing this article by a young lady on Twitter, “kelly” whose tweet started an entire thread of thoughtful comments on Twitter.com
“religion doesn’t guarantee a true connection to god; if anything, it often places a barrier between a direct connection to god and the seeker. religion is a social structure within [which] one may or may not find connection to a higher source.”
Later in the thread, I replied:
“In the meantime the world wold be better of without ‘religiosity’ i.e. large traditional ‘religious’ organizations which interpose themsleves between believers and whatever higher power they tout. They are a toll-gate through which money or acts of obeisance are the ticket for passage.
She answered, “…in the spirit of transparency, i’ll admit i am agnostic.”
I tweeted, “me too.”
But, along with the appelation “agnostic,” comes the implication that one is not stuck in that state of ignorance — that one has an open mind. So, on the perhaps remote chance that my wrestling-match will be of some use to others I will try to provide a compendium of my thought-process, revealed in essays.
Round 1 – Does God Even Exist?
1. Is it blasphemous, to “level” with God?
2. Is religion a mere palliative, soothing but empty?
3. Is accepting the “God Hypothesis” necessary for things to make sense?
4. Is belief the same as faith? Can faith be misinformed and mis-placed?
5. Is the perception and appreciation of beauty, a gift from God?
6. Can an Agnostic still “partially” believe in God?
7. Prayer to the Unknown God
8. Does the Mind of the Human Abhor a Vacuum?
9. Before Nature, we stand confounded.
10. Can humans abide uncertainty and chaos?
11. Whom am I trying to impress? And if I do, how long will it last?