Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Spiritually Blind

I've been reading the unabridged version of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. He wrote a section about prayer. Here's a quote that got me thinking:

"There is, we are aware, a philosophy that denies the infinite [meaning God]. There is also a philosophy, classified as pathologic, that denies the sun; this philosophy is called blindness."

The scriptures often call those who reject God "spiritually blind." The problem with athiesm and agnosticism is that both philosophies assume that God must be intellectually and scientifically provable. Now, there are many logical explanations for God's existence, and many logical explanations for God's lack of existence. But no one can prove it, intellectually or scientifically, either way. Most people seem to have a preconceived idea of whether God exists or not, and almost all scientific data and logic can be harmonized into one mindset or the other.

In other words, belief in God is independent of scholarship. God is available to everyone--regardless of their intelligence, scholarship, or lack thereof. How can this be?

The answer is that God makes Himself available to us through a different means--His Spirit. The Spirit does use our intelligence, but it also uses our emotions, our relationships, and most of all, our spirits. Every good thing responds to His Spirit. Everyone has felt the Spirit, and everyone has a basic instinctive understanding of good and evil--what drives away God's Spirit, and what invites it.

God's Spirit gives people gifts. One of these gifts is a belief that He lives. A greater gift is an absolute knowledge that He lives. Some of us naturally doubt more than others. But all of us have gifts from God, and the closer we get to Him and His Spirit, the more gifts we will receive.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Hooray for Les Mis! I like this post for more than that, though; good insight.

There's an element of agency in this recognition of God, too, at least at the first step of faith. For most people, even the first whisperings of the spirit can be explained away if one tries. I've found myself questioning the source of feelings sometimes, when my testimony is at its week moments. At these times, I realize that I am faced with two very realities, the ones you discuss. Either God exits or there is an atheistic explanation, and both seem plausible at those moments. It is then that I realize I really have a choice in what I believe, in what reality I want to live. When doubting and questioning, this is the question I always fall to. As long as God's Word is a reality that is possible, it represents a better reality than a world without it, and so I choose to believe in it. When I make this choice, I can feel peace despite my doubts, continue my study in faith, and again have my testimony strengthened without fear of blindly following. This has helped me back from the brink of surrendering my testimony at several difficult times in my life.

It interests me that even in belief, God allows us our agency. Some people, I think, make this choice so readily that they don't even recognize that it is a choice. (Or maybe I'm just weird.)