Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Friday, March 07, 2008
As so often happens, once I start thinking*, I head towards discussing feminism, and the downsides of conservative evangelicalism in restricting my thinking about this. And Merlin says "Ah, you see, my belief tells me that women can do just as much as men. And my god agrees."
I think, I'm not sure I'd want to have my god agreeing with me. But here's my new question - what's the point of god? I appreciate that it's possible for things to exist without a purpose - and if god exists, god exists without needing to have a purpose for me**. But...
1. If God isn't bigger than me, and doesn't know more than me, what is the point in relating to him/her/it?
2. If God is bigger than me and does know more than me, doesn't that mean I just have to do what they advise? I'm really not interested in just doing what I'm told - it doesn't sound much fun.
I was trying to work this out by discussing it with a friend. I miss God loving me and having a good plan which I'm part of - a sense of purpose. But I don't want to lose my freedom and independence and go back to living within narrow rules.
She asks, what if God doesn't have a plan? I say I can't imagine God not having a plan - that's too much part of what God is for me to comprehend God being God without it.
Ok. She asks, if God had a plan, but was a tyrant, a complete dictator who just wanted veryone to do what they were told, what then? Well, I wouldn't be interested. Turns out goodness is more important that the plan.
What it comes down to is, if God doesn't know everything, how can I trust God? She asks "do you trust me?". I see what she means. I trust her, within her limitations of knowledge and understanding. Can I trust a limited God?
*It's true, I do think, they took some pictures of my brain this week and there really is one there. And it has brainwaves coming out of it and everything.
**my theology takes a while to make much sense.
Monday, March 03, 2008
I went away with Sanctus this weekend. I had a lot of fun, drank a moderate amount of alcohol and thought until my brain felt like it had been trodden on.
I started coming out as some sort of atheist a while ago - I used to believe passionately in god, but with a lot of turbulence. I got a bit tired and decided to have a holiday from trying so bloody hard, and hopefully discover something about what I believed from what floated to the top at the end of it all (this may be something of a mixed-metaphor experience...).
Unfortunately there wasn't much left floating. I discovered that I had no real sense of any sort of god existing. But I discovered intellectual freedom along the way, and the real joy of feminism... However, there's something to be said for believing that someone created the world and that that someone loves meand has a plan for my life. I'm left feeling slightly purposeless and less loved. And less like a lovely person. My life just feels slightly... flat.
So I went away this weekend hoping to at least think a little about what I might believe. I realised that Sanctus is very important to me. I find a sense of community, safety and acceptance that makes me hope there is perhaps something more than just us. I'm not sure I can believe that it is just the result of a lot of people trying to create something good. It keeps me hanging in because it's something I want to be part of.
Dave Tomlinson, who wrote the post-evanglical, which I thought at one point might save my faith, came and talked with us about ourselves and about what he thinks. It was thought proviking. He talked about god's kingdom as a spirit of life and liberation. I don't have any ability to believe in a personal, intervening god but maybe a spirit of life and liberation is somewhere I can start exploring from - less crude than just good and evil.
And I thought about my place in sanctus. Socially I feel very part of sanctus - I can turn up, say what I think and feel secure. I feel that I belong. Spiritually, I feel less inside - a community is built on shared values and, not believing in God, I haven't felt like I have so much to say. But I think I've realised that I have things to contribute. I'm not pastoral like some people, or particularly wise - things you would associate with being part of a church community thing. But I've been to lots of places in my faith, and I can organise things and ask interesting questions, and cook an awesome pudding. I've realised that maybe I need to be giving, and see myself as someone who has things to give, in order to grow. Some theologians have talked about belonging without believing, and maybe that's where I need to start in order to believe.