Friday, May 01, 2009

Psychology of God

Wow. Very interesting discussion on Torture that's still going on on last week's post. It's actually one of the reasons that I didn't post this week. I kind of didn't want to take away from that. Plus it's been an incredibly busy week overall, so not much time there either.

I got a Tweet (post on Twitter) from a friend of mine a couple of weeks back. I can't find it now, but it was something about God doing something amazing at a church he visited, and he's not very charismatic. I'm sure I'm butchering it, but that was the idea. At any rate, it got me thinking.

If I were a skeptic (and I sometimes am), I would chalk that up to pure emotionalism, married with a mindset that's preconditioned to believe in a God who would do certain "amazing" things. A trick of psychology basically.

But here's the thing. Even if that is true, why does the idea of God bother people so much? I guess I can understand, especially how many people use God to justify their own actions of hate or discrimination or even violence, but for most people, God is a way for the world to make sense, to have some shape, and that's not a bad thing. To try to derive some meaning from life, is the ultimate pursuit of humanity. It's what drives scientists to discover, musicians to write songs, poets to dream, parents to have children. We all derive meaning from those things and if adding God to the equation helps make that equation make sense, all the better.

Now, I don't think that belief in God and Jesus gives us license to be jerks. Probably Christians who are jerks would be jerks if they were Jewish, Muslim, atheist, or whatever. But if believing in Jesus makes us worse people than who we were, why would anyone want to follow Jesus?

It's completely possible that belief in God is a trick of our minds to give us comfort, but I think it's equally possible that it's not a trick, that it is the Holy Other stretching us and drawing us to God.
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