When we don't talk about God... pt 1 Politics, Religion and Sports...

[moderator]This original poster is no longer a member of TA and as such will not be able to reply to any comments on this blog post.[/moderator]

There’s very little that we can actually talk about that wouldn’t, in some way, correlate, and in one way or another be linked too, if not be directly affiliated with God.  It doesn’t matter if your conversations linger on the weather, which is set in motion by its’ creator, or if you prefer to discuss the fundamentals of Tchaikovsky and the music of the romantic period, which flows from the creative and passionate parts of our persons, which are systemic of the image we bear, being that of God Himself.  Perhaps you prefer to discuss the health and progress of the years’ crop which is a direct result of both your efforts to work the ground, mans original job given by God, and natures affects on them, again something set in motion by the creator.

            However we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses that fervently work hard to avoid the very thought of bringing God into a conversation (yes even ‘Christians’).  There are those who desperately want nothing to do with God, or at least a god that would expect anything from them, or maybe a god that didn’t offer the easy answers, or was too confusing, or made one feel as though they were ‘bad’.  These are those who are either unwilling to allow any god other themselves have any say in their ‘reality’, or they are simply ignorant about God.  Although even a “proper education” about God does not guarantee ones willingness to participate with Him, much less believe in, or want anything to do with Him. 

            And as this is the world that we live in, God gets lumped in with politics, because God is viewed as a system of control.  Or He’s thrown in with sports, because it always depends on who’s team you side with.  God becomes a taboo cliché.  “Don’t talk about politics, or religion, and stay away from sports if you want to play it safe.”  So our conversations, no matter how relevant to God and the one who gave meaning to language, are driven into a dark corner where we have to be ever so careful not to mention a perfect God or how much He loves us. 

            Yet even Christians are riddled with misunderstandings about who God is and how He fits into a world that is crazy and angry, and sad, and confused, and looking for meaning.  And so they feel as though they are backed into a corner, yet in reality they are finding themselves in the very same place that those who don’t understand God and our relationship with Him, are in. 

            So because we don’t know how to talk about God specifically, we avoid the conversation altogether.  We are bombarded with the demand to “shut up already” by those we thought were safe to talk too.  This mentality then comes to work with us, comes into our homes, even to church with us, and we are so burdened with fear of being unsure of who is safe to talk about God with.  This fear leaves us speechless and powerless, and ultimately builds in us the same attitude that caused us to remain silent in the first place.  Where we then adopt the “don’t talk to me about god” view. 

            There are innumerable conversations every day where God is present and moving, and relevant, and good where we juke and dodge and do whatever we can to avoid the ‘imposing concept’ of god.  It is a conversation that you can run from but will never be able to completely hide from, as it is ultimately the conversation everyone is having without intending too.  So instead of intentionally and tactfully looking for ways to avoid Him, be ready to be encountered by Him and moved by Him and used by Him to be empowered to talk about politics, and religion and sports.

Views: 584

Comment by Colleen on February 1, 2014 at 3:13pm

You stated that you have reached the conclusion that your god (and not other gods) exist based on your own personal experiences.  First, I wonder what conclusion you may have reached had you been born into a different culture where you had different personal experiences surrounding a different god.  Second, hopefully we all have enough empathy and perspective-taking skills to understand that we do not all share the same personal experiences even within the same culture.  We all see the world through our own filters, and thus we are biased - embracing this bias as a way of exploring truths of the world often leads to mistaken beliefs (e.g. believing the world is flat).

I have always had a hard time understanding the need to speak of humans as deprived in nature.  This is a very sad, bleak view of the world to me.  When I look around I see so much good, and beauty, and kindness.  Yes bad things happen and we can't always stop or prevent them, but I see no correlation between a faith in a god and kindness...and I certainly didn't lose my sense of empathy, reciprocity, and good when I left the catholic church.  In fact, I felt like leaving the church allowed me to love more freely, to accept and embrace differences and treat others as they wished to be treated, and to look at the real consequences of issues rather than just believing what I was told.

To get back to your original post: Most people here do not shy away from conversations about religion or god, and many would stand up for your right to speak about your belief despite disagreeing.  I'm a bit confused about to whom you are referring when you use the non-specific pronouns "we" and "you," and what audience you had in mind when you wrote your post.  It seems to be a bit of "call to arms" for other christians to speak up more about god, and yet you're writing to a largely atheist audience.  Please feel free to clarify.

You state that your goal is simply to encourage the willingness to learn.  Many of us have an insatiable hunger for knowledge and curiosity about the world around us, and we enjoy the process of discussion and debate.  We do not shy away from this conversation.  I, for one, am always willing to listen to those who respectfully share their points of view, and are open to listening back as well.

Comment by MikeLong on February 1, 2014 at 3:20pm

"I cannot say that I have heard His voice audibly, or seen Him physically, but in my reality I have experienced Him."

I think this says it all - "in my reality". You've heard the adage, you're entitled to your own opinions, but you're not entitled to your own FACTS. Your "reality" is either knowable, testable, and sharable or it's not reality - it's your fantasy. You claim we steer away from God. It is you that steers away from reality.

You've had a lifetime of associating love with god. Everyone close to you reinforces this. If you feel love, this proves to your satisfaction that there is God.

In my opinion, the God you're experiencing is a product of language. What you think, God hears. What God says, you hear. This phenomenon is the nature of language. Just like you can't have up without down, language, by its very nature, has a speaker and a listener. Every word that flows through you mind MUST be either spoken BY you or spoken TO you. Who is this other "person"? It's God, of course; but it's just an illusion.

Comment by Jonathan Burian on February 1, 2014 at 3:38pm

Colleen.  My original audience was more 'religious'.  I stumbled upon this site in an effort to better understand opposing views and simply thought I'd post my blog to see what kind of conversation it generated.  It is not a call to arms as much as it is a challenge to consider what it is we (Christians) are actually saying when think we are talking about God.  We (those I interact with not all) are scared to offend or are embarrassed when we don't know answers, but to have the conversation is an important one to have. Also many Christians I know don't actually talk about God, at least not the one they claim to believe in, instead they talk about the god they're happy with, or raised with and are unwilling to talk about God the way God talks about God.

MikeLong I really appreciate the way you're sharing this thought (honestly) and to be honest I struggle with what  you're saying weekly if not daily.  How do I know that what I'm feeling experiencing isn't just a culmination of variables that happen to culminate in this one instance that I'm interpreting as God.  I totally get that, but here's the catcher, even when I don't know I'm not ok with simply looking at the instance and deciding that well, I can't know for sure so I'll just throw it out the window.  Be careful not to suppose that I've had a lifelong experience of God and love.  That is actually far from the truth. My stance is from years of traversing the plausible, the possible, the improbable, learning language and beliefs and religions, and yes Colleen my place of origin is an influence (America), yet one cannot deny the changes that occur peoples and groups even despite their places of origins (converting of various religions world wide).  So I take these experiences I've had, compare with others I've had compare to those of others who've had similar experiences, others who've experienced the opposite and consistently I come the conclusion with a proponent of evidence that this must be God. 

Comment by Davis Goodman on February 1, 2014 at 4:09pm

God is a three letter word that begins and ends with a consonant, it has a vowel in the middle and is one syllable. That is the only objective and meaningful observation we can make about god. Beyond that ... talking about what god is ... would be like talking about how Batman would size up against Inspector Gadget. It's not that we are avoiding a conversation ... we are simply saving our precious free time. Imagine the time we can spend leaning, and hanging out with our friends and enjoying fiction (where it belongs) and helping victims of abuse and exploring the world on a budget and seeing Saturn through a telescope and talking about it. This is a beautiful use of one's time.

Comment by Jonathan Burian on February 1, 2014 at 4:18pm

just a thought... if you spend time enjoying fiction, as you belief God to be, there's no harm in spending some time on the subject...

Comment by Jonathan Burian on February 1, 2014 at 4:19pm

btw I can do these things in the context of the conversation...

Comment by MikeLong on February 1, 2014 at 5:07pm

" there's no harm in spending some time on the subject"

We've got limited time - why waste it. The God brand of fiction is no fun at all unless one is willing and able to immerse one's self so fully that they believe it to be real. There are some "out there" who LOVE Elvis Presley to such an extent that they are able to ignore all evidence to the contrary and truly believe that he is not dead (and that they saw him driving a '57 Chevy in the mall parking lot last week). They have exactly the same electro-chemical reaction (called love) that you have when you contemplate your Lord and Savior. And you share exactly the same basis in reality - zero.

Theists who float through TA ALWAYS ignore the rock-bottom foundation for their belief. Forget all this abiding Love, and "your" reality, and "in my heart" and actually ANSWER the very first response to your posting from Reg - namely, " What does his voice sound like? If you cannot hear his voice then it is only in your head. If he is present do you claim to see him? If not he is only in your head. So if you cannot actually see him or hear his voice how do you know he is present. What evidence have you".

Atheists, when contemplating whether Elvis is alive, or Santa Claus, or leprechauns, or God, or the Easter Bunny - all of which are equally silly - come away thinking, "How COULD people be SO stupid" - which is exactly how you regard all other forms of supernatural nonsense save your own minority delusion.

Comment by Belle Rose on February 1, 2014 at 5:30pm
RE: I really I mean that we are different from our original intention and design

You mean we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Right? Afterall I we aren't "fallen" then we do not need a savior. So to admit we aren't "fallen" would be highly problematic to your world view. Hmmmmm.
Comment by Jonathan Burian on February 1, 2014 at 5:41pm

Belle... yes 'fallen' is an accurate term...

MikeLong - So I cannot hear Him audibly, nor see Him directly (physically) but to understand how He does interact stems from the acceptance that we (humans) were once able to see Him physically and hear Him audibly, but chose to walk away from that relationship.  Now ones willing to 'hear' or 'see' Him is based on our willingness.  I don't 'feel love' for God I look at the evidence both in my personal experience, in life, even in science, and logic and reason and cannot come to any other conclusion but that God must exist, and through evidences and proofs I have landed on a specific source to know what God is then like...

Comment by Jonathan Burian on February 1, 2014 at 6:19pm

I would argue that there is plenty you believe in that you cannot see, or hear or prove


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