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-3-

(The Transcendent and The Real)

 

††††††††† The existence of God is approachable at two levels, and the theologian, or, clergyman must always keep the distinction between the two if he or she is to avoid the pitfall of removing the Creator from the creation - which is very often what theology accomplishes.

††††††††† If we get too wrapped up in defending our mystical beliefs that apply to the transcendent nature of God, God will ultimately lose credibility in our societies. As already stated, the immortal aspect of God is all speculation, and, that speculation can be wrong. Very often theologies throw away logic, science, and even rational thinking to defend its positions and cling to the conclusions made by our ancestors. This magical thinking only leads to a mockery of God and the people who profess to believe in Her; which the defenders imply that God intends as the price of one's faith.

††††††††† This is not to say we cannot delve into speculations on the transcendent nature of God, for we will here; but those speculations need to be responsible. In order to do this theology must look at God from another lever; from a level we can observe and understand. The transcendent nature of God, which is ultimately a matter of faith, can only be perceived in our physical reality as a force, which affects the course of our destinies. The only concrete definition the believer can state with reasonable dogmatic claims is that this transcendent aspect of God is an abstract falling into the realms of emotion and feeling. Our awareness of Her, our speculations about Him; are experiences and feelings which are purely subjective and come ultimately from ourselves. We choose to accept or reject the transcendent ideals we hold about God according to the way they appeal to our psychological needs. The very multitude of religious beliefs demonstrates the truth contained in this statement, and given the diversity of our personalities, it is our theological opinion that this is what God intended (see God's Diversity).

††††††††† This transcendent nature of God is very analogous to love, and it may not be coincidental that God is often defined as love. Love has an affect upon the reality of our world, but in its reality it is an emotion that is indefinable in the calculations or equations of the physicist. Love does move people to do things. This force can bring great joy or pain. It can affect our lifestyle and relationships, and no one would argue that love has influenced the decisions of emperors and kings which affected the destiny of humankind. The affects of love are tangible realities in the course of time and space that we experience every day. Many of us owe our very existence to the reality of the love out of which our parents conceived us.

††††††††† Despite this tremendous impact in our world, love goes beyond definition but we all understand what is meant when we proclaim we are in love. The reason why love is beyond definition is because we all experience it differently and uniquely. It is expressed differently by every human being. We respond to it differently. And while, for the most part, love is a very positive force in our world; it can also be negative and destructive to an individual depending on the way they experience and use it. Love is a very subjective and unique experience but it is a tangible reality because we can see its affects upon our world. Few people would ever declare that love does not exist.

††††††††† For the record, love is not the only intangible emotion that affects our reality. We have all kinds of what one might call transcendental influences, which produce cause and effect, or influence and affect, in our very lives. Compassion, empathy, hope, ideas, dreams, generosity are some of the more positive; while there are hate, jealousy, revenge, etcetera on the opposite side which are often; but not necessarily, destructive. The only proofs we have of all these abstract emotions are the results in reality. This is why we accept them as given, very often striving to define them in our religions, myths, literature, songs, poetry and art. It is also worth pointing out that very often in assigning God (or the devil) attributes we latch on to these abstracts in our descriptions.

 

††††††††† Too often, our theology is trying to intellectualize the existence and reality of God in His transcendent state, when; this aspect of the Divine is in fact housed in our emotional nature. He is part of the abstract, which affects our world. She is personal and experienced in a variety of ways by people even of the same faiths. His affects are diverse; depending upon the way the individual experiences Her. Like love, most people have an idea of what we are talking about when we talk of God, but no one could define Him.

 

††††††††† The idea here is not that theology should ignore the transcendent nature of God, for this curiosity is part of the nature of man. Buy if we are to address this transcendent responsibly, we must look to what we will call the AFFECTING NATURE OF GOD. Even the most dogmatic of atheist cannot deny the fact that God has influenced and shaped human history since we first became self-aware. The reality of God is as tangible as love, compassion or any other emotion we experience. The Divine, rightly or wrongly understood, is an influence in our world that must be recognized for this influence has helped to mold us into what we are. It makes no difference in the equation of God's existence if man created God as some philosophers contend, or if God created man as the theist believes; for the affects of God are now firmly planted in our world and this gives Him an affecting existence which cannot be denied. So long as one person continues to believe, God will have an affect upon man. It would seem that God is quite alive and well in our world, at least as far as Her affecting it goes - Despite Nietzsche's claim.

††††††††† Religion seems to miss the mark when its theology tries to approach God on the transcendent level; that is, approaching God at what we might call God's Level. We cannot know of God's world, it is just incomprehensible to our conscious level of intellect. What we can know are the consequences of our beliefs on a personal level; i.e., how God affects our decisions. We can also comprehend the affects a belief structure has upon the collective, which follow it. These consequences of our faith are the essence of what we are talking about in the affecting nature of God.

††††††††† The affecting nature of God is the consequences of what we profess to believe. This is the truth of what we profess to believe that is manifested in the actualization of what we do. Belief is only a proclamation, whereas, truth is the reality - therefore, what we do with our faith is the testimony to the truth of it. Faith is not truth, but religious faith should be the catalyst, which leads us to truth. This is where a theology must look to measure the quality of its assumptions about God. What affect is the theology having on the people it serves, on the community as a whole and on the Image of God in our world? When theologians finally have the right portrait of God, it will play favorites to no one. When the theological opinions begin to better our world, fostering the concepts of love, equality, human dignity and respect for the creation; we can than accept that they are getting God's message. The man or woman of God, be it. theologian, clergyman or average person knows that God's message will truly change peopleís lives. Theology cannot be about defining God or Her will; it has to be about bringing people together in love so that they can know of God from personal experience. The only way the theologian can accomplish this end is to look at the affects of his or her interpretation of God in the everyday realities of our world.

††††††††† While not intentional, mankind has been manipulating the inspiration of God to make God in the Image of man; instead of, looking to revelation to find out how we are in the Image of God. It is time we stopped applying so much magical thinking as a tool of enticement to catch the most believers; and, use theology to help us face the responsibilities we assumed with the acceptance of our free will. Citing miracles, memorizing sacred writings, or quoting the prophets does not prove Godís reality. God's Kingdom is not off in some distant place. God's reality is life and all that it encompasses. God's miracle is the very existence of this universe, and these are the things to which theology must relate, for while part of God is transcendent She is ever observable in the realities of our existence.

 

NEXT CHAPTER-4-Our Perspective Needs to Widen††

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