Thursday, January 31, 2008

RE: GRM Question #1 "There MUST be a God"

Thank you all very much for making your opinions heard. Looks like I've been thrown to the deep end of the pool. This is the main reason why I did not want to respond earlier. I acknowledge that I do not have all the answers, and I also did not want to frivolously give answers that do not hold water. Like some of my fellow classmates, this blog has consumed us, some of us are even blogging in our dreams. I have thought through the first question and now it's time to sink or swim.

Before I go any further I just want to clarify a few things. I seem to have offended some people by, what seems to me, some very innocent and neutral blog posts. The other reason why I did not make my response earlier was because I wanted to try to keep this blog a neutral ground for anyone and everyone who would like to join in this dialogue. So I did not want to make my opinions heard so soon. Remember, it's a dialogue, please try to respond with some respect to the blogger and especially to the other readers. We all have our own opinions on the issue, and although some of us may feel more strongly than others we should still respond with some respect to each other. Nobody is shoving anything down anywhere. Otherwise I can understand, and appreciate you, for your strong and passionate responses. Please continue to take part in my dialogue.

How I answer the question at hand depends very much on who asks the question. Since the question is thrown into the air, it is so much harder to provide good answer to satisfy everyone. Books can and have been written on this subject. So any response I make will be terribly short and simple in comparison. What I will do here is attempt to give a general respond. If there are some interesting comments I will try to respond more specifically.

Let me just recap the question at hand:
"Many religions claim the existence of God. Does God exist? How do we know He existed? There are so many gods, which is the true God? How do we define God?"

Many religions claim the existence of God. Does God exist?
Yes, I do believe God exists. (That was easy...)

How do we know He existed? (This is the difficult part of the question...)
I do not know how you would interpret the existence of God, but how I know he existed is through a personal experience/encounter with God. However, this answer holds very little water if you do not know the person giving the answer. This is what a Christian might call a life testimony. It seeks to proof the existence of God through a changed life. Christians claim that someone who has experienced God will be changed for the better.

But there are still other arguments for the existence of God. There is the argument of intelligent design. This view argues for the existence of God by claiming that the whole universe designed by someone intelligent. Nature in all its beauty and splendour is pointing us to someone, something. Every leaf on the trees, every grain of sand on the beach, every unique snowflake, every part of creation is pointing us to a creator who created the universe and everything in it.

There is also an argument of the "uncaused cause". This view argues that everything has a cause. For example, some people claim that humans evolved from apes, and apes evolved from monkeys, and monkeys etc... Long story short, we can all be broken down to individual cells, and cells broken down to atoms, and atoms to sub-atomic particles. If we were to follow this argument through all the way, we will inevitably realize that there has to be a supreme creator. Someone has to be there at the very beginning to cause the first chemicals to come into existence, and thus start the chain of reactions that ultimately led to the existence of homo sapiens.

I believe that there are many other arguments for and against the existence of God. However, as you can read, I clearly believe God exists. Perhaps some of you have other thesis for or against the existence of God, care to comment or respond?

There are so many gods, which is the true God? (Another toughie...)
These days people are not so concerned about the question of which is the "true" God. The post modern prediposition causes people have the opinion that whatever works for them is true and right, and whatever that does not work is discarded as "untrue". Post modernity does not have absolutes, no absolute right, no absolute wrong; just what works for each individual. However it is my belief that although there are many issues that are grey and without absolutes, and issues that require a tension of both extremes; I believe that on this issue of a true God there is only one and true God.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6)

How do we define God?
This is such a subjective question. Depending on who you ask "god" could be anything. To some their god is their money, to some love is their god. However generally speaking, God is defined as a higher supreme being or beings. Some religions who claim that we are all gods in our own way. Still some others claim that God is an unknowable being. However being a Christian, I believe in a supreme monotheistic God.

Responding to the question took me a full day. I think this blog post is worth reading as it took me almost a full working day to post! I really hope that we will all learn from each other through this blog. I do not just want to make myself heard but I also want to hear you out as well. Looking forward to hearing your comments.


Tham Wan said...

Very good thoughts. You have cut through many of the philosophical categories (e.g. "ontological," "cosmological," "teleological," etc.)

Tham Wan said...

Being able to talk about God in non-theological/philosophical language is important in evangelism. I think it is good to be able to communicate to the person on the street while at the same time being able to grasp theological/philosophical categories. Good!

Crazy Barber said...

Regarding to the definition of God, most likely you are giving the idea that people have different perception towards what God is. But I think the Oxford English dictionary give a pretty good definition of God, which should be the standard definition(since we are talking English and not some foreign language). I think people tend to use God for their personal agenda, yet forgot the very meaning of the word "God" which end up in a messed up belief.

Mike Leo said...

Well done, bro. As your old man have said it, "You have cut through many of the philosophical categories" and sometimes beign too brief. I am waiting for you to post your next question and see how we can sharpen each other.

However, I think it's good to interact as the interaction goes. Don't wait till the last minute to respond. You are doing a blog to interact, not the chairman to facilitate and just do a summary at the end of the meeting. I think Pastor Lim will somehow agree with me - or perhaps not....

Tham Wan said...

Your "old man" agrees with "bro." Mike Leo. "Interact with the interactions" . . . we would like to hear from you about what you hear from us.