I thought after my last post, I ought to follow it up so that the people who commented and follow along a bit will know where I have landed. July seemed a bit like hell on earth for my little family. I described it to a friend as something akin being thrown into a wood chipper. Didn’t see it coming. Didn’t expect it. But it happened. And now I’m here on the other side feeling like some of the baggage I was dragging around wouldn’t fit through the chipper so I find myself rid of it and feeling like I have a bit of a solid footing from which to catch the next wave (man do I love being out in the waves of the ocean with a surfboard).
So I’ll try to be brief. First off, I think I have gotten past the God question. It really comes down to a basic question that is more philosophical in nature than it is scientific. How did this world get here? There are only two real possibilities. It’s either by chance or it’s not. If it is by chance, then there is no reason to believe in a God. If it is not by chance, and by extension therefore purposeful, then there is great reason to believe in a God/Creator/Format/Etc. Some may inject a third possiblity here, that we were placed here by aliens of some sort, but that really just moves the location of the question because then one asks how the aliens came about. So without laying out a buch of detail as to why right now (I’ll do a bit of that further down), suffice it to say that it seems much more likely that we were created. And that is the point of faith. We all have to choose one direction on this question, and it takes faith to believe in your choice. There is not sufficient proof on either side to rule out the possibility of the other. And that is faith no matter how you look at it. I feel very comfortable with that.
I feel more comfortable believing in our purposeful existence for a handful of reasons, but soon after I came to a comfortable place at this point, I began reading a book called Chi Running in order to work on my running efficiency for my triathlon obsession/passion/dysfunction. Of course, there are introductory words about Tai Chi as a practice, what’s behind it, the history, the theories, the philosophies, and I find it fascinating, so much so that I believe this book will be significantly helpful to me across the breadth of my life actually, not just in running. Principles like centering one’s self really speak to me, especially after coming through the chipper, as I feel like prior to this experience, I was lost with all sorts of centers, none of which were receiving adequate attention. This side of it, I feel lean, and centered.
One of the principles I read about is that involving fundamental truths, universal laws, those things which have universal application at a deep, deep level across the board for the world and humanity. Call it a “format.” My friend John (TitForTat) bases his belief in a God on this format idea, and I think I am not far behind. There are things of this nature all over the place. The Chinese study of movement in Tai Chi. Newton and Einstein’s study of physics. Simple observations in nature such as palm trees not growing well in Kansas and polar bears not doing well in Arizona. When we go along with the order of nature and the universe, when we understand what these deep truths are and move with them instead of against them, we are centered and life goes much better for us as individuals and as a community. All of this order is unlikely to have come about by itself, and to me strongly points to the divine.
But I want to take it a bit of a step further. Danny Dreyer, the author of Chi Running, quotes Cecil B. DeMille on page 31:
“It is impossible for us to break the law ourselves. We can only break ourselves against the law.”
I’m not exactly certain what the circumstances of that statement were. And I think I may have even heard it or read it prior to this book. But I am understanding it in a different way today. Dreyer is using it, of course, to say that when we go against these fundamental truths, we are setting ourselves up against the way that it is best to live. Disharmony. We are making it difficult for ourselves and setting ourselves up for pain and injury and distress.
So the thought came to me that what if we looked at the bible this way in a certain sense. I have always looked at it as a book of rules, hoops to jump through, mistakes not to make. And that has had me looking at God as a cosmic law enforcer practically looking for reasons to strike me down. No wonder I have found myself trying to get out from under that sort of pressure by doubting God’s existence. But what if we look at the bible as the creator of the universe, the dude who knows all the fundamental truths, telling us the way it works best? What if it is God saying, “Hey, I made all this. I know how it works best. I know how to best be in harmony with it. And here it is.” I think maybe this is a much healthier and more centering way to view scripture.