Language about God
The world “God” is a term for different theories of theism, a generic term that can pretty much mean anything, for even people who share the same faith tradition will have vastly different notions of God. This should not come as a surprise, since each unique individual, having their own distinctive path, will each have a one of a kind take on things. Even in close knits group, no matter how liberal, moderate, or conservative they are, will have breakdowns within each group. It seems that no two people can really see things the same way at all, no matter what is seen superficially.
Then there are atheists who have their own take on God and on those who believe in God. There seems to be some disagreement among them about this issue as well. Some atheists come across sounding like 'extreme' fundamentalist Christians in how they present themselves. Their emotional ranting, their assumption that they are coming across as rational, when in reality all they doing is having a tirade, saying the same things over and over again. It is understandable why they get so many fundamentalist Christians to debate them, both living in a world that is black and white. These types of atheist believe that getting rid of religion will cause most of the evils in the world to go away. Which is absurd, for the problem is a human problem, a power problem, and religion just another tool in which those who are power hungry, will exploit whatever is available to get what they desire. While at the same time conveniently overlooking what atheistic governments did to their citizens. Yet atheist (well some of them) will try to downplay this reality and not want to face it. In this regard they are the same as anyone else, seeking a scapegoat to plant blame, something they can send out into the desert to die, carrying the sins of mankind with it.
When speaking of God paradoxical language has to be used, for it is not, then trouble begins to happen, and God is reduced to whichever idol resides in the heads of those arguing or debating. Atheist, at least those who have an ax to grind, when speaking of God, tend to come across to believers as childish in their understanding and over emotional in how they present themselves. So these atheists tend to preach only to the choir and get very little attention from believers who are not fundamentalist in how they believe.
So this is how God language can work. An atheist says, “God does not exist”, well I can agree with that. Or it will be stated: God is not anywhere, show me where he is”, and I can say, “you are right God is not anywhere”. Atheists tend to make God into a ‘thing’ that should be able to be seen, weighed and be able to pose for some kind of a picture. Since however God in not a ‘being’ there is ‘nothing’ to take a picture of, which seems to cause a problem for some atheist, who so want that Polaroid.
Of course the image of God that believers present to the world, the loud ones, those who also have a black and white outlook on things is a perfect ploy for their opponents to latch on to. There is no answer to this, it is what is and I think any kind of bridge will never be built, both groups doomed to isolation from others who don’t live in a simple black and white world.
Science and religion or not opposed, though there are some scientist and Christians who seem to believe that nonsense. Let them, the rest of us seem to get along fine. There are some very good books out there that are trying to bridge the divide of which the fundamentalist on both side of the science verses religion will most likely never read, which is fine, let them scream at each other from their perspective sides of the fence. It is their right and they should be given free reign to pontificate all they want. The rest of us will simple live our lives in peace, be we atheist or believers. In any case, below my essay, is a review on one of the best books out on the subject of God and the debate that is raging is some quarters. It is respectful in tone and well worth the effort to read.
Who is right? Well on level one, the level in which we simply share, well it is a crap shoot. So yes atheist could be right on this level, however I believe the world makes no sense otherwise, for how is it that the world is run on rational laws and that that human brain is built in such a way as to understand it....is that just blind chance? Personal experience is also important and that is something that cannot be taken away from any of us. If I have experienced love, I believe in it, yet it is a personal experience as well, science has nothing to do with it. We each in our deepest interior have to decide what to make of reality, such is our glory, this freedom and we should leave each to make their journey in peace. To share is not a species of trying to force anyone to think or believe in a certain way, mutual respect is needed in order for a true exchange to happen.
No One Sees God by Michael Novak
“This book is one of the most lyrical and moving reflections on God I have encountered. It is also remarkably generous, both to believers and nonbelievers. Most helpfully it is about how to pray, and how to suffer through the dark night in which answers, and communication, seem absent. A remarkable book by a remarkable man.”
--Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal columnist, author of John Paul the Great
"Over the years, Michael Novak has explored with great insight the relationship between religion, society, and the individual. Here he engages with the recent intellectual challenges to religion and provides the perspective of a profound believer who knows what it is like to wrestle with doubt."
--Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute, author of Einstein: His Life and Universe
“Intensely personal and yet intellectually wide-ranging, this book shows Michael Novak at his best. No One Sees God conveys a depth, erudition, generosity of spirit, and wisdom that simply transcend anything that the new atheists have to offer.”
--Dinesh D'Souza, author of What's So Great About Christianity
“This new book by Michael Novak is one of the most fascinating reflections on the God known through reason that I have ever encountered, the God whom we trust in shadow and in light, in defeat as well as in victory. Many, many readers will recognize in these pages elements of their own experience.”
--Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, author of Rediscovering God in America
“Michael Novak's new book counts as both significant and moving. He deploys logic and love, emotion and erudition, to address the most enduring questions of our existence.”
--Michael Medved, nationally syndicated talk-radio host, author of Right Turns
"The word 'dialogical' might have been invented to describe Michael Novak. With great patience and lucidity he engages believers, unbelievers, and those who don't know what they believe in a conversation about the things that matter most."
— Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, Editor in Chief of First ThingsLanguage