One of the main criticisms aimed at one who believes in God (of the bible, kind of the bible, kind of sort of described as something bigger than “me”, maybe possibly could be something that connects us all … or any variant thereof) is this:
”How can you have a “relationship” with an (imaginary) ethereal-non-physical-being?” (the other is: “If there is a God – why does he let bad things happen?”)
Those kind of accusations used to grind my teeth. Yet I never found any response I believed. Then science taught me that the chair I sit on each day is more “space” than solid. And my posterior couldn’t get my head around that revelation. My physical self knew my chair was solid even while my intellectual self knew it was not. My physical self had to accept that my physical abilities could not see the “space”.
And then electricity. I know it is there. I see it working. Or do I?
I see the consequences of electricity. Right now this iPad – this glass sheet with a keyboard and letters – letters now visible as I touch the right bits of this glass sheet – has a lead coming from the bottom of the iPad going to the electrical socket. The cable is running across my stomach – a cable full of “electricity” – yet not harming me at all – and completely invisible to my physical self.
I believe. I live only by belief. I believe there are science nerds out there who understand this stuff. Who can design and build all these things around me each day that I take for granted. I believe that I don’t have to know any of it all. So long as I press a switch and my stuff works – all I need to know is how to get what I want from my stuff – like this piece of glass and gubbins inside we all call “an iPad”.
I live by belief. I live by having a relationship with me and my beliefs.
My relationship with you is just another belief. As you read these words, as you maybe press like on whatever bit of “stuff” you have, as you maybe write words as a comment on your box of tricks …
I have not seen you physically. I have not seen you in the flesh. I assume a relationship with you based on no more than belief. Belief that you are real. Belief that you care. Belief that you live by belief as well. Belief that all of this “stuff” bringing you my words … no matter where in the world you are … that all of that and this is real.
I am a believer just as you are. God has nothing to do with it. In fact you have nothing to do with it either. Not unless I believe in you. So my “relationship” with you (and yours with me) is based upon our own personal beliefs. Which means our relationship is simply my relationship with me and my beliefs. You become part of my belief structure. Just as I become part of yours.
“How can you have a “relationship” with an (imaginary) ethereal-non-physical-being?“ Just as I have one with you. I believe.
And as for why God lets bad things happen … ?
On a global scale – like “natural disasters” – like “national tragedies” – like “local outrage” – like stuff that takes human life … I live on a living planet. We do stuff on this living planet. We explore it. We take from it. We dump our toxic waste into it. We build houses in ever less “planet welcoming places”. We live in areas this living planet never invited or expected. We assume a relationship with this living planet as eternally giving to us and never needing of us. We take what we want and assume we have the right to do so. And then when “bad things happen” we blame this imaginary-ethereal-non-physical-being… really?
And as for personal bad stuff.
I wonder why we struggle to believe in this “God”, yet believe we have the right to a full “five score and ten” – or at least way more years than a life taken too soon … a healthy living now an unhealthy living … any of that “bad stuff” – based on no more than more (imaginary) belief and assumption that we should.