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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Which God?

When it comes to God, there are only two choices.

What God Wants Most of All for You (2)

Everyone else, too
We have seen that all atheists believe in God – that is, god.

For most atheists, some form of matter or energy is the most ultimate, indestructible, mysterious, beautiful, desirable, and reliable thing they can imagine. So they try to possess – in one form or another – as much of matter/energy as they can. The pursuit and enjoyment of matter/energy, whether in the form of knowledge or actual things, is the religion of materialism or naturalism.

Now atheists will insist they are not religious. Christians are religious. They believe in God. They go to church and worship and pray and all that. And they live a certain kind of way, albeit, atheists are quick to add, not very consistently.

But atheists will insist they are not religious.

Well, not in the same ways as Christians, at least.

However, looked at in more general terms, all atheists are religious, and so is everybody else.

The religion of atheism is, as mentioned, materialism or naturalism. Materialism is the religion of everyday, practical atheists for whom matter/energy is god. Materialists pursue and enjoy their god through the accumulation of things and pleasure as the highest expressions of good.

Naturalism is the more philosophical version of materialism, and the preferred way of referring to their worldview by those of a more philosophical bent. Naturalists seek to possess matter/energy in things and pleasure – naturalists are materialists, too – but they are driven by a higher commitment to possess their god through knowledge, usually in the form of science.

Both materialists and naturalists hold to the religion of materialism or naturalism.

“Religion” is simply the set of beliefs and practices by which people try to connect with what they reverence as god. Every religion has three things in common: (1) an object or objects of ultimate veneration, together with certain beliefs associated with that; (2) disciplines, routines, protocols – “liturgies” – for pursuing and enjoying the object of their beliefs; and (3) a way of life – a raft of outcomes – which is the fruit of their vision and disciplines.

Put more succinctly, everyone holds some vision of what is ultimate, most enduring, and most to be desired. Everyone embraces certain disciplines which define what they do in pursuing and enjoying that which they regard as ultimate. And everyone manifests life outcomes which derive from and give evidence of those beliefs and disciplines.

So it’s not just atheists who believe in God – sorry, god – and are religious. Everyone else is, too. The idea of God may change from one person to the next, but everyone has a view of God. The disciplines for pursuing that idea of the ultimate good will change, and the evidence in people’s lives will vary in line with their beliefs and practices.

Everyone believes in God. Everyone is religious.

You believe in God. You are religious.

How do you account for that?

So many gods!
Before we answer that question, however, let’s consider another. Everyone is religious; everyone believes in God, in some form or another. This, it seems to me, is undeniable. We may not like it, but it’s simply the way things are.

Doesn’t this suggest that there are unlimited ideas about “God”? That whatever anyone considers “good” or “ultimate” or “most enduring and therefore most to be desired” – whatever anyone regards in this way qualifies as “God”, as we have defined that term?

And if that’s the case, if everything is God then isn’t it also true that nothing is God, and therefore that there is no God, as the atheists insist? After all, if all colors were red then nothing would be yellow or blue or green. Everything would only be red. But then “red” would be an irrelevant idea and would cease to exist. When everyone is free to determine his own god, isn’t the plight of “red” in a universe of red also the plight of “God” in a universe of gods?

That would be true except for one thing: What is more ultimate that all these ideas about God?

The mind that conjures and sustains those ideas, of course.

Thus, perhaps “mind” is actually God? The ultimate in matter/energy, conveniently packaged and distributed so as to be readily accessible to all? And “mind” is a possession common to all human beings, though not in equal measure or degree. Thus the more “mind” one is able to bring to bear, the more god-like one might be seen to be, and the truer and more reliable the view of life such a mind might pursue and promote. So a university-credentialed atheist, who has published numerous books and argues very cogently for his view of “god”, should be regarded as more reliable in his view – his religion – than, shall we say, a small child with only the barest of education who holds stubbornly to the belief that his God is Jesus Christ.

Only two choices
Certainly, on this logic, that would seem to make sense. It would seem, that is, to agree with the workings of brain and reason to defer to the credentialed atheist. It makes sense, or so it would seem, that someone with a PhD is more “in touch” with mind and reason than a small child. And therefore parents everywhere should want their children to believe in the “god” of atheism rather than whatever “god” they might invent with their own puny, undeveloped minds, or which they as parents might hold to with their more-developed-but-still-not-as-sophisticated-as-them minds, wouldn’t you think?

But then, why isn’t that working? Remember, only 2% of the world’s population are atheists.

It isn’t working because, whether we are willing to admit it or not, we all know – everyone knows – that “mind” is not God. Everyone in fact knows that God is God, and we are His creatures, whether or not we like or admit the idea.

But what happens in practice is that not everyone likes the idea of God being God, and so they simply reject it. This leaves them not with a myriad of choices of which idea of God to embrace, but with one only.

Their God-unfettered mind.

Either God is God or you are. Either you know God because He has revealed Himself to you, or you “know” god because you conjure an idea of god which satisfies your reasons.

If you are your own god, you must know what you want out of life, what’s best for you. Because, after all, you are god. And you must be able, if you are god, not only to know what you want but to achieve it as well. Because, again, you are god.

So how’s that working for you?

Why do people find it so hard to believe in themselves as god? But if they reject the God Who reveals Himself to them from beyond themselves, why is this their only option?

T. M. Moore
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T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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