I've touched on this in the past but it always seem to come back at me: "I know God exists because I can feel his presence in my life." Are you sure it's not just indigestion? Seriously though, come on people. This "proof" has got to be the biggest copout of them all. How convenient for you that the proof you have for the existence of God is something only you can know. "But you could have a relationship with him too if you just had faith." Oh really? So all I have to do is forget about all the evidence that points to the inexistence God and just believe he exists? I couldn't do it even if I wanted to. If I did who is to say that the feeling I have isn't something else? "Feeling" God or having a "relationship" with him doesn't prove anything. That feeling you have is probably something else. In fact, it might indeed be related to your faith but most likely due to the fact that you no longer allow doubt an uncertainty in your life. Imagine how it feels when you already know how something is going to turn out in your favor. There's no worry, fear, or doubt. You know that everything is going to work out nicely. So you can just kick back and let it happen. It's a good feeling is it not? Probably a feeling or relief and confidence. I would bet it's the same type of feeling those who have a "relationship with God" have. At least something similar to it. So you're not proving anything, not even to yourself. Only that through turning a blind eye to the facts and willfully remaining ignorant to the evidence you can feel good about yourself. If I were in that position I don't think I could feel good about it at all. It's like knowing something bad is happening and allowing it anyway.
I'd like to share a story that was written by Sam Harris:
"I recently spent an afternoon on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, atop the mount where Jesus is believed to have preached his most famous sermon. It was an infernally hot day, and the sanctuary was crowded with Christian pilgrims from many continents. Some gathered silently in the shade, while others staggered in the noonday sun, taking photographs.
As I sat and gazed upon the surrounding hills gently sloping to an inland sea, a feeling of peace came over me. It soon grew to a blissful stillness that silenced my thoughts. In an instant, the sense of being a separate self-an “I” or a “me”-vanished. Everything was as it had been-the cloudless sky, the pilgrims clutching their bottles of water-but I no longer felt like I was separate from the scene, peering out at the world from behind my eyes. Only the world remained.
The experience lasted just a few moments, but returned many times as I gazed out over the land where Jesus is believed to have walked, gathered his apostles, and worked many of his miracles. If I were a Christian, I would undoubtedly interpret this experience in Christian terms. I might believe that I had glimpsed the oneness of God, or felt the descent of the Holy Spirit. But I am not a Christian. If I were a Hindu, I might talk about “Brahman,” the eternal Self, of which all individual minds are thought to be a mere modification. But I am not a Hindu. If I were a Buddhist, I might talk about the “dharmakaya of emptiness” in which all apparent things manifest. But I am not a Buddhist.
As someone who is simply making his best effort to be a rational human being, I am very slow to draw metaphysical conclusions from experiences of this sort. The truth is, I experience what I would call the “selflessness of consciousness” rather often, wherever I happen to meditate-be it in a Buddhist monastery, a Hindu temple, or while having my teeth cleaned. Consequently, the fact that I also had this experience at a Christian holy site does not lend an ounce of credibility to the doctrine of Christianity."
For those of you who read the debate I shared in my last blog post this will be familiar to you. While I'm sure I could probably think of a similar event in my life that gave me such feelings it's just easier to use this example. It just goes to show that just because you think you feel some "divine presence" that doesn't mean you have a relationship with God. It just means you had a moment (or moments) of clarity and peace for some reason or another. That's it. So please, those of you of the religious persuasion, stop trying to counter my arguments with some crazy story about how you have a relationship with God. It's both annoying and a bit delusional. You're making yourself look bad. What this world really needs if for you to question that feeling and investigate it. Find out what it really is that's making you feel that way. Then realize that it's most likely not God and start affecting change in the world to better it. Trust me, religion is not the answer.
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