My Experience, Perception and Understanding of God

Feelings tend to either illuminate or cloud the vision. There doesn’t seem to be much in-between. I sometimes attribute feelings to God, but I have no proof, just an intuition, and possibly personal reasons, based on a theory that God is a personal God and can either read minds or is extremely observant, or both. Also, that God is all-powerful, and can influence all the forces of the universe, when he (or she) wants to. Sometimes when I have strong feelings, I focus better to write. But the cause of those feelings might be quite negative, even tragic. I certainly don’t believe God made bad things happen, just so I could write something good.

I am torn about the Bible, as well as other religious scriptures. Some days they seem more real, and some days they don’t. Some times, especially difficult times, I have my doubts. But eventually I come full circle. I believe that God can speak to us through religious scriptures, but I also believe he can speak to us through other people, other books, personal writings, art, nature and experiences in general.

I believe that the universe was created, is constantly being re-created and is controlled by God. I don’t know why, it’s just how I was raised, what the church taught me, and what I read about in the Bible. For many, that is enough, but to many others, that is wrong. To them, and some times to me, there is much wrong with the Bible, as there is the church. Some think it is just a matter of interpretation, but others think certain parts are just wrong. Still others think we don’t need it at all, so why worry with it? It is just a book to them, like any other, written a long time ago, in another culture far different from ours, and then canonized by old white men, reflecting their unique biases and prejudices.

So far, I left out one (to some) more obvious way of experiencing God. That is prayer. Other than thanksgiving, and prayers for things that I’m sure God supports, because they are virtues that were part of the character of Jesus, I hesitate quite a bit in prayer. I will pray for things like grace, peace, joy, compassion, love, generosity, etc., but I will not pray for material things, conditional things, temporary things, etc. Those are things of this world, and as such, I don’t believe they should be prayed for, except possibly in the most extreme circumstances.

I do thank God for blessings, but I feel uncomfortable about it, because it is very superficial.  Mostly, when something happens that scares the heck out of me, and it is quite clear that I could have been seriously injured, or even killed, I thank him for saving me. I feel stupid doing it, but I have no other thoughts. That’s just what automatically comes to mind. I know it may seem silly, and some just call it luck. I don’t know.

So, I guess I do see an experience of God happening in my life. I can’t prove it, and it is all a very subjective perception. Nothing objective, that can be measured or tested. My perception is based on a good amount of religious conditioning throughout my life. My understanding is sometimes based on the presence or lack of emotions in my body, my readings in the Bible, readings in other books, teachings from others, mostly in the church, art, nature and other experiences. My experience of all those things is based on a very selective “cherry-picking”, if you will. I take what I want, and leave the rest. I don’t know how true it is, but it works for me. It keeps me going. It inspires me, if you will. Maybe one day someone will discover how one can objectively quantify and measure subjective experiences like that. Until then, as long as it works for me, I imagine I will continue doing it.

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Author: Gordon S. Bowman III

Writer, Visual Artist, Blogger, Advocate

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