Finding God, Part 7

There are many ways to find God, and each person will respond to different ones.  Here is what I like to call the “Incremental Evaluation Approach”.

All journeys start with a first step, and this one has a doozy.

1) Change the way you think about what you “know”.

You probably know a lot of things, and the tendency of Man is to consider that if you “know” something, it must be true.  But consider that most, if not everything, you know came about via some “process”.  Some processes are quite reliable and some are quite unreliable.  Thus it is helpful to make the decision that it is possible that some of what you know may not be correct.  In general, it is good to consider how you came to know something, and how risky it is if it turns out you are wrong.  Why bother?  Because this gives you some guidance on how strongly to “hold on” to each thing you know.  Not only will this make it easier to find God, but it will likely make you rather more pleasant to be around (because no one likes someone who takes a position and refuses to even listen to a different one), and reduce the overall risk level in your life (by alerting you to risky areas which would benefit from some further investigation).

For instance, you probably “know” your birth date.  How do you know this?  Likely, you were told this by your parents, and being told is a low to medium reliable way to know something.  How reliable  were your parents?  How often did something they tell you turn out not to be so (besides “normal” untruths like Santa Clause)?  Were any untruths deliberate or accidental?  Perhaps you saw a certified copy your birth certificate.  Government documentation can be a fairly reliable source (unless they have been “fiddled with”).  Do you know anyone who could corroborate your birth; a family friend, relative or attending medical personnel?  This can raise the reliability of what you were told.  How does what you know relate to what you can experience?  Do you “appear” to be the age you think you are?

In general, most people can be fairly sure that the birth date they know is correct.  And what is the risk if it is not correct?  Fairly low in most cases.  There are some things which are legally based on exact age, but as long as you appear to be the age you claim, the odds of it being a problem for you is minimal if you turn out to be wrong about your age.  The risk goes up if you get involved in something which invites serious scrutiny (such as a run for president) and there is significant penalty if your age is not as claimed.

Obviously, following this line of thought for everything you know, all at once, would be paralyzing.  Just be prepared to apply it to any piece of knowledge which comes into question as you live your life or which the risk for being wrong is intolerably high.

There is one thing you should apply this process to “now”, and that is what you know about God.  This is because most of the sources of of knowledge about God are inherently unreliable (with the obvious exception of personal experiences), and the risk for being wrong could possibly be quite high.

2) Come to grips with the concept of “belief”.

By definition, this is deciding or growing to “know” that something is so without conclusive proof, as long as there is no conclusive proof showing it is not so.  Why?  Because there are just some things which you have to take on faith.  This does not require you to “believe” everything or even anything (new) now; it just means that you are able to  allow in an appropriate new belief when you find it.  Conversely, it means that you can give up a held belief if it ever is adequately proven to be incorrect.

3) No matter what you “know”, accept the possibility that a Supernatural World exists.

“Acceptance” does not require that you believe a “possibility” to be so; just that you do not believe it cannot be so.

4) Accept the possibility that if a Supernatural World exists, that one or more Gods exist in that world.

Again, this does not require belief now, just acceptance of the possibility.   Once you get past this point, the next step does require a belief, but fortunately a conditional one.

5) Believe that IF a Supernatural World exists AND is inhabited by God, THEN you do not have the capability to comprehend most of God’s environment, needs, desires and goals.

This is not because there is anything wrong with you; just that you (and all other Humans) don’t have the necessary frame of reference.  Note that acquiring a new belief is usually non-trivial because enough support for it has to be assembled in order to make up for the lack of actual proof.  In this case, though, if the conditionals are so, then the conclusion is fairly self evident based on the definitions and very concepts of the Supernatural World and Gods.

Necessary?  Yes, since from Man’s point of view, God is “weird”.  Some of the things which God is reputed to have said or requires of us, or seems to do, are “bad” or “silly” or “inefficient” or “ineffectual” from Man’s point of reference.  In order for us to take Him seriously, we must discard our judgement of His sayings and requirements, and the best way to do this is to realize that they are, at least mostly,  beyond our comprehension.  An obvious example of this is, why, if God wants us to interact with Him or at least obey Him, has He made it impossible to prove His existence?  He is alleged to have the capability to do “anything”, but has not done this, or at least has done so only to certain individuals.  Thus, us not being able to prove His existence would seem to indicate that He does not want us to prove his existence, which seems to us to be ridiculous but might be important to Him.

6) Accept the possibility that God, for reasons of his own, created or guided the creation of the Natural world and everything in it.

7) Accept the possibility that God has some degree of interest in and control over, that Natural world, today.

8) Accept the possibility that God had some degree of interest in and control over, your existence.

9) Accept the possibility that God included some amount of the Supernatural in your existence.

10) Accept the possibility that any Supernatural part(s) of you does, or at least can, continue on after the death of your body.

Sadly, the steps so far have been the “easy” part, since all we really had to do was accept possibilities of things which have not been (and probably cannot be) proven or disproved.  Aside from preparing ourselves to meet God, the biggest accomplishment so far is to alert us to the possibility that we are living in a way which might cause us extreme grief.

Following this path is very wise; we might find God and become saved from disaster.  We tend to know how to “get along” in the Natural World, but if a person finds themself in the Supernatural world, and their condition there is at all dependent on how they lived in the Natural World, they could find themself royally screwed.  Thus it behooves us to do everything we can to figure out the most advantageous way to live in the Natural world so that both our existence in the Natural World and any possible existence in the Supernatural World is optimized.

11) Research the common viewpoints about God.  Pay particular attention to the Western religions and any Eastern religions which are culturally relevant to you.

This is not where you dive into one view of God; the goal here is to get an overview of each.  Note what each says about God, what they base their claims on (their scriptures), what the view of God requires from you, and what you are claimed to receive in return.  Because there is no proof that any of these are correct, be wary of any which say that you cannot leave that faith except through death or other serious damage.  Not to say that such a religion is definitely incorrect, but you don’t want to be “forced” to stay in a religion which when experienced, shows itself to be a serious problem to either of your Natural or Supernatural lives.  Focus on the “documentation” behind each viewpoint, not on one particular group of people who claim that viewpoint.  Although, if a viewpoint has majority of the people who behave in ways different than they claim they believe, this could be a warning sign.

12) Once you have prepared yourself to accept God, and “loaded” yourself with knowledge about possible Hims, pray.

Ask God to show Himself to you and illuminate which Human view of Him is closest to his heart.

It is hard to imagine that if you follow these steps thoroughly, that you will not (eventually) find God if He exists.  But be aware that many people and most other religions (particularly atheists) will do all they can to throw roadblocks into the way of any viewpoint which varies from their own.  Once you find God, then it will be helpful to find a group of people who have found the same view of God and who behave in a manner which is compatible with you.  You will need to figure out what God wants from you in the Natural World to best position yourself in the Supernatural world, and this can be helped by like-minded people with the same view of God.

 

 

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