My “God” problem

Whenever I get into a contemplative mood, I wind up grappling with God. My brain is burdened with the images of a Catholic youth. I’m stuck with monotheism’s mental model of the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God as bearded patriarch.

Alternatively, thinking of God as the prime mover, the life force, connectedness, or love seems too modernist, too abstract.

Humans want someone we can talk to, who is aware of our troubles. We want a God who will answer the phone at 3 a.m. and hear our meandering rants. We insist on it. Even Buddhism, which is technically atheistic, has wound up with pantheons of boddhisatvas (saints) and assorted demigods to call upon, no matter what the official teachings assert.

I brought a book to the auto repair shop yesterday. A short meditation about the importance of being present in this moment told me that, according to Duns Scotus, “God is continuously choosing each created thing specifically to exist moment by moment” [1]. I slapped the book shut and began arguing. God can’t be a helicopter parent. Nature plays by its own rules. Good religion can’t require bad science. God metaphors should add layers to our understanding, not strip layers away.

Well, you see how fast I get all tangled up. To be continued…


[1] Richard Rohr, “Just This: Prompts and Practices for Contemplation” (2017).

2 Replies to “My “God” problem”

  1. I am always in a conundrum. I believe in some mediums like the Long Island Medium who bring good messages to their loved ones. If our loved ones who are no longer in this world can send us messages like that, what is their day filled with? And if we don’t give ourselves to Jesus Christ will we really be in hell forever? If we have such a loving God does he really send those who don’t believe but are good people to Hell? Somehow I can’t grasp the idea that there is hell for such a black and white judgement. I have a very scientifically minded brain. I find it hard to accept things without believable truth. I wish I could have blind trust, but I have seen too many people also use that “blind trust” to rationalize some very horrific beliefs.


    1. Big questions, Vicky! I think the skills of inquiry and hypothesis testing provide a good path to explore these questions. I’m more comfortable with the lingering spirits (energies) of the dearly departed (and spirits clinging to old quilts and carvings) than I am with an all-knowing God, so that may be a starting place for me.


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