What is God? Ask a Catholic, like myself, and he or she may dutifully recite, “…The Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, of all things seen and unseen.” Unfortunately, the Creed doesn’t go any further into detail than that. Ask that question of me, specifically, and I may surprise you by admitting that I have derived my main idea of what God is from a self-proclaimed non-believer.
Late one night, as I was flipping through the channels, I happened to stumble upon a bizarre—excuse the redundancy—Woody Allen film, Sleeper. In one scene, the character Miles Monroe reveals to Luna Schlosser, “I’m what you would call a teleological, existential atheist. I believe that there’s an intelligence to the universe, with the exception of certain parts of New Jersey.” This line caught my attention for several reasons; of course, the New Jersey bit was amusing, but the comment regarding “an intelligence to the universe” really made me realize that I’ve never pictured God very anthropomorphically—or, as a friend so eloquently puts it, “Some old white guy bouncing around on a cloud somewhere.”
Even though Woody Allen does not count a universal “intelligence” as God, I don’t see why not. Such a being would be all-knowing—whether this being indeed speaks in red ink, I am still unsure. Also, such a being would seem to exist beyond all time and form, allowing it to transcend both a Beginning and an End.
Seeing that this being has created order in the material world, wouldn’t it also have created structure in the moral realm, too? From this assumption, the notion of God calls for the existence of absolute Truths. However, I have no idea what those truths are, so, I turn to religion for the answers.
Does that mean, then, that I must blindly follow everything that I learn from the Bible? My good judgment, something for which I thank God greatly, tells me otherwise—I believe that all the evidence out there better supports evolution than it does traditional Adam-and-Eve creationism. Should I deny my entire faith based on that one discrepancy, though? Of course not: as a Christian, my main concern involves loving and serving God and others through Christ’s example.
I still find it funny that a good deal of my personal theology comes from a movie mainly about sex featuring an atheist time-traveler. Faith, however, does not come from outside, but from deep within us. It is not a product of sermons or tedious study, but of our own intuitions. My exact religious beliefs very well may change throughout the course of my life, but my faith will always be there.
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