God of the Gaps

Let me preface this post. I do not really know what I believe right now. I am questioning everything. I can’t fully say that I am Christian, but I can’t say I am not. I can’t say I am sure there is a god, but I can’t say I am not. This is just me exploring ideas and the belief structure that I was taught, hoping to make sense of it all.

Neil deGrasse Tyson. He is brilliant, he is funny, he is brilliant, he is the kids of guy I want to hang out and watch old Star Trek episodes with. And maybe Firefly too. Hell, we could just have a sci-fi weekend and nerd it up big time! This is an old video, but it was sent to me after a discussion with my sister about my current view of God.

I know it must be irritating to some people to read this and watch me rail against certain aspects of Christianity and then say, “oh I am just questioning things.” But unfortunately that is the truth. The more I find out, the more I see these holes in religion and in my belief structure. I think I am close to saying that I feel like religion is not a good thing, and not for me. Close, not quite, but close. That is a big statement and I can’t fully commit to it. I have commitment issues. Commitment-phobe.

Religion is a man-made structure though, and my bigger question is about God. I think you can let go of religion and still believe in a god and have faith. But my current view of God is so confused.

Is he a big massive authority figure that dabbles in lives as he wishes and yet avoids major social justice needs for change (the micro-manager)? Is he more of a omnipresent, hands-off, distant figure that spun the universe into motion and now just watches the action (deism?)?

I don’t know. Frankly, neither of those are particularly appealing. But what Tyson says in this video struck me. It is an additional question. As I seek information and answers, as I examine my world and my beliefs, is my God going to get smaller and small to just cover the gaps in knowledge? Is that all God is for? To cover the gaps of those things we cannot explain? Have I spent my life believing in a God of the Gaps?

4 thoughts on “God of the Gaps

  1. How I relate to this post in my own story. In my own journey from Christianity to atheism. For I had to go through 3 phases. The first was that I could have been “angry with God”, for my only issue was all of the pain and suffering in the world. Something happened in my own life that brought this to the fore.
    One I realized that in fact I was not “angry with God”, I could say I no longer believed in God in any traditional way of seeing God. But maybe there were non-traditional ways of seeing God. The first being God as “Ground of Being” as taught by Paul Tillich, and later by John Shelby Spong. But I could not picture God in that way, so I then started to call myself an atheist, but since I needed to be in a religious community, I started to attend the Unitarian-Universalists. From them, I once again wondered about God as either the “Interconnection of the Cosmos”, or ” Spirit of Life”, or if you would, the “God of the Gaps”. I just recently realized that to me, this, if it exists, could not be called god, so I am back to being an atheist, who worships with the UU. This final realization is very recent.

  2. Sounds like a really long journey. I am sure mine will be up and down and in and out as well. I can relate to wanting to stay in the faith community even when you don’t believe. Right now, I feel like that would be my biggest loss if I identify as an atheist. And I wonder if I have missed the “mad at God” phase, or if maybe that will come later for me. I hear a lot of people mention that, and I just don’t think I am. Or maybe I hide it well…. 🙂

  3. Here’s how I explain the origin of the Judeo-Christian God:

    God’s awful behavior in the Old Testament is a deep mystery, so long as you believe that he is a real entity. But if you switch your perspective for a moment and think of him as a mythological figure of the Israelites, (as Zeus was to the Greeks) he all of a sudden makes perfect sense.

    The semi-nomadic life of an ancient Israelite was very harsh and unpredictable. People and livestock would suddenly die inexplicably, women routinely died in childbirth, harsh weather and famine could strike at any time, enemy tribes attacked without warning.

    People naturally want explanations for important events, and the ancient Israelites didn’t have the concept of modern science. Yahweh served as the explanation for both the good and bad things that happened to the Israelite tribes. When things went well, it was because people had been good, and Yahweh was pleased. When things went badly, it was because people had been sinful, and Yahweh was punishing them. Since things could become bad very suddenly and without warning for the Israelites, the character of Yahweh in the OT is capricious and vengeful. (See Leviticus 26:14-39.)

    Life in the Roman Empire during the time of the New Testament was more comfortable and predictable. So the divine representative of God on earth, Jesus, mostly preached God’s loving forgiveness. The character of Yahweh mellowed with the less harsh lifestyle brought by Judeo-Roman civilization.

    Have you ever read any of Ayn Rand’s novels, like The Fountainhead? I’ve found that her novels are often inspiring and also help people to define where they stand on philosophical issues.

    I also have a couple of posts on my blog that you might be interested in: “The Bible (New Testament) as Evidence” and “Why Morality is Not ‘Evolved,’ But Defined and Chosen”.

    • I tried to read Atlas Shrugged once and couldn’t make it through. Being in graduate school means I have almost no time to read outside of my coursework right now, but I will give Fountainhead a try. I have heard this perspective argument before, and the more I consider it, the more I can see this viewpoint. I will check out your blog, thanks for the comment!

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