Thursday, October 26, 2006

I think of myself as a Christian and so a succinct description of my faith could be this:

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. AMEN.

So, what do I think these entities I believe in are, exactly?

My thoughts of God begin with God as creator and, in a sense, creation itself. I see God as the prime motivating force that caused the universe to come into existence. I also see God as the author of the equations that govern physics, and indeed, rather than standing outside of those equations, I see God, essentially as those equations. To carry that line of thought further, I see the physical laws that govern the universe as a form of truth, and to the extent that they are true, they are God. In essence, since God created everything, God actually is everything. There is nothing truly outside of God. Also, since there is obviously order in the universe and in the laws that govern it, there must be intelligence that chose and defined that order out of chaos. To the extent that this order is unimaginatively complex, the intelligence is unimaginatively great. This is my primary view of God the Father.

Next, I see God as Holy Spirit in a couple ways. First, as life itself, the inexplicable force that dwells in every living thing. I also think of the Holy Spirit as a manifestation of God the Creator.

I think of God the Son in this way: I think that the man Jesus was so in tune and imbued with the Holy Spirit that his life was different from all others and is legitimately called the Son of God. I was, as a child, taught of his birth of a virgin and his resurrection from the dead. Beliefs in these physical events I struggle with, but I cannot renounce them. I believe in spite of some doubt. What I have no doubt about is Jesus' supreme goodness and compassion. And for that matter, when I think of him as a manifestation of God the Father, the creator, then virgin birth and resurrection don't seem so unlikely. Jesus is my Lord in any event.

I think of evil simply as distance from God.

How do I think these entities relate to others, particularly people of other faiths?

It is foundational in my belief that there is essentially nothing apart from God. An important derivation from that is the idea that if a person of any faith ernestly seeks God, to wit, seeks to understand and commune with their creator, they will in fact find the same God I believe in because there isn't anyone else there to find.

The implications of this last point are large.

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