(note: This post is for Christians. Non-christians will not understand because they have never felt God with the heart; they will dismiss this post as classic Christian blindness. Therefore i won't be speaking to them as a validation, but to the Christians as affirmation.)
This post is about faith that transcends thought, not faith that excuses thought.
In my initial couple of months of church, I questioned and doubted all the time and it got me so frustrated; I often wished I could just blindly accept everything. Along the way, as I continued to yearn for God in the midst of doubt, God also began to give me encounters with Him, little by little, drawing me closer. I started to come to reconciliations regarding some of my questions - not all were answers, and no conclusions set in stone. But I began to realise how important it was to think about these things. It gave my faith a lot more depth. I wasn't standing on something high and hollow that could easily be toppled over.
But our walk with God is not only about theorising and philosophising, or feeling or singing. Our walk with God is mainly about the personal relationship.
You can argue for or against God all you want, philosophically or conceptually or factually or whatever, and you will never get anywhere conclusive. College has brought me a few new questions and causes for doubt. But in the end, it is not the arguments or theories that matter; it is the personal relationship.
In His presence, I soak in His peace. As I spend time with Him I hear, see, feel new things. That is the God that matters, the one I know personally and who knows me intimately. We might not understand Him completely, but it doesn't matter when His personal love is tangible. And if you know He is true to you, then we can make a decision to say I don't know everything, but I will choose to put my trust in You anyway, because Your love is true.
"I realise that as I become smarter, going to university and all, I use the intelligence God has given me to question God," Baoyun said to me, and that got me really thinking about how we do progressively use our intellect in such an arrogant way, thinking we are above the profoundness of God, and we forget that relationships have always transcended proof anyway. It's like, if your boyfriend is overseas for a while or in the army or something - how do you know that he really loves you? How do you know he means everything he says? How do you know he always means well, or that he's not hiding anything from you? Well...based on the beauty of your moments together and the emotion that seems as genuine as possible, you make that conclusion and decide to trust, despite any occasional creeping monsters of doubt, don't you? And how do you know that right now, right this instant, he's not suffering from an asthma attack, or that he didn't just get mugged or stabbed? How do you know that he isn't dying right now? Well, arguing about the issue won't make you sure of anything - the only way to know for sure is to call him and ask, right? You have to turn away from the annoying dude asking the questions, and actually talk to your boyfriend to know. And you're not going to talk to him every second - that's like an overbearing parent. You have to take a step back and have faith, too.
I end this with a conversation I had recently, for the Christians who like intellectual talk. (it was a personal Facebook convo, so pardon me if some of it sounds a little off or weird; I hope you don't nitpick and argue, but appreciate the bigger ideas.)
There're a lot of ways of conceptualising religion. I usually philosophise about religion in a non-religious way. But then I ask myself if I think my God is real. With the personal experiences and everything, God is a relationship; He's someone to come back to and feel and learn about. I didn't disagree with Durkheim. But who is God to me personally? It's a personal experience, and when the philosophies and everything get the better of my perception of God, I go back to remembering that this is a relationship.
Exactly! Religion IS a very personal thing..so Durkheim and James and all the other religious academics can conceptualise religion all they want but what it means to myself will always cut through what they say.
Durkheim kinda removes the authenticity of religion, like God is some phenomenon that emerges from the intellect to benefit ourselves. For a very long time this is the view I clung to..and it was very patronising and arrogant of me, because it meant i was looking at God from my own human-constructed reasoning.
And about Him existing..I feel like that't not the most important question. Everyone who asks if he exists is just using the question as an excuse... Suppose we could know for sure that the answer is "yes, He exists." Are they going to fall to their knees and start worshipping?
We shouldn't even try to rationalise all of His existence because in the first place, God being God supersedes any of our understanding. It's a futile question to ask.
I think there's no way of objectively knowing anything about God simply because he is God..and that's where faith comes in. Faith always sounded like some convenient excuse to me, but CS Lewis wrote that a person may have complete logical knowledge that the surgery he is undergoing will be perfect and smooth, because he has logical knowledge that his surgeon is capable and experienced; but the moment the mask is clamped over his face, emotions of fear and doubt will cut through his logic. Emotions therefore override logic. Therefore he cannot come to terms with his surgery with logic, but can only rely on that which overrides emotions. And this is faith. And he could tell himself that he is just lying to himself, but at the end of the day the only thing that will pull him through is his faith; if he did not remain faithful in his surgeon, he wouldn't have gone for the surgery anyway.