Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Since time immemorial, both the piously faithful and lapsed unfaithful have been searching for God.

From the lofty heights of pyramids and stargazing, to sacred scriptures, to shrines and worship sites, to the depths of the inner soul in meditation and the recesses of neurology, these searches have led us far and wide, but perhaps no more closer than primeval man to the Divine.

It is little surprise then that the latest pilgrimage phenomenon should be an online quest. Google "God" with either a small or big G, and 402 million links later, you may well find what you're looking for.

Or maybe not.

World religions and scholars alike are beginning to cybertap into the prayers of adherents and curious cats alike, and are awakening to the portal potential of the Internet as a wide-reaching, albeit messy place of holiness. Looking to read the Gospel of Philip? Just click here. How about having an online conversation with God? Alas, the Web hears your prayer. Need an e-confessional? Done. No time and money to get to Mecca? Try going on the hajj, YouTube-style.

While cyberseeking God may look like 21st century religiosity, the wired pious do not necessarily view it that way. David Lamp likens his online church worship at The Online Church of Cyberspace "to a moment on the road to Damascus." And rightly so. A modern-day pilgrim seeking spiritual experiences on the information highway is bound to find a type of communitas and connection not much different than that of Hindu devotees converging enroute to Varanasi.

Discovering kindred spirits in the so-called disconnect and liminality of cyberspace can be a great source of comfort, particularly for some who may be physically unable to worship by traditional means publicly - be their constraints illness or distance. Still others who gravitate to technology would have their religion no other way. Connecting with God by click of a mouse is ideal for those who are intensively private in their devotions or those who desire a more remote and solitaire form of religious contemplation. And then there are others who would rather commune with God while wearing their housecoat and pjs. One could argue that some religions more than deliver on the robe and pj-wearing end, but that's another blog for another time.

The ways and means matter little. What matters is that some people are discovering that online religion can be as multi-sensory, illuminating and fulfilling a religiosity (sacramental religiosity aside) as attending a temple, church or mosque. Indeed, if we apply Ninian Smart's dimensional theory to this notion of online religion, we might arguably find that measures up in virtually all regards, pardon the pun.

So perhaps that is what is meant by God of the gaps: Looking for God in all the blog places.

On a personal note, I attend church near weekly now and while I enjoy my time in the sanctuary amongst hundreds of similar souls in either philosophical or meditative reflection, I still prefer to look for divinity beyond the gap in the door; that is to say, in nature, communing with space, time and the wonders of science.

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
An eternity in an hour.
William Blake

The blog confessional is now open. Today's topic: cyberspace or outerspace. Today's question: Where do you find proof of God?

Or are you still at the faded signpost, trying to map the way?


Thotman said... a child that line drawing of God is the christian the Bible, to the muslim the Koran... to the atheist even a visit from God himself will bring jeers of doubt, where did you get that bright outfit?... Finding god is a personal quest, as is acceptance of any evidence you stumble the end its in the interaction of the mind with its universe which indicates sufficent to call anything truth...or not. For me it has boiled down to a believe or demand more "proof" which is actually just "acceptable evidence for me" or not...or to THINK in terms of other realities, or not...HOLY SCHMIDT, I just realized that is exactly what thotmen do...

Chief Peep said...

Never one to be a "Doubting Thomas" I'd have to say God pretty much walked up and smacked me in the face @15 years ago when I started wandering off track. *ouch*

Hatrock said...

Proof of God?

I like to look at The Big Guy not in a human sense because God was around long before us bipeds but perhaps we were the first ones to truly experience God here on earth.

Call me a pantheist. If God is ominpotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, then God IS the universe, and all the energy and matter in existence.

Call me a panentheist and string theory proponent. God is all that and encompasses all the other universes as well.

Call me a Jedi. God is in The Force.

Call me a Buddhist. God is in karma.

Call me a Christian. God is in Christ.

Call me a former Oiler fan. God is in #94 Ryan Smyth.

Jeri said...

Where do I find proof of God? Interesting question.

By definition, if the Christian bible is your holy book of choice, faith is most profound without proof. Hebrews 11:1 says, "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

As a certifiable pantheist doubting Thomasina, it's not the only holy book I subscribe to, and I do need proof - or at least presence - from my God.

I find evidence of God in the serendipity of daily life, but I have to look. While I don't believe in mere coincidence, I do believe in free will, and oh, do I use that to get way off in the weeds.

Synchronicity happens. I pick up the phone to call my mom, and get her voice mail, because she's calling me. I send a random email to an acquaintance, and it happens to be exactly what she needed to read at the time. I visit a new megachurch of 1200, and sit down behind a good friend from high school, 20 years and 200 miles ago. I get a completely uncharacteristic holiday call from my dad, on Thanksgiving, and two hours later, he's gone.

When the unbelievable happens, it's got to be more than a harmonic convergence of dumb shit. (to plagiarize a coworker) God is guiding us, talking to us, helping us. Are we listening?

God is with me when when I'm still and listening. He/she is there when I'm curled up in a ball of agonized black depression, rejecting the world. He/she gives me the strength to love through my tears. God is the source of the flow when I'm creating and perseverance when I'm working.

I find proof every day that something divine, good and creative and caring, directs the universe and my small life. And that's enough to give me the courage to get up every morning and try again.

P.S. - I need to stop writing novels in response to your blog posts. Sorry!

Lynn said...

What serendipity. Just having this conversation with Mike my atheist last night, though secretly I don't think he's really an atheist, he just doesn't want to believe in God the Author because to Mike that means God lets bad things happen to good people, to children, to the innocent. Mike is a man of justice...he wants the good rewarded and the guilty punished. While that makes for a good father in principle, it makes for a lousy believer. The simple, Christian-based answer of course is that the guilty will be held accountable and the good rewarded...but Mike's also not a patient guy.

I on the other hand, after much searching and seeking and questioning and doubting, have spent much time thinking about why I believe in God, even when I don't want to do so...when the idea of God pisses me off, I find all the coincidences in life that are just too kind, too just, too my world at least to dismiss the concept of God. God the Author, God the Patient, God the Watcher, God the Just, God the Father and God the Son. God the Lover. I blashpeme and think of God in all the ways he is and can be and realize that I must believe in's as much a part of me as my children, and I compare his treatment of his children to what good parents should do with their children.

I guess really, when it comes down to it, the biggest proof I have of God, the clincher for me, is the blessings I've had bestowed upon me for no good reason...and my ability to see and count them. And of course, my absolute non-earning of all those blessings. I've always seen a little of myself in's my favorite biblical story by far. Praise, worship, be grateful, ask the questions you need to ask, but above all...BELIEVE.

Unknown said...

I have never been baptized. I just read on someone's blog that I cannot go to heaven. Is this really true? I don't think I will let it ruin my day cause maybe there is a different heaven he is talking about. Anyhow I am trying to leave a comment and if it does not work that it was meant to be. BTW I felt Great Spirits presence last night...I find Great Spirit whenever I actually seek.

Jungle Mama said...

I remember the first time I really had to think about it. My step-mother was amazed that I could even consider there may be no God and she asked me point blank, "Can you tell me that all this world and wonder wasn't created by a higher being?" I thought about it with my sunday school class, debate class, and honors science class wisdom and could not answer her honestly "no". Every now and then I go back to that question.

EbNflo said...

In the laughter of a child... the smell of rain on the desert... in the stars on a dark plain... the first bite of a really great croissant... that squeezy feeling I have at parades, inaugural speeches, and really poignant moments... in a hug... in the joys and challenges in friendship... in surprise... in the warmth of the sun on my face or the cold of the snow on my arse as I slip down the hill... giggling...

Even in the tragedies.
It wasn't always that way...

Holy Thought of the Week

"To live fully is to let go and die with each passing moment, and to be reborn in each new one."

~ Jack Kornfield ~