Friday, June 25, 2010

My Contradictory Beliefs about God

As I reflect on my beliefs, I notice a curious contradiction.  On one hand I feel that God must be good, loving and caring towards humans, and that he is certainly not cruel and vindictive.  On the other hand, I don't believe that God exists.  How can I have both of these beliefs at the same time?  How can I have any opinion on what God is like if I don't think he exists?   Perhaps examining these beliefs more carefully will reveal why.

My belief in the goodness of God comes from my childhood and youth. Presumably that is when many of my subconscious assumptions about the world formed.  It was a time filled with teaching about a good God that sacrificed his son for us.  I heard numerous stories and commentaries on this at home and at church.  Also I read many Christian novels, such as the Chronicles of Narnia, whose main point was to teach and illustrate the goodness of God and how we must have faith in this.  So I became imbued with this sense of God's goodness.  It is an emotional belief;  I simple feel that God is good.

My disbelief in God's existence came through a long and tortuous route.  This route was primarily intellectual; I sought to examine my beliefs and resolve contradictions and errors.  Some of it is described in my post on Losing my Faith.  Other aspects of this struggle are recorded in various posts of this blog, including the very first post, Is God Good?, in which my underlying belief in God's goodness is contradicted by what I find written in the Bible.  Here my intellect is in combat with my worldview.  In my mind I have decided that I will seek to believe only what is true, and I have discovered that some of my cherished beliefs have grave errors in them.  If I am to be honest with myself I cannot maintain beliefs that I have concluded are false.  And the chief belief that I have concluded is false is in the existence of God.  Hence I cannot believe in God's existence.

Despite my belief that God does not exist, I find him lurking in my subconscious.  Although I know what I ought to believe, like the Apostle Paul, I find my inner self at war with my mind.  My subconscious beliefs rise up and take me captive.  Who will set me free?  Well, not Jesus who set Paul free (Romans 7:21-25), but perhaps this blog?