Imaginary God

Self-reflection“The inner conflict produced by life in the world is easily projected onto the screen of the universe, yielding an imaginary God. Only true stillness can allow the projection to dissipate.” Fr Stephen Freeman, “Unspeakably Speaking”

How true. A cursory, yet honest glance inward provides ample demonstration of this statement’s validity. A period of ministerial burnout and I recast spirituality as strictly an individual inner journey. A sense of betrayal by church leadership and disillusionment and suspicion of leadership reshape my ecclesiology into a non-hierarchical structure. Frustration at fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible reforge a personal hermeneutic of authority and obedience. And the list can go on.

The common theme in the list is that my inner conflict generates ideas about God, usually a God of my own imagination. Yet they are only ideas. They are like thin transparencies lit by a projector of my own inner turmoil. I look toward God and see a slight reflection of my own image. And that should be the warning that I travel in treacherous territory.

The answer isn’t new or different ideas. True theology isn’t about rational ideas. It’s about God. And his invitation is, “Be still and know that I am God.”

One thought on “Imaginary God

  1. Is reason (ratinonality) the enemy of God or our ideas about him? I would say that all the teachings of Jesus are totally rational. If I am correct, that demonstrates God’s rationality. There a many professing Christians that make rationality an enemy of faith. This is a sad fact about our religious intellectual culture. Let me also state that I am not claiming this wonderful blog post is claiming rationality to be an enemy of faith.

    God is love, first of all. However, Dawkins and his friends cannot steal reason from me because they can make sharper remarks in favor of it. The Logical Investigations was written by a lover of God. This is more than strong evidence that God loves reason, it allows me to know it.

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