This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Proof of God (Geocities Rescue)

I am beginning these musings on a high note, if not the highest: proof that God exists. This discussion reflects those proofs which I have found convincing in my faith journey. It is at the beginning of these musings because my view of morality flows out of my personal conception of God. This conception is from a Christian perspective. It is my hope that non-Christians find some understanding of the Christian perspective, leading to greater peace among the monotheistic religions.

As Cooperativism, which is in some ways akin to Socialism, is a major component of my personal philosophy, I must first show my religious colors so as not to be immediately labeled a Marxist-atheist. While I agree with Marx on the inevitability and justice of some form of common ownership of the means of production, I disagree with it being state based, a product of revolution or atheistic. I invite Socialists to consider whether one can both believe in God and reject Capitalism. I concede to them that a belief that we are children of God leads to a rejection of violent revolution as a tool wherever possible. However, this does not mean that justice for the oppressed must waits until the next life, as a Religions Left God is a God of justice that expects believers to work for justice now. A large number of workers adhere to some religious faith. For social change, it is time to abandon atheism and its close cousin secularism. This essay provides a rationale for Socialists to examine. While some of this analysis relies on scripture as evidence, the vast majority is not and should not be dismissed out of hand.

Many non-believers deny the existence of God based on the actions of the Church. I grant that the church has not exactly been pure and just. It has often been led by those who were hardly godly or God fearing. To give credit to the Marxists, it has been used to control and oppress workers and peasants. It has not always been thus. Early Christianity and several of the Jewish prophets have a rather radical commitment to the rights of workers. This voice has not died, despite the best efforts of both Catholic and Protestant churchmen, especially those in the fundamentalist right. The Church is filled with pesky human beings, who are far from perfect. A proof for me of the existence of God is that, many times in spite of the Church people have, throughout the ages, found Christ. Frequently, the Christ they find is a Christ for the workers. Centuries after century, believers and saints live holy and just lives after the model of Christ; lives which all can see are the example of a higher power not of this earth.

As a Catholic, I claim a personal experience of God, as do many others. When Christians partake of certain rituals, particularly Eucharist and Confirmation, they encounter God in a meaningful way. Alcoholics and addicts of all sorts find God in their twelve step fellowships. Their chief proof of God is their continuing recovery. While these experiences cannot be measurable in a lab, they are no less real. Not all knowledge is amenable to scientific investigation. Some things are found out on the individual level, especially those things that make us truly human, like the experience of God and grace, and the experience of ourselves as individuals. Oft times the most convincing path to faith is surrender: the willingness to be helped. The other side of this coin is that the best demonstration of the existence of God is to help others (whether one claims God or not), and this is the best way for the religious left to distinguish itself.

The existence of God has been debated for century upon century, into prehistoric times. Saint Thomas Aquinas had five proofs of God, the most noted being that God started all motion (which is out of date according to the laws of physics) and that the intricacy of the universe shows that there must be some designer. Of course, direct evidence is impossible as by definition the creator is outside of creation. The existence of God again comes down to a personal decision. In looking at creation, you have to ask yourself: Can an imperfect universe cause and maintain its own existence? For that matter, can an imperfect man be the cause of his own existence (as New Age believers claim when they state Thou Art God)? If the universe can do this, there is no need for a God. However, if an imperfect world must have a cause then that cause must be perfect and that perfection must be God. This is a leap of faith - though it is a small and perfectly rational one. It implies a decision: that life has meaning and that there is such a thing as existence. This small leap also implies that man exists, that he has a soul or spirit (or both). To better define how we know God, if he does exist, we need to examine this soul, which we will do on the next page.

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