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Sunday, May 1, 2011


Every so often the question of God’s nature comes up for discussion. There are those who believe that God is a personal God, namely, a supreme being that has intelligence, emotions, and will in an absolute form. God knows you, loves you and responds to your prayers. Most of these people also maintain that God is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-good. These individuals are classical theists, by definition. (Limited theists believe in a personal God but one who is not all-powerful). And there are others who depart from this view and subscribe to a variety of other non-theistic God concepts.
One of the problems, which was debated for centuries between the theists and non-theists, whether Jewish or not, has to do with God’s love and God’s involvement in human lives. Does God love me? Does God interfere in my life? How does God respond to my prayers? Theists say, yes, God watches over us; others argue, no, God has nothing to do with “loving” anyone. In particular, the question of prayer is of immediate concern for many people, and has already been raised in many biblical passages. On the one had we have, “I turned to the Lord, and He answered me” (Ps. 34: 7), and, on the other, “How long, O Lord, shall I cry out and You not listen” (Hab. 1: 2).
Here below is my religious naturalist response to this question:
I view God as the energizing power of the universe. I do not expect that God would know me or love me or even interfere in my life the way my parents did. All I want from God is that I be given the sustaining tools of a meaningful life, the wisdom to accept my limitations and the skill to overcome them reasonably within nature’s possibilities. I don’t pray for miracles or look for perfection in life. I hope for wholeness and contentment. I am grateful just to be. There is plenty of God’s love just in this recognition.
Rifat Sonsino