Sunday, November 19, 2006

Explaining God

Today I participated in a “collaring service”. This is a service for someone who begins their journey as a student minister. Her name is Pam, and she takes up an appointment in Uitenhague in 2007. This is the beginning of a 5 year journey, where she will learn pastoral skills, and complete an academic degree.

And I was reminded that becoming a pastor is not about gaining the “right” academic knowledge; or learning the “correct” church doctrines; or in knowing the “best” religious explanation of God. Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion very eloquently demolishes these God theories. As Dawkins shows, it is simply impossible to explain God. For Dawkins, this proves that there is no God.

While I agree that the God explanations are inadequate and often illogical, I draw a different conclusion. The truth is that most of what we believe is only an approximation of the truth anyway. We are attempting to put the unknowable into words. The only place from which we can speak is personal experience. We have a human experience of the unexplainable – and then we try to explain it. We experience a touch of the divine, and attempt to put this into words. Of course our words will fail us. Because we are attempting to explain the inexplicable. What Dawkins calls the self-delusion generated by chemistry in the brain, I choose to call epiphany: the unexpected touch of the Divine.

I pray that Pam will never get to a place where she thinks that she can explain God.

1 comment:

Steve said...

I am bummed... earlier this evening I wrote this great (patting self on back) comment for this post... and when I clicked submit, well, blogger ate it.

So maybe it wasn't so great after all.

So I will back away from the keyboard and line it up and try and give it another shot tomorrow. Just wanted you to know.... I tried.