Friday, April 15, 2011

Signs from God and Other Faithless Ramblings

Oh how I loved your responses to my Why Do You Believe? post. So much good stuff to think about. Such great challenges to my assumptions. Truly wonderful. So today, I will answer a couple questions posed to me and also share some thoughts on your comments.

Signs from God
A couple years ago I was having a conversation with a very religious friend, let's call her Abby, who mentioned that she had prayed about something and God was "telling her" to choose a particular path. Well, the non-believer in me of course thinks that this is her seeing what she's now keyed in to see. So I thought to myself, "Let's see if I can see some signs. I would like to see some signs that Abby is right." For the next several days, everywhere I went and everything I saw was related to Abby in some way. Driving home I was behind a car with a U of I sticker (Abby went to U of I), another car had a volleyball sticker (Abby played volleyball), another car had a license plate with her birthday in it (just the month and day), the street I was on was also her birthday, a mile marker sign had her volleyball number on it, and on and on and on. For days I could not stop seeing things in someway related to Abby. A sign from God? Or am I just noticing things that I hadn't noticed before. It's not like I took a different way home, the street was the same street I always took, I had just noticed the birthday connection. So part two of my thought experiment: look for signs that there is no God. For this I'll look for things that remind me of another friend of mine, Kelly, who happens to be an atheist. Again, everywhere I looked I saw Kelly things. Kelly's car, Kelly's favorite "character", Kelly's birthday, Kelly's name. Everywhere.

After this week of suddenly noticing things that I hadn't noticed before, it is now very easy for me to understand how people see "signs." It's like when my husband first bought his Camry and suddenly I noticed the hundreds of other Camry's on the road. Up until that point, I just hadn't noticed. We filter out so much of what we encounter every day, but when we're ready to start looking, suddenly things start popping out all over the place.

Your Questions for Me
If I don't believe in heaven, does that mean I think death is the end?
Unfortunately, yes.

If so, is it correct to assume I don't believe in a soul either?
Yes. No soul.

If no soul, do I believe the keystone of humanity is the mind?
If you mean what do I think makes us human, yes, I would say our mind. But for clarification, not our intelligence, our mind.

Random Thoughts

  • Gilsner: I started reading End of Faith, but wasn't really a fan. Maybe I'll go back and give it another shot.
  • Nicole: I have had The Case For Christ on my to-do list since about 1999. I really do want to read it. (Gonna' need to buy it first.)
  • Bernadette said: I can't prove to you there is a God but you can't prove to me that there isn't one.
    I don't need proof, but I'd like some evidence. As stated above, random signs don't really do it for me. 
  • Sarah said: And how do you explain that innate, unwavering, and sacrificial love that comes with motherhood/fatherhood?
    Easy: evolution. Our species is much more likely to survive if a parent will do anything to protect its offspring.
  • Sarah said: Faith is being inspired by our resilience and being awakened by our fragility. Faith is accepting human's failings but loving despite. Faith is forgiveness in dark places. You can still be faithful without the Bible if you are willing to look at humanity as a miracle to begin with, something awe-inspiring and beyond comprehension or explanation. Something beyond science and reason, no matter how intelligent our species becomes.
    I loved this. I would just replace "faith" with "humanity." That and you lost me at, "beyond explanation." But I do think the existence of all life is miraculous. The earth is teeming with life that all evolved from a puddle of goo. It is awe-inspiring.
  • I am seriously going to need separate blog. This post has 7 different topics already and I haven't even gotten to the ancient Biblical texts being copied by illiterate scribes, using the Bible as a tool but not a basis for faith, using the Bible as a source for morality when it condemns eating pork but gives a pass to SLAVERY, and my new big curiosity about what people believe about prayer and whether and how they are answered.
OK. One post at a time. This one is a little on the scattered side, but y'all gave me so much to think about.


Roxanne said...

It's the Joshua Tree effect. That's something I read about this guy who learned what a Joshua Tree was, and then he started to see them all over the place. So, if you're looking for something, you'll find it everywhere. If you are looking for a sign from "G-d", then you'll find it. And usually you'll find your "answer" because your subconscious knows what answer you want or need.

OakParkGirl said...

You would love chatting with my friend Ryvre. She is a pagan, but one of the most knowledgeable people I know when it comes to religious writings. The Bible, Koran (I'm prob spelling it incorrectly) etc. Her ability to quote the bible would humble any priest :) I suppose you have to be that well read when ignorant people think pagans worship the devil and run around naked, and force her to defend her beliefs and educate them about religions (sometimes their own) constantly.

rubyspikes said...

I was thinking about the Joshua Tree effect, but thought more people could relate to the "new car" version. Plus I couldn't remember what book that was from. Hold on, must go Google it now...

... ok, that didn't work. Gonna have to go look in the library now to try to remember.

Nicole said...

Okay, I'm two weeks late, but thought that I would respond anyway. While I can see your point about noticing things when you're looking for them, that explanation just doesn't cover the list of "coincidences" that I experienced when finding God. I didn't have to use any stretch of the imagination when I asked God for my wallet and immediately received a call saying it had been found in a parking lot. And the adoption references I was getting were a lot more direct than "Oh, that was my friend's favorite store and she was adopted, so that reminds me of adoption." One example of God responding to me very directly - I had a conversation with God about the adoption where I had basically convinced myself that adopting a child with special needs would just be too hard on our family. I thought that adoption was doable, but special needs would be too difficult. Then, I went to church. We had a guest pastor from the Dominican Republic - his entire message was about how often God asks us to do hard things - something that's a sacrifice. He said that if God hasn't asked you to do anything difficult in life, you're probably not listening. This pastor could not possibly have spoken more directly to the conversation I had just had with God (and myself) without saying, "You, Nicole Hewitt, are SUPPOSED to do something hard. That's the whole point." Was it a coincidence? I can see someone arguing that - but I don't think so. And when I put it into the pile with all the other coincidences, it starts to look even less coincidental. If I had all day, I could tell you some pretty amazing stories from friends (One friend made it through a sudden illness that 80% of people die from due to a laundry list of "coincidences" including a nurse who put blood aside for her, against protocol, just because she felt like she should for some reason). I understand skepticism - I used to be there myself. But, I won't deny what I've felt, heard and seen.

I wholeheartedly agree with you when you say that we filter out so much of what we encounter every day - I honestly believe that many people filter out God on a daily basis. I believe he's there, whether or not you choose to see him, just like the Camry's are out there, whether you notice them or not. :-)

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