Michael C Murphy profile image

Do You Need God?

I’m not a theologian, I’m not an agent of any religion, I’m just a regular guy with a strong spiritual connection to God, and I want to share my thoughts on that relationship with you, especially those who are living apart from God.

I grew up visiting church only on Christmas and Easter and at least once, that I can remember, for VacationBibleSchool. At age twelve, my mother told me I was old enough to decide if I wanted to continue going to church or not, and at that point, I ended my relationship with God, and lived a secular life until age thirty. I’m starting here because I want you to know I came to my Christian faith as a relatively mature adult. I lived in the secular world for a long time before I found God, and for this reason may have a better understanding of those who live their lives apart from God.

Like many others, I went looking for God during a difficult time in my life, finding comfort in the idea that there was a power that could rescue me from my despair. I accepted Jesus as my Savior, I asked to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and I began looking for God’s direction in my life. This experience was rather profound for me and I believe a true spiritual connection to God was formed; however, I can understand how some may see my transition as simply my strong desire for change manifesting itself in a way I perceived as spiritual. Nevertheless, I did focus on seeking what I believed to be God’s direction for my life from that point forward and my life did indeed change for the better in a dramatic way.

I’m not going to go into what my despair was and exactly how my life dramatically changed, because I don’t want this to be about me, I want this to be about you. I’d like you to honestly consider your relationship with God, and if you don’t have a relationship with God, or if you’re not sure you even need a relationship with God, I’d like for you to consider the concept of a spiritual connection to God, and give some deep thought to seeking a personal relationship with Him. Obviously, my goal here is to help you find God, but I’m honestly not trying to convert you to any specific religion. My perspective is clearly Christian, which will be different from a Catholic perspective, or a Jewish perspective, or a Muslim perspective, or a Mormon perspective; with that understanding, please evaluate what you’re about to read not only with your mind, but also with your heart. We all have moments when we “feel” what’s right for our lives even though we may not have certain knowledge confirming our feelings. As you may already know, Christian faith involves accepting things that cannot be proven. The decision to seek a relationship with God will need to be made with your heart, not with your brain.

I look at the complexity of the natural world and see the hand of a designer. The way the plants, animals, insects, birds, fish, rivers, oceans and climate all work together is beyond amazing. Just the fact that rivers continue to flow without stopping is amazing. The fact that spiders know how to spin a web is amazing. Salmon swimming up stream is amazing. The archer fish knowing how to spit at bugs on branches above the water is amazing. When I look at all the different forms of life on earth I don’t see accidental evolution I see clear design. Honestly, I see design with a sense of humor, a glorious artistic eye, and an awesome understanding of interconnectedness and purpose. For me, the natural world around us confirms the existence of God. You may or may not have reached this same conclusion, but for the purpose of this discussion, let’s concede for now that God was the designer or the Creator, and let’s take a closer look at who God is.

I have one single source I use for everything I know about God, that is of course the Bible. I won’t go very deeply into the archeological and historical evidence that has convinced me to believe this text, there are many books that deal with this issue in detail and if I spark an interest, I hope you’ll seek out those resources. I’ll just state that the Old and New Testament manuscripts are generally accepted as authentic and that the New Testament manuscripts come from the first century, while the oldest Old Testament manuscripts are also from the first century, they are thought to have been originally written much earlier. Of course, there are other religious text, many of which I have in part studied, but for me, the Bible speaks most clearly. Those of Jewish faith use the Old Testament of the Bible as the foundation for their understanding of God. Those of the Christian faith use the Old Testament along with the New Testament for their understanding of God. The only other religious text that comes close to the popularity of the Bible is the Qur’an which actually uses the Bible as a reference source. The simple fact that the Bible has been worshiped by millions for thousands of years is compelling enough for me to accept it as something far more than a simple book of clever stories.

Looking specifically at the New Testament we find the teachings of Jesus Christ which center on truth and honesty and the idea that the Bible is “The Word of God”. The first four books of the New Testament, written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, are reportedly eye witness accounts of Jesus Christ and his teachings, and these four men were willing to die for their belief in what they had written. I have to conclude that these four men were truly reporting their experiences. It doesn’t make sense to me that they got together and decided to create a legendary hero named Jesus, whom they elevated to God, knowing full well they may be brutally killed for this belief. So please accept with me for the moment that the Bible, both Old and New Testament may truly be divine works inspired by God.

Within the pages of the Bible you will find numerous prophesies, written hundreds of years in advance that were literally fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus is also reported to have lived a sinless life. He is also reported to have performed many miracles, including healing the sick, supplying large crowds with food and drink seemingly from nothing, and bringing the dead back to life. And finally, Jesus predicted and accomplished His own death and resurrection. It seems to me, if we believe that there is a God, and if we believe that the New Testament is a historically accurate document, and if we believe in the moral integrity of the New Testament writers, we must conclude that Jesus Christ was who he claimed to be – God Himself. I know that’s a lot of ifs, but for now let’s allow these assumptions to stand as possible facts as we continue our discussion.

I think the image of Jesus Christ as God has confused a lot of people about who God is. In my view, God is not a “who” but a “what”. The New Testament teaches that Jesus Christ was God the Son, directed by God the Father, and that by accepting Jesus’ death on the cross as payment for our sins we can be filled with God the Holy Spirit. The Bible also teaches that God is omniscient – he knows all, sees all and is everywhere at all times. The idea that God is somehow like us but with special powers is a kind of backward interpretation of God creating us in his image. We are like Him but He is not like us. The Bible clearly teaches that God is Spirit. The Spirit of God surrounds the earth and dwells inside all believers. The Spirit of God may be better understood by the further Biblical teaching that “God is love”. One might even conclude from these teachings that if you have experienced love, you have experienced God in your life. And beyond this, if you believe in the spirit of love you believe in the Spirit of God. Love is not something we can prove exists, but most of us have felt the power of love in our lives, and from my point of view, that is in fact the power of God. Therefore, when we ask the question, who needs God, we are actually asking who needs love.

I hope you’re with me in saying we all need love. You may not be ready to imply from this that we therefore all need God, but you should at least understand how the two may fit together. Furthermore, my hope is that based on this understanding you will want to seek to know more about God. Jesus Himself proclaimed the Bible “The Word of God” and elsewhere in the Bible it is said that “The Word is God”. This is clearly understood to mean that when you are reading the Bible you are not simply reading a book, but you are spending time with God; but this is only true if your heart is open to God, if your heart is closed to God, you are in fact just reading a book. This doesn’t mean you have to be a “believer” to be with God when reading the Bible, it simply means you must be open to becoming a “believer” when reading.

A central theme in the Bible is the battle between good and evil, which we see played out in our world every day. The secular world we live in, the world that is apart from God, or at best unaffected by God’s teaching, can be a major obstacle in building a relationship with God, or even allowing us to spend time with God in a meaningful way. Our secular society might be identified as a subtle evil, or a veil hiding God from our view by distracting us with the enticement of money, power, and all the other worldly things we frail humans lust after. For this reason, I strongly recommend anyone who is seeking a closer relationship with God, or a better understanding of God, should find a spiritual guide, a believer who can help navigate the waters. If you don’t personally know a Christian believer, simply visit your local church for some clear direction.

Finally, the Bible makes it clear that a relationship with God includes a strong relationship with other believers. There’s a lot of talk in the Bible about the “church” and it should be clearly understood that the “church” is not a building, but a group of believers. Worshiping God together with other believers is one of the central teachings of Jesus and the Bible in general. The secular world is a powerful force distracting us away from God, and the best way to combat the temptation not to follow a spiritually healthy path is to frequently be in the company of other believers where you can recharge your faith. I don’t want to paint the picture that you need to be in some cult-like isolation to have a relationship with God, because that would be in direct contrast to the teachings of Jesus. What is important is that you regularly seek fellowship with other believers for support and understanding.

Is a relationship with God possible? Do you need a relationship with God? Could you have a better relationship with God? I hope I’ve shed some light on the answers to those questions and sparked the desire in your heart to seek out a deeper understanding of God and a close personal relationship with Him.

 

 Last updated on June 10, 2011

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Comments 16 comments

Captain Jimmy profile image

Captain Jimmy 3 years ago from WV

Michael C Murphy profile image

Michael C Murphy 3 years ago from California Hub Author

Yes, always Seeking, Captain Jimmy, every minute of every day.

f_hruz profile image

f_hruz 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada Level 2 Commenter

The only comment you got so far was from this confused guy promoting his own link? :)

Doesn't look like any gods have taken much notice of your hub so far ... why do you think that would be?

All this religiosity I have read about on any of the hubs here, is sooo irrational, it really does look like it may require some sort of mental or emotional defect for a thinking being to want to have any kind of relationship to super-natural gods, or any of the holy men!

What happend to your sense of logic, reason, reality, objectivity - is mental health no longer of value to you, how about preserving a sens of sanity and reality in this world?

Michael C Murphy profile image

Michael C Murphy 3 years ago from California Hub Author

That's a fair question, f_hruz, believing in that which you cannot see or prove absolutely does seem irrational. Have you ever been in love? If so, how do you know that love was/is real? I believe there is more to this existence than the mind can comprehend.

f_hruz profile image

f_hruz 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada Level 2 Commenter

Do you want to just say: "We can't comprehend!" and hand things over to some irrational interpretation? The human mind can quite clearly grasp a lot of things if definde logically and built on solid reason ...

Love is just a word, often misused when not more defined to replace other emotions or desires an untrained intellect has problems grasping and reflecting on in ways which produce a greater degree of understanding.

This agument holds true for most discussions with people who confuse religiosity with what is actually part of reality they can't relate to in more logical ways.

Michael C Murphy profile image

Michael C Murphy 3 years ago from California Hub Author

You make a grand asumption that I just handed things over to an "irrational interpretation." It was a well studied process that involved reading the Bible from cover-to-cover, prayer, interaction with others who have experienced God personally, and my own personal experience with God. I don't believe that love is just a word - in my experience it is far more. Yes the human mind can grasp a lot of things, but I'm willing to admit there is much the human mind cannot grasp as well.

f_hruz profile image

f_hruz 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada Level 2 Commenter

It's like the old saying: "Yes, I can!" or "No, I can't!" ... you maybe correct on both counts. If you like to be religious, it's up to you.

I simply find the whole idea of super-natural talk way too intellectually retarding compared to a more science based way of thinking, which offers a much greater opportunity for real personal development than you can ever expect by trying to reflect on mythological ideas as if they were real.

Talking about man made, super-natural ideas as if they were part of reality is simply irrational. I, and most people who value their mental health find it way more important to undestand at which point your own mental activity undermines your sanity and all the other things in your life which depend on it ... but hey, you can go on and spend your entire life pretending the earth is flat, if it makes you feel better.

I just know enough about religiosity, and all that absurd verbiage, to want to keep a good light year away from it.

Where do you see any real value in closing the door on your own intellectual development? No gods will ever do it for you ... you, my friend, are in charge in this department!

Love is just a four letter word! What you are trying to put into this word is simply your idea of what love is in your mind with out spending the time to describe it with more apropriate words, in a blog, play, film or what ever form you wish!

God is just a three letter word! The magic powers you want to see in that word are your own doing ... so you keep busy wanting to make the unreal, super-natural come alive?

Michael C Murphy profile image

Michael C Murphy 3 years ago from California Hub Author

Whenever I see unbelievers kicking and screaming like this my first thought is "Thou doth protest too much." I wonder why they spend so much time and effort trying to talk their way out of believeing. Obviously it's because they still have doubts. They realize they could be missing something and are hoping their rant will convince the recipient to turn over the missing link to that spiritual connection they lack. Of course it is their intelect that is getting in the way. My impression is they cling to their intellect for security and letting go of that intellect to feel what's in their heart is frightening. I've also discovered many of those who deny the existence of God simply had a horrible father and therefore reject God the Father as a result. Indeed, the mind is the problem we both face. My mind allows me to accept the idea there are things I cannot know and therefore I'm open to spiritual concepts. Your mind tells you to keep "a good light year away." Your question, "Where do you see any real value in closing the door on your own intellectual development?" is absurd. It's a rediculous question. There are millions of believers in God and followers of Jesus who pocess grand intellectual prowess. You seem to let go of your own intellect to defend your position. In my experience, there are many things we feel in life that cannot be explained by the mind. Many have spent countless hours trying to explain everything that we feel, but I have yet to find a better explination than the one presented to me in the Bible. I believe God is at work in each and every one of us and that is why we feel. There is no "magic" it's the way God made us.

f_hruz profile image

f_hruz 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada Level 2 Commenter

Naaa - you make your own gods for what ever reason.

What is so absurd about the question: "Where do you see any real value in closing the door on your own intellectual development?". It's a rediculous question to you, maybe, because you do not value real intellectual progress and do not know how to develop your own mind further or you wouldn't be reading into one old book, things which can only take you deeper into a dead end mentally and emotionally ... or maybe you are aiming to become one with your god once you have given up all rationality in your head? :)

You don't even try to grasp the real power of nature to develop a better idea of reality based on science, the body of which is a lot more impressive to clearly thinking minds than all the religious BS constantly being recited by some confused minds.

How much more anti-intellectual can you get?

You are correct to say, there are millions of believers in all kinds of myths and followers of various cults who pocess some intellect, but maybe not enough to undestand how limited their grasp of reality is.

"You seem to let go of your own intellect to defend your position" ... now what is this observation based on?

Michael C Murphy profile image

Michael C Murphy 3 years ago from California Hub Author

Your question, "Where do you see any real value in closing the door on your own intellectual development?" is based on an erroneous assumption illustrated by the fact that there are millions of great minds who believe in God and follow Jesus. It's rediculous because obvious facts demonstrate there are millions of believers who are not at a "dead end mentally and emotionally." And to believe those millions simply don't have "enough intellect to understand how limited their grasp of reality is." is a conclusion that can only be reached by letting go of your own intellect. I conceed it's possible these millions all conjured up their experience with God in their mind to satisfiy an emotional need but my personal experience suggest otherwise. My connection to God feels very real to me. My study of God's Word has given me a peace of mind I never experienced in the 30 years I lived without God in my life. This is an unmistakable transformation that seems very unlikely to be caused by an anti-intellectual confusion. I don't feel dead mentally or emotionally as you suggest. On the contrary, I feel empowered mentally and emotionally. It's true, you have to want to know God to experience Him and this makes it seem like a self fulfilling event, but for me, once I made the connection it did not seem at all by my own design. Again, it's certainly possible I just needed something to help me control my own insecurities, but now 25 years into this experience that seems completely illogical. I appreciate your desire to dig deeper into sicence and to trust that which can be proven undeniably. I remain a man of faith and believe there is much more to know than human scientists are capable of ever comprehending.

f_hruz profile image

f_hruz 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada Level 2 Commenter

Thanks for explaining your position to me.

You are quite correct, a lot is waiting to be yet discovered, but only through rational forms of research and discovery which makes me quite sure about scientific thought being the best tool for the job.

Even among various philosophies, among which religion is one of them, do I find some forms of thought more constructive than others.

Since I know for a fact that all forms of life on this planet, including myself, are a product of nature, I simply can't reject nature as the basis to a solid foundation to my undestanding of reality which makes it easy for me to see all super natural ideas as ill defined and not in conformity with my sense of what is rational.

I wish you well,

Franto

Michael C Murphy profile image

Michael C Murphy 3 years ago from California Hub Author

I greatly appreciate the discussion, Franto. Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Michael Adams1959 profile image

Michael Adams1959 3 years ago from Wherever God leads us.

Excellent work, and so very thoughtful and precise on the ensuing dialogue.

Michael C Murphy profile image

Michael C Murphy 3 years ago from California Hub Author

Thanks, Michael, I appreciate you taking the time to read through it.

lindatymensky profile image

lindatymensky 3 years ago

Again, another good article. Linda

Michael C Murphy profile image

Michael C Murphy 3 years ago from California Hub Author

Thanks, Linda, many blessings!

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