Why do I ascribe the idea of “God” to the unknowns? Why am I more comfortable with this as opposed leaving them unknown?
I guess I substitute God in the place of the unknowns because I believe in love, and I think the clearest agents of love throughout history have been people who have pointed beyond themselves to God. (Jesus, Socrates, Dostoyevsky, Frederick Buechner, MLK). Fundamentalists- including fundamental scientists– have distorted the truth throughout history. A fundamentalist is a person who asserts that his/her notion of the world is the only right one– fundamental Christians, Muslims, and arrogant scientists have kept us from experiencing truth. (This idea is explored in Plato’s allegory of the cave– again, a Myth that has paradoxically acted as a vehicle for truth.) I also believe it is possible to be deeply committed to something without being a radical and without being a relativist. There is a middle ground.
Maybe I substitute God for the unknown because I am deeply aware that I want the world to change, I have this vision for what the world could be, and I cannot get it there by myself. I believe it was Ayn Rand- an atheist (and also a woman who communicated the truth through fiction)– who said that “artists see the world as it ought to be” whereas scientists see the world “as it is.” I substitute God for the unknowns because I cannot achieve this “vision” on my own– but can only be a part of it.
But none of what I just said really matters, does it?
What matters is this:
I substitute God for the unknowns because I have experienced Him. There is something in the core of my being that cannot deny him. And this experiential knowledge, I believe, is really the only way of knowing anything with any certainty. It’s an alternative consciousness– a state of “unknowing” in a way. It is when I– to the best of my ability– attempt to go beyond all of the different institutions and systems that tell me what to believe- and instead ask those questions of myself. These moments of “experiential knowledge” occur– quite paradoxically– when I silence my mind. For instance– when I cling to the one I love in the midst of adversity, when I press my daughter’s cheek tightly against my own, when I catch my breath in the utter beauty of the autumn sun or when my heart skips a beat because of the vastness of the sky. These experiences connect me not to the unknown– but to something I know very deeply, very profoundly, on the most intimate level. In these moments of knowledge, I do not hear– I simply know– that I am loved, that I’m not alone, and that the Story isn’t over yet.
When you look inside yourself, in silence– abandoning all pre-conceived notions and honestly seeking truth: what do you find? Have you tried? This type of inner-knowledge is trans-rational. And ultimately– it is the only state of existence in which we are truly free– in every sense of the word. This freedom is initially terrifying, but I’ve come to understand that it is the most authentic way of experiencing truth.