The idea of God or the issue of God is a complex one fraught with many emotional and intellectual challenges. It is therefore not surprising that people have many difficulties with conceptualizing God, considering whether or not God exists, and understanding what to do if God does exist. What are these difficulties that individuals experience and what can be done to help these people work through these difficulties?
Conceptions of God are vast and vary greatly. One of the difficulties that an individual has in considering the existence of God is grasping this great variety of opinions. It can be discouraging for the sincere seeker who encounters such a difference of opinion on such an important topic. Generally a topic of study has a consensus of opinion which gives the student a starting point from which to begin an inquiry. Though he or she will later encounter differences of opinion on particular subjects, a solid starting point is something that can be relied upon when confusion is encountered.
The God issue, though, has no such consensus. It seems that everyone thinks about God in a different way and that there is no ultimate consensus on what God is like and whether or not God exists at all. The biggest challenge when addressing the issue of God is a willingness to start somewhere, be open to a great variety of opinions, and then make determinations to the best of one’s abilities. A humble, open searcher is more likely to work through the diversity of thought on the issue of God.
The issue of God is a deeply spiritual one. Considering whether or not an individual was created by a personal God or not means everything about how a person lives, how he or she thinks about himself or herself, and how he or she relates to all that exists. The weight of the topic is such that the seeker may give up in despair. Being willing to think deeply about very important things is necessary when addressing the God issue. Realizing that those who talk and speak about the topic bring with them the same depth of emotion and intensity will help the seeker in working through how he or she thinks about the God issue.
If there is a God, then everything changes. This is not a topic that can be considered lightly. For an individual to address the God issue, he or she must be willing to have every assumption about life, everything that he or she has learned from others, and every belief that he or she has to be challenged. The God issue is not for the faint of heart. Addressing it requires courage to allow the facts to lead to an ultimate conclusion.
The idea of God is a non-physical belief. Most people develop their understanding of the world through interaction with what can be touched, felt, seen, heard, and tastef. The human senses are the means by which an understanding of truth is achieved. The idea of God is very different. To accept belief in the existence of God is to accept that there is reality outside of the human senses. This change of belief is, for many, a change of worldview that is as radical as any that they will make in a lifetime.
Dealing with the issue of God introduces the idea of faith. Faith is believing in facts that one cannot personally assess. It means to take the next step in trusting in a God that cannot be seen, but that can be known by activities that can be seen. Going beyond known facts requires being willing to allow one’s destiny to rest on facts that cannot be individually assessed. Such trust is difficult and risky. The individual who is used to playing things safe and not taking risks will be seriously challenged when dealing with the issue of God. In addition, the individual who is only comfortable when dealing with things that he or she can see will have serious difficulties in addressing the issue of God.
The issue of God has everything to do with the course of a person’s life. The individual who has grown accustomed to being the director of his or her life will struggle with the concept of a God to whom he or she is accountable. Many people consider the right or wrong of an action in light of the responses of others, but the introduction of the idea of God changes everything.
The belief that a person’s actions are ultimately accountable to a God who will judge those actions and determine his or her destiny seriously changes the way a person makes decisions about every area of life. When a person thinks of life only in terms of a lifetime then he or she will make determinations in one manner. But when the issue of God is introduced, that person’s entire approach to life changes. The idea of living eternally, of an eternal destiny, and of a personal God who is intensely interested in how a person lives makes a radical change in an individual’s pattern of life. The introduction of the issue of God requires a willingness to transform everything about how a person thinks, lives, and what he or she does.
The issue of God is complicated, emotional, and frustrating. With so many concepts of God, it is difficult to come to one answer. Addressing the issue of God introduces challenges to the very course of a person’s life. An individual must be strong intellectually and emotionally to take on the challenge of the issue of God, be willing to go where the facts lead, have faith where facts cannot be known, and make the necessary life changes that are appropriate. The issue of God is critical and the wise individual will take on the difficulties and come out stronger as a result.