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Theology God in the Face of Science and Suffering

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By theejuliet
Words 1577
Pages 7
Juliet Le
THRS 200
Experiential Essay Suffering and Science:
The Possibility of a Loving God Before enrolling in a theology course, I was biased about the views of the possibility of a Christian God. I’ve seen far too many people say that God is their savior and everything they do is because of him, or for him. It was always to some far-fetched point, where I was unable to comprehend where their views came from. I never had the evidence or background to fall back on for a reason to have a foundation for the belief in God. Taking into consideration the numerous contextual readings from the arguments for the pros and cons for the existence of God, I still come to a conclusion that God does not exist in the human experience. Denis Edwards is the most notable author that I was able to relate to. By beginning with the nature of experience, we first encounter an individual and then we have an interpretation and understanding of that individual. Therefore, experience involves both encounters and interpretation of that encounter. We can have similar encounters, but different interpretations. This is where I was able to understand that the interpretive stage of experience can be biased, whether it may be because of emotional blockages, or unconscious motives. Edwards’s claims made me understand why I was unable to grasp the possibility of a God. Throughout my childhood, I was brought up in a Buddhist religion, never having even heard one thing about the Christian God. On the other hand, I have friends that have been rooted in God from childbirth. Therefore, I can now understand why people have biases, and how people come to have their views and beliefs in God, which I have come to understand and accept. Through these experiences and interpretations, I can comprehend Gods possibility of existence, however I still question the issues about a loving God in the face of suffering and science. The issues of poverty have greatly impacted my life because I have always been an advocate for the poor. Gustavo Gutierrez, the author of, The Book On Job, is a father of liberation of theology. He labored years as a parish priest among the poor of Lima, Peru. Realizing the existence of individual suffering and realization of social injustice and innocent suffering of others, The Book of Job, unfolds the mystical encounter with the God of creation. God’s possibility made it obvious to the character of Job, of the gratuitousness of Gods love. However, based off of Job, I did not find it convincing that suffering should still exist if God is present. Even through all of his hardships, Job never curses God, and suddenly he realizes that God is always present no matter what suffering he goes through. God does not just stand back; instead he is part of the suffering. The part I find compelling is that Gutierrez still does not explain why suffering should exist in the first place. I especially disagree with The Book of Job, when he receives all of his possessions at the end of his story. In reality, when one encounters suffering or hardships, and they overcome their struggles, it is not realistic to see them receiving all of his assets back. Currently, there has been a horrifying flood in Thailand where houses and buildings have been wiped away. Although they may be survivors, their house will not magically reappears after the flood is over. Job’s experience of God in the face of suffering does not have hard evidence to fall back on. Nonetheless, seeing this unfold we use this as a conversation to how nature and experience can be the medium of God, or the rejection of God. Richard Dawkins argument for the nonexistent of God is evident and feasible. Dawkings argues that behind the face of reverse engineering and utility function, how can their exist a loving God when there is not one answer to a way of maximizing life since there are so many contradictions. In fact, the suffering we see in the world is not suffering at all. It is simply DNA trying to survive. There is no problem to begin with unless we bring about the issues of a loving God into the equation. Again, I am able to understand the possibility of God through Edwards’ claims about experience and interpretation, but Dawkins leads me to understand that the world does not need a God, even if he existed. A clearer example of my opinion is seen in Dawkins claims about the watchmaker. Dawkins example about how the watchmaker analogy is a self-refuting argument. He believes that if complex things must have been designed by something more complex than themselves, then anything posited as a complex designer must also have been created by something even more complex. Carl Sagan also emphasizes on infinite regress, a question that no one can counter argue. Sagan wants to know why it is any more reasonable to believe that God has always been than it is to say that matter has always been. These two scientists have provided examples that I cannot refute, which is why I still hesitate for the 100 percent belief in God. On the other side of the story, there are scientists who have claims that science and God can go hand in hand. John Polkinghorne tries to argue that although science may tell us a lot of truths about our reality but stresses that data does not just jump out of the sky. It must start from some point of perspective. Polkinghorne speaks upon the epistemological gaps, or the gaps of knowledge. Ontological gaps are gaps within the world. Polkinghorne says that, our individual experience of moral imperative within us make us have the desire to hope which suggest that there must be something more at work than what science can explain. I can only agree with Polkinghorne to some extent. I am aware that as humans, we have the capacity to ask questions and seek answers in many things. Yet, I do not agree with his claims that, because of our desire to seek the truth, it must mean that God is present. I am a very curious individual that always asks questions. This does not mean that God is present just because I want to know the reason behind it. Furthermore, Polkinghorne states that by trying to point to actual gaps in nature, God fulfills those gaps and can act in a special way. I understand Polkinghorne’s claims about the link between science and God, but I still find it hard to believe. Although God fills these “gaps” in life in a special way, the definition of “special” is not defined in any manner. If God was the higher, all mighty, why couldn’t he have just left any gaps in the universe so that we were able to fully understand where atoms and molecules come from? Instead, it just seems like these gaps are an excuse to throw God into humanity. Similarly, Teilhard de Chardin goes by the principle of Sacramentality by seeing god in all things. Instead of God being in heaven, he is meshed within our world. Teilhard saw that science was a pathway of shaping who God is. Science with natural world led to a mysticism. I came to a realization that Polkinghorne, Haught, and Chardin both claim that God is grounded in our world, but their claims have no evidence. The gaps in the world, and Sacramentality are just terms they used to help fulfill their claims. It is not evident that he saw God in all things, just because Chardin had an interest in the natural world. I have played basketball since my childhood, but I never saw my hobby and interests as God. I enjoy hiking and the beautiful outdoors, but I do not see God in the trees or the dirt. Pedro Arrupe’s experience of miracles makes him finally believes in the existence of God. In my opinion, miracles are something indescribable and have no reason behind it, but I do not believe that miracles happen because of God. They are simply miracles because they cannot be explained, they are illicit reasoning that leave people in awe. Furthermore, Polkinghorne’s views on miracles he believes, is seen best in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yet, before we can assume that it is a miracle, we are skipping to the conclusion that Jesus Christ’s resurrection is true. We are just assuming that it did happen, and that it was a miracle. Piecing together many views of the possibility of a God in the face of suffering and science has been a positive experience. I feel that I am no longer biased about the views of the Christian God, and he does not feel oppressive because I now understand the experience and interpretive stages of it. It is still hard for me to believe that God does exist because even through the examples of the scientists that do believe in God, their claims are grounded on opinions and assumptions. Suffering is a major issue in the world today and we cannot leave global issues in the hands of religion. Instead, we should start implementing plans and goals to help end poverty. Like Sagan once said, God needs to leave incontrovertible evidence for his existence, like a crucifix looping the universe!

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