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We Could Use God's Help - Where Is He?
Deepak Chopra, MD is the author of more than 70 books with twenty-one New York Times bestsellers and co-author with Rudolph Tanzi of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being. (Harmony)


Tragedies like the Newtown shootings and the devastation from Hurricane Sandy test people's faith in God. When God fails to intervene in human suffering, the acceptance of a loving deity who cares for his children arouses fresh doubts. For centuries, God's failure to perform has been blamed on worshippers. Sin, temptation, human frailty, the seduction of evil - a whole range of faults belong to us rather than God. Even in an age that is much less strict in matters of religion, "What did I do wrong?" is a thought that lurks in the mind when bad things happen.

What if we erase the slate and look clearly at the situation. Something terrible happens, people suffer, they implore God for help, but no help comes. If such a thing occurred when a house caught fire and the fire trucks never came, naturally the blame would fall on those who are assigned to rescue us. Is it fair to apply the same standard to a God who fails to show up?

The atheist position on this question is both simple and certain. God doesn't show up because he doesn't exist. But the rest of us are likely to feel mixed emotions. When you look at yourself and ask where you stand on the God issue, you are almost certainly in one of the following situations:
  • Unbelief: You don’t accept that God is real, and your unbelief is expressed by living as if God makes no difference.
  • Faith: You hope that God is real, and your hope is expressed as faith.
  • Knowledge: You have no doubt that God is real, and therefore you live as if God is always present.

When someone becomes a spiritual seeker, they want to move from unbelief to knowledge. The path is by no means clear, however. Yet without actual knowledge of God, no one can settle a basic question like "Should God be relied upon to heal suffering or divert disasters?" Short of true knowledge, you either shrug God off for being useless in the everyday world or you take on faith that his infinite wisdom reaches beyond our limited perspective - in other words, suffering fits into the divine plan.

Let’s say that you recognize yourself in one of these three states of unbelief, faith, and knowledge. It’s quite all right if they are jumbled and you have passing moments of each. What feels like a muddle could actually be a path. Unbelief can lead to faith and faith to true knowledge. This holds true for many other things in life, only we don't use religious terms for it. When you learn to ride a bike, or roller-skate, or how to be in love, uncertainty dominates at first, then you begin to believe that you're getting somewhere, and finally you know that you are there.

It's ironic that the band of militant atheists who have attracted so much public attention, like Richard Dawkins base their unbelief on evolution. In reality they don't believe that spirituality can evolve. They are stuck on one note - religion is a primitive throwback - which makes no sense on any level. The history of civilization is paralleled by the evolution of religious thought. Thomas Aquinas and the Buddha weren't exactly sitting around a fire chipping at arrow heads, but militant atheists make their unbelief look like "progress."

If there is a path to God, we are asking the big questions while in a muddled state; with clarity, these questions may have credible answers. Certainly a secular age isn't going to back pedal and return to dogmatic faith. At the same time, spiritual experiences are natural and universal; they have always existed and still do, which means that God is available, if he exists. (For the moment I'll use the conventional "he," although the deity has no gender and shouldn't been seen in the image of a human being).

God is hidden somewhere, as a presence, in all three situations, whether as a negative (the deity you are fleeing from when you walk away from organized religion) or as a positive (a higher reality that you aspire to). Being faintly present isn’t the same as being truly important, much less the most important thing in existence. If it was possible to make God real again, I think everyone would agree to try. In the next series of posts, I'd like to trace how unbelief can lead to God. This isn't a way to validate organized religion or to defend the God of any particular religion. What we'll be interested in is discovering what makes God real, living, and true.

(To be cont.)
 

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Comments

Instead of defining an atheist as in the position of Unbelief: \"You don’t accept that God is real, and your unbelief is expressed by living as if God makes no difference\" you can also define it as the position of Knowledge: \"You have no doubt that God is NOT real, and therefore you live as if God is NOT present.\" Why is the author making the assumption that only religious people have \"Knowledge\" and that Atheists are like in his example, a kid starting to ride a bike? Atheists believe they have a better reason to be in a position of knowledge (though you can`t prove a negative, for all practical purposes you can believe that god is not real just like the Loch Ness Monster is not real) than religious folks.
Charvakan - March 1, 2013
God`s Prophets come few and far between. I see what you are doing here: while speaking of God and human`s different ways of believing (or non-belief), you are also seeming to appear as though you`re not sure where your own Faith lies. \nIt`s always been pretty simple to me. http://www.reverbnation.com/summeritrains
Prophetically Astounded - February 1, 2013
We are not meant to suffer. This is the choose of man. We all have the power within ourselves to be as God intended. Divine original state. You will only understand this if you have experienced this oneness with the divine light of all creation. That which is one with all things. What man has choose in this life and on this plain is over and over again the state of ego. Self. This has led mankind further from this divine source, divine intention, and one conscious mind. Oneness with the universe. There have been those who have come from this divine light to teach knowledge of this divine. The Christ, Buddha just to name 2. Unfortunately man, for reasons of self and creed have distorted the messages for their own purposes. The true message of ascension of the mind and body to a higher state of being has been hidden, tucked away, and kept from the masses. To have this knowledge does not serve those who seek power, prestige, money,and ranking. With true knowledge of Divine you have no need for any of these things or labels. It is the machine and current society that has turned so far from the natural and true nature of our creator`s divine truth. People are losing hope because they`ve put all of there faith in man. The hope that`s been lost is not by God`s doing, but by the very thinking that is furthest from this divine source. Man is losing faith and hope in man. Look what we have done! This is not our creator`s doing, this is the free will of man and ultimate choose. To listen to their God voice and turn away from it. Each and every one of us know what is right and wrong for our souls. This has been put in our very DNA by our creation. The damage to mankind comes when the chooses that are made are done for self, and ego. Not for God and mankind as a whole. We are divinely connected! We are in the process of correction! This is inevitable!
Michaele - January 30, 2013
God is always here to put u in a good state of mind
Sandhya Devi Jhowry - January 30, 2013
U r the one who share true values...n help us to go more closer to us n actually live hPpily...thnx ...
Aavneet Kaur - January 29, 2013
A friendly greeting from Colombia. Dr. Deepak Chopra. God allowed me to discover a surprising your teachings and begin to see changes in my life. I accept your suggestion to read this book. God bless you.
Marlecita Bermejo Guzmán - January 29, 2013
WoW!....I SEE.
Norman Échavarria - January 29, 2013
Awesome correctly written article the words and frases do implement many questions that ocure in predestitination ,wel written and its makes me think \n3times more
Alexander777 - January 29, 2013
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