We All Believe In God
In the beginning God . . .
America is a nation that believes in God. Most recent surveys seem to indicate between 80-and-90 percent of the American population believes in God. What is more elusive is the exact description of God. Who is this "God" everyone believes in?
A dictionary definition of God is a being conceived of as supernatural, immortal, and having special powers over the lives and affairs of people and nature.
The difficulty is taking this definition and matching it to the existing concepts of God. In New Age, for example, God is inside of us and we just need to find Him. This translates into a statement such as "we are or will become gods ourselves." This is the basic concept of Mormonism and many other religions, as well as New Age. This concept is similar to, but not always the same as, the idea of Nirvana in Eastern religions. Nirvana is peace with the universe, a peace in which all good (and sometimes all evil) will collapse. For example, a simple definition of Hindu nirvana is that state where the soul has freed itself from the cycle of reincarnation. All will become all.
Other religious groups view God as more spiritual, or more impersonal, or less powerful. Some groups have multiple gods, although, one might ask, how can this be if God is supreme? Others believe in a single God - Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all believe in a single God - monotheism. Of course, they do not believe in the same God.
There are other methods of viewing God:
- Polytheism is the belief in many gods, multiple gods. As mentioned, the issue must be one of how can each be a god?
- Pantheism hold that God is impersonal and is the same as nature, or that nature is the same as God, that is everything is part of everything. Again, how can God then be God?
- A variation of pantheism, called hylozoism, identifies the life principle of life as being God.
- Materialism effectively argues that matter is self-functioning and no god is necessary. But, if this is true, how did it all start?
So, who is correct? Each group, of course, will argue they are correct in their understanding of God. But, what if you have to prove His existence? Or what He is like? How does one go about doing this?