Searching for God in a Secular Society


Mobilerabbi is constantly meeting Jews who describes themselves as “non-religious” or “secular.”  Apparently, God is missing in their daily lives.


I once asked a class to draw a picture of God and no one gave the response I was looking for: that Jews believe that one cannot draw a picture of God.  From a traditional Jewish perspective, one can’t prove God exists.  No human can grasp God’s essence.


However, there are various philosophical proofs of the existence of God.  Some people use reason to maintain a belief in God.


There is the teleological argument (teleos is Greek for purpose), which is based on the observation that there is a supremely intelligent Being, God, who accounts for the design and order in nature.


There is the cosmological argument, which is based on the idea of motion, that nothing moves by itself and the prime mover is God. God started creation and keeps the universe going.


The Jewish philosopher, Maimonides concluded that since everything in the universe is dependent on something else, there had to be something ultimate and unchanging to support it or God.


There is the moral argument, which states that if morality exists, it must have one source: God.   If God does not exist, then we would not know what is right and wrong.   If there is no God, all is permitted so long as one does not get caught.


The problem with reason is that is can also lead us away from God.


In the Torah, God’s existence is never in doubt.  There was no attempt to prove God’s existence. Nowhere in the Torah are we commanded to believe in God.  The Torah does not discuss where God came from.  This makes it unique in ancient Near East literature, whose stories about the world’s creation begin with the birth of the gods.


In the Torah, we’re asked to love God, to serve God, to be in awe of God, but nowhere to believe in God.  We’re encouraged to arrive at our own conclusions about God not through blind faith, rather through experience and reason.


Mobilerabbi maintains that we should not deny God out of ignorance.  Being a Jew means at the very least wrestling with the concept of God.  Besides, our search for God often tells us more about ourselves than about God.


Yes, question God, but we should not ignore God.




No Comments

Post a Comment