My father fought in the Army in World War II in Germany. He was at Dachau the day the concentration camp was liberated. His staff photographer took many pictures of the camp, including the piles of dead bodies and the emaciated ones. My father made a book of the photographs, which I saw when I was 5 or 6. That’s when I stopped believing in God. I couldn’t believe that a loving God could allow such suffering. I never prayed again.
Some of the greatest theologians I have met will simply throw up their hands and admit that they don’t understand it, either.
So, do I believe in God now?
Where I am with this question has changed many times since I began “On Faith.”
I have a difficult time believing that there is no reason for our existence, no greater force out there that is too much for the human mind to comprehend. I also believe that we are two different people. We are biological creatures, but we also have spirits or our own energy or whatever you want to call it. I do not have a personal relationship with God. I think that if he/she/it wanted me to, it would happen.
I often envy those who believe, because that relationship gives so many people such great solace.
I don’t understand the concept of having no tolerance for the beliefs of others or the notion that there is only one true religion. I respect all beliefs as long as no one is harmed and those beliefs are not imposed.
Another question I always ask is, “What or who is God to you?” I have never received the same answer. Nobody has ever described God as a white-bearded old man in a long flowing white robe sitting on a throne in heaven. Given that God is clearly so personal and that we all have such different ideas about who or what God is, how can anyone not respect the views of others?
I have found that nobody has the same view, regardless of whether they are of the same religion, family, country, culture or race.
What I have learned is this:
God is what you or I or anyone else says God is.
This I know.