...an extremely important and (I believe) inevitable conversation has arisen as a tangent to our philosophy discussions: Is there a God? How can we know that He exists? I would like to ask all readers to share their experiences of God, with a few caveats:
1. Be respectful
2. Be kind
3. Be coherent
4. Be positive
If you are a firm believer in a God, please explain how you came to know that He exists (yes, I know that the phrasing of the question reflects my Christian understanding of God. I'm also a Presuppositionalist!)
Do you have any "proofs" or "arguments" for the existence of God?
Have you had any experiences of His presence? Would you describe them?
I am a bit of a follower of Kierkegaard myself: I think that proofs/evidences are helpful, but that neither rationalism nor evidentialism will bring the human mind and heart all the way to belief. A leap of faith is necessary. And, as a believer of the Reformed persuasion, I think the ability to take that leap is a gift of grace.
What do you think?
Here's a three-part poem describing some of my "experiences" of God's presence -- which I don't think I would have known how to interpret had I not already formed my position from which to evaluate all sensory and emotional data. Yes, that's cyclical. That's the leap of faith, again.
’81 yellow Buick station wagon,
monochrome April breeze—
scent of cigarette, scent of dusk—
oblivious family chatter.
But I, just baptized,
wear some thick shining Joy
wrapped around me
and pouring through my hollow spaces.
Small garret switchboard office,
lonely afternoon in shades of beige:
kneeling on a dingy industrial carpet,
bowing my head on an overworked armchair,
I see a fluff of linty stuffing straggling out
through a torn triangle corner,
touch the sticky scratched wooden arms.
But I feel Someone in this empty room,
seem to rest my head on His knees,
sense His hand’s weight on my hair, I think:
certainly a sudden joy burns through and past.
Love in the breathing shape of Him:
love like flesh,
like comfort if it came to me.
Brown paneled walls black in the twilight,
garish orange bedspreads in dormitory rows,
bleak winter view spread long and weary behind me.
“No, the Italian starts in the major
and the Scottish in the minor,” says my sister,
or maybe vice versa,
but neither of Mendelssohn’s
springtime sunlit symphonies
lifts the scent of death and loneliness
I stand here while the sun sets, and has set.
But somehow an unthought sureness
lies solidly underneath my old jabbering doubts,
unexamined and firm.
A walking with Him through grief
like any friend.
I could reach out and take His hand!
maybe I’ve been holding it this whole time.
"Crawford Notch" by Thomas Cole