Experiencing The Search For God
July 31, 2006
We were going to watch our favorite Bowling for Dollars episode (who could resist Stan and Doris Kowalski, from Newark, NJ?) when got sidetracked rereading Gagdad Bob’s response to our first On the Couch query.
Gagdad and Petey note that
I was once an atheist, but not the obligatory kind. Rather, I was open to the evidence and soon realized that, in order to discover God, one must respect the time-tested means for doing so. In other words, many people believe that you need to first believe in God in order to be religious. However, it’s generally the other way around. In order to know God, you must be religious. Religions–real religions–are ways to make God present in your life.
This is a powerful observation, to be sure. That said, the inevitable question must be asked- why would one accept religious strictures if he didn’t believe in a deity? Isaac Bashevis Singer noted that “Man cannot live without self-control.” This too, is a profound observation. There is the life of experience and the life of events. Experiences build upon each other, whereas events are finite in nature, with defined start and end times.
Gagdad Bob offers up insight from an external stimulus (event) that can translate itself into an experience.
…it’s just amazing how many mysteries of the cosmos are unlocked by the existence of music. I have always been a great music lover, and now I see that, even in my atheistic days, it was one of the things that kept me connected to Spirit, for music is a spiritual transmission, pure and simple. Great music casts a luster of noetic light from one world into this one, somehow riding piggyback on vibrations of air. No one knows how or why this should be so in a species that was simply selected by evolution to hunt for food and sexual partners. Why on earth should vibrating air molecules be beautiful, even to the point of moving one to tears or to ecstasy?
To be sure, there are no free rides. If music is to be fully understood and experienced, we cannot be satisfied in assuming a passive posture, waiting for music to happen.
But the point, of course, is not to study the score but to hear the music. The score is pointless unless it achieves the purpose of making music present. It must be read, performed, and understood experientially, not theoretically. Where was music before humans made it present? Roughly speaking, it was in the same place God is before you make him present. I don’t mean to sound flip, but this is why it is so easy to find God, because the finding is in the seeking.
There is a reason so much of great music is so much a part of faith. The Jewish Psalmist that wrote with fluid beauty, also wrote for ‘the chief musician,’ for ‘flutes’ or ‘stringed instruments.’ Some of the most beautiful poetry in the history of mankind, magnificent words, were written to be accompanied with music.
Music was commissioned by the church and believers to celebrate God and faith.
Those who seek God, will probably find Him. Those who aren’t sure if they want to seek God, may never hear all the music.
Would you search for God, in order to hear the music?