Posts tagged " agnosticism "

How Do I Connect to God?

July 28th, 2020 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 9 comments

Hi,

I was raised Christian and midway into my adult life, I questioned many things about my faith and reevaluated where I stand. I went through bouts of atheism and ended up more agnostic in my beliefs. I felt abandoned and always searching for God/Creator and what that really is.

I still enjoy the moral lessons in scripture and especially yours. But I still feel that sense of disconnection from God.

I would like your advice on what I should do to accomplish my quests to find the peace, connection, and love of God, while all the while, always questioning the existence and presence that I cannot see. I hope that you can offer advice.

Marcus

Dear Marcus,

By its very definition, having faith means trusting in something that cannot be proven beyond a doubt. Maimonides, a great sage who lived from 1138-1204 instructs us, not to believe that there is a God, but to “know that there is a God”.  Of course, that quest to know God is an ongoing one. We do not each day need to set out to “know” that we need to breathe oxygen or that our bodies require food. Other things that we “know” do need constant reinforcement such as knowing that we should be faithful (there’s that faith word again) to our spouses or that getting up with alacrity is better than lounging in bed.

You are clearly a thinking person and also one who feels deeply. It sounds like you have gone through a process and it is possible that you may even have confused accepting specific tenets of a specific religious path with being aware of a loving Father in heaven.

You now seek connection with God. Please know that being aware of a connection with God and of His love for you does lead to peace, but most of us feel that more at some times and less at others. The search for that connection does not always make us feel peaceful; it can actually be disturbing just as an emerging newborn is jostled, pushed and prodded by going through the birth canal.

Here are some practical tips we hope may help you.

1)        If you don’t feel the way you wished you felt, start acting the way you’d act if you already felt the way you’d like to feel.  You may need to read that sentence twice, but it boils down to talking and praying to God before you are sure He is there and listening.

2)        Try to designate a time and place for daily prayer when you won’t be disturbed or interrupted by the phone or by people. You certainly can and should talk to God “off the cuff” throughout the day, but a set time and place will serve to “prime the pump” so to speak.

3)        Spend twice as much time during your prayer session, in silent contemplation as you do speaking. So many times, we talk to God telling Him of our needs, desires and questions, but we run around the rest of the day, not allowing ourselves the quiet to listen for His responses to us.

4)        Get to know in person or listen to or read about people of deep and simple faith for an hour or two each week.  Reading about someone who trained for and ran a marathon or listening to them present a motivational speech makes it easier to follow in their footsteps. The same is true for faith. There are so many people and resources out there, some public figures and others less well-known. Find those who resonate with you.

5)        Start reading a book about how the world and the human body work. Understanding how complex and miraculous this universe and our human existence are evokes gratitude to God for each day we survive and each breath we take.

6)        You might want to go through the book of Psalms slowly, taking half a year or even a whole year to work your way through.

We are confident that 90 days or so into this regimen you will feel more secure and settled than you are today. Don’t expect a steady, consistent change. You will face challenges that make you take a step back and that seduce you to give up and quit your quest. Persistence, humility and courage will keep you on the right track.

Let us know how it goes,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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