Rick Keeney wrote:One of the issues I have with my faith is people claiming that God has spoken to them. Also God's absence in times of utter desperation, hardship, and evil. You'll find all Christians, from the simplest of laypersons to the most devout, well-studied priests and theologians, struggle mightily with that last one.
It seems to me...
Forgive me if I come across a bit blunt, but where's the issue? Taking a page from the gospels, Jesus said, I believe, wherever two or more of you are gathered together in my name, there I am. What does this mean if not that god is present in us and if we're there, so is god. By that reasoning, god is never absent.
What is absent is the externalized magician people call upon to make things right.
Is that god?
The hard part, it seems to me, is recognizing the implications of that. That if your faith means anything, it means that you are the one on the scene, at the time, with the responsibility. God, therefore, abandons no one---we abandon ourselves.
I say all this in the language of religion to make the larger point, which is that by any metric there is no contradiction. Believers were basically told, up front, "it's on you." Because that's where the action is, where the power lies. The hard pill to swallow is when what seems to be taken as the autopilot fails, but that's only because there wasn't one in the first place.
Atheists already understand that what needs doing people need to do. In the doing, you find god. Atheists, of course, wouldn't call it that, but doesn't it functionally amount to the same thing?
When Heinlein's Michael Valentine Smith points at Jubal and all the others and says "Thou art god" he's stating a basic truth.