"Don't worry about doubting unless it interferes with faith.”
Welcome to God: An Autobiography, The Podcast. A dramatic adaptation and continuing discussion of the book God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher by Jerry L. Martin.
He was a lifelong agnostic, but one day he had an occasion to pray. To his vast surprise, God answered- in words. Being a philosopher, he had a lot of questions, and God had a lot to tell him.
Read God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher.
Would You Like To Share Your Experience With God? We Want To Hear About Your Spiritual Journey!
GOD: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY - THE PODCAST
JLM - Narrator (Jerry L. Martin) - voiced by Scott Langdon
Jerry - Jerry Martin - voiced by Scott Langdon
GOD - The Voice of God - voiced by Jerry L. Martin, who heard the voice
EPISODE FOUR: Where I learn to tell if a message really is from God
Judaism, Christianity, Jews, Jesus--all this upset me, so, for a time, I concentrated on day-to-day matters. One morning I started to ask some trivial question and was interrupted.
You stopped asking me because some of the answers disturbed you. They shook your faith.
Lord, why is faith like that? Why is your interaction with us so tenuous and subject to doubt?
First, it is not. During most times, people have not had trouble believing. Believing in me or in some gods was--is--the most natural thing in the world.
Second, my "invisibility" has to do with the kind of Being I am. It's like asking why we can't see neutrinos. Nobody can see your "mind." You believe in "other minds" with no greater "evidence."
God was alluding to the topic of my doctoral dissertation. One of the great philosophical puzzles concerns skepticism with regard to knowledge of other minds. The problem arises from the fact that we do not have direct access to other people's thoughts and feelings. We only observe their outer behavior. In fact, we do not have any proof that others really have inner thoughts or feelings at all. Yet it is reasonable to believe they do. Is God any more elusive than minds? Well, he certainly seems so.
I was trying to be flexible, but my mind was being stretched out of shape. Some days I would doubt the voice. It was, after all, in my head and talked a lot like me.
My words are coming to you for a reason. Do not worry that my voice sounds like you. It is bound to sound like you and to use your vocabulary, your concepts. That is how revelation works.
But notice that what you are now writing is completely different from what you believed prior to prayer--so different, much of it is profoundly uncomfortable and disturbing to you. Just relax and put yourself in my hands.
How can you tell whether a message is really from God? I learned that my question had an official name--The Problem of Spiritual Discernment. I would get to the bottom of it.
The classic text on the question is "The Spiritual Exercises" of St. Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). I read it eagerly, but the section on Rules for the Discernment of Spirits sent a chill down my spine.
In short, there is a problem in believing every voice you hear. But there is also a problem if, having sensed the divine presence, you give in to doubt.
The moments when I most "dwelt in God" were calm and reassuring. But I was not always comfortable with what I was told. And I was most disturbed when I was not actually praying but wondering what people would think if I told them I talk with God--and He talks back!
I looked for something more recent and found it in "The Art of Praying: The Principles and Methods of Christian Prayer" by Romano Guardini.
Lord, I am skeptical by nature and that worries me.
Don't worry about doubting unless it interferes with faith. Doubting is a natural response of a thinking mind to conflicting evidence. You may doubt--you might always doubt--but faith must transcend doubt as it transcends knowledge.
I determined to follow that path, maintaining a critical distance from my experience of God while at the same time yielding to divine guidance. It is not an easy balance to strike, but it seems to be a challenge at the heart of the life of faith.
Lord, are you a person?
Yes and no. I come to you--but not to raindrops--as a person and therefore I am a person. One cannot be a person in some modes without being a person.
But I am also much more than a person. Just because I seem familiar to you--we talk just as persons do--should not mislead you into thinking I am "just a guy."
It is true that I have many of the attributes of a person--desires and a history, for example. But, again, do not assume that desire and history mean just the same for me as they do for human beings. Keep in mind that I am definitely not a human being.
But Jesus is.
Then how can it be right to say that Jesus is *identical* with God, that he is God? Two beings cannot be identical if one is human and one is not; one is mortal and the other is not.
The notion of identity is not helpful here. Jesus' whole heart and soul and mind were one hundred percent infused with me. What he said, I said--just as what you are writing now is what I am telling you. And some of your thoughts are put there by me, which means they are mine, because they are put there by an indwelling of me in you, a partial merge, if you will. This is not just inspiration. When I enter something, I really enter it--become infused--"intermingled" is too weak a word because the elements are no longer separately identifiable.
That was a lot to take in. I would have to "let it percolate" as Miss Finely, my high school Latin teacher used to say.