Unlearning God: How Unbelieving Helped Me Believe

Interview 6 Comments

In order to have a healthy relationship with God, Quaker author Phil Gulley says that we must first unlearn some of what we’ve been taught about God.

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Comments 6

  1. Jonathan Lee

    City & State
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Thank you, Phil. A wonderfully cogent expression of the risks in believing in an omni-theistic god. And it begs the question, ‘So, what is God?’

    Perhaps the start of an amazing journey of discovery or the realisation of an omni-present reality in both time and place, or a combination of both.

  2. robert holzman

    City & State
    portland
    It happened to me in about 1978. It came to me like an idea. “Of course there is no such thing as God!” It was a little scary, but I experienced such relief and freedom, a peacefulness. No fear about religion. A clearing.
    That lead me to a revelation in May of 1981. It lasted about 15 minutes and lingered throughout the day and long after. I had a personal experience of God.
    This did not negate “Of course the is no such thing as God!”
    It was additional experience of the true nature of God.
    I maintain I am Atheist or non theist. I also believe in the teachings of Jesus.
    I do not use Christ preceding his name. My understanding is he was speaking from “Christ Conscienceless.” He may have not even existed. The “teaching may have come from others and presented as a story more easily accepted.
    Thank you for your presentation. Bob Holzman

  3. Barbra Bleecker

    City & State
    NJ
    This video makes me want to cry and I did. God is omnipresent or you wouldn’t be breathing. Someday may you realize that Spirit is who you are. And yes Spirit is ever present it is the human ego that have yet to come into the realization of the Light within. The Light / Spirit that lighteth every one who comes into the world. Every being. One can deny this ever-present Grace but someday some how the Truth will dawn upon you.

  4. mika goldin

    I like what he says, but not sure it’s “Quaker-centric”? Anyone who believes in God
    can feel this way. It’s very healthy, I think, and helps encourage one to go forth and
    do your best to improve the world. God is always there, but you have to rely on
    your God-given strengths and talents to get things done. I like that!

  5. Roger Dreisbach-Williams

    City & State
    Easton, PA
    I grew up among Bible-Battered Midwest Unitarians. Belief in God was an option, Jesus was one of many teachers. But the youth-led worship services ended in “Quaker Silence” and no one could explain why sometimes the Silence ended way too soon, and sometimes lasted way too long. So I’m a Quaker. God is a reality and I depend on Friends to help me figure it out – it’s the compact we have with each other.
    Then I heard someone I deeply respected tell an FGC gathering that the son of a carpenter from Galilee who died 2,000 years ago was a central force in his life. I asked the Presence, “Are You simply ‘God’ or are you ‘Jesus Christ’ and a Voice said, “I am Jesus Christ”. Ooops!
    I knew the World Trade Center, knew that it was wrong, knew that it had to come down, knew the joy of playing with light reflecting off the buildings and flowing through them. I also knew that the NYC Fire Department is committed to protecting property, not just people. A whole fire company will respond to an overheated hot plate.
    I was there when they came down and I was furious, not gentle and forgiving, I was embarrassingly [for a seasoned Quaker] mad. …And there was Jesus, sitting on a rock just inside the entrance to a tomb. “WHAT are YOU Doing HERE???” I demanded. He gently smiled, held up his pierced hands and replied, “Where did you expect me to be?” And then I felt his arms around me as I beat my fists against his chest until my anger was spent.
    I learned that whatever happens to me, however terrible life may treat me, Jesus will always be there with understanding and love: I will never be alone; and I find that comforting [which may be a useful definition of ‘salvation’]. Buddha died from over-eating, Mohammed rode off on a horse, Jesus died on a cross, tortured until he could take no more; and then he conquered death, and fear, and the Power-of-the-World. That’s why I’m a Christian. It would be easier if I weren’t, my wife (raised in a Quaker Meeting, graduate of a Quaker college) would be happier to start with. [my birth-family thought that I was strange] But I don’t really have a choice – only whether to be a faithful Quaker, or an unfaithful one, and most of the time it’s the latter: but occasionally (this being one) I have the opportunity to speak Truth and let it go where it will. In this, I have been faithful and there is nothing more to say.

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