What would happen if Google were god

"Discovering Faith" series
Is god there? And what if not? Helmut Frank about proofs of God, prayers and his personal moments of closeness to God.

It was a camping holiday on the eastern shore of Lake Garda when my daughter told me that she did not want to be confirmed for the time being. The confirmation class had actually started quite well - with some free time in a Protestant guest house in the mountains. She found the community experience "incredibly great", especially because two of the otherwise tougher boys cried in a silent prayer in the chapel. The conversations about God and Jesus were good, whether there is God, why he came into the world in Jesus Christ, what faith helps to achieve.

But on the long bathing jetty, my daughter revealed to me that she sees herself more as a Buddhist. She had been a vegetarian for some time and practiced yoga. During the conversation it emerged that she thought Buddhism was the better approach to living mindfully and creating peace in the world. I brought in Jesus, who lived and did just that, but a lot more than that. My daughter agreed, but ended up saying:

Jesus yes, but God - does he even exist? Why is he not there? Why doesn't he answer prayers?

I told her a story that happened ten years earlier when she was a child.

It was on summer vacation 2007, in the Tuscan archipelago near Punta Ala. Long, natural sandy beaches, pine forests, in clear weather you can see the island of Elba.

It was a little windier than usual, the surf stronger, the sea churned. You shouldn't keep your glasses on while swimming. I only knew that when a big wave came from the right. The glasses were gone. What goes through your head at this moment: no driving without glasses, no coming home without a car.

Are there any eyewear shops in Italy? Italians don't wear glasses, I didn't know any Italians with glasses: Adriano Celentano, Berlusconi, Luca Toni - a people without glasses. Certain things shouldn't happen on vacation. The car shouldn't break down, the wallet with the plastic cards shouldn't get lost - and the glasses shouldn't be lost.

Where that happened the sea was only about three feet deep. What do you do in such a moment?

I put my hands in the water and felt the ocean floor. Nothing. The glasses could not be seen in the immediate vicinity, actually nothing could be seen in the water.

A diving mask was needed. With a look at the bank, I tried to memorize the location of the accident so that I could find it again later. I bought diving goggles from the beach neighbors, and a group of six beach volleyball players and my family took part in the search.

But where was that again? 50 or 100 meters away from the beach? Maybe a little further south after all? Nothing could be seen with the diving goggles either. The strong wind and waves had mixed the fine, muddy sand into the water, a brown liquor with 0.0 millimeters of visibility.

After a quarter of an hour I sent the volleyball players back to their field. "There's no point, thank you." But in my desperation, I had not given up on the matter yet. I sat on the beach and couldn't stop thinking that the glasses are out there on the ocean floor somewhere. Could one look the next day when the sea had calmed down? Probably then the good piece would have sunk in the sand. It has to happen now.

"God please help me now!" A quick prayer. "God, this is your chance to show yourself ... If you exist, then you can intervene now ... Of course it should not be in vain. If you intervene now, then I will confess, testify ..."

It was almost a vow. I wanted to remain sensible: "I don't want to press you, God, of course you exist, regardless of whether you intervene or not. God, you are bigger than these glasses, than my messed up situation."

With a view of the choppy sea, I realized how small the chance is that the glasses will emerge from the water again. But it's out there, not far. "God, if that went well, it would be a proof of God, a proof of your existence!"

The classical proofs of God in theology and philosophy came to mind.

Anselm von Canterbury (1033-1109) with his ontological proof of God, according to which God exists because nothing greater can be thought beyond him. Or Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), who gave the cosmological proof of God: Everything that is in motion is moved by another; therefore there has to be a first mover that is not moved by anyone. The moving thing is God.

Or Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), who postulated the moral proof of God: If there were no God, there would ultimately be no compelling reason for us humans to behave morally and morally.

The classic proofs of God are all models of thought with glaring weaknesses. They are not evidence. Rather, they show that God cannot be proven in an intellectual way.

God is neither the supreme reason nor the first mover of a system that is overturned by man. God is a God of encounter, of experience. But where does it appear please? Does he show himself in need? Where is he now? "God show yourself now, it's your chance ..."

For a while I sat on the beach and stared out at the open sea, listening to the wind and the waves. The desperate negotiation with God made me feel close to him, and an exhilarating, fatalistic feeling of security set in. "You'll fix it, with or without glasses."

I wanted to go out to sea one more time. I tried to remember where my glasses were ripped off my face. I observed the direction of the ocean current and assessed its strength. I calculated the time that had passed since then. All wind and sea data together resulted in the area in which the glasses now had to be. I waded a good hundred paces through the waves to the imaginary place.

I reached into waist-high cloudy water - right down to the floor. I had the glasses in my hand.

I was able to tell the story well because I once published it as a "Tuscan proof of God" in a magazine on the subject of "happiness". My daughter listened very carefully, she could still remember the search in the sea. One of the beautiful talks of faith ensued.

She still had questions: why does God not show himself in other, far more difficult situations, whether one is even allowed to deal with God, whether he really allows himself to be compelled. The answer: Yes, God lets himself be coerced, but if you want to win the lottery you shouldn't try to make him responsible.

But then something incredible happened.

We decided to take a swim in the lake in the evening sun. The beautiful end to a fulfilling day. Whether or not my daughter wanted to be confirmed was no longer important at the moment. I decided to share more about my experiences with God and Jesus. We swam side by side in silence and let what was said have an effect on us.

When we got out of the water, a scream: "Oh no, the pearl is gone!" She had got the pearl ring from her grandmother, an heirloom that always reminded her of her. I felt my glasses story becoming worthless, how it literally sank into the sea. We searched for a while in the water, on the bank and where we had jumped in from the jetty. My daughter was crying.

The pearl was gone - and with it the belief in the God who intervenes, the hope that he will be there when you need him.

It was hopeless. A pearl is much smaller than a pair of glasses. "She probably swallowed a fish, that would be best," said my daughter as she wiped away her tears.

We decided to go to the jetty again to say goodbye to the pearl. We walked sadly over the wooden planks to the front. There was the pearl, right at her feet.

 

Where has God shown himself so far in your life?

How do you rate the classical proofs of God by Anselm of Canterbury, Thomas Aquinas and Immanuel Kant? Do you have a personal proof of God?

Let us know in the comments below this article!

Comments

By Mutzenbauer Elisabeth on Sunday, April 26, 2020 - 10:09 am

Evidence of God, experience of God

The fact that we are gifted in the spirit and have a conscience can lead to a general ethic: Kant is most likely to be understandable even for doubters

By Rene Goeckel on Monday, April 27, 2020 - 11:41 am

Her glasses.

Do you actually believe that the Creator of a Universe helped you find your glasses? Isn't that badly presumptuous?

By Jutta on Monday, April 27, 2020 - 21:29

In reply to your glasses. by Rene Goeckel (not verified)

Re: your glasses

I don't think that's presumptuous. We are God's children. And just as a father would help his child find something lost (e.g. a pearl), God helps us. After all, glasses were also important to get home safe, and which father allows something to happen to his child if he can prevent it?

By Karl-Werner on Monday, April 27, 2020 - 5:45 pm

Help in great need

It's been a few years since I lost my key ring. It contained the keys for the church, for the music cabinet of the organ, for the console of the organ, for the parish hall and for the toilet next to the church.
But there was also a key for the rectory, with an office and access to the pastor's apartment.
Hours of searching, at home, in the car on the way to church, even in church, were in vain.
In the evening I "confessed" this loss to my pastor .. He said that something like this can always happen.
I was not feeling well and I was afraid, because with the key to the rectory you also have access to the parish family.
I prayed to Jesus Christ for help and assistance. But I don't know how HE should and can help me.
We went to bed around 8:30 p.m. I uncovered my bed, threw back the covers, took my pajamas - and there was the key ring under my pajamas.
Only my dear wife, our dog and I were in the apartment. Neither of us had touched the key ring, let alone put it in bed under my pajamas.
Nobody except us has access to our apartment. The messenger of God knew that I would go to sleep and see the bunch of keys.
I could only thank Jesus with all my heart for this help.
I immediately reported this discovery to my pastor and told him about the wonderful salvation and thank my Lord and Savior for it.

By Rene Goeckel on Monday, April 27, 2020 - 7:38 pm

Mr. Frank, your glasses!

Mr. Frank, my question was not meant rhetorically. Would you like to answer that, please? As editor-in-chief, that shouldn't be difficult for you. That would make an interesting article. Well then, happy to work.

By Ursula Werner on Saturday, May 2, 2020 - 4:54 pm

Sign of god

Dear Mr. Frank, I think she was confirmed! I sit here after reading the story or the experiences with the lost objects, God, the found objects - and tears run down my face. If she only knew how deeply that touches me!
I found something by the creek where we live, the day I decided to go back to church, wasn't that long ago. A small gem had washed ashore ... It was an infinitely important sign for me, in my struggle back then, whether I should re-enter or not. Maybe you can understand that! Thanks for your story!

By Karin on Friday, June 5, 2020 - 16:42

To be proof of God.

Many years ago, my children were still small, it was raining lightly, I thought of God. I said, God, if you exist, let it rain really hard. Exactly at that moment, it poured out of buckets. Very briefly. Then When the rain turned into a slight downpour again. That was the proof for me, that God exists.

By Florian C on Friday, July 3, 2020 - 10:44 am

In reply to be proof of God. by Karin (not verified)

Incredible...

I'm a 25 atheist / agnostic and skimmed the article out of boredom at my workplace ... now I have to comment ...
EXACTLY the same thing happened to me when I was around 12 years old and sat at the bus stop.
I had thought about religion and the like and then (in the Erzgebirge you have to wait 1 to 2 hours for the bus) quietly mumbled to me: "God, if you exist, just show me once that you are there."
In a matter of seconds it starts to rain in a warm, harmless shower, which was unbelievable because the clouds in the almost blue sky didn't look like rain.
I always tell the story in connection with my agnostic attitude - it is and remains my reason not to be a pure atheist and was a decisive experience in my life.
The logician calls "coincidence"
The romantic "A Sign"
The nihilist "inconsequential"
But it was fantastic.

By Juliane on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 - 4:05 am

True words

What great stories that always prove to me God is there .. I also experienced a wonderful story and I became a Christian even though I was never raised to be a Christian.
God is there ... How wonderful.

By Reinhard on Monday, August 3, 2020 - 8:34 am

I left the church ...

I have turned away from the church, it seems too unbelievable to me, but I find closeness to God in nature, where I can talk to him undisturbed.

By Kugel Amelie on Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 9:32 am

God

One shouldn't believe that it exists, one should believe that it was always there and one should love and trust him! Don't just say that it exists!

By Jen on Saturday, January 2, 2021 - 4:14 am

There is no evidence

For me these are coincidences, luck. There is still no evidence that there is a God. And if so, why are there several in the world? Why is the daughter not allowed to believe in Buddhism and, turned from happiness stories, to believe in something else?

By guest on Thursday, January 28, 2021 - 14:12

Seen the afterlife?

This story was told to me by my grandma:

My family comes from Kazakhstan and it had snowed a lot there, the doors were often too snowed so that you always had to have a snow shovel in the house. One day my grandmother's brother fell into a snow hole meter deep. He should freeze to death quickly, my grandma and her sister knew that and they ran straight to my grandpa. They still got the boy out, it was a miracle, he didn't freeze to death and was breathing. When he came to he was angry, he screamed, why did you guys get me out there? It was so nice there! It was warm and bright! I was with God! "

My great-grandpa was a priest and my grandmother often helped her father, but since her brother's miracle she believed in God more than ever and so she always read the Bible to me when I was younger.

I don't know if this story went exactly like that, but I trust my grandma

Kind regards: Brian (13)

By SusanneE on Monday, February 22, 2021 - 6:56 pm

Experience God's help

YES, I also experienced God.
I started studying theology to become a teacher 25 years ago and had to learn two ancient languages, ancient Greek and Hebrew. That was very difficult for me, but I invested every free minute in language studies. I first started with Hebrew and learned day and night, attended the intensive course and an additional exam course at the weekend, but nothing helped. My grades in Hebrew were poor no matter how hard I tried. Finally, at the end of the second semester, there was the extension exam, which consisted of two parts, an oral and a written exam.
I studied extremely for this exam, but I failed there too. I wrote a 5-.
Now I could only pass my Hebraicum if I did a 2 in the oral exam.
The night before I went to bed, I prayed to God. "Lord please help me, give me good thoughts, a clear head and put the right words in my mouth."
I opened my Biblica Hebraica one last time before going to sleep, translated a small section for myself, wrote the translation of the words in pencil and fell asleep from exhaustion.
The next day was my oral exam, unfortunately it wasn't until late in the evening and I was extremely nervous.
When I got into the preparation room I was given my translation text and I started to shiver, it was exactly the sentence that I had translated for myself the night before.
I was paralyzed for a moment, but then started working and got a good 2.
I got my Hebraicum and was able to continue studying and am now still a teacher of Protestant theology.
EVERYTHING ACCIDENTALLY? No, not for me.

From One Person of Many on Thursday, March 18, 2021 - 3:54 pm

Incomprehensible to me ...

Belief in God was and has always been there only to prevent people from going crazy, as protection, to be able to justify their existence in this unimaginably huge universe, the umpteen trillion planets. So that they do not destroy themselves immediately in their senselessness, this is called the instinct of self-preservation! You pray against a wall, you pray against nothing. Why does this mini-person feel so special that there would still have to be something supernatural, that one would have a soul, that it would go on in the hereafter, there is absolutely no need for it! That you have to come to this world first so that you can be "tested" first. What a reason, what a benefit there should be for a God that we even exist! Then all tens of billions of ants, tens of billions of beetles, birds and all other living organisms would have to have a soul, but no, only humans naturally have such a thing, and go to heaven because they are great, because they can think because he can speak, because he can ask himself such a thing, because he has an "I-consciousness". The universe would also be there and the earth would turn even if we weren't there, that's a fact. It's the fear and despair that nothing comes after death, that you only get bones under the earth exists or is burned and turned to ashes to then serve as fertilizer for the earth, as a cycle for nature. Belief and hope for something afterwards is only in the mind, so that one does not stand there completely alone and wonder what one is there for at all, as protection. We living beings, no matter if humans or animals, are only there to pass on genes so that the species does not become extinct. Love, affection, togetherness, food, drink, morality and everything else are instincts, they serve to survive, only to ensure the preservation. Found glasses, found a pearl? Tell those who lose their child, their mother, their life every day! There are no super signs for them! Who can still pray and suddenly disappear. But what a HUMAN before 2000! Years of experience and said, of course you still "believe" in that in the 21st century ... In metaphors that were written by people who could not explain all of this at the time. What do you actually do in the promised afterlife, knit and sing for infinitely long periods, with so much love !? If it's so great "over there", why are we here anyway !? Oh yes, of course, free will and testing .... We only have this one life, without having been asked, with suffering and losses, then of course it is not easy to accept your fate. To accept that your own life and that of others, no matter what you do, serve solely for preservation, as preparation for the next generation of people and nature! Everyone can believe what they want, but nowadays, with all the junk in the world, a Supadupaman who greets us in heaven with vanilla ice cream or a "spaghetti Satan monster" who blows out the candle all the time, to believe remains with me and will remain incomprehensible to me. Oh yes, and thanks to "Adam and Eve" that we can still pay for their garbage!

By Michael on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 - 5:52 pm

Believed in God for 55 years, not anymore

I was raised a strict Catholic and was a regular giggle. Corona and the refusal of the priests to offer services made me brood. (Why does God suddenly stop helping, so that you can get infected).
I see it in a similar way to the comment from "One of many".
How can a loving God allow a pandemic like Corona? When it comes to war, it is immediately said that the free will of evil people is the cause. But with Corona I don't see any connection anymore. It is always turned the way you need it.

God is hope and love. But that doesn't have to be a supernatural being. When I need hope and faith helps me - nice. If I do yoga and it helps me - that's fine too. The Christian belief in itself is ok with its etic values. It looks like one has put God on top of having a respect "person" so that the belief is recognized and obeyed.
A state also has laws so that coexistence works. The police / judges ensure that the law is observed. How awesome is it when you get everyone to believe in one God so that everyone obeys the law? No more police / judges needed, no fear, no violence, paradise on earth.

Of course, the universe is ingenious and complex and it is inconceivable that it could have come about by chance. But if you are concerned with the Big Bang theories, you will see that you only need an infinite amount of time / attempts to get this unique Big Bang. And there is an infinite amount of time because neither matter nor energy disappears.
A monkey can also write the Bible without errors on a typewriter if he gets as many attempts as he wants.
On the one hand it says, God protects you, but woe to you try it! You are not allowed to, because then you would refute that he is helping you. Of course, praying can help you concentrate and it can help you do things better or you are less afraid of an exam, but that is psychology and not a god who helps one person but not another.
So Jesus is a good philosopher and etician, but God's Son?
Who said himself. "God, my God, why did you leave me?"
Then he probably had the enlightenment that everything makes more sense without God than without.

By Franz Birnbach on Friday, April 9, 2021 - 1:34

My personal miracle

When my father got cancer and I prayed to God every day and he died in agony after a year, I lost my faith in God. Many years later I prayed to God again, if you really exist then prove it to me and make me seriously ill and then well again. It wasn't long before I got lymphoma and had 16 chemotherapy treatments and radioterapia. It was 1997 and I only told very few people about it.

By Anonymous on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 - 7:34 PM

What kind of evidence is that?

I grew up a Christian because everyone in my family was very religious, but by the time I write this, I haven't been for a long time. You hit the nail on the head very well, because the very fact that God cannot be proven in every bad event makes it equal to chance. Because of this, I believe that such stories are not evidence.
LG

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