Food For Thought: The Best Way to Know God is Not to Know God

Video commentary:

Anthony de Mello — Awareness pt.40 detachment (part 2 of 2).. see all videos in order at http://awareness.tk

This video message is quite deep and profound, and is good food for thought. I think Anthony’s opening statement “And sometimes, you have to get rid of God in order to find God – lots of mystics tell us that” describes a divine paradox – that to know God, it’s best to try not to know God, then we will truly know God (at a deeper level). Similarly, to live a truly christian life, which resembles the way Jesus lived in overcoming discrimination and injustice, is to depart from christianity (or the mainstream, religious version of christianity that is self-serving). This line of thought has been put forth in Peter Rollins’ book “The Fidelity of Betrayal: Towards a Church Beyond Belief”.

Also, I’ve been reflecting on the observation that the best way to understand God is to misunderstand God. In a sense, I think God “wants” or expects us to misunderstand Him, in order that He may give us a better understanding of Himself. It’s another divine paradox. For example, many of the disciples misunderstood Jesus, and as a result of their misunderstanding Him, He gave them a better understanding of Himself.

When James and John asked Jesus whether He wanted them to command fire to come down from heaven to destroy the Samaritans, Jesus corrected them, saying they do not know what manner of spirit they are of, and the Son of Man came not to destroy, but to save men’s lives. When Philip misunderstood Jesus and said, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us”, and Jesus replied, “Have I been with you so long, yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?”

So every new misunderstanding of God or Jesus brings forth a fresh revelation of God, which helps people to understand Him better. If not the disciples’ misunderstandings of Him, we would not get to hear or read about a revelation of Himself of what He is really like. For example, we get to learn that God is not a petty and tyrannical judge who punishes or destroys unbelievers; He is our Saviour who is full of grace, and our Father whose love is universal, inclusive and unending. (I’ve also shared some views on “How do we reconcile the Old Testament God with the New Testament God” in another post.)

Even when some disciples got it “right”, such as Peter exclaiming that Jesus is the Son of the living God, Jesus reminded Peter that it was the Father giving him that revelation, and it is not of himself. And maybe Peter later became big-headed, thinking he knew God better than the rest of the disciples, yet he later ended up denying Jesus three times. This episode could be telling us that the moment we think we have God all figured out through our own intelligence, that is when we will end up embarrassing ourselves.

Bottomline: The best way to know God is not to know God, and He will show us His true nature – it is better for Him to give us understanding, than to try to understand Him on our own terms (like what mainstream christianity has been doing, placing God in a theological box, as a result, misrepresenting Him).

Related post:

“To Remove God Is To Finally Accept God – Wow” by Elizabeth Dahl Kingery

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