I-God

In the constant, iterative, process of working out my ideas and lived-with experience of what/who is termed God*, I found this. Again, my favourite philosopher has come to the rescue to describe something I struggle to put into words.

I’m just going to leave this here.

Buber ‘refuses to recognise a God “believed in”. He acknowledges instead a God “lived with.”A God with believed desires, qualities, plans, likes, and dislikes is for him an it-God, a subject of speculation but never the vis-à-vis to whom man says You.

The same careful rejection of every  temptation to consider God as an object is conspicuous in I and You, when Buber writes of Him as “that Being which confronts us immediately, momentarily and lastingly face to face, that which can rightly only be addressed, not expressed”.

Thus, within this perspective God is not an entity to be merely ‘believed in’, with whom no certain communication is possible; rather within this  perspective God is an entity that human beings’ ‘live with’ and with whom true communication is, not only possible, but necessary—that is, there is true communication, true conversation, between human beings and God, there is always dialogue between a human being and God.

An interesting implication of this is that, for Buber, prayers are always dialogical and petitionary in character and should not be understood as attempts to bring about a change of outcome or to influence the outcome of events, which would equate prayers with some sort of incantation and as superstition; rather, prayers are about reflecting upon the character and purpose of our lives as well as an expression of devotion to God through the way events take place.

Morgan, W.J. & Guilherme, A. 2010. “I and Thou: the educational lessons of Martin Buber’s dialogue with the conflicts of his times”. Educational Philosophy & Theory. 1-18.

*I use this language to make the point that language is, and can only ever be, representative of what is meant. Language describes or indicates a thing but is never actually the thing.

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