Samuelke, you don't think god is hidden in any sense?
Human beings can't measure, see, hear, touch or smell god. People who say they believe in god can't even describe him in a coherent way. Two theists in the same religion cannot agree on exactly what god is like and what he does and does not do. Sacred texts that purport to describe god are contradictory and confusing.
Seems to me that God is hidden in every sense!
Well your statement brings up a lot of questions for me like, if you used that kind of thinking for everything you believe in there are many Other things you would then have to not believe in. For example, you can't measure, see, taste, smell, or touch your memories so how can we trust those? The same goes for emotions, the mind, good or bad, and then if you look at science and how can you really talk about gravity, electromagnetism, and energy to name just a few.
Well, first off, we can't
really trust our memories. Our memories are not like a recording device with exact recall. We forget most of what has happened to us. We remember things that never happened, and remember things differently from the way they actually happened. Eyewitnesses and crime victims finger the wrong guy and report different versions of the same event. Cameras and DNA give more accurate evidence than human memories.
We know this because, using science
, instead of "trusting memories", we investigated how memory works and found that our brains construct our memories to help us make sense of the world, to give us closure, to fill in gaps, to give us a coherent past. Not to say that memory is bad or useless, but it is not as reliable a record of the past as we want to think.
I read a book on memory where they tested the supposedly exact recall of traditional tribal storytellers. You know how we have been told that they can orally recite the entire history of the tribe from memory? Oral tradition is the basis of many cultural "histories", including the bible stories, so it is important to know if they are accurate.
Well, when the storytellers were recorded telling the same story several times on tape, the stories were not exactly the same. The people who heard the story could not hear the differences and the storyteller swore that it was the exact same story every time. Imagine how the differences mount up over many, many retellings--the hero is short, then after 100 years he is tall, 100 years later he's a giant, then a giant prince, then a giant king, and after 1000 years he's a god.
Same thing with emotions. Feelings are notoriously unreliable as indicators of reality. Con artists, gold-diggers, gigolos and car salespeople rely on this fact to make a living. We can't just rely on how we feel to know if something is real or not. A white curtain blowing in a dark room scares the be-vishnu out of us if we think it is a ghost. But it is just a sheet, no matter how scared we feel
. Sometimes our feelings indicate reality-- that creepy guy who gives you the willies really is bad news. But not always. We remember when our initial feeling is confirmed and forget when it isn't.
I'll give two personal examples: As a teen I sat down next to a fatherly looking middle-aged white man on an overnight bus ride. We had a very nice conversation about my writing and art, his adult daughter's job and other random topics. I felt
very safe sitting with him, as if he was a trusted neighbor. Once the lights were out, however, his hand was on my thigh. Gagh! Yech! After a brief tussle, I moved seats, feeling
very betrayed as well as molested.
Another time I had an experience with an employer that led me to assume he was a racist. I felt
physically ill in his presence, and could not even eat if he was in the room. I left the job with very negative feelings
about the man and the workplace. It was not until years later when I found out that the man was not being racist at all, but we had gotten some generational and cultural wires crossed. For years I had the wrong feelings
about this man, based on a mistaken interpretation of something he did. It was actually a pretty nice job, messed up by my feelings
Experiencing god seems to fall into the same category with memories and emotions. God is: a lovely sunset, a terrible rainstorm, an unexpected death, a difficult but successful birth, a flock of birds overhead, a bolt of lightning striking a tree, a forest fire changing directions and a car trunk opening suddenly.
Really? That was god changing the fire's direction away from your cabin? Which god was that exactly? The same god who turned the fire towards somebody else's house...
Experiences of god are not reliable outside of independent corroboration of some sort. And subject to very selective interpretations of facts. We remember the one time that a prayer is answered and forget the millions of times when it was not.