by Michael Dowd
The universe is real, not imaginary. We all know this. How is it, then, that in recent centuries and for many believers and nonbelievers alike, God as the Creator of the Universe has become less real than the Universe?
What I mean by "real" is precisely as a dictionary would define it—that is, "existing or occurring as fact; actual rather than imaginary, ideal, or fictitious." Here is another definition of real, drawn from the same webpage (dictionary.com): "being an actual thing; having objective existence; not imaginary." Thus my question: Is God today less real than the Universe?
In my previous blog post I offered that there is a radical and vital difference between objectively real answers to big-picture questions and anything we might subjectively say about how these issues impinge upon our lives—that is, how we interpret the meaning(s) of factual discoveries. Big-picture questions that seek factual and interpretive understandings would include: 'How did we get here?' 'How were we made?' 'Who is my brother, my sister, my neighbor?' 'Tell me about my ancestors?' 'Why is there death?' 'What can I trust?' 'What should I care about?' 'Where do I find hope and guidance?'
Below are 18 ways to begin thinking through this core distinction between what is objectively true and subjectively meaningful—applied to the questions and perspectives through which we make meaning of the world and find purpose, value, guidance, comfort, trust, and a satisfying sense of place and mission.