It occurred to me the other day, that aspiring to be a man of God is a strange thing. If you aspire to be a great businessman, or a great philanthropist, or a great politician, people get it. If you aspire to be a great man of God – people don’t get it anymore. We don’t do God, as Alistair Campbell (aide to Tony Blair) once put it.
We live in a society of specialists. We have the car specialists, and the science specialists, and the phone specialists. We have the hair specialists, and the history specialists and the mathematics specialists. And generally, their fields don’t overlap. The mathematician won’t comment on history, and the geneticist won’t comment on paleontology.
It’s a funny thing. Mostly because, by becoming a specialist in God, by making God the thing you do, you limit yourself and your usefulness to whatever small section of society agrees with your idea of God. And somehow, because of that, God has become fair game. That is to say, everyone and anyone can and will comment on God. It’s a thing you have to decide on, and it’s a thing surprisingly few people will say ‘I don’t really know much about that kind of thing, so I can’t really comment’.
And this, I think is rooted in one idea: you can’t be an expert in God. Either because God does not exist, or because religion is up to the individual to decide on and no expert can decide for you or tell you otherwise.
But why? And is that even true?