Background to my interest in teaching children with autism

How Shall We View God

      [Exo 3:1] Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

     [Exo 3:2] And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

     [Exo 3:3] And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.

     [Exo 3:4] And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.

     [Exo 3:5] And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

     [Exo 3:6] Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face;  for he was afraid to look upon God.

In her introduction to A History of God: The 4,000‑Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Karen Armstrong observes that:

      …human beings are spiritual animals. … Men and women started to worship gods as soon as they became recognizably human; they created religions at the same time as they created works of art. This was not simply because they wanted to propitiate powerful forces; these early faiths expressed the wonder and mystery that seemed always to have been an essential component of the human experience of this beautiful yet terrifying world. Like art, religion has been an attempt to find meaning and value in life, despite the suffering that flesh is heir to.

     …  Throughout history, men and women have experienced a dimension of the spirit that seems to transcend the mundane world. … However we choose to interpret it, this human experience of transcendence has been a fact of life. Not everybody would regard it as divine: Buddhists, as we shall see, would deny that their visions and insights are derived from a supernatural source; they see them as natural to humanity. All major religions, however, would agree that it is impossible to describe this transcendence in normal conceptual language. Monotheists have called this transcendence “God,” ….

In Christian theology, God is the eternal Creator, the source of love, life, and truth.  All things exist and have their being in God.  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

We believe that God chooses to reveal Himself to humankind  —  and by the way, we refer to God as “Him” rather than as “Her” for a variety of reasons, not least of which are because Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all patriarchal societies, and because Jesus spoke of God as our loving Father. 

Throughout the ages, humankind has sought to understand this God who reveals Himself to us, and has drawn up lists of His attributes.  The Encyclopaedia of Religion (Littlefield, Adams & Co., 1959) gives them as follows: “The prophetic‑Christian conception [italics added] of God …represents God as a unitary, personal Being, as immutable [i.e., unchangeable], as omnipotent, as omnipresent, as omniscient [i.e., all-knowing], as eternal, as the Creator and Preserver of the world, as a morally perfect Being, as a righteous and loving Father.”

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