People Around The World Answer The Question: ‘Who Is God?’

Who or what is God, to you?

That is the question people found themselves answering in “Street Spirituality: Who Is God,” a new video produced by National Geographic. People from 22 countries, around the world, described what God is to them in the video, and the answers ranged from “a character in a book” to “whatever feeds and gives strength to each person.”

Some people, in the video, gave answers like “love” and “everything,” which HuffPost Religion has found to be among the most common descriptors used for God.

The video is a sneak peek at a new show premiering April 3 on National Geographic Channel called, “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman.” In the show, actor Morgan Freeman, the host, travels around the globe, meets with people from different religious and cultural traditions and visits some of the world’s most famous sacred sites. Each of the show’s six episodes investigates a different subject, like miracles, the concept of evil and, of course, the many different perceptions of God.

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25 thoughts on “People Around The World Answer The Question: ‘Who Is God?’

  1. We can examine and analyze things that are material or in some way lesser than we are.It is foolish and presumptuous in my opinion to try to examine and analyze God. So two things apply – faith and personal experience.

    The closest the Bible can come is I think found in Acts 17:28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being’, and in Colossians 3:3-4. “You are hidden with Christ in God, and God is your life”

    It was interesting to see pictures by children asked to draw God. Not one drew an old man. One tried to draw the wind, using images of blown grass or trees. One drew a heart, one a cloud, one a rainbow. They seemed to realize that God can only be symbolised.
    .

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  2. Paul also talks about God as One who is ‘over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.’ — Ephesians 4:7

    See, I’m happy to quote the Bible where it speaks to me. :-))
    I can’t just accept it blindly.

    Richard Rohr says about the above passage, “I like to picture the unity of spirit described here as an energy field, a dynamic force field, created by sharing the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Love.”

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  3. The Prophet Muhammad was asked by his contemporaries about Allah; the answer came directly from God Himself in the form of a short chapter of the Quran, which is considered the essence of the unity or the motto of monotheism. This is chapter 112 which reads:

    “In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
    Say (O Muhammad) He is God the One God, the Everlasting Refuge, who has not begotten, nor has been begotten, and equal to Him is not anyone.”

    Islam rejects characterizing God in any human form or depicting Him as favoring certain individuals or nations on the basis of wealth, power or race. He created the human beings as equals. They may distinguish themselves and get His favor through virtue and piety only.

    http://allah.org/

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      • I have got a lot of time for Muhammad’s earlier preaching of peace and mercy. It was only in the last 8 years or so of his life that conquests became part of Islam. I wonder what influenced this – opposition to his beliefs, or the increase in numbers of adherents? Or something else entirely.

        Help, Dom!

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      • Hi Strewth

        Different prophets had different roles. The prophet pbuh had two roles, In the first 11 years of his prophethood he was only responsible for himself. He taught how to act as an individual. The last 10 years of his prophethood,he was responsible for a community, similar to Moses and Aaron pbut, (Moses and Aaron pbut lives are on display in the old testament,) Any harm that come his way could not just be dealt with with just patience. The armies that attacked him were getting bigger and bigger each time. The only way his community would survive would be to go out and remove the oppression around him.

        From the oppression that was removed, Jews were allowed back into Jerusalem for the first time in hundreds of years. The Romans had kicked them out. The Jews had a place of refugee during their persecution by the church. That would not have existed if oppression was not removed. The Muslims helped dragged Europe out of the dark ages,. People just look at the last hundred years and think that this is how it has always been.

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      • Noting too, Alexie, your deliberate omission of “…or nations on the basis of wealth, power or race.” in your selective quote mine.

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      • Hi Strewth

        It was only in the last 8 years or so of his life that conquests became part of Islam. I wonder what influenced this – opposition to his beliefs, or the increase in numbers of adherents? Or something else entirely.

        I replied to this but something happened between the keyboard and the blog.

        The difference is that in the first 10 years of his prophethood, Muhammad pbuh was only responsible for himself. In the last 11 years he was responsible for a community. This was similar to Moses and Aaron pbut. Being responsible for a community he could not show the patience that he showed when he was only responsible for himself. The armies attacking Madinah were getting bigger and bigger. The oppression surrounding him had to be removed. After this oppression was removed, the Jews could again go into Jerusalem and worship, The Jews had a place to run to when they were persecuted by the church. The last hundred years has not always been how it was.

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      • Mohommod was 25, when he met and married a wealthy widow, Khadija, who was 15 years older than Mohommod. Having attained an easy lifestyle and the time that wealth affords, he would wander off for meditation. This is where his revelations would come about later at about 40 years of age.

        He rejected the offer of peaceful co-existence. His new religion was intended to dominate. The Muslims were beginning to become violent with the people around them.

        His search for political alliance led him to make a treaty of war against the Meccans with the people of Medina. (Ibn Ishaq 299-301). This was the last straw for the Meccans, who finally decided to capture Muhammad and put him to death.

        So he was wealthy and powerful.

        The so called oppression of Muslims themselves is an excuse for war.

        “The Muslims helped dragged Europe out of the dark ages”

        Wow! What a lie this sentence is.

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      • What lie ?

        If there are two people worth pointing out as far as this process was concerned they would be Gerard of Cremona for providing so many translations of Arabic texts into Latin and Albertus Magnus, the first scientist in all of Christendom (i.e., the first guy to read the Arabic materials, understand it, and actually follow through by engaging in the sciences). They sort of tell the story of “who” in terms of the transition from the dark ages to the Renaissance, but as I said, this is more a story of process than it is about any particular person.

        https://www.quora.com/Who-brought-Europe-out-of-the-Dark-Ages

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      • Perpetuating a lie is still a lie

        There really was not a dark age. The term is never really used in history and is not productive anyway.

        After the collapse of the western Roman Empire in some places political instability existed. But to say all of Europe fell in to a Dark Age is silly. It was still a time of great cultural, social, religious and technical growth.

        During this so called dark ages many things presented themselves:

        Christianity became the main religion of Europe and Cathedral were built all over Europe. German, French and English began to be written down. Metal work was developed with various inventions following. We had Dante, Chaucer, Aquinas etc. Charlemagne is considered “the Father of Europe”. Famous artists and musicians.

        There was a vibrant culture, growth and creativity and Western culture flourished. Europe also faced the Black Death, when some nations would lose half the population in a short period and it must have seemed like the world was ending. The dark ages.

        To say the Muslims dragged Europe out the dark ages is an obvious omission of much of history, a revisionism of history and the greatest lie imaginable. One swallowed by biased individuals with their own agenda.

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      • Dom, is this your source?

        Not a reliable one.

        “They barely knew any Aristotle, a little law, and a lot of useless theology. The availability of the Arabic sciences was a gold mine for these universities. If they could get their hands on that, they would have far more material they could teach, which, for the teachers, meant a lot more tuition they could collect.”

        Huh! How doe she know all this? He does not mention where he gets this info. It is not even a general knowledge thing either. At least he admitted there were already universities.

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      • I got a feeling any resource I supply that you do not believe in, you will deem unreliable Alexie. 🙂

        Here is some more unreliable sources. The answer to your Aristotle question in bold.

        After the First Crusade, knights returned with eastern goods and spices. The introduction of these items wetted European appetites and convinced some to become traders. These individuals helped ignite the European economy for the first time since before Rome’s fall.

        In addition to eastern trade goods, the Crusaders returned to Europe with new technology and knowledge. The Arab conquests preserved old European knowledge. Crusaders rediscovered Aristotle and Plato through the Muslims. They collected the knowledge and returned it to the continent of its birth. Additionally, the knights brought Islamic inventions and learning. The information and technology helped lead to major advances in Europe. The return of learning and resuscitated economy signified the end of the Dark Ages.

        http://www.examiner.com/article/the-end-of-the-dark-ages

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    • Hi Alexie

      Islam rejects characterizing God in any human form or depicting Him as favoring certain individuals or nations on the basis of wealth, power or race. He created the human beings as equals. They may distinguish themselves and get His favor through virtue and piety only.

      There are two parts. God does not favour an individual on wealth, power or race, only by virtue and piety.

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    • “I got a feeling any resource I supply that you do not believe in, you will deem unreliable Alexie.”

      Maybe because that is the pattern.

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      • There is nothing in the article to suggest “muslims pulled Europe out the dark ages. As stated this darn ages is an over blown concept and throughout this time there was much progress. The article you referred to also states:

        Europe appeared to have recovered from Rome’s fall by 800. Charlemagne united and reformed Western Europe and revived the economy. However, Charlemagne’s renaissance was short-lived. The continent fell back into the darkness after his death.” Again, what darkness. I am sure the progress remained.

        “Charlemagne’s reign reinvigorated Europe. He unified much of the west, forged an alliance with the church, and spread the cross. The emperor used the idea of the Roman Empire to provide his subjects something to achieve and believe in. He sponsored education, art, and architecture. Most importantly, Charlemagne reformed the economy.”

        “Norse expansion coincided with global warming.”

        now I know this article is dodgy.

        “Building began to feed the economy. People built homes, churches, and other structures. The Italian city-states also experienced growth, which helped feed an economic renaissance as these states based their economies on trade.”

        Still no Islam is sight.

        Yes, Islam and Europe learnt off each other but to say they dragged Europe out of the so called dark ages is just plain wrong.

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      • OK Alexie. I know when to walk away. You will not accept any source I provide that does not agree with your perception.

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      • Dom:

        “You will not accept any source I provide that does not agree with your perception.”

        I don’t even pretend to have more than cursory knowledge of the the influence of Islam on Europe during the mediaeval period. But I recognise Alexie’s quote mining to support fallacious reasoning when I see it.

        History can be much more interesting than “my prophet is better than your prophet”. Your contributions add such nuance to contributions here.

        I never did say how much I enjoyed your posts about Abu Hanifah Rahimullah: I think the wisdom of that story goes beyond belief v non belief.

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      • “I don’t even pretend to have more than cursory knowledge of the the influence of Islam on Europe during the mediaeval period.”

        Maybe you should have stopped there. Hey Stu, when will you add to a discussion?

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      • “Hey Stu, when will you add to a discussion?”

        Hey Alexie, pointing out your fallacious reasoning and errors of fact is addition enough.

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      • “Stu and Dom, it may be that Alexie is just trying to convert you to Christianity.”

        Strewth, all can say is that he would just as likely convert me to Islam or Hinduism.

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  4. Look at the latest deep space findings and marvel.

    According to Joshua Sokol at New Scientist, the megastructure discovered by a team from the Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics is composed of 830 separate galaxies and has a mass 10,000 times greater than the Milky Way. To put the scale of this structure into perspective, we orbit one single star, the Sun. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, has over 200 billion stars, just like our Sun, in it alone with an unknown amount of planets orbiting them.

    Now, multiply that insane thought by 10,000 and you have the BOSS Great Wall. To our limited scope, it is effectively infinite.
    http://www.sciencealert.com/astronomers-declare-the-boss-great-wall-the-biggest-thing-in-ever-found-in-the-universe

    You might believe God is creating all this just for the Christians on one planet orbiting one sun in one galaxy, a galaxy minuscule in comparison with all that has so far been discovered, let alone what we don’t yet know about. Yes, I do believe in God, but that doesn’t mean I could answer “Who is God?” I can’t even think about that, only feel the relationship. I am more likely to understand the concepts of God’s agents, even of demi-gods, under God.

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