Passion for God


“Those who believe that they believe in God, but without passion in their hearts, without anguish in mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, without an element of despair even in their consolation, believe only in the God idea, not in God Himself.”

Miguel de Unamuno, Tragic Sense of Life, 213

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  • courtney

    . . . or God Herself. : )

    Beautiful quote.

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  • one of my all time favorite quotes. and i agree with courtney… God Herself would be better. 🙂

  • Korey

    I discovered Unamuno’s Tragic Sense of Life when reading Martin Gardner’s The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener and I was glad.

  • Ann

    I’ve never really understood referring to God as she. If Jesus was God, and Jesus was a man, then why doesn’t it make more sense to refer to God as man since God choose to come into the world as a baby boy?
    Obviously God transcends sex so maybe we should just take it upon ourselves to invent a gender-neutral pronoun to use when referring to God. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

  • Ann

    Oh yeah, the quote is lovely.

  • tom c.


    Maybe it’s okay to use gendered pronouns if you feel some anguish or despair while doing so.

    I’m halfway kidding. We’ve inherited a language that does not have a gender-neutral, third-person singular pronoun that applies to persons. There is, of course, the “singular they”; most of us probably use it occasionally in conversation. I wonder if the evolution of this word use has been to fill this linguistic need.

    Anyhow, I love the quote too. Thanks for that this morning…

  • Jay Miklovic

    so to believe in God beyond uncertainty and doubt is really to not believe in Him at all.

    um… does anyone see a problem with this? i guess i am probably just a narrow minded modern thinker who unreasonably constrains himself to logic.

  • I quite agree that God is beyond gender, Ann, but I would never say that it makes more sense to refer to God as male. One could easily argue the opposite–that it makes much more sense to call a Creator female, as did so many cultures before us.

    The only reason I push the “she” envelope is to break out of the modern American mold of a patriarchal religiosity.

  • Jim

    I think we refer to God with masculine pronouns because that’s how he reveals himself in scripture. It has nothing to do with either logic or patriarchy.

    Question: Does this quote mean Jesus didn’t really believe in God?

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  • courtney

    I’m no history buff, but I think the scriptures that were written and then selected for the Bible were written and selected by men in a patriarchal society. One could either think that God revealed God’s self as male to these people because that’s the only way they could “get it”, or one could think that the men doing the writing just made God a man without considering any other options. If God reveals God’s self in all things and all people (via Holy Spirit) throughout all time, to say that we refer to God as male because that’s how “God revealed himself in scripture” seems an oversimplification. I mean, people of course refer to God as male for that reason, but I find it extremely limiting.

  • nathan

    no more limiting than referring to God as “herself”-which doesn’t really solve anything.

    you still have the same issues of limit and reduction when we trade Him for Her.

    That being said and for the record, i’m totally cool with “feminine” imagery of God.

    using Father OR Mother or Her or Him is useful in devotional inflection.

    however, when i preach or write, i try to refer to God as God and avoid pronouns…therefore the discourse uses God, God’s, GodSelf, etc. this way i attempt to be most inclusive.

  • Kenton

    Looks like this one is in public domain.

  • That nathan sounds like another wise nathan I know 🙂
    (notice, no gendered pronouns were harmed in the writing of this comment).

  • Ann

    Wouldn’t you describe Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemene as being in anguish and experiencing uncertainty & doubt? And He IS God.
    Just was came to my mind.

  • Ann

    I meant to say:
    Just what came to my mind.

  • Wendy

    I find great comfort in this quote. Thanks, Tony.