God of our own understanding”
– The Twelve Steps
Since the dawn of history, men have defined God and invented ways to influence Him. Once they managed to convince a group of people that their definition of God and their ways of worshiping, praying, or placating God were reasonable and effective, they started getting into mischief, invading neighboring areas with brutal armies and forcing new “converts” at the point of a sword.
Yet being strong and warlike didn’t necessarily make them right. Sooner or later schisms or heresies evolved from within and new warlike religious fanatics from somewhere else would disturb their smug self-satisfaction.
WHO IS GOD?
One definition of God is: the Creator of the Universe.
Another is: My personal Higher Power; the being with whom I have a deeply personal and meaningful relationship; the One I pray to and ask for help.
Another is: The One written about in my holy book; the true author of that book.
While none or one or more of these definitions may be true for you, the definitions still mean very different things for different people.
If you’ve read my previous chapter on the Big Bang Theory, you will realize right away that I have no rational explanation for the Creation of the Universe. I assume/presume/speculate that it was a miracle created by a Creator, since the Big Bang Theory is, in my opinion, entirely hot air because science has yet to observe the creation of a single atom out of nothing.
I also admit to having a Higher Power with whom I have had many personal conversations. Unlike Moses, Abraham, Noah and Muhammad, my Higher Power had nothing whatsoever to say to me on the subject of religion – ever! I got tons of useful personal advice, but no self-disclosure from my personal benefactor. I haven’t a clue about the nature of my Higher Power, so I’m powerless to start a religious movement. Maybe this is a good thing, since religious movements sooner or later develop a hierarchy and unintended additions, complications and exclusions.
As to being the “author” of a holy book, my personal experience rules this out. I’ve concluded that all religious “Gods” are fictional. If the Creator or Creators were to attempt to communicate to the community at large through a book, we wouldn’t have the experience or the vocabulary for Him or Her or It or Them to be successful. Furthermore, religions tend to foster tensions, animosities, and even warfare among people with different books and even among people with different understandings of the same book. If God has tried to create holy books, He has failed to educate or unite us. The language to accurately describe the Creator doesn’t exist. And the nature of each person’s Higher Power seems to be tailored to their individual needs and beliefs and not to those of the public at large.
WHO ARE WE?
My intensive experience communing with souls of people both still alive and deceased has me convinced that the afterlife doesn’t rescue us from mortal mistakes or take us somewhere else. We appear to stay mired in the same loves, hates, relationships, misunderstandings, and difficulties that we had before we died and even some we inherited from our family.
It appears that each of us has been issued a soul which is attached to a conscience and is bonded to both natural and adoptive families. This isn’t what you’ll hear in church or synagogue or mosque, but it’s what I’ve discovered. We are bonded to families and enemies and people we’ve helped and people we’ve wronged and our souls won’t be truly happy until we make amends and find love and the widest possible inclusion.
Amends in the spiritual world are different from amends in the physical world. I’m not talking about paying them back. I’m talking about sharing their pain and seeing and deeply regretting what we or our ancestors did. This isn’t mea culpa with a priest. It’s looking the victim in the eyes, and then feeling and understanding their pain fully and unambiguously.
The problem I have with many religions isn’t their beliefs per sé but their insistence that others should believe what they believe and their selfishness in devising Gods biased toward themselves and their genetic or cultural or geographic faction within the human race. The only definition of God that makes sense to me and that correlates with the inclusive and loving tendencies within the human soul requires an inclusive nature, accepting all of us and all of our poor and failing attempts to understand a creation and a Creator that is so vast that our ability to comprehend fails.
The mistake of scientists and religious leaders alike has been their overweening pride, their inability to admit the obvious fact that we do not know. We can only guess at the boundaries of our Universe and the capabilities and character of the Creator and the true nature of our souls.
©David N. Dodson, July, 2016, Phoenix, AZ