A Dirty Word
The other day I was wearing one of my favorite T-shirts, which I have never worn outside without a jacket or pullover. It says “Got God?” on the front and I am embarrassed to wear it in public. I always feel a bit guilty about that embarrassment but not enough to suffer the judgments I perceive others will have about me.
Those judgments primarily center around being identified as a Christian or some other religious fanatic, a person of lower intelligence, or just another human duped by an archaic human belief. Is this what God has come to?
I hate it. Always have but never done much about it, even though I have felt it my duty to participate in some form of public discussion. Very shallow of me, so now I will start doing something about that by sharing my thoughts on God, and also cults.
I love God and always have. This may be inherent or part of the culture I grew up within, which was non-religious but with a very old religion and grandfather that influenced me deeply. My mother came from an English Protestant mother and an Irish Catholic father, and my father was the product of two Ashkenazi Jews. Neither of my parents embraced or practiced religion but they did choose to enroll me in the Jewish Temple and keep me going up until I got my Bar Mitzvah. I suspect my paternal grandfather and grandmother were responsible for this and am quite grateful for the experience and their influence. Both were devoutly Jewish and my grandfather held a special peace and love that greatly comforted me in my tormented childhood.
During my teenage years, other religious enterprises would attempt to gain my loyalty and tell me with absolute certainty that my soul would be damned unless I fully accepted their definition of God and belief system. I flatly rejected this notion and would often become quite vocal in my distaste for these ideas.
For much of my adult life, I frowned deeply on all religions and lived in my own non-active spirituality fueled by an occasional book like Autobiography of a Yogi. It was not until my thirty-fourth year in 1991 that things changed, which I will get to later but first, back to my embarrassment and judgments around God.
I could go on and on about God but prefer to get right to the bottom line. I love God, and I believe in God, and I have had many deep and personal experiences of God, but I have no idea what God is nor do I believe that any human “knows” God. All the bullshit about some guru or enlightened being or religion knowing God or speaking for God or being God is ridiculous. This personal belief is not popular with fanatics or atheists for the very reason I reject both groups, they want me to believe what they believe. This is the problem as I see it because, in a very simple statement of historical fact, God represented power and human nature caused individuals to attempt to own or grab that power. It really is that simple. And what a shame.
There is much more to say about this but for now, I propose that by tarnishing and corrupting God, whatever God may be, a most valuable human resource has become a bad word, a thing that most people reject or have become wary about. Like me, and my embarrassment.
What if we put God in the same place as most physics or gravity or any of the other things we do not yet understand, that are beyond current human comprehension and knowledge? We should, but that has not occurred because controlling God is a way of obtaining power, and the only way to rebel against that power is to remove God from the equation. The fact that God is unknown, beyond human comprehension, cannot be refuted so it is a perfect argument against God. It is also a perfect argument against any theory of gravity, physics, and all the other things we cannot yet comprehend, except these things are not used to control humans. This aggression toward God is actually more about the people who proselytize and claim to know the “truth” in an attempt to gain power and control humanity.
In my world, we should be comfortable with every reasonable definition of God because we truly do not know, and like gravity, physics, and all the other things we do not yet comprehend, we may be seeing the results of God even while not knowing precisely what God is or how God works. No matter, I believe God is an important tool for human development even if God does not exist. What?
While I write this article I am holding God in my thoughts, asking God to guide my writing. Perhaps there is a God that does help my writing, or a collective wisdom that I tap into, or maybe by asking God for help the only thing that happens is my ego gets put to the side and my heart guides my writing. This is a good thing, and I would prefer the people who run our world use the same practice. Not all of them do.
Aspiring toward love, treating others as we would have others treat ourselves, calling upon universal wisdom, energies, or the collective consciousness, and yes even other beings if they exist, are all valuable tools. And why not? We do not know what is out there, what can help us become better humans, what can help humanity evolve in better ways. Remember, human evolution, personal betterment, and greater inner peace are all meaningful and important. What if all that God is, is this desire?
The one sure thing is that God is more difficult to comprehend than any of the other things we do not understand. It should be easy for all of us to recognize that any claim over God is no more meaningful than claiming the Universe. We know this is not possible, so it is reasonable to have the same discernment and courage about God.
Whatever God is, it is available to each and every one of us and can be felt and understood in our own personal way. That does not mean our understanding is right for anyone else, or that we should impose our understanding on humanity, just that God is available in any and every form an individual chooses. What is so bad about that?
So, I should not be embarrassed about God, or let what others feel and think about God stop me from wearing my T-shirt. But, I do and that bothers me. Now what am I going to do about it and what happened in 1991? Next time.