This thing we call “God”

I’ve been thinking about god, or at least the idea of god, off and on lately. Which, I really don’t do much of anymore. I thought I would share some of the things I’ve been thinking about, in case anyone is interested. But, like I said in my last post, I definitely have more questions than answers. For the sake of consistency in this post, when I use the word “god”, I’m referring to the idea of a divine intelligent being that is, or is part of, everything. And if I refer to god in the male sense, please don’t be offended. It just saves time and that’s the idea I grew up with, so it’s familiar to me. You could also say life force, or essence, or light, or whatever someone thinks god is. The dictionary defines god this way; “(in Christianity and other monotheistic religions) the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.” That’s pretty much the definition that I used to agree with. There were slight variations here and there, depending on the flavor of Christianity, but that seems pretty standard across the board.

The way I see life now, I probably will never have a concrete belief in who or what I think god is. From my experience and personal opinion, I don’t think it’s possible for us to REALLY know who or what god is. I used to think it was, and that I knew him pretty well. I’ve changed a lot since then. I don’t think god is like the Christian god that I grew up believing in. I no longer believe in the traditional ideas of heaven and hell. Along the way over the last few years, I’ve heard some interesting ideas about god. There is the idea that the universe is basically a play or a drama and god is the sole actor, playing all the parts. A similar one is that he is playing hide and seek with himself and at some point, people come to the realization that they are god. In both of these, he is playing the role so well, or hiding so well, that we don’t realize that we are all god. At least not right away. I like these ideas. I also recently heard someone say that they thought everything and everyone is an expression of God. I like that idea as well.

A friend and I were talking this weekend about the idea that god is all. So there is nothing that is not god. Many religious traditions have this idea in their writings. The Christian idea I’m familiar with says that god is over all and through all and in all. Well, all pretty much includes, all. If there is nothing that is not god, then god is both (what we would perceive as) good and evil. This really fucks people up! I know it did me, at first. I still trip over it from time to time. But then we have to go back and define good and evil. Aren’t both ideas based on perspective? And, if we go with the idea that all is a drama, and god is playing all the parts, then he is playing both the victim and the perpetrator. And yes, there are always the extreme examples where we just can’t help but think that something is just flat evil and there is no way god had anything to do with it. I’m not saying that this is how it is, period. I’m just sharing thoughts and questions.

An idea tied to the god is all idea is that there is no such thing as sin. This also gets folks riled up! Especially in my area where religion is so prominent. If we are all expressions of god, characters played by god, or one with god because there is nothing that is not god, how could there be sin? How could god be mad or hurt or disappointed by something that he is doing? Now, for us to live in the organized society that we live in, we do have to have rules and laws to generally keep things the way we like them. But I’m talking about sin between man and god. And they would have to be separate to have one sin and the other label it as sin. When I’ve heard this idea presented, people generally ask, “so are you saying you are perfect?” Well, what is your definition of perfect? I would say yes. I’m exactly as I should be.

Then, of course, there is the idea that there is no god. From this perspective, there is no sin, either. There are those social norms that people expect, but sin between god and man can’t exist if there is no god. Also, if there is no god, then there probably is no devil. The traditional idea being that the devil was at one time an angel created by god. Then good and evil falls into social norms versus things that society deems to be good or bad. And when people do bad things, they are probably messed up or broken, somehow. It’s like when hurting people hurt people. Most child abusers were abused as children. And so on. One thing that gets me when I think of there being no sort of god at all is, where the hell did everything come from? Even if everything started from a super dense mass of matter, and it went, “bang!” Where did the super dense matter come from? And, where did God come from? The human mind really can’t grasp the idea that something has been around forever, with no beginning at all. But, that probably has something to do with the fact that most people see time as only linear. But that’s another topic.

And I’m sure there are many, many other perspectives and factors to all this that I haven’t thought of yet. I’m not sure that I want to know the answers to a lot of these questions? A friend recently asked, if you could know the exact time of your death, would you want to know? My initial response was yes. Then I thought about it, and at that time, decided that I would not want to know. Another friend said that he thinks it’s more fun not knowing. That way, you are free to keep imagining. Yeah. I kind of get that. Sometimes, not knowing is fun.

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More questions than answers

I recently turned 50. It’s really just one of an average of 27,375 days. But in our society, it’s one of the big milestones. I’m still not sure what to do with the fact that I’m 50? I don’t really feel older, or like I thought I might feel, years ago looking ahead. When I was 20, 50 seemed pretty damn old! LOL Now, it’s just how it is. I actually feel pretty good. I do have some arthritis and some old injuries that remind me that they are still around from time to time. But I’m healthy and active and mostly sane and all that. I do see myself in the mirror from time to time and wonder, “when the hell did that happen?!?!”

I haven’t spent a lot of time being philosophical about the fact that I’m 50. But I’ve spent a little time over the last day or two thinking about some things. I realized that I still haven’t figured out what I want to be when I grow up. But I don’t really look at it that way anymore. As much as I hate the bumper sticker phrases, life really is a journey and not a destination. So what I am when I grow up can change many times. It can be hard to keep that in mind in the daily grind. As always, work has been nuts! But it still beats looking for a job, right? But I digress…

I also realize that I seem to have many more questions than answers. In fact, I’d say mostly questions. It’s not that I haven’t learned anything along the way, I definitely have. But many things I thought I knew, I realize that I really don’t. And the perspective on the things I have learned tends to shift with time and age and experience. So even what I have learned shifts a bit from time to time. If that makes sense? It’s funny to think back to my 20’s and 30’s. It’s not that I thought I had all the answers, but I thought I had most of the answers. Ha! Not in a haughty way, it’s just what I thought. Then I had kids, I went through some major life shit, and over the last few years, my beliefs in just about everything have drastically changed. Now I’m like, well, fuck. I don’t think I know much of anything. At least not much of anything, in a concrete sense. And I’m getting to be ok with that. I’m talking more about the realm of ideas and philosophies and “spiritual” shit. I’m pretty sure I know about things like gravity and taxes and not to put my hand on a hot burner. Things like that.

On a side note, I’ve been cursing more and more as I get older. Not in a vulgar, Andrew Dice Clay, kind of way. Not that there is anything wrong with that. But just using the words to express feelings. I recently had another blogger encourage me to let more of myself, where I am right now, come out in my writing. So you might see an increase in some curse words. And it’s fun! Sometimes, there are situations that just require you to say, “fuck!” Ok, I’m off track again…

A friend of mine recently invited me to a class that he was heading up at his church. His idea was to stir people to ask questions and discuss things. The main question was, “what if?” So, things like, what if there is no God? Or, what if God is not anything like I think God is? What if God loves everyone equally, no matter what? What if there is no hell? What if there is no heaven? At least, not like I think heaven is? It was very interesting and I think it was a good activity. One of my favorite questions was, what if there is no such thing as universal truth? What if truth is individualized? In my religious days, this would have blown my doors off! LOL I don’t know if I would have even stayed. But now, realizing how little I probably know about the universe, what’s out there, seen and unseen, I don’t get so freaked out by these things. And, if truth (whatever the fuck that is?) is individualized, then what one person believes and what another person believes can both be true. Even if they seem to contradict each other.

Of course you will have folks asking, “what if he thinks it’s ok to hurt someone and does it?” Yes, I get that. To have a working, relatively peaceful society, you do have to have some rules that everyone abides by. They might not agree with them, but they still abide by them. So the idea that you and I both think it’s wrong to physically assault someone, works in favor of a working, peaceful society. But, I’m really talking more about ideas and philosophies and beliefs that would more fit the label of spirituality of some kind. For example, meditation. I have meditated off and on for a while and I can say that there are some positive benefits for me when I’m consistent with my practice. Someone else may meditate for a while and not find anything beneficial. Well, neither of us is wrong. And just because my experience varies from yours, doesn’t mean that I’m right when I say meditation is good for you and you are wrong when you say it’s not. Timber Hawkeye, author of Buddhist Boot Camp, says, “If someone tells me that the sky is green I simply say “okay”. I don’t need to agree with them, and I certainly don’t need to prove them wrong or to show them “proof” that I am right… I simply go on with my life with this newfound understanding that to some people the sky looks green.”

It seems like I also heard someone say something like, just because someone says the sky is green, doesn’t make it any less blue when I look at it. I don’t know if it’s because of the competitive nature of our culture (or maybe something in human nature) that makes us feel like we have to prove we are right, and someone else is wrong? Hey look, yet another question that I don’t know that answer to, at least not at this moment. And, like I said, I’m getting more and more ok with that. I kind of think the more ok I am with not having to have an answer, the more easily some kind of answer will come to me in time. We’ll see.  🙂

Peace, y’all.