Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Is God Necessary?

No question is taboo for me, or at least no question I've come across thus far in my spiritual journey. I may even end up with the same answer I began with before asking the question, but I believe that anything which appears too sacred to be question SHOULD be questioned. I don't see any issue with questioning belief and tradition. How can your beliefs be truly yours unless you've questioned them, and until then they don't really belong to you, you belong to them. When it comes to proving the existence of God I couldn't care less; either God (as a separate divine being, the Bible God) exists or he/she/It doesn't. How does proving his existence make any difference? Does believing he exists cause us to actively change how we behave? Can we not change how we behave without a divine command?

So is God even necessary? This would depend on your definition of God. How you define God shapes your image of God. Most people can't get around this idea because they find it offensive. They would add that it is not their idea but revealed in their holy book. Again they refuse to acknowledge the involvement of fallible humans (and fallible prophets). And even if you cover all of mankind's involvement with the belief that God protected his Word from corruption, not to forget variations due to scribal error, we still get a book which is a mash up of smaller individual works by authors from different eras, cultures, and theological views. Since the Bible is a compilation of many works the collection, reading, and interpretation of the Bible creates a new view, a Biblical view, not available to the original authors themselves, and since I'm already spouting heresy, nor available to Jesus either. It continues spiraling out of control since there have been thousands of various views and interpretations which have been considered "The Biblical View" resulting in unique communities of believers. To claim your beliefs and views of the divine were shared by the patriarchs, prophets, and early church believers is like saying Jesus was a Democrat. My point being, without falling too far off topic, is that each of us has a unique view of the divine. Uniqueness does not mean your beliefs are erroneous because you lack a majority voice to support you, unique views of the divine should be cherished, shared, and allowed to grow as well as the people behind them.

But back to the question at hand, is God necessary? As usual I respond to a question with another question: Is love necessary? Yes, love is necessary, but not just tribal love, but transcendent universal ALL embracing, enveloping, transformative love. I'm reminded of this cartoon I saw on Hackman's Musings recently which shows Christ on the cross encircled by a mass crowd holding hands with the words: All means All. That is my definition of God, not the anthropomorphic God found in scripture, a separate supernatural being, but love itself, Love Incarnate. I believe that many people (including many of the millennial generation) are having trouble connecting with the archaic view of God found in the Bible. As a millennial myself, we still yearn for that connection with the divine through new definitions and concepts on what That is. That does not have to be supernatural and some find it permeating throughout all of creation. What I think many feel is unnecessary are the definitions used to describe God, yet we are trapped by language and therefore trap the Unnameable with human words and ideas. Atheist believe God and religion is unnecessary and they don't commit any more acts of evil against humanity than believers. I don't believe God, as we once knew him, has to exist for us to be moral or even to have order and meaning in our lives. We create our own meaning and as for morality we have an inner sense of right and wrong that each of us choose whether or not to follow regardless of our beliefs. I'm not trying to disprove the existence of God, since that would be a waste of time, and theologians should spend less energy trying to scientifically prove a statement of faith.

But then another question arises: if I find the existence of God unnecessary how do I seek a God which may not even exist? What I seek is not righteousness, knowledge, or even a presence of the divine, what I seek is connection. Connection is love, love is connection, and all of it is divine. That is my That. If I were to summarize the gospels in one word it would be 'Love'. But not just acting out Love but embracing Love until it becomes a part of our identity, until Love becomes more than just an action but through us becomes alive, conscious, and all embracing. Even if God doesn't exist I believe that through Love we are actively creating God simultaneously as God creates us. And in the process of man and God co-creating each other we begin to lose where each of us end and the other begin, Tat Tvam Asi. Connection is love, love is connection, and all of it is divine.

If you find God, however you may describe the word, necessary I honor your beliefs and would like you to share how this shapes you as a person and connects you with humanity. I'm not saying you're foolish in believing in an anthropomorphic God just that I no longer connect with that view. Instead of battling to prove who's right let's share are unique views of the divine with each other.


Doug B said...

A simple question without a simple answer. With no agreed upon definition of "God," how shall we understand necessity?

captron52 said...

Another great post my friend! Any belief that cannot stand up to being questioned is as belief I sure dont want to be a part of. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas with us.

Sabio Lantz said...

When a "God Belief" is used to separate (saved vs. damned), steal freedoms (gays, Jews, Pagans, whoever), to form exclusive communities, then that "God" is bad. For as you say, we make our God -- so we should help to undo these destruction home-made anthropomorphic gods. Even loving gods that only love their own tribe are very dangerous in this modern world.

Love sounds active -- like "I will love you so you can be like us", I like the Buddhist concept of compassion and kindness which is not as aggressive as love. For we know how love can easily become a two edged sword.

Eruesso said...

@Sabio- Nail on the head.

@Doug- Great question. I would say just living with what the question reveals about humanity should be enough, but it isn't. People need answers, they go berserk without them, but fail to take the time to discover them on their own. I don't trust answers given to me on a silver platter.

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