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Tuesday September 14, 2004: Arguing Over God

           Sorry, but this is going to be another rant page. For too long, a basic problem of definition has caused religious conflicts (political or military), justified by this or that group's interpretation of God's Will. Could we please start using two separate terms?

             Most religions agree (and science postulates) there is one absolute reality, all-encompassing, all-inclusive, sustainer/ substance of all creation or reality, without limits and beyond description.  Why don't we start calling that the divine.

           Since all of creation rests within the divine, or since the divine makes up the substance of all reality, there can be nothing outside this formless state.  That means we can never be outside the divine.  It doesn't matter if you are a believer or non-believer, if you are a saint or a sinner. It doesn't matter if you approach an eternal truth through religion or science, or if you ignore the truth altogether. You cannot turn away from or be removed from the whole.

             Human beings are the ones who cut an unlimited reality into little digestible fragments.  Then we get defensive because someone else says they have eaten from the true slice of the absolute and eternal, and it's better than whatever the rest of us eat. The tendency to think we've got the perfect slice, or the only key to the universe, is one of those human traits that  we really need to rise above.  Before we start fighting over who has the right belief, we should take a hard look at our own lives -- do we believe we can be nourished by our slice of reality or not, and if we can, then what's the problem?  Aren't we past the days when we believed God would punish us for something our neighbors did or didn't do? Can we focus on our own lives?

            Clashes occur when people fixate on one and only one god, instead of one and only one divine. Any time humanity is (or has been) able to interact with this divine force, we should identify that as God (personally, I call it a godform).  This is the God that people speak of when they talk of God's laws and God's blessings and God's punishment.  If God has any opinion or can be known to humanity in any manner, then --surprise!!--you are not talking about a limitless, formless state.

             Most mystics are devoted to a single path, a single belief system.  When the depth of their love allows them to finally see God, what they see appears in the form of their devotion. There is no doubt they are standing before God and that this is the only reality.  If they do not see a form but only feel a presence -- again, the experience fits the history of their belief and it proves their contact with 'the one and only God.'
            I'm not denying the experience.  I know from my own encounters that -- when standing before a god or goddess -- there is no doubt, no question that one is standing in the presence of divine love and power.  When I have merged with God, become part of the universe, and enjoyed all those other lovely mystical states of being, I had no doubt I was experiencing God.  Perhaps it is because of my unusual problem, of being exposed to numerous and diverse godforms, that I ended up comparing and contrasting experiences.
           The recognition of the divine presence resided in all the godforms I encountered.  Yet, each had his or her own personality.  Often, I was passed from one godform to another--without any say in the matter.  I think this was done intentionally so I would begin to compare-- just how did I recognize Shiva as being a true form of God, when I also recognized Jesus or Tara or Sekhmet as a true form of God?  It was not until my most recent experience that I realized how much of the divine flows through each of these godforms. Anytime someone focuses on a godform, they are truly accessing part of the divine. On the other hand, it's just part of the divine.

          I realize that people can't relate directly to a formless form. I can tell you honestly, you do not want that experience nor the price that must be paid beforehand.  It's much easier to focus on an image of God that has been socially agreed upon by religion tradition.  I'm not about to knock anything that enables people to open their hearts and turn their footsteps in the right direction, but -- somewhere along the way --  people need to start thinking about the difference between religious and spiritual truth.  

           Spiritual laws, the insights given to the founders of each religion, are very basic and simple (think Golden Rule). Rules of religion are created soon after the spiritual insights -- and serve to hold together a religious group, to keep faith and teachings pure and separate from outside influences.  The rules set up to maintain group unity should never be confused with spiritual laws. If God has given your people rules of behavior, follow them -- just remember these are rules from your God, not from the divine.

           How I dream that people would embrace the idea of everything as part of the divine and the most important step as opening one's heart to the divine.  How I dream of people accepting their individual religious dogma as the path they have chosen to reach the divine and realizing that it's alright for others to follow a different path to the same goal.  Then perhaps we might end the excuse of going to war for the defense of true religion.   Maybe then, people who love God and love the divine could unite to fight the conditions that result in suffering and misery, instead of fighting amongst themselves.

Posted on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 at 05:15AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | Comments3 Comments

Reader Comments (3)

1) Re: -
"Most religions agree (and science postulates) there is one absolute reality, all-encompassing, all-inclusive, sustainer/ substance of all creation or reality, without limits and beyond description. Why don't we start calling that the divine"
It may be a pedantic point, but I don't believe that science sees reality as being without limits. The full extent of reality is beyond description, but the physical component is decidedly constrained to

scientific laws.

2) Re: -
"How I dream that people would embrace the idea of everything as part of the divine and the most important step as opening one's heart to the divine".

The problem is that reality also contains evil and therefor one has to be cautious.

3) Re: -
How I dream of people accepting their individual religious dogma as the path they have chosen to reach the divine and realizing that it's alright for others to follow a different path to the same goal.

The trouble is that some belief systems are incompatible with others. As a temporary expedient we might choose to tolerate, and be respectful of other belief systems, but that is different to accepting them. As you say, there can be only one framework of truth, and I guess nobody yet has the monopoly of that! We should of course be humble about our individual capabilities in understanding this framework.
September 14, 2004 | Unregistered Commentermike brown
I know, Mike. Somedays I get frustrated and very unrealistic. Thanks for bringing me back to earth. Please feel free to add more than short comments. I'm sure you've thought on some of these subjects yourself.

If I'm being down-to-earth, I'd say it's the nature of reality that there never will be one system for everyone or everything. Nature demands variation. I just get tired of people using God as an excuse for treating someone else badly.

You're also right that science doesn't expect reality to be unlimited. However, it does search for universal laws, and I think it's the closest match to what religion searches for in the divine. (Guess I should have left it with all-inclusive).
September 14, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic
I'm not sure I how I feel about your comments about people can't relate to a formless form. I see the divine as darkness. I think I see it as darkness because I have no way to put form to it. That said I suppose I do for my own purpose put a form on it as that I see it as a circle or hole or should I say whole. I think for me its more important how it feels. At the moment it feels feminine to me though I am aware it is both male and female. It feels like the place wheere nothing exists but yet where everything has potential to exist...like a seed if you like. And though it is like a seed it also encompasses the whole of existence. It is in me and I ma in it...it exists but yet it doesnt exist, it is everything but nothing. It feels like a great alchemical cauldron where everything comes from or where everything goes to and can be transformed. It's like the in and out breath....or Im insane!! All I know is here I feel whole, safe, joyous...mmmm not explaining this too well...I'll stop waffling. But anyway iot seems formless but that I put a form on it to relate...mmm thinking again lol

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