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Article: The Word, "God"
The Word, "God"
The word God has come to leave a feeling of hesitation in me. My eyes travel to my feet or drift off to the side and go hazy. *I mentally check out of the conversation, suddenly only able to offer "mmhmms" and nods of my head as my mind wanders off in contemplation about what this term really even means or whether this person speaking has ever given it much thought themselves. I'm not unfamiliar with the "idea" of God. *I fully embrace spirituality and the cultural basis of religion and I always have. *But there is that somewhat aggressive doctrine*offered by the Abrahamic religions that turns me off. Everything seems to be so literal for them.*
I haven't traveled to many countries, and I wonder how common this connection of physical with spiritual is. *Here in the U.S., we love our Stuff. *We have Stuff for everything and everybody sells Stuff. *If you don't *have much Stuff then you are not doing that well (either by your own fault and shame-on-you, or because The Man is keeping you down) and you need to do better. *Also, if you don't have Stuff, you are and should be stressed out about it...because if you don't have Stuff, you don't have anything.*
Our religion has picked up on this cultural direction. *Heaven is a place. Salvation is a thing. These are concrete things that you get for being Good. If you are Bad, you get this *tangible afterlife of Hell. *We are rooted in this existence. These things are literal, they are real, and they are static. *The Book is everything. It tells you how to live, how to love, and how to Do things. "Because the Bible says so" is the end of an arugment and there's no room for other words unless they agree with this sacred text. *
Before the concept of a written religion, people didn't take things quite so literally...because they couldn't. *The way one family explained existance was different slightly than their neighbor, and no one was bothered by this. People seemed to have been quite in tune with nature, and with their intuition which is something we're much more foreign to in our era. We spend a lot more time indoors, tuned into our technology, learning about science and how things work. *This isn't a bad thing, but it's something different that the human race hasn't exactly experienced before and it has molded our religions. *We like things to be direct. This is the way it is. *There's not a ton of room in our culture anymore for ambiguities. For spirituality, this is a problem. We are more stressed out as a culture than we are probably used to and this sort of stress has been plaguing us since the Industrial Age. We have these new questions and we seem to have no, or very few or rigid, answers. *There's the concept dawning on us of this "God-shaped-hole". *
To the modern human, following a religion has become somewhat of a nasty pill to swallow. In order to get to the Salvation at the other side, we must hold our noses and excuse the nasty taste of all the hatred and intolerance as it goes down. This hatred, intolerance, and inability to morph or flow with humanity is an ugly mask that religion now wears that scares the now growing majority of people away.
It feels like, almost every day, one or more of my technological Stuffs needs an update. *I'm pretty much used to the idea. I'm also used to the idea that I constantly update. I've grown comfortable with the fact that the only consistency in my life is change. *Nothing stays the same for long; more now so then ever, change is constant and fast. Two years ago, I held a crappy little cell phone capable pretty much only of calling, texting, and as a last minute calculator. Now, my phone is a computer, capable of doing things my computer 8 years ago couldn't even dream of. *Prices change constantly and are volitale in almost every department of the economy. *
Somehow, however, the Abrahamic religions that so dominate our culture have taken on a stance of rigidity.*The bible, as it is now, is the final word, and there's no room for updates. Suggesting that the bible is misleading or that it's interpretation should be changed is fairly blasphemous.
Let me give you a real quick history lesson: the Bible was updated constantly for thousands of years. *Religion, in general, was always updated to make sense to and be compatable with, the common customs of culture and most importantly, the people. *I think it's about due for an update now...because humanity really needs to learn to manage stress. *I find it so amusing this idea people have that God is so static and unmoving. All powerful, and all knowing and yet this otherworldly being is also so seemingly shortsighted on certain topics. Maybe we're all just looking at this from the wrong angle.
So where should we stand? For one, we need to keep from having both feet planted so firmly on the ground. *The Here and Now is Here and Now, and God is nowhere. He's not Here or Now. *He's Nothing. *The ancient philosophers had it correct, in my opinion: the only way we can REALLY speak about That Which Is, is to say what It is Not. It is Not a He. *It is Not a She. *It is Not Reality. *It is Not merciless. *It is Not Mundane. It is Not Immoble. *
We, as a human race, are capable of Love. *It makes us feel good. What is wrong with embracing that? I Love humanity. *I Love its flaws. I don't even technically see flaws anymore because all I see is Love. This feeling wells up in me sometimes, until I see nothing else...and it feels so damned good.*
I won't lie, though, sometimes Hatred feels good too. *At first. *As the Buddha put it, "holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned".* Eventually, it makes me tired. It makes me fatigued. Talking shit is entertaining at first, but it gets to the point where I get exhausted and then I become paranoid. Who might find out? Does the person I'm talking crap with also talk about me? And the spiral begins.*
But there's no need for all of this. Thousands of years ago people a lot smarter than myself came up with the answers: don't do it. Don't hold onto anger, the Buddha said. Don't judge others, Jesus said. Don't be a closed individual, Socrates said. Learn, learn, learn...is what they all tried to teach. *
It's hard for me, because of this, to walk into a church and hear people quote Jesus in one moment, and then quote an even older remnant of a religious text that they have no understanding or context for in another moment. *Context is key, and people don't seem to understand that. How were people going to grow a great nation to fight against their enemies if men were having sex with men? It served no purpose in a time where purpose began to be a pretty big deal. Now, we have way too many people, foster homes are full, and we're stretching our food out to the point that it's hardly even recognizable as food anymore. But this gay sex thing? No way...can't do it. Book says so, even though this goes against the theme of said book, which is practicality; growing as a society and a nation. But when we lose the history of that, and we lose the context, we lose the whole point.*
By closing off the idea of God and reducing it down to this corpereal and unchanging ideal not much different than the reality we live in, then we close off our only resource to stress management.; to learning to be Happy. *Rather than berating people for trying to come to this in their lives through ANY means, we need to show compassion and embrace these ideas. *Throw out the stress and the hate. Embrace the sympathy and the charity. *Our technology is making the world small enough for us to understand that we're all pretty much the same, and that different cultures are not all that scary. Tribalism can be a thing we leave behind; we don't need it anymore. We're so close to this global identity that it almost gives me the chills thinking about it. *I for one, won't allow old biases and currently greedy nations or corporations to ruin that for me. Tolerance, peace, and understanding are literally our only Salvation in this world.*
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