Thursday, July 16, 2015

Belief and God

If someone were to ask me: 'Do you believe in God?" I may say yes just to not get into it. But if I were to be truly honest, I would need to ask: "What do you mean by God?" Upon hearing their description of God, I would probably have to say "No, I don't."

Then if the person asks me: "So you believe there is no God.?"  Again, my response would be "No." Atheism is based on a belief. I am not an Atheist.

Remember the story of the six blind men describing an elephant? This is it:
Six blind men learned an elephant was visiting their village. None of them knew what an elephant was, so they decided to touch it and find out.
"Hey, the elephant is a pillar," said the first man who touched his leg.
"Oh, no! it is like a rope," said the second man who touched the tail.
"Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a tree," said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.
"It is like a big hand fan" said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.
"It is like a huge wall," said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.
"It is like a solid pipe," Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.

They began to argue about the elephant and every one of them insisted that he was right.

This is religion. The collision of beliefs, each group thinking theirs are correct. Each person believing s/he is right. Each person and each group has their own image of God.

Images are not real. They are partial truths. This is why you can find truths in any religion. Those who have written about and taught from the original teacher and formed a religion have shared their part of the elephant. In most cases, they have also added their own stuff.

"God" is a word that names the ineffable. I sense God and feel God, have an awareness of God-ness. I have seen God in the faces of my children when they were babies, in the joyful countenance of my wife on our wedding day, in the faces of students I have taught, and in the midst of groups and teams of which I was a part. I have felt God when walking in a forest, when sitting in a pew at Notre Dame du Chartres, gazing at the mountain above Machu Picchu, standing in solitude on the Pyramid to the Sun at Teotihuacan, and while enjoying a west coast sunset (Lake Michigan or the Pacific Ocean) .  I have seen God when one person forgives another. I have witnessed God in the creations of great artists, writers, and musicians. Although I have sometimes traveled around the world to seek experiences, I needn't leave home to experience God. Wherever I am, God is.

For me, God is not something or someone to believe in.  I live and move and have my being within God. The closer I get to God, the less there is of "me" as I have known myself.  The only belief I have is "I am." At the same time I know that "God is." But don't ask me to describe that which is indescribable. I can't. And I don't want to make it up and call it a belief.  I can't take my experiences  and package and sell them as a belief system.

Whatever your religion or lack of, those moments when you touch God--when something deep in your mind and heart is sparked by inspiration or revelation, when you truly feel "not alone" or unconditionally loved or completely aware--those are the moments that inform you about God. But good luck explaining it!

No comments:

Post a Comment