Understanding our lives as interconnected feedback loops in universal consciousness.
What is Necessary? Part 6, God
Isaiah 40:18 (CEB) So to whom will you equate God; to what likeness will you compare him?
Isaiah 40:25 So to whom will you compare me, and who is my equal? says the Holy One.
Psalm72:12–14: Let it be so, because he delivers the needy who cry out, the poor, and those who have no helper. He has compassion on the weak and the needy; he saves the lives of those who are in need. He redeems their lives from oppression and violence; their blood is precious in his eyes.
For now, this is the last topic in our What is Necessary? series. The journey was inspired by a question someone asked me at one of our 9am Sunday morning discussions: Why is God necessary? In a post-industrial, postmodern, post-superstition (mostly), information (and disinformation) based society, why is God necessary?
I think it’s an important question for people of faith to ask themselves and each other. When we no longer require a God that controls the weather, causes and cures disease, or chooses sides in wars (although we still use God as an excuse for those things), why believe? Why have faith? Why have God?
Honestly, I’ve been wrestling with that question most of my life. My answer as someone who appreciates the beautiful mystery of being, has been to conceive of God as the interconnecting love energy of all physical matter.
Part of my process is what we’ve just worked through, together, over the past few weeks: asking What is Necessary? about our beliefs—in our case, our Christian beliefs, to discover what God looks like and how God acts for us right here, right now.
We’ve looked at some of classical Christianity’s most familiar ideologies and dogmas with critical, postmodern eyes. We’ve given ourselves permission, as was the tradition of Jesus’ Jewish ancestors, to comment on everything, adding our voices to a many-thousands-of-years-old conversation.
We discussed the Bible not as literal historical fact (it isn’t), but rather as a library of human religious and existentialist thinking.
We’ve looked to Jesus as a mystic, perfectly connected to and made from God—just as are we all.
We examined the different types of Gospels (“good news”) and discovered there are many more than four gospels about Jesus. We also learned that there are both gospels about Jesus and the gospel he teaches and models.
Our examination of sin reminded us that biblical stories about sin connect individual sins as they relate to the sins of the people as a whole—systemic, corporate sin.
We expanded our definition of sin to begin disassociating it with subjective, dualistic, moral values, instead focusing more deeply on sin as any thought or action, especially systemic, that separates anyone from profoundly experiencing God’s unconditional love.
Then we reignited our desire to repent, because admitting when we mess up is good for our soul and is an essential part of renewing our covenant commitment to God. Confession is a useful spiritual tool because done penitently it leads to renewal that leads to atonement—at-oneness with the Loving Originator of Realities. Repentance helps us fulfill our covenant responsibilities to God.
Now, we can start putting all the pieces together and examine how our views on Jesus, the Bible, sin, and repentance affect the way, and what, we believe about God.
I love the First Testament concept of God as utterly incapable of doing anything anyone in any universe could ever conceive of as evil. Simply, God is love, and the universe, because it is formed from God, is love and will always move toward love.
So even through the ancient, unfortunately current sins of xenophobia, homophobia, love of country over love of God, and irrational fear of anyone whose skin is a different color, God is necessary because otherwise, where do we place our hope in fixing the mess of our current reality? Are we to rely on the evolution of Human beings into a more socially conscious species? That has been a very good plan so far.
I don’t mean to imply that I expect God one day to wave a magic hand in the clouds and make everything all better. God is not a puppet master, laying out reality before us like a cosmic highway. That would be a cruel being.
Instead, I find God is necessary for hope, as the light of peace and love that infuses every soul on the planet. If we’d all just light that fuse (or, if you prefer, if we'd all just let down our guard long enough to let God light that fuse), one by one we change the world.
For the billions of people around the world whose voices are muted and souls enslaved, God is still necessary.
For the billions of people fortunate enough to live in relative comfort, God is necessary because believing in something that is more than all of us, yet also includes and interconnects all of us, frees us from the hubris of even moderate success and the sin of greed.
God is still necessary because I believe in the idea of covenant, of a relationship between two eternal entities committed to loving each other. I like that idea because it makes we humans responsible for each other in the unconditional way we believe God is responsible for us.
I think God is still necessary because God is love and without God, there is no love. Without God, the universe is just a cold piece of math. There is no justice, no compassion, no forgiveness. There is no Jesus, or Buddha, or Mohammed, or any other enlightened soul, because, in a cold, uncaring universe, their teachings are unnecessary.
Without God, there is no need for any moral or ethical code because the universe doesn’t care about us. I know many people who are fine with that concept. I am not. I have felt a presence that transcends time and space; that has shown me visions of realities beyond the grasp of my imagination. I have felt pure, accepting, forgiving, at-one-ment with God. I have heard the love song of the universe vibrate through the molecular core of my being into this 4D spacetime of God’s imagination.
God is necessary because I don’t think there is any way out of fear and war until we become God’s love; until we look and act a lot more like Christ. That’s why God is necessary. Even if the universe is, in fact, a cold, dispassionate place, I need to believe in a God of love—in an entire reality in which love ultimately triumphs.
Throughout my life, I have been blessed with jobs that required a lot of travel. Soon after I graduated from the University of Utah, I was a b-list touring musician regularly working with “classics” groups like the Drifters/Coasters/Platters (always on the same bill), the Classics IV, the Marvelettes, and even Herman’s Hermits, once, in Hong Kong, entirely coincidentally (as things tend to happen in Hong Kong, for better or worse).
Now, you have to understand that at this time—somewhere in the 90s, I guess—there were no longer any original members in groups like the Coasters/Drifters/Platters. Sometimes, there was a loosely associated cousin or something singing tenor, but usually, the tribute acts were comprised of talented musicians who could faithfully recreate not just the songs, but the dance moves and the whole vibe of the acts they were memorializing. Watching them effortlessly interact with the audience was a master class in performance.
Like Jesus, we began our Lenten journey in the desert confronting ha-satan: the ideas, people, habits, influences, and uncharitable actions (to both others and ourselves) that falsely convince us we are not God’s beloved children.
Satan’s desert challenges force us to reconnect to God, if only in fleeting visions that leave our hairs on edge. The solitude of the desert reminds us that we are not alone. Every human is connected through universes of cells in the all-being of God. And we are amazed, and we are changed.
Awareness of God as the metaphysical fabric of everything is transformative. Remember, the term meta refers to a thing's underlying structure, not the supernatural. The desert and Satan’s temptations awaken us to the idea that God is perfectly natural! Don’t underestimate the power of recognizing God as natural instead of supernatural. St. Francis loved that idea.
Natural God is the total sensory beauty of changing seasons. Natural God is the gently wafting hint of salt i…
I’ve been reading about the remarkable history of Islam in the book, Islam,by Karen Armstrong. It’s a terrific, concise narrative about the formation of a community based not on borders but beliefs. It is a story strikingly similar to that of early Judaism, with its revelation of divine law as a blueprint for the way we, made in God’s image, are to behave in this world.
Almost in passing, Armstrong remarks that while Christianity is based on dogmas, creeds, and things you must believe,both Judaism and Islam are ways of life.Judaism and Islam ask us to entirely submit ourselves—mind, body, and soul—to God. In so doing, we are naturally compelled to work for the good of the entire community.
On first reading, I agreed with Armstrong. Yes, Christianity does seem to be obsessed with Jesus as the repayment for the debt we could never repay. Yes, the majority of Christian denominations, both Catholic and Protestant, ask congregants to recite some sort of creed that testifies in some way to Je…