My grandfather used to say that the road to Hell was paved with good intentions. I have no doubt that is an apt description of the foundation of most churches and religions. They all began with good intentions.
The God that I now believe in…for yes, I do believe in God….is not the God of my childhood. He does not frighten me, for He is not a vengeful, vindictive God that demands constant praise and adoration.
The God that I believe in is all things…God is of me, in me, God is my thoughts, my sight, my smell, my touch and my heart.
My God is the sun, the moon, the air and the oceans. He is the mountains, the desert and the forest. He is the touch of my husband’s hand on my face, the wisp of hair on my daughter’s neck, the lilt of laughter spilling across the lips of my grandchildren. My God is the homeless man helping the elderly woman cross the street. He is the twinkle in my son’s eyes and the splash of the raindrops as they hit my window.
God is the essence of life. I refer to God in these writings as He, because it it easier to explain, and a more acceptable term…but the God of my faith has no gender, no colour, no race. My God may be your Allah, your Jehovah, your Muhammed. You may call Him the Great Creator or the Universal Force.
My God is all encompassing and is what I need God to be at any given moment.
I do not believe that you must be baptized to know eternal life and enter the kingdom of God…or Heaven. If that were the case, what of the fate of all those before Christ? Those in the Old Testament? What of those that have never been taught Christianity? What of Jesus’ own people, the Jews, who look at Jesus as a false prophet? What of children that have died too young to understand or know Christ? For me, the daily moments of my life, how I represent myself, how I treat others…and myself… holds more meaning that any symbol or ritual. For me, it is those things that will gain God’s favour.
I don’t believe we should fear death because I don’t believe that life or love ends…energy doesn’t stop. We don’t have souls, we are souls. “All of nature is a resurrection” says Dr Brian Weiss. I agree with him.
It seems more than coincidence that so many of the things that drew me to various belief systems over the years, became, for me, a confluence of non linear consciousness. The messages and the teachers are all remarkably similar in morality, tone, kindness and love.
There is a book, a work of fiction, that was released a few years ago that set many churches on their collective self righteous, judgemental bottoms. It is called “The Shack” by Wm Paul Young. I really enjoyed the book, but I remembered it was a novel….make believe. Some religious leaders missed that memo just as they miss everything in life that doesn’t jive with their own view of things. I discussed the religious aversion to the book with a few people who were strongly opposed to it, something I still don’t understand, particularly from those that never read the book. At least I have read the bible…twice…no easy feat in some of the older translations let me tell you! I have many favourite verses, passages, and stories. Some have helped me in some dark and difficult times, but that doesn’t mean that I believe every thing the Bible says, I do not. Thank goodness those same critics never saw the notes I left for my teens on their bedroom doors: “Clean this bedroom. TODAY. God.” “Is that report done yet? Just asking. God.” I never really thought I was God…it was make believe.
“The Shack” was never written to replace the Bible. It is not the stuff of great…or even good literature. What it is, is a book about grief, forgiveness, love and understanding. How can that be wrong? It’s not going to be taught anytime soon as part of a theology course, so what is really behind the animosity? Religious paranoia is my guess.
The two biggest draw backs to religion…from my vantage point, are these: Excessive seriousness and lack of respect for the beliefs of others.
I don’t go to church any more. My God isn’t there…I don’t feel Him within those walls, I can’t feel Him in my heart when I am within the confirms of those buildings…there is a void … oddly enough, church is the one place where, to be honest, I have seldom felt God’s presence.
So yes, I believe in God. It was a search I never thought would take me over four decades, but I am happy, joyful and at peace in my faith…and the best part? I won’t try and convince you it’s the only way, mostly because it’s the only way for me. Blessings.