I have some trepidation writing this, as I fear I may offend some, but recent events, as I’ve said, have compelled me to lay out plainly what I believe. In no way am I trying to ‘convert’ anyone here, or ‘dis’ anyone for believing what I cannot.
I say ‘cannot’, because though I have never been and never will be an atheist, I find more and more that I am largely in agreement with them on many points. Most especially, on the absurdities just about all religions would have us accept as ‘Truth’. Anyone expecting me to believe in such blatant nonsense as virgin births or the world being created in seven days (no-one’s ever explained to me why The Almighty was in such a tearing hurry), will have their work cut out. I believe in evolution, rationality, the workings of reason, and the findings of science. And no, I certainly don’t see that as incompatible with my bone-deep spirituality.
Now some would have us believe a lot of this nonsense simply because “it’s in the Bible” (or some other Holy Book), and that that document is ‘God-given’, Sacred Word Never To Be Questioned. Sorry, but no. Though the Bible (the religious book I am best acquainted with, and yes, I have read it, all the way through) has many lyrical and spiritually moving passages, it also has plenty that is, well, less than inspiring (all those boring begats), or even violent. It’s a human document, and even the most inspired passages have had to be filtered through human minds, with all the prejudices and limitations of their times, and written down by human hands, in language they felt others would understand. Not to mention it’s now known to have had several ‘revisions’. It can be beautiful, but it’s not perfect. Not even close.
I see no more reason to believe in these ancient Jewish myths of creation, etc, or whatever stories the early Christian leaders dreamed up to ‘prove’ the divinity of Jesus, than I would literally believe the Maori legend that Maui fished up the North Island, or in mythical Chinese dragons, or Irish tales about Finn McCool. If I ever did subscribe to such fabulist tales, I outgrew them along with the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa Claus. I can understand people believing in those things in a more credulous and superstitious age, but surely nowadays we know better.
On the other hand, my feeling is that when atheists discard God along with religious ideas and concepts of God, they’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Forget, for example, that antiquated image of an Old Man with a long white beard, sitting on a throne on a cloud, up in some mythical heaven, waiting to thunder down retribution on those who ‘sin’. The Infinite Power is so much more than such limited, prejudice- and dogma-ridden ideas.
I find it hard to delineate exactly how I perceive God, as there are no limits on Its nature. It’s the underpinning of the Universe, the Matrix that holds it together, the Source of All Things, the Energy that runs through us all, and the True Nature of all of us. We all come from this Source, and will return to it in the end. A spark of it is in each of us, usually slumbering, sometimes burning bright, often seeking, though for what, the seeker often doesn’t know. God is present in mountains and trees, birds and fishes, oceans and stars, in everything and even in the spaces between. God is present in you and me. God is.
God is Infinite Love. Unconditional, immense, limitless love. Most people have no idea how huge that love is. I have touched the merest fringe of it, just a few times, and each time it blew me away. I had always ‘believed’ before, from then on I knew. God is also Infinite Wisdom, lovingly guiding us and supporting us through the trials of our lives, in ways we usually don’t see. God can be seen as impersonal, a Force or Power, or in a more personal way, as the Perfect Father or Mother (The Infinite is beyond gender), the most wonderfully supporting Best Friend, or whatever else you want. And The Infinite will wait for you until you’re ready. There’s no hurry. (I also believe in reincarnation and karma, so I know we don’t have to rush to ‘get it all done’ in this lifetime.)
Moreover, I believe that God doesn’t judge. Humans judge, humans define ‘sin’, usually to suit themselves, and set themselves up as judge, jury and executioner for those who ‘transgress’. They forget that God is Love, and make all sorts of claims to ‘knowing’ what God wants or thinks eg, ‘God hates homosexuals’, which subsequently sees them descend into morasses of twisted, hate-ridden thinking and even violence. Such people are as far from truly being ‘one with God’ as a worm is from the sky. The Infinite may see some of our actions (most especially those that hurt ourselves or other people) as less than perfect, but It created each of us exactly as we are, and loves us just as we are. Without condition. God created me aspie, female, gay, creative, Kiwi, spiritual, and just a little bit geeky. I’m content with that, it’s a pity so many don’t accept what the Divine Power intended me/us to be.
Some people may decide, after having read the above, that I am ‘anti-religion’, or anti ‘their’ religion. Let me make myself clear. The only things I am ‘anti’ are hatred, bigotry, prejudice, persecution, abuse, oppression, violence and deliberate stupidity. (By which I don’t mean the intellectually disabled, but the attitudes of those who have a fully functional brain and don’t use it, preferring instead to spout reactionary prejudices, regurgitated dogma, or the latest ‘party line’.)
There’s much more I could say, but I think this post is long enough!! Perhaps I’ll say more another day.