I don’t believe that God, The Divine, however you choose to address it, is confined within one spiritual or religious philosophy. I feel that anyone who claims that they and others like them are the only ones who have the “true God” or are the only ones who are right about how they see God, are not only extremely arrogant but also sorely mistaken. Why would an infinite, all powerful being that is truly beyond all our comprehension be limited to how a certain percentage of people interpret It? Why does God care what you choose to call or not call It? Worship or not worship It? Is God not supposed to be beyond all these finite physical details? The way I see it, customs and traditions are transient things which change & evolve over time (sometimes disappearing altogether) while The Divine does not disappear.
Everyone thinks that they’ve got it “right”, that they’ve got the market on religion and salvation. Don’t believe their way and you’re going to suffer for all of eternity. Some folks are like Oprah when it comes to damnation, “You’re going to Hell! And you’re going to Hell! You’re all going to Hell!” Hell is nothing more than a myth constructed by those who wished to hold power over others by keeping them in fear. I believe in an afterlife, most certainly, but I don’t presume to think that I can tell you what it is and what it is not. Why is the Christian mythology of the afterlife accepted as concrete fact by most Western individuals, yet somehow the Hindu or Buddhist belief about it is a fantasy? How do you know they aren’t right and you’re wrong? Having “faith” that something is real is not the same as having the facts about it though, unfortunately, for a large number of people the two are actually one and the same. The notion of salvation and damnation are two things which I have very steadfast beliefs about. THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS EITHER. I believe that everyone ends up going to the exact same place once they die.
The world of spirit and the world of the Divine exist outside of our human understanding. We have created vast and elaborate mythologies to try and understand it all but that doesn’t mean that we do, and it certainly doesn’t mean that we’ve created accurate descriptions of that world either. You can call malevolent spirits “demons” all you like, you can call positive ones “angels”, but that doesn’t mean that’s what they actually ARE. Chances are they’ve always existed and have gone by many different names over the centuries, but what we choose to call them doesn’t make them what they are. We name things to try and better understand them but the names we use do not define what something is or is not. Just think of the Shakespeare quote, “A rose by any other name…”, and you get what I’m driving at here. In my opinion the same goes for The Divine. It doesn’t matter what you call It or whether or not you choose to acknowledge it at all, that doesn’t change the nature of the Divine nor does it define it. Your definition of whom or what God is doesn’t make it so, and neither does mine. God exists beyond what our paltry vocabulary can do to try and capture its image or its name. God is in each and every one of us and surrounds us all the time. He is and he isn’t. God is not confined to our concept of time or space or any human concept no matter how hard we try. Why can we not reach beyond our arrogance and acknowledge the fact that no one has it right? No one knows anything for certain, especially not when dealing with matters of spirit and that should be OK. I want to know just as desperately as the next person what is going to happen after I die, but I don’t believe that any one book or belief system can give me that answer.
I will be blunt: I don’t believe that Jesus arose from the grave and ascended bodily into heaven. What need do you have for a thing like a body on the spiritual plane? The spiritual plane is inherently non-corporeal and non-existent in our physical reality, so no physical existence is required. Not to mention the suspension of disbelief it requires to think that a dead body rose from the grave in the first place. It is inherently illogical. I imagine if I had been raised to believe that way it would be different, but despite my belief in things which many might find silly or crazy, I also believe in science and logic and “Zombie Jesus” is just not a concept I can get down with. I believe that a man named Jesus was crucified. I believe that he could have been the “Son of God” in the sense that we are all children of God and that he may have been an extremely enlightened individual who was especially close to the Divine. I don’t believe he was half human and half God anymore than I believe Adonis, Attis or even Hercules were.
A BELIEF does not change what is or was, and in my opinion if Jesus had actually been the literal Son of God and his crucifixion were a sacrifice to save the entire world, then my belief that it isn’t true wouldn’t make it untrue. A belief does not nullify an action, and therefore I find it silly to suppose that anyone who simply doesn’t believe in the divinity of Jesus would somehow be condemned to an eternity of pain and torment. Doesn’t that contradict what Jesus was supposed to have done? You can’t say that his crucifixion was so great a sacrifice that it saved all of mankind of its sins, and then add caveats to it. It doesn’t work that way just because you want to run a religious country club where “non-believers” are excluded. If God sent Jesus to save all of mankind through his death, then everyone is already “saved”, end of story.
People try to say that without this threat of sin and damnation, that without this threat of doing right “or else” then people will devolve into animals. I couldn’t disagree more. You should do right in this world not out of fear but simply because it is right. Otherwise, your actions and conduct are false and completely in-genuine. Who cares if you’re “behaving” when you’re not doing it because you want to, but because you’re scared of what might happen if you don’t? You don’t help people expecting a reward, you don’t treat people with kindness and respect because of a threat. When you go through life in that mindset than nothing you do is genuine because it isn’t coming from a genuine place of love or desire to do right. It’s just a lie otherwise, a false pretense you have set up and empty actions carried out in the hopes of earning spiritual brownie points.
I DO believe that God is Love and Love is a universal force present throughout all living things. I believe that because God is Love that there is no suffering after one dies, only peace for all. I believe that there’s an element of the Divine in all living creatures. I believe that everyone should show other living beings kindness and mercy, that we should respect all life that exists on our planet. I believe that the material differences that we treat with such importance and fervor are ultimately unimportant and will fade with time, just as we will. I believe that God is the same God for all people no matter how they address Him/Her/It. I believe that God exists beyond our ability to define It or understand It completely, and that what we do know (or think we know) is just a fraction of what actually IS – everyone is right and everyone is wrong. I am going through this life doing my best to learn as much as I can about the Divine and to attempt to get to know even a small fraction of what that Divine nature truly is. I cannot limit myself to one philosophy or religion because God is inherently limitless and is, therefore, impossible to be completely encapsulated in only one belief system. The Divine cannot be contained and neither can I. And that is just how I see it :).
~ ♥ ~