Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What is God?

Over the last few months I've had quite a shift in my beliefs about "God." I think I've pretty well given up on being a Christian. There are several reasons why. Really to sum it up, Christianity is full of false promises. It's not just the obviously ridiculous ones that I've found to be false (such as "seed faith offerings." hey god, want to take a little bribe?) It's the 'big' ones as well.

At this point I'd consider myself pretty much agnostic, but have given the idea of pantheism some thought. The whole sell of a "personal god" to me was the biggest lie and letdown I've ever fallen for in my life. We were told in church that God is involved in every intimate detail of our lives. Omni-something. Yeah right. I found trying to believe this and live accordingly to be the biggest bag of letdowns ever.

We were also told God cares about everything going on with us, our trials, sorrows, etc. Really? Why doesn't he do something about them then? Not necessarily as in, erase them, but even provide better for us to be able to get through them without losing hope and faith altogether? This is something I've finally come to accept: that I don't have faith and may not really even need it. Not faith in a personal God, that is.

Pantheism isn't something I'm well educated about. I've followed a facebook page on pantheism, and find a lot of the discussion is by cerebrals with a lot of information and a lot to say. Much of it leaves me saying, "huh?" But the general idea is, pantheists do not believe God is a who, but God is an it. That there is not a "personal god" separate from us, but that 'all is God.' All that is everywhere, is part of the Universe, which is God.

Some would argue that all of this had to be created by Someone. I personally don't think it all just happened. I am trying to re-think my ideas of a creator. I've never been at all comfortable with the God in the Bible, now that I've officially given up on trying to make that shoe fit. I don't like the idea of depending on a male deity for my sustenance, well-being or self-esteem. Not one bit. Not with my life experiences.

Instead, I am trying to think of Essence, or Being, or Life. Something far beyond our comprehension. At least the Lakota people were honest about it. Wakan Tanka, the Great Mystery. Unlike the arrogant white men with their bibles tucked under one arm and guns under the other, taking the Natives' land in Jesus name. I see the continuation of such attitudes all the time in Christians nowadays. Having the ultimate Answer Book makes people so arrogant, cold and hateful. Mystery is a necessary element in humility.

It's a challenge to get away from the "who" thinking that left me feeling unloved, powerless and victimized and embrace a "what" idea instead. But whatever small improvements I make are good. The relief of no longer having to beg a male authority figure (who is probably only imaginary anyway) for help or provision is significant. Trying to learn to see myself as an equal and valuable part of the Universe is a challenge I'm glad to take on. It's much better than the Christian challenge of trying to impress a God who supposedly loves us, yet we're constantly reminded he might not. Who can really know? It's better to save that wasted mental energy and focus it instead on the one thing I do have some control over: myself.