Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Asking Questions about God

           Yesterday's sunset was just the average over-the-top-incredibly-beautiful experience...rich, full of lemon yellows morphing to salmon and then pink against the green-gold trees. Made me wonder how anyone could question the existence of God with such splendid proof... 
            Yet I probably put my foot right in it with yesterday's post, saying that I knew what God was like, that God was everything and everybody. What makes me think that I am privileged to know something that philosophers and theologists have been arguing about for millenia? Let alone be so certain?
            I have the same privilege as you, or anyone else. I do see God in everything, including you.  I do celebrate God’s presence and expression in you and in me.  For me, God is the Great Pattern That Connects, and the night sky is the most sacred and profound proof of that belief. Its something that I know inwardly, deeply, like I know the sun is going to rise tomorrow. Yet your view might be quite different from mine – and be just as valid.
            There are probably as many ideas of What God Is as there are people asking the question. Even the name “God” brings up so many traditional images, close to The Old Guy in the Long White Beard, that some people don’t want to use the term “God” at all, for their eyes are new, and that name brings up old memories and associations. How can we describe God with new understanding without using new words? Its hard, but sometimes those old words are the only ones that truly work - and sometimes they don't, as well.
            The other shift in understanding is the transition from a God who could be vengeful and punishing, as often in the Old Testament, to a God of love, one of the great gifts that Jesus brought us. There is the thought that it isn’t God who has changed through the ages, but our perception that has changed as our spiritual natures matured. And we’re still changing. Some of us still believe in a God who punishes, who damns people to burn in Hell. Some of us believe that Hell is within us, of our own making, and that a God who loves His children wouldn’t do that.
            What is your view? Who is right? How can we tell?
            Does it matter? 

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