We Are (Chapter 1)
It took me a long time to wake up. Now that I have, I feel a compulsion to tell what I am guided to relate to others and what I remember. This is about religion. It neither supports, affirms or denies any religion, but it’s about religion. This is about existence. It neither supports, affirms or denies it, but it’s about existence. This is about gOD/God/G_d. We know nothing about gOD/God/G_D and everything, if only we could remember. And we can.
1. God Is
To avoid connotation connected with dogma, I am going to do my best to avoid words that will muddy the waters in that way. I AM going to use the word “God,” but I want to be clear that this word cannot be readily defined using human logic and language. A bumper sticker I have been seeing says, “God is too big to fit into any one religion.” That slogan itself is misleading because it implies that God has size. One thing one cannot do is define the infinite by “finitizing” it. The very word, ”define” means drawing intellectual structures around a meaning to confine it from other meanings. That’s a handy thing to do on the material plain of existence. It helps us recognize the difference between cows and dogs, between sheep, wolves and shepherds. God is not a cow or a dog. I agree that God is too big to fit into any one religion, and to small. I’m not going to pretend to know what God is, I just do. The fun thing about God is this. God actually is a cow – and a dog – and a wolf – and a shepherd. Yup.
The idea that God is some sort of ethereal personality defined variously is quaint. The idea that God has a Name or 72 names or 96 names is uniquely human. Only humans use names. God is not exclusively human. Early humans thought that if they could “name” a thing, it gave them some sort of power over the thing being named. Very obliquely, there is some truth to that, but only for those who understand that truth. I may deal with that later but it’s unlikely because that truth reveals information that is too dangerous to be given freely. Humans among other things have proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that they are generally not yet worthy to be in possession of such knowledge. Humans have almost made it to the spiritual maturity of a toddler, but not quite. One of the best protections concealing that knowledge from this spiritual immaturity is its utter simplicity.
I love the works of Albert Pike. At the same time, I am amused by them. Pike was a genius. His amazing command of the ancient tongues and insatiable curiosity for the secrets their speakers possessed drove him to unbelievable lengths to understand and communicate this knowledge. His effort is like that of a great astronomer who invents the best telescope the mind of man has ever conceived. He goes through life exploring the stars, using this device. He uncovers vast areas of knowledge looking for that one star that he can never find. But he never gives up. Long after the end of that personality’s time conduit, we realize that Pike was looking through the wrong end of the telescope. God is. Anything about God beyond that statement is misleading.
Intellect is a survival skill. Its purpose is survival on the material plain. We experience the material plane within the confines of “definition.” That definition is confined by the biggest and smallest thing we can see, the softest sound we can hear, the coarsest and finest textures we can sense. Those things closely confine our understanding of our reality. It is only in very recent times that our understanding (by modern humans) of the Earth as a sphere came into being. The planet is simply too large for us to perceive clearly in its entirety while we are standing on it. The same limitation has affected our understanding of how temperature affects matter because we can only survive to observe things within a limited range of temperature. Smallness defies us. We can barely see a Chigger without the aid of magnification, yet a chigger is an enormous creature, relative to an ameba. An ameba is enormous relative to an electron and so following. Distance defies us. “Here” refers to what lies within our reach, sometimes. Often it refers to a community as small as Spuds, Florida or as large as China. We still call it, “here” when we are “there.” Those distances are within our understanding, but when we look at starlight, it’s hard for us to understand that the light we see originated a billion years ago or more. For us, it is NOW. The telescope Pike was looking through the wrong end of is “the range and style of our manner of perceiving”. The small end of that telescope is “intellect.”
That telescope is a marvelous tool, but what it reveals is governed by the direction in which it is pointed and by what is within its range. If one looks at Earth’s Moon with a telescope mounted on a tripod, it will be noticed that the Moon soon moves beyond the range – to one side or the other. To continue to observe the moon, the telescope has to be moved and perhaps even refocused. Intellect is a very useful but limited tool. When one tries to apply intellect to a truth as vast as God, one runs into problems. Observing God using intellect as the primary tool is a bit like trying to study the Earth’s sun with a microscope from a child’s chemistry set. Enterprising minds might figure out a way to do that, but I have a feeling that they might be missing vast parts of the “big picture.”
Intellectual research and exploration is limited by what we are able to physically perceive. I think I have succeeded in illustrating that point and how limited our perceptions are.
People who study what other people have said about God style themselves, “Theologians,” literally – “those who study God.” Maybe they should call themselves “Theologiologists,” (those who study those who think they have studied God). The term in itself is comedic. God has yet to present himself or herself or itself to any examining table in the office of any theologian. His or her or its heart rate has never been checked. The cholesterol, bone density, blood pressure and gender have never been scientifically/intellectually established. It is all taken on the invention of personal Faith and what others have said in the past. The faith is derived primarily from tradition. In most but not all human cultures, God has been believed to be a masculine humanoid of some sort. The more enlightened theologians say, “Well, maybe He’s not.” I don’t object to them using the masculine pronoun. I recognize that within the limitations of the English Language, it’s a handy default. As a linguistic default, I will use it, too.
In the Holy Writ of all cultures, those who have reported encounters with God have said that God is masculine and humanoid. A very insightful article in the A.R.E’s publication, Venture Inward pointed out that when visionaries have spiritual encounters they invariably interpret those encounters in terms of their own religious backgrounds. That is to say when a Roman Catholic Nun is visited by an ethereal being who provides some message, but fails to name itself, that image is usually viewed as being “The Virgin Mary.” If a Jew has the same experience, the being is viewed as Elijah or one of the major angels. If a Presbyterian has the same experience, the being is perceived to be Christ. There is no one, including me, to say that any of them are wrong – or right. I understand the need for understanding and the need for and use of interpretation. Interpretation enables us to DEFINE an experience. Defining such an experience limits what it really was. Verbally communicating that interpretation limits the conveyed understanding even more.
All creatures, including humans have visionary capabilities. I can’t speak for the rabbits and the dogs, but Humans always interpret such experiences in context with their own religious backgrounds. When a particularly sensitive or sensitized person comes into such contact and is guided to teach what the entity gives them, the human is often regarded as a prophet or a messiah. Religions spring up around them, all of which invariably attempt to coral God within fences or definitions they erect. “God is love,” some say. But are they including “tough love?” The Christian-Judeo tradition teaches, “who spares the rod hates the child.” Does this explain, in their view, “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People?” These religions can and do become madness.
I attended a religious meeting this morning and the leader posed the question, “What do others see when they look at us?” It brought a smile to my lips because the answer is what they see is superstition, dogma, exclusivism, dependence on ritual, in-fighting and a skewed and spun view of historic events surrounding the origin of that group. My smile broadened as I realized that this is how most Humans view all religious organizations to which they, themselves, do not belong. It’s tribalism that in extremes gets carried way too far. Tribalism has positive qualities and I am not attacking any religions, just observing their foibles.
Since it is part of human nature to war among ourselves, none of these religious organizations experience the harmony they seek. In time, a group will form who are dissatisfied and they will establish their own branch of the same religion. Then within the new group the same thing will eventually happen. This is why there are so many thousands of sects of Islam, Christianity, Judaism and others. It’s because none of them can get along together. Their separations are based on such trivialities as to boggle the mind. Much of the time, the separation is a result of something as miserably picayune as personality conflicts. Yet of these thousands of sects of the many major faiths, they all agree on the one common idea. God is. Where they get into trouble is with their myriad of conflicting definitions and their eager willingness to shed blood to prove their correctness and piety.
Revealing God to the reader is not within the scope of this document, but I will give the reader a clue. Before you think big, think small and put away the telescope, unless you just want to look at the sky.
If you can imagine God as a male humanoid, think of his head. He has a thick head of hair. The color of the hair represents Earth’s religions. Each major religion has a major color and each sect of that major religion is slightly different than the main color. Islam has its own color with all the sects in variation. Christianity is another color and Judaism yet another. Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Seekism, Paseeism – all different colors with each variation of that religion a little different shade, unique from all the others. Then there are the primitive religions, the nature religions, the spiritist religions. As long as man has been on the Earth he has been inventing unique and individual ways to express his experience of God and man’s relationship with God. There are dead religions. They are many but some are still remembered. There were Gnostics, Paulitians, Manicheans. The gods were many. Or perhaps I should put it like this. The manifestations of God recognized by man were and are innumerable.
If you examine God’s hair you will discover that as the sects, cults and denominations find dissent and split off, that God’s Hair has split ends. We could suggest vitamins perhaps. A little more exercise, a change in diet. If He used the correct shampoo, maybe things would change. I am afraid that if we don’t learn to get along, after all the messengers He has sent to us, He may just decide to get all of us out of His hair. We are, after all, the only creation He has made that we know of who kills each other over disagreements about His nature. There is a message in all this, of course. The message is to religionists everywhere, in all creeds, sects, cults and what-have-you. This is the message –“Get a Life.”
Feedback or comments...