Thursday, December 20, 2007

Spirituality: Exploring the Concept of God

I have given a great deal of thought recently to religion and spirituality. As a former Christian, I have the benefit of knowing a great deal about the foundation and morals contained within the Christian religion; however, I have never felt comfortable with the concept of an omnipotent higher power.

I believe that religion serves an important purpose in society. Historically as well as modernly, religion creates community, gives people hope, and promotes morality. Unfortunately, it also promotes mob mentality, an inability to think for yourself, and war. I am talking in extremes here. I’m not saying that everyone who believes in God is a stupid sheep bent on killing those who don’t agree with them, but more people have died in religious wars than for any other cause and many Christians that I have spoken to do not understand the purpose or basis for their own beliefs.

In my opinion, finding religion should be a very personal spiritual journey that is about finding out both who you are, and who you are not. I find that many Christians, and assumedly other religions, have not done much in the way of self discovery regarding their beliefs. They believe because they were raised to believe but not because of any personal connection with their doctrine and condone their ignorance with blind faith.

I would encourage anyone to investigate their beliefs. Whether this means deep introspection or theological study, it is important that you fully understand where your loyalties lay and why you believe what you say you believe. The Christians believe that Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge. Because of this, we lost our innocence. We learned the difference between right and wrong and we developed a questioning mind capable of higher thought and understanding. As a result, it is our duty to utilize these skills to make the understanding of our place in the universe a constant learning experience.

Whether you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish or Agnostic, the consideration of a higher power has entered your life at some point. One of the most profound questions that man asks himself and the universe is, “Where did we come from?” Humans have bantered about this unfathomable conundrum for countless centuries. From the first person who looked up at the stars and wondered what they were to the most devote holy man today, we are forever contemplating this question of infinity. Whether from a Big Bang or a benevolent hand, there is always that follow-up question of who created the creator.

In ancient Greece, man assigned gods to every event or unexplainable occurrence. The sun was a flaming chariot and lightening bolts were thrown from the hand of Zeus. Today, we have learned more about our universe and the idea of flaming chariots seems absurd. To me, the same concept is applicable to the questions we still have about the universe around us. When I think about the creation of the universe I don’t see an all powerful, all knowing presence handling the controls. All I know is that the universe is and its origin is a question that is beyond our sight. I agree that a force had a place in the creation but that the force is more like physics or gravity than Jehovah or Zeus.

I don’t believe that religion and science are opposite sides of the same coin. There is no reason why God couldn’t be responsible for the harmony of chemistry that gives us life or the mathematics that rule the paths of the planets. We, as humans, are notorious for anthropomorphizing our surroundings. We see patterns in the stars, faces in rock formations, we blame a chair for tripping us and think our pets are smarter than they could possibly be. We also feel more comfortable putting a face and name to the forces of the universe. The difference between me and someone who believes in God is simply that I have chosen to leave my higher power nameless and to not grant it intelligence but instead, to simply accept it as a force that I would like to know more about and learn how to become more in tune with the effect it has on me.


Paul said...

I think the way I would put this is that authentic spirituality is at least as much about identity - growing into a greater consciousness of who we are - as it is about beliefs.

redcrayoncircle said...

EXACTLY! Wow, it's nice to know that you really understood what I was trying to say... kind of puts me to shame that it took me about 500 words to get it out and you said it in less then 30. So I'm spiritual, I'm just not concise.