I believe in God….. I mean I believe that there is a greater power than myself. I refer to that power as Him, He, generally as a male gender. I do that NOT because I think that God is gender specific, but rather because it simplifies the relationship.
To give God a gender is a human need and manufacture.
I know, I know, two things that should never be discussed amongst friends is politics and religion. Why is that? Because both are based on opinions of what is. Opinions are free and based on one’s perception of what is. I certainly do not profess to be a religious expert but I write here as a matter of my own opinion and view.
I often reflect during my daily goings-on, about things. God and religion are two of those things. I consider myself a religious man. That is, not to say that I go to church every Sunday because I don’t. I go to church, here and there or when I ‘feel’ I need to make a closer connection and stop the daily life droning and focus a little more on Him. I was raised Roman Catholic but I have attended other churches of different denomination and faith over my lifetime. I have done that, not because I was exploring different beliefs but rather because I was with friends or it was the best available option at the time. I have even taken their communion if it was there. I never felt that I was betraying my religious upbringing if that is important. I did so without remorse maybe because I believe that God …. is God.
He is the same whether you are Catholic, Anglican, Greek Orthodox, Muslim, or any other religious sect.
To me, the organized religious construct is highly a human thing. I see the human relationship to God as beginning when man became aware of himself and tried to answer, “Why am I here?” or perhaps in trying to explain the world around himself. An evolving question that continues today.
Organized religion and all its different factions started when opinions of what God is, could not be resolved. Groups of similar beliefs gathered together and grew or faded over time.
The political aspect of religion started when some ambitious people saw the potential that people’s belief could be harnessed to one’s own greed. History is full of wars and persecutions in the name of God.
Today TV and the media are full of people who claim to have the answers. They typically end their preaching with a plea to send them your money so that they can teach it to others…… after they take care of their own needs of course.
In the early beginning, the propagation of belief in God was relegated to storytellers. Their story passed down from one to the other. In that format, changes can easily come about unnoticed because, with each succeeding generation, the story told is colored by the new perception and understanding of the world around. As one’s understanding or perception of what is, the story of the why, is recounted with some differences.
With the advent of the written word, the belief or storytelling took on a more consistent color. However, even when the story is written, things can still get changed because of interpretation, revisions or translation. All which have taken place over the millenniums.
And that leads me to the written scriptures as we might come to recognize them today. I always knew that there were many versions. It also seems that many, if not most of them have threads of commonality. However, in writing this article and doing a bit of research to check some facts I did a Google search for ‘Religious equivalence to the Bible’ and received 11,300,000 hits. That number seems to change from day to day. Looking at one of those hits is Wikipedia and I found at least 56 religious texts considered central to the various religious faction. To name a few The Buddhist Sutras, the Christian Bible, the Hindu Vedas, the Islamic Quran and Hadith or the Jewish Tanach, Talmud, and Midrash. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_text
Asking the same question in the Encyclopedia Britannica I got 12,386 hits.
I guess my point here is that religious ‘Sacred Writings’ is an exhaustive subject, full of truths, lies, conjectures, and opinions. However, people from every denomination that I have come across over the years, quote their specific faith writings as THE word of GOD. They will spit out at you line and verse as direct tenets from God Himself, to explain some situation or directives from Him on how we should behave.
To me, I see ALL of those books as well written guidelines from very smart philosophical writers. Perhaps inspired by Divine guidance but perhaps not. There is really no way to prove it one way or another. But to say that God said it or ordered it is a bit much for what I think.
My view of this is, that every religion has some truths to them but equally have some questionable aspects as well; especially when viewed from a different perspective. People often extract only that which strengthens their present-day opinions and leave behind what disagrees.
Most of what I know of the different writings has been generally gathered over the years from media quotes, TV, periodicals and personal discussions, a good number of them from other continents. Some good points have come up for me to ponder but NONE of them ever worth going to war over.
Everything that I have uncovered over the years has all strengthen in me one belief, man-made ‘religions’ are an interpretation or view of what that faith’s belief of what God is.
For that reason, I believe that God is an internal thing to each of us. He is a relationship which I cultivate within myself. For certain my view will be colored by my Catholic upbringing but it will also be tainted by my personal thoughts as well. Sacrilegious? Perhaps, but God Himself will let me know someday.
I believe Him to be all loving and wanting only the best for me. I do not believe that He wishes or expects ANY sacrifices, from me; physical or otherwise. I do not need to inflict any pain or deprivation on myself for Him to love me more. All of those imposed penances that people inflict upon themselves in the name of God are strictly and solely man-made creation led by misinterpretation of the ‘Written Word’.
I believe that God loves all of us equally, and all that He wants is for us to love each other. To me, I sum ALL of the scriptures in a few words:
Love your fellow man.
Do that and I feel you will satisfy God’s wishes and in so doing fulfill ALL of the religious writings of all man-made religions.
Prayer does not change God but changes he who prays.
Søren Kierkegaard, 1800 Danish philosopher, theologian, and cultural critic
In closing and since I am also a man with some scientific beliefs I think that God has an opposite, if that is the correct word, as well. If one considers physics and believes that all forces have an equal and opposite force then why not God. Of course, I do not believe that God is bound to the physical forces as we are and likely ‘physics’ as we know, may not apply to God. It also makes sense to me that an opposite force should be with God. ‘Maybe’ the Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost is not as we have constructed it ……remember we can only look at it from our limited ‘human’ aspect and understanding. But that, I will keep for some other time…..
For additional views of God, see previous writings in my archive: Why does God not intervene? or What would God look like today?
(If you like what you read…please let me know …I’d love to know who has visited me….leave a comment…even one word is great ….THANKS, be good and do good)
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