“Who is God?”

G’day mate,

Religion.  Freedom.  Big words.  But what does it mean to put them together?

I was raised in a secular school and so I never had a thorough “lesson” on religion.  Teachers were afraid to discuss religion in case it offended someone and they would lose their jobs if they were seen to be “imposing” beliefs on children.

So my knowledge and understanding of different religions is rather shallow, which I find quite sad.  I’ve had to make the time myself to try to learn.  And I have often felt quite lost when reading alone.

I wonder how parents decide on the spiritual upbringing they want for their children?  Do they want their children immersed in the religious beliefs and rituals that they believe to be true?  Or do they believe that “God” will lead them to “Him”?  Or do they want their children to “find” their own “truth”?

I think most of us go searching for “the truth” at some stage of our lives.  We ask ourselves:  Is there a God?  If so, where is “He”?  And who is “He”?

Let’s explore three possibilities for God…

A)  He is a spiritual being who is the “maker” of the physical universe, who Himself is separate from His creation and has let His creation unfold.

B)  He is a spiritual being who is the “maker” of the physical universe, who Himself is separate from His creation but actively controls His creation.

C)  He is everything. Nothing is separate from God.  God is everything physical and spiritual and He makes everything happen.

Now, if I believe that God is option A, then I would see myself as His creation.  I might therefore believe that it is my choice to love and worship Him.  I might believe in an afterlife where I can have a more intimate relationship with Him (than what I have with Him now).

If I believe that God is option B, then I would see myself as His creation and His “puppet on a string”.   I would take no responsibility for my own actions because I did not create myself.

The question I have about both option A and B is:

What am “I”?

If I get to choose my own thoughts and actions, then am I a spirit that has control over physical matter?  How else can I generate and control thoughts and actions?

Or if I don’t have control over thoughts and actions, does that mean I am a spiritual “observer” who inhabits a physical body?

What if option C is the truth?  If God is everything, then “I” must be God, or at least part of Him.  It would be like saying a wave on the ocean is part of the ocean – you cannot separate the water from the wave.  The wave is a name for what the water is doing as it moves.  In a similar way, if God is everything, then “I” am a name for what God is doing as He “moves”.

But what if none of these possibilities are true?

God may not exist.  The truth could be that the physical universe is all there is, and it runs according to the “laws” of nature.

This would explain why there are so many different religions – because they would all be based on fictional stories.

But where do these “laws” of nature come from?

And if there is nothing other than the physical universe, which is governed by the fundamental laws of nature, then the electrical activity in our brains must also be controlled by these laws.

What could “I” possibly be?   Am “I” just a by-product of electrical activity in my brain?  And who am I to say that I control my thoughts and actions?  That would mean “I” have power over the laws of nature!

It seems to me that all possibilities, including the possibility that God does not exist, leave many questions unanswered.

But there is another possibility to entertain…

Here’s what I said earlier:

God may not exist.  The truth could be that the physical universe is all there is, and it runs according to the “laws” of nature.

Now let’s consider the opposite:

The physical universe may not exist.  The truth could be that the spiritual universe is all there is, and it runs according to the “laws” of spirit.

Of course, it sounds ridiculous.  But it’s fun thinking about it.

Spiritual laws could have been designed to create a really convincing movie or stage show.  A show so convincing that the environment around the actors seems so real.  A show that is so convincing that the actors can believe they are really the characters that they are playing.

If this was the truth, then the deepest question is not:  Who am “I”?  The deepest question is not:  Who is God?  The deepest question is:  What happens when I wake up?

Recently, I was reminded of an old parable about four blind men with an elephant.  Each man is trying to explain the elephant’s essence.  One touches the elephant’s side and says “the elephant is like a wall”.  Another touches the elephant’s trunk and says “it is like a snake”.  Another touches the elephant’s tail and says “it is more like a rope”.  The other touches the elephant’s leg and says “it is really like a tree”.  Each of them is correct, yet limited, in their own description.  This can only be understood by someone who can see the whole elephant.

Applying this parable to religion, you might ask yourself: “Which option encompasses all the possibilities?”

And perhaps, before questioning religion, you might question the nature of your own reality?

 

Cheers,

Bazza

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