Friday, February 10, 2012

God and Faith

“God is the One Presence and One Power active in my life and in the universe.  The wind is invisible, but I can see evidence of its power as it blows a sailboat across the water or turns the blades of a giant wind turbine. As I observe the wind, I am reminded that the spirit of God is also moving in and through my life in seen and unseen ways.  No matter what I am facing in the moment, peace fills my soul as I affirm my faith: God is the One Presence and One Power active in my life and in the universe. I not only proclaim my faith; I live my faith. By holding an expectation of good, I actively help shape my experiences. I recognize that even challenges offer good to be discovered.  My faith in God inspires me to have courage and encourages me to live life fully.  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.--Hebrews 11:1” (Printed from The Daily Word, a Unity publication.)

God.  Who or what is God?  How did God become God?  Is there even a God? People have been asking these questions since the beginning of time.  And it’s okay to ask those questions. There is no definitive, 100% proof that there is a God, and yet most people will tell you that they believe without a doubt that there is a God. 

So, who or what is God?  Many believe that He is an old man sitting up in the sky, with long white hair and beard, long robe, sandals, sitting on a throne, passing out judgments and disciplining people based on whoever’s belief is talking about Him at the time.  Some believe that God is a Spirit.  Jesus said in John 4:24, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”  What is Spirit?  Some believe that it is in everyone and everything, that Spirit is an energy.  Think of this… If God is an energy of and in everything, then when you take a breath, you’re breathing in God!  Some say that “God is love.”  Some believe that God is “out there,” and others believe that God is “within.”  Jesus said over and over that the Kingdom of Heaven is within you.

We human beings are limited in our terminology; therefore, we really can’t put into words as to whom or what God is.  People have tried throughout history, and I still don’t think we’ve come up with the “perfect” term.  We can only use what works for us as individuals, and none of them are right or wrong, though some people will try to defend the name they use as being the only name.

Is God’s name God?  God is only the English interpretation given to this Supreme Deity.  There are thousands of names used throughout history, depending on the religion and language spoken.  The English language Christian Bible includes countless names.  Elohim, Adonai, Jehovah, Yahweh, El-Shaddai, etc.  Exodus tells the story of Moses talking to God, and Moses asks God what name He wants to be known as to the people.  God replies, “I Am Who I Am.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites:  ‘I Am has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:4).  “This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.”(3:15)  The creator says that His name is “I Am” and that’s the name He should go by throughout history, and yet we also have thousands of other names for Him. 

We usually call God a “He,” but does Spirit have a gender?  God is considered a “He” in our Bibles, but we have to remember that the Bibles were written during a patriarchal society.  Women were considered property and almost non-human.  Personally, I believe Spirit to be genderless; that’s why I’ll sometimes refer to God as S/he.  Many are now calling God “Father/Mother God.”  (Genesis 1:26 says, “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image…”  Who is us, and who is our?  I’ll let you sit with that one.)

So, does it matter what we call this “I Am?”  I don’t think so.  That’s where “faith” comes in.   All religions have faith.  And as it says above:  “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  We can fight and argue over what name to use, but when we do, doesn’t it take away what believing in God is all about in the first place?  Personally, I choose to follow what Jesus’ and all the other great spiritual teachers taught and that is to try to love people unconditionally regardless of their beliefs.  Namaste’.

(Published in the Cookeville Herald-Citizen newspaper on February 10, 2012.)

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1 comment:

Linda Wanamaker said...

Way to go Karen, love this! Thank you for all you do.