Saturday, April 30, 2016

Who is God?

Who is God?  What is God?  Is there a God?  What form does God take?  Does God cause all the tragedies we experience on earth?  How can God make children suffer?  Is God a man who sits up in the sky on a throne with long white hair, beard, and long robe, and punishes us when we’re bad?  Is He a man, woman, or genderless?  Is He a God of love, or a vengeful God who is full of anger and judgment?   These are some of the greatest mystery questions of the ages.

What does God even look like?  I don’t know, and neither does anyone else.  In fact, I have never read or heard where anyone said they have seen the actual face of God.  In the story of Moses and the burning bush, Moses heard the voice of God, but didn’t actually see him.  In books about the afterlife, many will say that God was a bright light and they felt the most empowering and magnificent love from this Source. 

If you look up all the different names for God, you will find thousands of variations depending upon the religion, culture, and belief system.  For instance, most people in America, particularly Christians, use the name ‘God.’  In the Middle East, ‘Allah’ is used by both Christians and Muslims.  And remember, Moses was told by the voice in the bush that the name we should use is “I Am That I Am” and that “This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.” states, “The word ‘God’ does not appear in the original Hebrew or Greek manuscripts of the Bible. ‘God’ is an old English word which developed from an Indo-European word meaning ‘that which is invoked,’ which is also the ancestor of the German word Gott and the Danish Gud, both meaning God.”

So, does it matter who or what God is or what name we use?  I don’t think so, and I really believe it doesn’t even matter to God. 

Personally, here’s what I know about God.  I don’t ‘know’ anything.  But here’s what I ‘believe.’  It doesn’t matter the name you give to God.  It doesn’t matter the form or the gender that you give to God.  I no longer believe that God is a man sitting up in the clouds pouncing on us every time we do something someone else thinks we did wrong.  God is Love.  God is compassion.  God is all good.  God is in everyone and everything.  I also sometimes use the names Spirit, Universe, Life, or Love.  I believe that God is an all embracing source of pure, unconditional, perfect love.  God is all inclusive and loves every single one of us regardless of color, race, religion, gender, or walk of life.  God doesn’t judge or punish us and loves us regardless of who we are or what we’ve done.   Again, these are my personal beliefs and I’m certainly not going to tell anyone else what to believe.

Many people are being turned off to God, religions, and churches because they can no longer accept that God is an angry and vengeful deity who will send us to a place called hell if we don’t believe a certain way.  Instead, in their hearts and souls, they are awakening to a loving, embracing, and powerful force of love, though they may not quite know what it is or where it’s coming from.  

Jesus repeatedly declared that the kingdom of God is within.  Many religions teach this.  Sufi Proverb:  “I searched for God and found only myself.  I searched for myself and found only God.”  Swami Kriyananda:  “To find God within, is to find Him everywhere.”  Ernest Holmes: “The great spiritual geniuses, whether it was Moses, Buddha, Plato, Socrates, Jesus, or Emerson, have taught man to look within himself to find God.”  Black Elk: “At the center of the Universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that center is really everywhere.  It is within each of us.”  Rumi: “I looked in temples, churches, and mosques, but I found the Divine within my heart.”  Osho: “The first glimpse of God has to be in the innermost shrine of your heart.”  And, Ramakrishna:  “One should not think, ‘My religion alone is the right path and other religions are false.’  God can be realized by means of all paths.  It is enough to have sincere yearning for God.  Infinite are the paths and infinite the opinions.”

Therefore, let us show love and respect to everyone’s beliefs about God because when it comes right down to it, God is in all and we are all God’s children. 

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper April 29, 2016.


Joy Scudder said...

“I searched for God and found only myself. I searched for myself and found only God.” Swami Kriyananda. Love this quote! I Am God; you are God; we are God. I see God in everything and everyone.

Sharon Warren said...

I appreciated the various quotes shared and they are all beautifully expressed. I also like one by Rumi that says, "Align yourself with the Divine" (who is always in our hearts and souls).