Thursday, February 28, 2008

In Part

God is known, in part, to all the religions of the world.
I say “in part” because our faiths have been formed by people who could only understand the world as they perceived it. Without a complete understanding of the diversity of our world it is impossible to fully understand our world. And likewise for understanding the Divine.
And so our world is full of people who lived in harsh climates who believed God to be an angry storm god. And in the prolific jungles, a mother-like spirit of fertility. In some places the divinity is understood as being many gods who influence the fate of the universe. And still others see no god-forms at all, but a unifying Whole to the universal whole.
I submit that our modern world of amazing communications makes it much easier to understand these many differing views of the Divine – and perhaps come up with a more complete view. For over a century we have been able to communicate with telephone and telegraph over incredible distances. And we have been able to travel by plane and boat to these places as well. More recently, we have been able to have images from distant lands on our televisions in our living rooms. And now we live in the information age. All one must do is touch the World Wide Web to hear the voice and thoughts of someone far away in the world. And we have access now to so many differing perspectives of the Divine.
And I believe it is now possible to gain a more complete understanding of “God” than our ancestors had. For religion is created by those who have lived before us. And they have only left us understandings of the world as they saw it.
Today, it’s like picking through a jigsaw puzzle of faith: trying to find out how all the pieces work together for a better understanding of the whole. I believe we can learn from our ancestors by understanding the many things that affected their world-view. If we can understand their climate and culture, and the peoples they interacted with, we can begin to unlock the mystery of why they believed the things they did.
And I believe that once we begin investigating, we won’t necessarily lose our belief in the Divine, but rather gain a stronger understanding. So many have believe that God is One, or God is Many; that God is formed, or that God is formless; that God is knowable, or that God is unknowable. And I believe that we can understand why they believed these things and maybe even understand how these things are not at all in conflict.
After many years of exploring these issues myself I came to the startling revelation one night that perhaps all these views are right after all. The solution I found was that God is the Living Universe: the sum total of all that exists. I came to understand that the universe is the largest living organism and that everything exists within it as a part of that much greater Body. God is One: the One of which we are all a part.
All the big things are made up of all the little things. Our bodies are made up of so many component cells. Our communities are made up of so many people. And our world is a diverse collection of many different living and non-living things. So too it is on the universal scale. For the universe is made of countless stars, worlds, and so much more. God is Many: the Many that we all are.
God is made of these many things: God is formed. And God is the Spirit which connects all these things together: God is formless. We can know this general view of God, but God is unknowable completely, for we are contained with it and therefore unable to see the whole picture.
The implications are enormous. Suddenly we are no longer the separate beings we appear to be: we are interrelated, interconnected, and interdependent. Many faiths use the phrase “The Web of Life” to describe this. Everything we do affects everything else everywhere. It’s like so many pebbles tossed in the Cosmic pond: the ripples may get smaller as they spread out, but eventually they reach every shore.
Another discovery is that we are all sacred people. If we are all a part of the body of God, then a tiny piece of that sacredness is in the heart of each one of us. There are no worthless or useless people. Indeed there are no truly evil people. Rather, there are misguided people, and those who fail to understand their potential and live up to it.

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