Sunday, February 25, 2007

Let's Clear Up This Non-Theist Business

I'm a non-theist. I say it often. I say with conviction. I say it without apology.

However, there seems to be some confusion when people learn this about me. They find it strange that as a non-theist I remain religious, OR they assume non-theist means "atheist" and therefore label me "godless."

Now, I don't really care. My opinions are my own and your opinion of my opinions isn't likely to change them. A good argument might, a sound case, but just a differing opinion probably won't.

Still, it doesn't feel quite right to hear that I don't believe in "god." The god I contemplate and seek to worship isn't a separate Other. The god I contemplate and seek to worship isn't gendered, human-like, or provable. It may in fact be only a concept, and this possibility doesn't disturb me.

When I say I'm a non-theist, I mean I don't believe in Zeus (by any name, including the generic "God"). But mystery, that's something else! Beauty? Absolutely! Hope? You betcha. The interconnected, infinite web of all existence? Without doubt!

So, I do believe in the field of infinite possibilities, the energy of life, the great and grand Whole that is more than the sum of its parts (and in which we each "live and move and have our being"). One could call It spirit or principle or life or mind (and, of course, each of those words could be capitalized: Spirit, Principle, Life, Mind).

When we examine it all closely, I seem to believe in much (maybe even most) of what "god" represents - I just don't think that god is judging or condemning anyone. I don't think god is making arbitrary decisions or controlling every event in life. I don't think god is someone/something separate from us (or from the earth or the universe).

I believe in the powerful process of life in which we each participate. The "isness" that many call "god" is not separate from you and me - we are part of It! That's my theology. God is all, and because god is all, we can call It anything we want. I usually don't call it "god" but It is no less what It is regardless of what we call It. The energy field of existence and possibilities is definitely something in which I believe, but that still isn't a warrior-thunder god on a throne, punishing the wicked and rewarding the faithful, is it? So, until I find a better term, I'll stick with non-theist. And yes, a religious non-theist at that. That's the fun part!

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