Tuesday, November 20, 2007

God as Universal Experience

Devotional by Durrell Watkins, M.A., M.Div.

“It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” – Thomas Jefferson

I get so weary of arguments about God. We humans are very clever beings, and so we ponder the meaning of life and we explore the depths of being. Good for us! These exploits have made science, philosophy, religion, and poetry the wonderful fields of exploration they are. But as amazing as our questions are, and as many clues as we find that point to possible answers, we must remember that the quest is more important than the destination. The quest may be the destination!

“God” is as good a name as any for ultimate reality, and we may have very warm feelings for the All-in-all (or the Whole that is more than the sum of Its parts). We may personalize the mystery of life and we may encounter it powerfully in such spirit-filled individuals as the Jesus of our inherited sacred literature. But what we believe about the experience or “ground of being” that we call “God” has more to do with us than with It. We can be certain of our experience, but surely we realize that our experience (and our interpretation of it which may change over time) does not negate someone else’s experience. Our truth may not be “the” truth, not the only truth anyway.

I can have my experience of Transcendence and wonder. I can use the language of religion to discuss my experiences and even to help me understand them. But my journey is my own. I may try to empower others to have their own, but I cannot say “this is God and nothing else can be.” Such idolatrous certainty has been with us for ages and what good has it accomplished? Our questions are sacred. Our yearnings are holy. Our searching is divine. The preconceived answers will no longer suffice.

What if God is a verb rather than a noun? What if God is a universal experience? What if God couldn’t care less what we call It, or even if we call It anything at all? What if the adventure of life were full of discovery, lacking preconceived answers to pre-packaged questions? What if ultimately there is nothing to fear, only experiences to have, feelings to feel, thoughts to ponder, and life to live? What if that is what we mean at the deepest level when we say “God” and what if that proves to be enough?

1 comment:

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