The God of My Youth Has Been Dead a Long time.
Don’t get me wrong. I do believe in God or a higher power. It’s just not the same one I was introduced to from the time I could understand what God was supposed to be.
As a child, my parents, nuns, and priests pontificated. They proclaimed that God is the infinite, all-knowing, wise, loving and that He, yes it was always a He, expects a lot from us.
God rewards and God punishes. He welcomes us or casts us down into hell. And if we incurred his wrath but didn’t completely fail, then we got a chance by stopping off in purgatory to make amends.
The nuns said purgatory was like hell; only it was temporary. Really? How did they know this? Got any pictures?
There was a long list of do’s and don’ts, things that would please or displease. These were absolute truths and absolute rules. All organizations need rules, and there is nothing more organized than religion.
As a Catholic, I was destined to adhere to one of the most massive rule books out there.
I listened to teachings and horror stories.
One nun told us about a boy who cut school, swore, and smoked cigarettes. When his mother walked into his room to wake him up for school the next morning, there was a black figure with horns, a pitchfork, and a tail sitting next to his bed. It said, “I have him.”
That was only the fifth grade. Oh well, at least we weren’t into the evils of sex, yet.
But the one thing that stuck and the biggest reason I didn’t believe all the rules and stories is based on one statement:
“God, or Spirit as I say, is a mystery.”
A mystery is defined as: “anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown: the mysteries of nature.”
To know what someone wants, you need to know them. But we can’t; no human being can know anything as vast as God. We can examine, conjecture, and hypothesize, but we can never genuinely know as we know a mother, father, child, or friend.
Once I heard this, I believed. And then I didn’t believe anything else.
Here are a few other things I no longer believed.
We are born with the “stain” of original sin.
This statement dates back to Adam and Eve and taking the bite out of that apple. It was supposedly our only chance to live happily. After that, we were going to have to work, suffer, sweat, and die.
Damn serpent. And the apple had a worm in it anyway.
So from then on in, we were born with some manner of moral defect. I mean really, this perfect, being made us defective. It doesn’t make sense.
Spirit made us perfect. By that, I mean, He made us precisely the way he wanted, imperfect beings who are here to learn, grow and evolve.
Growth means trying things and making mistakes. We fall and get back up.
Hell is forever
Eternal damnation will get you every time.
You blew it big time. You missed church on Sunday or had an affair. (They’re both equal in terms of severity). You didn’t atone for your sins, are not in a state of grace, so now forever and ever you are “consigned to flames of woe.”
You might have been a despicable human being, and you will pay for it until the end of time.
The true meaning of hell, however, is to be deprived of the presence of God or that Supreme Being, cut off from your source, in other words, torture.
This is like saying there is an end to Spirit’s forgiveness and love. It terminates when your physical body dies even though life is eternal. But wait, eternity doesn’t come to an end.
God knows everything you do.
So God is Big Brother spying on us?
Do you honestly believe this divine being in an ever-expanding universe knows every little lie you’ve told or cares?
Think of it this way.
We are creations of God, extensions of Him. His energy and consciousness are in us and we know everything we do. So yes, naturally where ever you go, there you are.
Jesus died for your sins.
There’s that sin reference again. All you have to do is to be born to be guilty of one. And it’s not the dying that allegedly saved us; it’s the resurrection.
I always found this one the most perplexing. It just didn’t make sense, and I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. How does it work exactly?
I found myself saying over and over again to myself, “died for my sins, died for my sins. What does that mean? And if he hadn’t, then what? No heaven or hell?”
My mother said it was a personal sacrifice to God the Father, by the son. Oh no, there’s that trinity thing again. More confusion and disbelief. Please, this isn’t helping.
What I do believe is this.
Jesus lived. That’s a historical fact. He was crucified. I believe if He was the son of God, then the Father was horrified.
Jesus was a great master teacher in the line of the Buddha. He came to teach healing and forgiveness, and sadly, that is not the emphasis of a lot of Christianity. The resurrection was a resurrection of the spirit, a sign that life is continuous and that our spirits live on after we discard our physical bodies.
It had nothing to do with sins.
These questions of faith, or lack thereof, leads me to where I am now. I always believed in something, it just wasn’t what I was taught. Traditional, mainstream religions probably see me as a heathen. I do not believe in a personal God, but I am not an atheist.
This great creator made the world and the ever-expanding universe. He made us in it. We are specks true, but as Thicht Nhant Hanh pointed out, we are like drops of water in a vast ocean, each of us contributing to the vastness. We are ourselves, creators.
We alone are responsible for our spirituality. It is not in the hands of any religion or religious leader.
I believe in hell, and for some, it is here on earth. Heaven can be as well. It’s up to us.
I believe, most of us all, in the Spiritualist principle #8, “The doorway to reformation is never closed against any human soul, here or hereafter.”
Yes, I believe Spirit is with us always and forever.