Thursday, January 26, 2006

God Matters

Does God matter? The answer you give depends upon the definition you hold. If you believe in a creator God who watches over you, and who rewards you with eternal bliss or damnation, then God absolutely matters. If you believe that God is a product of human imagination and has no corresponding reality outside of human theological creativity, then, no, God doesn’t matter.

I believe that God is reality, both the seen and the unseen, both that which is open to scientific exploration and that which lies just beyond its reach. Does such a God matter? Yes. For without God there would be nothing that you and I recognize as something; indeed, there would be no you and me at all.

But that is like saying atoms matter, cells matter, quanta matter, and the eleven strings of String Theory matter. They do, but not in the way most people use the word “matter” when they ask “Does God matter?” So let’s rephrase the questions: not “Does God matter,” but “Is God meaningful?” Again I would say “yes.” God is meaningful because my sense of meaning comes from my experience of God.

I am not a theologian. What I know about God comes from contemplative practice rather than abstract reasoning or apriori assumptions. Through such practice I have come to see all things as part of the One Thing; like flakes of snow, each manifestation of God is unique and unreplicatable, but they are all snow, all God. I revel in the diversity of God’s nonduality. I know the universal sadness of the melting of the individual, and the universal ecstasy of the ongoing snowing of God.

And more: I realize that you and I are not other, that you and I are linked and responsible for one another and to one another. My experience of God reveals the sacredness of the self without the delusion of sovereignty and separateness.

When I understand the interdependence of all things in, with, and as God, justice, compassion, and humility become axiomatic. God does not command, God reveals.

If I ignore what is revealed I live in constant fear of my own mortality, excusing any act of violence that promises to bolster the illusion of immortality. If I accept what is revealed I am secure in my own finitude, knowing that the “I” I truly am is unborn and undying.

God matters to me because God shows me what is and how to live with it, in it, as it. I cannot think of anything more important than that.

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