Monday, May 13, 2013

Our Gods/Our Selves

I’m preparing for a week—long retreat with several dozen Christians, both clergy and laity. My task is to introduce them to the intricacies of Jewish spirituality. I’m not all that clear as to what Jewish spirituality is, but I will work with them on a variety of Jewish practices: t’fillah, limud, hitbonenut, and hagah: prayer, study, secluding oneself with God, and chanting,

While I love sharing Judaism with people, what I love most is meeting some of the many Gods we Americans worship. I believe God is the source and substance of all reality, the eternal Tao about which we can say nothing, and of which all things are a part. I believe that the Gods we worship are projections of our own psyches. Tell me about your God and you are really telling me about yourself.

Based on past experience I expect some retreatants will be convinced that God plans to torture me for all eternity for failing to believe as they believe. When asked why they believe in this sadistic God they will say it they have no choice: God is what God is. I disagree

We believe in the God that makes sense to us; the God who reflects our convictions and promotes our innermost desires. We believe in the God who is most like ourselves. Theology is psychology projected on the cosmos. God is a mirror of the self (personal, tribal, corporate, etc.), rather than the other way around.

So this week I will take care to look closely at the self reflected in the mirror of my God, and do my best to shatter them both.


Erick Reynolds said...

I was raised with the belief that WE were made in GOD's image. Like you, I have come to realize it is quite the opposite. It is not only our image of God but the image we think is socially acceptable to others that is important.

Lyn Baker said...

THAT'S freakin' scary. Believe in a God most like ourselves? You are right and I am in agreement with you, and follow that all the way through to the people you are teaching. They really WANT you to burn in hell. It would please them for you to do so. You are not seen as a fellow human being but an object.