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What if God were one of us?

Jeff Conkin

A song now playing on our local top-40 station queries in its chorus: "What if God were one of us? A slob like one of us?" I would say God is one. God is everything. I see no difference between the Self and the World." The term "slob" denotes a slightly existential view on life by this lyricist, a world in which God is out there, somewhere, detached, a Deistic judge looking down on poor, pitiful, unable mankind. But us poor slobs can actually be powerful theists by discarding paradigms that place God apart from our selves.

In the Bible, a story tells of the Tower of Babel, built to reach heaven. But Babel and the tower fell in the hubristic quest to "reach God". I believe, though, that our ladders are built everyday horizontally rather than vertically to some unseen higher power. God is the world about us, not some distant spirit above the clouds. Everything we see, from the computer monitor to the trees out our windows are infused with a life force some choose to call God. And we, as people, being a part of our environment, not detached from it in some way, are God, too. We are God. And I don't think such a statement has to be blasphemous or atheistic in any way.

By developing the ability to think abstractly and to verbalize these thoughts in symbols, our species is set apart from other animals. Our frontal cortex allows us sentience, and what a wonderful gift this is! It allows us to think and process and generate ideas and to think about thinking and our participation with our environment. The ability to formulate symbology, though, also can be a curse. Thoughts can lead to myths, myths that bind the mind to one way of thinking, one way of believing. We naturally invoke archetypes onto the world, like the father image onto God or the mother image onto our home, the Earth. Wouldn't it be nice, though, if we were in the process of creating God, rather worshipping Him/Her?

As Arthur C. Clarke alludes, "It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God, but to create him." If we worship, we lose our ability to think critically and engage in our environment. Those who solely worship are not thinkers. They are feelers who have given up their personhood. If we create, well, now that is totally different picture ofour place, is it not? Creating doesnt have to mean we go on some unethical,cloning frenzy, genetically altering everything we get our hands on. No, creating God means taking responsibility for our numerous abilities as people. Creating God means letting go of a need to be taken care of" by some fatherly figure. Creating God means a next step in our evolution as a species if we are willing to take it.

What if God were one of us? I believe that is an excellent question to ask. Maybe it is in our nature to place a group of abstract symbols together into one higher power, but I would hate to think that is as far as our race can go in thinking. Such a belief system of us below and God above sets us up to go no further than a box of servitude to our own ideas. We need people willing to ask why and act on those questions if we hope to succeed, people unwilling to accept a simplified, dual approach totheir spiritual lives. Wanting more comes at a price, for everyone, making God in their image, rather than the other way around. But it seems a price well worth the risk! even if we have to make up the words as we go along.

Published:
  2002-05-20

Categories:
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