Is the term “God” useful?

A friend, whose opinion I truly respect, challenged me during an intense FB conversation, with the statement that he does not use the word “God” in anything he writes. Now this friend has written down his beautiful understanding of the Revelations of Saint John. Using his author name PHOENIX, John Naughton wrote Revelations, The Bible Uncoded, Time–It’s About Time We Understand Time, and others. You can find these books here.

I have used the term “God” when I write because I have felt that it is a word that can unite us. Personally I try to find words that unite rather than divide, but as I thought about why this friend of all people might say such a thing, I came to some other conclusions.

(1) The term “God” has been–and still is!–used to start holy wars. People have egos, people create collective spirits within groups of people who believe as they do, and in turn these groups create friction with each holding the need to be right.

(2) Every person’s concept of “God” is different. Although we may hold in mind a similar concept of a Supreme Being, we hold very different belief systems about that Supreme Being. The early church fathers turned Jesus into “God”, for example, when to the Jewish people and the Moslem people, Jesus remains a Great Teacher.

(3) Within any religious or philosophical system, one needs consistent definition of vocabulary that define that system. Gurdjieff stated this when he created The Fourth Way. My own Gurdjieff mentor stated the same thing succinctly in his book Work for Being in the Machine Age. So for me to use the term “God” comes into conflict with this tenets. Gurdjieff does not often use the term “God”–he did coin a term I love, the “Most Holy Sun Absolute.”

Nevertheless, there are times and spaces in my own work and theory where the term “God” comes in very handily. I write in my blog, for example, about the Norse Gods and the Winds of Spirit (find Renee Baribeau’s work here) who were originally Creator Gods. And to speak to this, I will need to lay down some other understanding.

I draw this example from history. In order to win converts as they were trying to make Christianity the dominant religion, the struggling church demonized the gods and goddesses of other peoples. Christianity also brought forth its tools of warfare, lies, and torture as they made witches and servants of the devil out of healers and wise-women. Therefore, Norse gods, Greek gods, Egyptian gods, and all their kind were converted into demons in the catholic church. This was done by humans creating and enforcing belief systems for other humans. If some one says, “God” told me to do it, I would have to ask, which “God”? I sacrifice the concept of monotheism.

The terms monotheism and polytheism mean “One God” and “Many Gods” respectively. In our contemporary era, many people have become disillusioned with Christianity and its “umbrella God”, and seek other forms of Deity. In the polytheistic acceptance of more than one “God” the term itself becomes a useful manner of respecting the Gods and god-forms of other people. Personally, when I have worked with the God Odin, the Goddess Hela, or the Goddess Sedna, it is usually because They are teachers for me in certain aspects of my own life path work in overcoming the small “s” self.

What essentially matters to me is this: A deep reverence for Spirit, the Divine, Life and my relationship with it. We live in an era where people like to think God is dead, or that God doesn’t matter. Well, maybe God doesn’t matter, except insofar as I/we hold an earnest and truth-seeking relationship with a higher power. It is my opinion that the Creator, whoever and whatever that is, had fun creating life one day and then left the continuance of that creation subject to a certain set of natural laws that would ensure that creation’s continuity. When I pray, I believe it is the Force of Life “stuff” itself that responds to my prayer. I don’t need the name “God” to call to that higher power. My own inner life force “stuff” does that for me.

Humans create words to shape our ideas and feelings about existence. When we can drop those words as an effort to deeply experience what we think and feel, it expands a capacity to enter into the position of other people, and maybe enhances our capacity to use words more effectively to aid their understanding. People who are expanding their consciousness are evolving their souls and spirits in the direction of the Saints and the Gods, toward enlightenment.

Consider the nature of Buddha or Christ. Buddha means the “enlightened one” and Christ means the “anointed one.” Both are “risen up” by the light of Conscious Being. Gautama and Jesus both left teachings for the arising and awakening of the human collective. But as “Life” contains both life and death, people rise and fall on their pathway. This too is part of the natural lawful stuff of the universe, as things in general are constantly arising and falling away.

If this train of thinking interests you, please leave a comment so we can continue the conversation.


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