God, etc.

Mar. 28th, 2011 12:19 am
fireflymouth: (broken angel)
[personal profile] fireflymouth
So much talk of religion and spirituality among my friends lately, in many different ways, has made me decide to write up what I believe about the entity commonly known as "God". What I believe it actually is, and how it works -- because as I've stated before here and elsewhere, it isn't something I think most people believe, and it's not very easy to just explain. But I'll try, and if anyone is interested, it's all here for them, laid out.

If you do choose to comment, please do be respectful. This is my religion, as I see it, and while I welcome debate, do not flame me in my own journal for my religious views. I ask that you simply be tolerant of them, because they are what they are and they're not likely to change.

All is behind the cut, so those who are not interested in spiritual postings may cruise on by. I don't normally discuss such deeply personal things as my religious or political leanings here, so this is a gamble I'm taking simply because, for whatever reason, I felt a desire to do so now.

The Great Something.

I think when we speak of deities, what we are really talking about are forms and aspects of the same essential pool of energies. This I term the "Great Something" – an amalgam of many different energies, a force of both chaos and order which may or may not have existed before our universe began. Where it came from and what, exactly, it is are irrelevant as far as I'm concerned; what matters most to me is the fact that we human beings have recognized it being there for as long as we have walked the earth.

Intellectually and emotionally, we have striven to understand this cluster of energies and yet we are no closer to really knowing it than we were when we were a fledgling species. The truth, as I see it, is this: The Great Something, over time and throughout our various cultures and individual perceptions, has become our idea of what "God" is.

I usually liken it to an orange. A whole orange is the Great Something itself, encompassing all pieces and parts of an orange. Halve this orange and you split the energies into factions – you can name these anything you like. Animus-anima, good-evil, masculine-feminine, chaos-order – really, any pairing of equal-yet-opposites you could come up with. Interpretation doesn't matter here; whatever you call each half, you are still looking at an orange. Now divide these halves into segments, and distribute them across time and space to the humans of this world. Some cultures will value the juice, some the pulp, some the peel. Some will use the whole segment, some will throw parts away, and some will reject the orange outright. You can call these segments deities – or, for larger segments or a group of these orange slices, pantheons. Each culture, through time and different customs throughout time, is going to see the orange in a different way, and value or reject its parts – but, guess what? It's STILL an orange. You could re-collect each of these pieces of the fruit and put the halves back together, and piece the halves into the whole, and you'd still have the Great Something. The energy itself doesn't change – WE change it. We change our perceptions of it, and because each sees it differently, we create conflict because we are not intellectually or emotionally 'big' enough to put the whole picture together. It's beyond what we can honestly comprehend, so we choose to focus on what we know, what we can create for ourselves to make life bearable for us.

So – yes, I am as comfortable worshipping Jesus as I am worshipping Artemis. For to me, they are a part of the same energy, without exactly being the same deity. What I choose to perceive from each is my own private spirituality.

I even believe the Great Something applies to atheism – even if you don't recognize any being as being "god", you still have an inkling of some kind of energy running through the universe. Maybe you see it as a set of scientific laws and principles, or maybe you simply like to think of it as Nature, or maybe you just know that sometimes you get a funny feeling inside when you watch the sun set in the evening and you don't know why. That's the Great Something, out there doing what it does – existing and affecting everything in whatever way it does. And don't ask me what that is, because I don't know. Not being a creature of pure energy myself I couldn't begin to truly understand what its purpose is.

I only know that, through my readings, learning, discussions with so many people of so many differing faiths and inclinations – so much is the same, and so much of this idea made sense to me as I started to really think about it.

And if I'm wrong – well, so what? I discredit no one's religious or spiritual leanings; if all is true, none can be false. The only things I have issue with are the dogmatic differences, the nit-picky ways each religion tries to be the "one truth" – and I highly doubt that a being that is possibly all-powerful really has a reason to care all that much whether or not I subscribe to one set of human-contrived rules over another. Just as none of us really can ever know what was at the beginning of time, neither can ANY of us speak for what we call "deity". Words, books, rules – all conceived and authored by man, with no proof to the contrary but for their own justifications, which are as likely as not, flawed. We are human beings and the best we can do is to live our lives the way we believe we should, because our own conviction is the only thing we really understand well enough to live by.

If you look at certain religions – in particular, the Abrahamic religions (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity) – most aspects of them are actually just split-apart branches from the same tree. Most people prefer to focus on the differences, but really, there are too many similarities to just be coincidences. Various traditions pass from one culture to another, and adapt to the place and time to which they become central. The mistake a lot of people make is in thinking their traditions have always been, and have never changed.

But life itself is proof of change, and even long-standing traditions change over time. Like animals, many religions have common ancestors. And, also like animals, they didn't simply morph from one into a completely new one; it's a process, lifetimes of various lines converging on points throughout the human time span. Just as evolution borrows the best features nature's creatures adapt to survive their environments, so too do religions borrow the strongest and most popular theories, ideas, and sensibilities.

This is where diversity comes from, and that is one reason I think the world is such an astounding place. If we are anything like the Great Something, it is in that way – that we, too, are an amalgam of different energies, swirling in a vortex of chaos and order, in an eternal continuum that we can witness but for the blink of an eye.

THAT, friends, is why life is precious to me. Ephemeral as it is, my life is a unique shape in the fabric of space and time, none ever having been like it, and none ever to be like it again. Whichever aspects of the universal energies I choose to recognize and connect to while I'm alive will drive me only as far as I allow them to.

It is our time, friends, and we must make the most of it, however we can.
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