The Vacancy of Faith

How is it that there is a God and we are charged to revere said God through faith? If we are to have any hope of a productive association with God, we must first accept on faith, predetermined parameters that fix God and our proximity to God. This seems an exercise by which faith is vacated rather than expressed.

If we truly had faith in God, surely we would allow that God is competent, able to make an appearance and representation, free of intermediaries. Any actual God would have the confidence and authority to express God, without help or supervision. This is the conclusion I reached as a young man in my teens. I began to see religion as community service, a basic social-political framework intending to build behavioral norms into our shared experience. Norms that we expect to carry value. As I observe the results, I see a mixed bag of conflicting consequences. Some good, and others not.

I do believe religious faith is powerful and I believe that God is part of the mix. There is great power in community. There is great power in the comfort carried by the certainty that is attached to faith and its symbols. There is great power in God, no matter our considerations or the actual fact of God.

Many seem to believe in God yet don’t believe that they are allowed to know God, to behave as if God is available to them and that they have the liberty to express that outside of strict established guidelines. In spite of that, much definition has been spent on God and that definition carries the weight of consequence.

The God worshiped in Abrahamic traditions is brutal. This God is the deliberate creator of every single thing, is all-knowing and all-forgiving, yet is so petty we are to be forever fearful of this God’s wrath. It is difficult to reconcile these contradictions in one God. I do it by dismissing Abraham’s God as fiction. It is clear to me that this God is a projection of our own insecurities. An insecure God is a truly frightful. Being imagined does not diminish the fearsome reality spawned by such a monster. So many worship and do believe and that is real power.

This template is common in human culture and society. We have long used it as a formative stamp. It is pervasive. The Christian tradition gleefully awaits Armageddon, the final judgement. Justice. The chosen will be saved at everyone else’s expense. We use this Godly template to justify injustice and suffering, to imagine it is deserved. We expect that even we might deserve such ourselves, but for the favor and grace of God.

I have no use for such a God. The idea that God would create each person individually, and then send most of us to an eternal Hell, just doesn’t hold water. Heaven after all, is an eternity with that God. That sounds very unpleasant. What does it say of those who would accept God’s favor knowing the cruelty imposed by their God? It is a model that fails of its own absurdity. Heaven exists in juxtaposition to Hell, without Hell …

These Hellish trappings of God seem certain to be our projected insecurities.

We do exist. We are aware and do experience it. The singular gravity of all that is known to exist and to be experienced, is now, and now, is without beginning. Without a beginning, there is no end.

Whatever God may or may not be, I am certain, fear of God is pointless.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist © 2018

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