Friday, March 25th, 2011 – Defining and Confining God
Sometimes I forget that some people do not understand what God is. I forget that there are so many people who think he is an old man in the sky. I feel as though God were the most obvious thing, which of course He is. I go through my day so often experiencing such Oneness I forget there are actually those who do not. Then I frown when I see people calling themselves Christians and anthropomorphizing God into a wrathful deity, or when I see scholars claiming God does not “exist”. I become mildly perturbed that people could be so insane. But Luken reminds me that I should stop being offended by this. There is no reason to waste time prolonging such feelings. And of course, the very fact that I am perturbed means I am not at that point en-ligh-tened- it means I am not at One!
Eckhart Tolle says that the word “God” has now become empty. It now has no meaning. There are too many people who use it and know not of what they speak. These pseudo-Christians and others use the word “God” as though they had seen Him. As though they had been to the timeless, deathless realm in this life. But they could not have done so (and continue to speak so seriously of Him in such ugly, twisted, anthropomorphized ways- as if God would hate anyone!). Tolle says the word “God” is also devoid of meaning because so many people deny God- as if they knew what they are denying. Tolle says we may use the word God, of course. He himself actually does so a lot. But we need only use the word God if it is helpful to us- one does not have to use it. So I use it, because I like it and find it helpful. Even if it is only a symbol.
Aleister Crowley says that “God”, to many of those who miss the point, is a false thing, a fear projected to be a phantom before which one cowers. This is not the true God; we know.
As for those who do not know, like one scholar I saw in an interview on some talk show denying the existence of God, they sometimes frustrate me. But of course Luken says there is no point in this. He advised this: That I should think of the word “God” as some new kind of homonym. There is the true, Living God, and then there is the false idol God. The God these scholars deny is but the false-idol-God. They deny that there is an old bearded man in the sky. That is not God. So, fine. They deny the false God. If, at any time, I become perturbed, Luken says to look at the sentences used and replace the word “God” with “the universe”. So, would a scholar and scientist really say, “There is no such thing as the universe”? Only if he were insane.
I will be clear. Though one cannot really define God, as no label is God but only points towards Him, I will try. As I have said before, God is omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and eternal. He is the universe. He is everything. He is the Oneness. God is not a person. YHWH- יהוה– Yodh He Waw He, the letters to symbolize all, mother, father, son, daughter, and everything- is not a man or a woman. As my rabbi once said to me, “God doesn’t have downstairs plumbing.” He is both and neither; He is Complete in that way. He is Being ItSelf.
YHWH is also not “a god” like Dionysos. Dionysos is a very anthropomorphized version of God. The way Dionysos exists is as a flavor of God, and a projection of my own psyche, and there is power there. Dionysos is a projection of my own psyche just as all the world of form is a projection of consciousness. Dionysos is God when God is God of theatre, transformation, drugs, life bursting forth, and all that. All of this is God, because everything is God, but it does not mean God is only a babe from Greece suckled by nymphs. That is only a mythical part of God’s Body, not his Whole. Maybe a young man named Orpheus or someone like him was a vehicle of pure consciousness and brought the worship of God to Greece under the name of Dionysos. He may have claimed to channel Dionysos the way actors claim to do. Orpheus may have been a real human being, the same as Jesus. But Dionysos does not have any real human body, other than the vine and our own human limbs harvesting it, and our own human bodies when we channel him. Just as there is no bearded skygod, but only the universe, and our own bodies. (Although I won’t discount the possibility that the energy which once attached itself to a perfectly human- and therefore divine- body, perhaps called Orpheus, may now have attached itself into a new piece of carne and re-in-carn-ated.)
Joseph Campbell, who also knew that all religions lead to the same place, speaks of God and gods. Not that he focused on difference so much as commonality. Of God, these are some of the things he says: “God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It’s as simple as that.”, “Well, you have to say yes to [Eternity], you have to say it’s great this way. It’s the way God intended it.”, and “Anything that can be named and regarded as a form is a symbol.” He also quotes German poet Gerhard Hauptmann as saying, “Writing poetry consists of letting the Word be heard behind words.”, and also Goethe as saying, “Everything that is transitory is but a reference.” A reference to the void, where no thought can reach, says Campbell.
Of the gods, these are some of the things Joseph Campbell says: “Brahman is no deity. Deities are personifications of aspects of Brahman [which he defines as divine energy], and so are you, and so is the world.”, “Turn in. And all those gods you’re invited to worship through the public sacrifice- they’re projections of the fire of your own energy. And there’s that wonderful passage in the Chandogya, ‘Worship this god. Worship that god. One god after another. Those who follow this law do not know. The source of the gods is in your own heart. Follow the footsteps to that center and know that you are that of which the gods are born.’”, and “The deities are symbolic personifications of the very energies that are of yourself, and these energies that are of yourself are the energies of the universe. And so the god is out there and the god is in here- the kingdom of Heaven is within you, yes, but it’s also everywhere.” I think Joseph’s words are spot on. I think if someone listened to Joseph enough he or she would learn all mystic arcana well.
Anytime one treats God as anything other than, ultimately, the One God, one has fallen into the trap of idolatry. I have had people accuse me of being an idolater because I tell them I worship Ganymede, Christ, Dionsysos, Shiva, Mars, Jupiter, Apollon, and so on. These people do not understand that the inherent underlying Oneness is still there and that I am always aware of it. God does not care what name I call him, because it is still Him (and MySelf), and He is only wearing a mask. I may pay attention to one part of God in one mask and then another part of God in another mask, for I am always praising Him. I like using all His lovely names. But if I should begin to think that only Dionysos is god, to the exclusion of all the rest of the world, as the Hebrews thought their golden calf was separate from the true God in whom they did not trust, then I would be an idolater. My exclusion, my separation, my division, my hatred, is idolatry. YHWH is no separate deity; he is All, and all deities are of Him. Please do not become confused by the labels, however- I could use entirely different words to explain this concept, replacing YHWH and Dionysos with any words whatsoever, with no cultural connotations steeped in convoluted histories, and the truth would remain the same.
So there is the true, Living God, and there is the false-idol “God”. When people speak of God and know not what they mean, they speak of the latter God, who does not exist except as a fearful projection of the psyche of insane persons. So, am I now to treat these words, God, and God, as a special, new kind of homonym?
Am I also to treat the words faith and belief as new sorts of homonyms? As Karen Armstrong says, the true meanings of faith and belief are Love. The idea of intellectual assent did not come about until very recently, roundabout the 19th century. So, there’s the faith and belief I hold for God- Love- and there’s the faith and belief that pseudo-Christians hold for their idol!God- a fear that they will burn in Hell if they do not think he exists. How assbackward. They burn already in their fear. My faith and belief allows me to love God no matter how He presents Himself to me in the world, which is useful, whereas theirs is so often hateful and divisive. (It would only be fair to note that Luken claims this to be lip service, considering that I curse reality so often.)
Am I also, then, to treat the word Christian as a new homonym? There are the Christians who act just as the word implies- they are like Christ. Christ-ian. Then there are, as I have called them, the pseudo-Christians, who do not act like Christ at all. They adamantly “believe” (intellectually in their mind which so traps them) that they are Christian, but they do not actively Love, no matter how hard they THINK they do.
But why should Ineed these homonyms? I am, after all, one of the only persons who recognizes them. I will mention again my best friend, who is an atheist- since this is the third time I have mentioned her, it is time to give her a nickname. Let us call her Ella. I asked my Ella to replace the word “God” with the word “universe” in our conversations. She is uncomfortable doing this. She does not think the universe is God, because she is still so tied up in the idea of thinking God is a person. She is still too attached to what she thinks that label is. She ultimately cannot deny the Living God, of course, but that doesn’t matter. Scholars still claim that God does not exist and they still don’t know what they’re talking about. They make some fantasy person up and then they say he does not exist. Of course not. And that is a strawman.
Why should I need these homonyms if pseudo-Christians to whom I have spoken refuse to acknowledge that language is a multi-faceted tool with many hidden meanings? Those I have spoken to believe (intellectually of course) that there need be no further discussion beyond the English translation we have of the scriptures in the KJV. There. It’s done. It’s translated. And we figured the whole thing out thanks to early philosophers! Right. There is, to these people, no need to question or look at language any further than the very literal, surface level way they understand the English. To them, faith and belief are intellectual because that’s the way they understand English, and they do not think any past language holds any actual sway over their chosen interpretation. When I tell some pseudo-Christians what certain words meant long ago, challenging egoic “beliefs” to which they cling (such as when I tell them the word “sin” meant “missing the mark” in the original Greek), they call me a false prophet.
Also, since language evolves, I do need to understand what it means today, and not only what it meant in the past. One must know the old as well as the new meanings of words in order to really understand them. People hold their present interpretations so dear to heart. But I know that older meanings have the power to draw one closer to God- rather than push oneself away as modern meanings seem to be doing in so many instances. See, that people refuse to look at language, and let it alienate them from God so, bothers me a little, even if I say that I am over it. This proves once more that I am not yet enlightened, but that I tend to hide from present reality and reject it instead of embracing it. I am not yet fully present.
I need not let these petty notions bother me, really. It does not matter what people say- it does not matter what arguments are used to debate labels. Words. Throat vibrations. Reality is so much more than being trapped in the mind. The reality of the universe is that I am One with All, and We Love.