Friday, April 8, 2011

Perspective on God, the Universe and my place in It

It is an overcast spring day.  It has been a long winter.  Buds are on the trees.  Grass is in need of first trimming.  And I have to think about how the universe is unfolding…  

In a way, as a man in middle age and transitioning away from the things of youth, I have to adjust my point of view or perspective of it.  It, in this case, represents many things.

Rather than foster a fear of death, which statistically I am getting closer to, I must foster a new understanding of my present life.  I am in life.  Death is still a constant unknown.  
If you are a minimalist in beliefs as I am, you might want to cling to the mythologies attached to an afterlife.  The tail end of most pie eating preachers is a Disneyesque fairy story land of the hereafter.

Even though I believe in an afterlife, I have no idea what form it might take.

Do I believe in reincarnation?  Was not raised in a culture that fosters such beliefs.

Is there reincarnation?  Do not know.  I will find out when I get there so to speak.

My own interpretation of an afterlife has to do with a perhaps spiritual experience that took place six months after the death of my father; I somehow sensed a message received from that other side.  The message was something to the effect that “I’m okay” wherever and thereafter.  

Kind of like an old ancient texting thing called a telegram.  You pay per word.  Must be expensive to send messages from the other side if you only get an occasional “I’m okay”.   Still, brevity in good communication is truly an art form.

If I must wander with my mind as to what the other side is like, I borrow a minimalist view of Native Americans who called their paradise the “happy hunting ground” under the protection of the “Great Spirit”.

Whether the afterlife is eternal or temporary, I cannot tell you.  All that I feel for certain is that it is there somewhere down my road of life, passed this life.

Putting aside complex ideas and or simplistic minimalist versions of things, I have to paint a fuller picture of what I believe. 

A lot of really unanswered questions.  Why am I so unkind to mention them?  Well, if you reject what ninety eight percent of religion has accumulated in these many centuries; you have to feel some comfort in cleaning out the attic so to speak.

Rereading some of my past postings, I have to agree or disagree, if what I said in the past still sounds valid to me after time.  Has the wine aged right or will it be a poor vintage?

Looking back I agree with everything I stated in:

As Holy Man and Prophet, he is first among equals of all men born of women, and is the way, truth, light and path to a higher level of understanding of things human and spiritual. 

(A little bit formal or stiff, the creed that is.  Needs a little better grammatical polish and word flow?  But basically correct from my point of view since I choose to frame my spirituality within some old Christian ideas and ideals.) 

As for Jesus being a holy man and prophet.  The bottom line is that we do not know very much about who he was or what his mission in life was.  If you start writing about him thirty to a hundred years after his time on earth, there is an awful lot of gaps and speculation in the Greek play like setting of his story.

To save the world by his teachings as we know them?  Most definitely.  All good and true prophets try to share what is in their hearts with others.

As a divine son of God?  We are all children of God.  More on than later.

I could write several books on the speculation that keeps piling up in my mind regarding what I, by default, call him as Holy Man and Prophet.

There may not be much conflict on the idea of him as a holy man.  The problem I think lies in the question of what really is a prophet.  To which I refer to another of my other postings.

From two homilies delivered at St. Mary’s in Exile (SMX) in Brisbane Australia.  
First from the homily of Dermot Dorgan –SMX- July 4-5 2009 
A biblical prophet is one who conveys a message from God to a particular time and place. They’re not, contrary to popular belief, people who can foresee the future. They are rather people gifted with an ability to see deeply into the present, to look below the surface of society and see the undercurrents and hidden realities that determine what is happening or will happen. The word “Seer” is a good description. … 
Next from the homily of Peter Kennedy –SMX-July 19, 2009 
…Most of all, I think that our seeking to find new ways of speaking about God is a prophetic act. We do this in baptism when we use the words creator, liberator and sustainer of life. It can be seen as a recognition that all the language we use about God has to be metaphorical language. The one thing we know for certain about God is that God is Other, God is different. God does not belong to this universe of which we are a part. And yet the only language we have is human language.  
We know from ordinary conversation that we sometimes have to say things two or three times in different ways before we can adequately express a feeling or an experience. There must be a million ways to describe the experience of being in love, all of them inadequate. But if some authority were to come along and say, “Look, all this multiplicity of words is downright confusing. From now on, we’re going to have one formula for expressing this experience, and here it is – blah blah blah. 
From now on this is the only orthodox way of expressing this experience. All other expressions are inaccurate and invalid. Well, we can see how ridiculous this is. But we’re tied to certain fixed expressions of the experience of God, and I believe it is a prophetic act – the act in fact of adult Christians - to look for other ways of expressing our experience…
In a sense if you look at the world as I see it, God the creative force set the Universe in motion.  God in the form of a Holy Spirit still keeps and orders inventory from time to time but comes and goes most times like the wind as described in sacred text.

The idea that God set the world in motion is called Deism.  That he, she or it is distant leaves the gap in between that beginning event and my present spot on a timeline away from that event.

As such, in the world where I believe in the divine spark of creation, I have to believe in what thousands of preachers, holy men, theologians and prophets have been searching for -  I have to believe in the possibility of a divine spark within.  

As such I am not so much a surrogate of God as creator in a cold distant Deist existence as I am a temporary holder, safe guarder of the divine spark within during this temporary timeline existence.  Whether we had that spark within before birth and keep it afterwards passed death, I do not know. 

I refuse to let fear of death make me believe in fairy tales and stone age mythology regarding God and God worship and God financial accounting which is what most spiritual beliefs seem to  transcend into after a few generations from the founding of any new idea about God.

We are all or have the potential of being prophets just like Jesus - or dare I say it, like a Moses, Mohammed and even Joe Smith.  Of course, I don’t believe in magic texts appearing out of nowhere.  Whatever.  Blah. Blah. Blah.  

Of course nothing I say or speculate about can be proven.  The very creation of the universe cannot be proven.  It is not that religion and scientific theory are incompatible; it is just that neither can be disproven either. 

Compatible?  Hardly.  More like apples and oranges.  Or kinda like two small fingers on two hands of the same body.  

Depends on how you look at it and or want to scream at the other side in a debate.  Which is what a lot of so-called pro or anti-atheism is presently about?  A modern perspective on God?

I do not want to get too deep here.  It was just that some of my thoughts past and present seemed to have merged together on a cloudy spring day with buds on the trees and grass in need of first trimming – as the universe continues to unfold, with or without us, here, now, and into future tense.