Friday, September 15, 2006

What is God to you?

My friend Chris sent me a fascinating article from USATODAY: View of God can predict values, politics.

As the result of a comprehensive survey of Americans, the survey results indicate that while 92% of Americans believe in God, there are four divergent views of who He is:

  • Authoritarian (angry at humanity's sins and engaged in every creature's life and world affairs. 31% of Americans overall believe this.)
  • Benevolent (sets absolute standards for mankind, but is primarily forgiving. 23% believe this.)
  • Critical (eyes the world judgmentally, but isn't going to intervene either to punish or comfort. 16% believe this.)
  • Distant (cosmic force that launched the universe, then left it spinning on its own. 24% believe this.)

Apparently one's concept of God then has a pronounced relationship to what you believe politically and socially. It's a better predictor of where you might stand on the issues like stem cells or abortion or gay marriage than your region or party affiliation.

And, as usual, I find myself way outside any of these. I've spent a lifetime with these three definitions of God, found in Science and Health:

GOD. The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence.

GOD: Divine Principle, Life, Truth, Love, Soul, Spirit, Mind.

Question. — What is God?
Answer. — God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love.

To me God is the intelligent presence of Love, constantly sending His ideas to lead me out of the limiting material condition to the realization of spiritual reality. God is simply *not* a bigger more powerful human being. He's beyond and transcendent, above but not out of reach. He fills all space, so I am never alone. He is all powerful, so I am never helpless. He is all Love, so I am infinitely cared for.

This definition is entirely 100% spiritual. There is no finiteness there, no physicality, no mortality at all. God is not even touched by these limiting things.

I suppose, then, if I read this article correctly, my definition of God impacts how I view the world. It's the filter through which I process everything that comes my way. It's how I see myself and others—not as material beings, but as spiritual ideas of the infinite all-powerful all-loving God.

So, where do you land? What's your concept of God?

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 9/15/2006 01:41:00 PM, Anonymous Dennis R. (BigRaff) said...

This hits home. I spent many years in churches which presented a God who was angry at everyone. Everyone is born damned and remains so until they get "saved". This view means that God will lose most of His creation.

Before that I was raised Roman Catholic. In that tradition, you are born with original sin which is washed away with baptism. Then you are okay until you reach the age of reason. If you mess up after that you have to go to confession to get cleaned up. There were some sins that would send you to hell and the other lesser sins would just send you to purgatory. When I was a kid, eating a piece of meat on the wrong day would send you to hell forever.

This is why many of us struggle with the Love of God. It is not a comfort to know that God is with you if you think he is going to strike you down for a mistake or missing the mark.

I now believe in the universal Love of our Father God, but I still have a lot of fear to overcome because of these different ideas of God.

At 9/17/2006 04:06:00 AM, Anonymous rev. Veronika said...

God to me is not a 'concept' but Presence. The I AM which I am part of.


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