WHAT IS TRUE ABOUT GOD?
WHAT IS TRUE ABOUT LIFE?
(Please note: This is a lengthy commentary, because this is not a small topic. The topic has to do with more than one incident, as horrible as what happened in Connecticut was. This is the first of a four-part series. It may take you up to five or six minutes to read this first article. Only you will know whether it feels worth it to you to invest that kind of time in today’s 120-character Twitter World.)
The horrible shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on Dec. 14 leaves every sensitive, caring, compassionate human being who describes herself or himself as “spiritual” with deep sadness and searing, penetrating, urgent questions.
What is true about God? What is true about Life? What is true about who we are as creatures on the earth calling ourselves sentient beings?
Is there a purpose and a meaning to all of this? Not just to the ever more frequent incidents of random mass shootings (there have been seven in the U.S. in 2012 alone, 62 since 1982), but to the violence actually organized by governments all over the world, or rallied by revolutionaries?
What is happening to us as a species? And where is God in all of this? Sitting by, sadly shaking His head? Watching it all, but doing nothing?
Do the messages in Conversations with God offer us any insights into any of this? Yes. Many. But before I get to that, I’d like to look first at remarks made by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (R), who said on Fox News: “We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”
Mr. Huckabee has made a similar point before. Last summer, after the mass shooting at a movie theatre is Aurora, Colorado, he said: “We don’t have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem.”
The former GOP presidential candidate added: “And since we’ve ordered God out of our schools, and communities, the military and public conversations, you know we really shouldn’t act so surprised … when all hell breaks loose.”
I want to say right here that on Mr. Huckabee’s main point, I agree. We would benefit enormously as a society from bringing a discussion of God back into our schools, our communities, the military and into public conversations. You are right, Mike.
But with respect, Governor, I disagree with you on the cause of all the violence we’ve been seeing, and the kind of God we should be talking about. I am not sure that the concept of “sin” as it is classically taught by the world’s religions has been helpful in bringing us closer to God, and so I would define the problem facing us today a bit differently from you. I would say: “We don’t have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a beliefs problem. It is what we believe to be true about ourselves and about our God that is causing all hell to break loose.”
I believe that what would most benefit humankind right now would be an expansion of our understandings of, and our interactions with, God. I deeply believe that we benefit from having God in our lives. I mean really in our lives, not just as a concept, but as a function of our living.
Yet I am talking about Tomorrow’s God, as opposed to Yesterday’s God. I believe that the God of Our Fathers has not been fully understood. And I believe that what has not been completely comprehended about Divinity, and our relationship to it, is in very large part At Cause in the matter of how we are continuing to create life on Earth.
Conversations with God made this very clear when, in the seventh installment of the nine-book series (a volume titled The New Revelations), it offered this remarkable observation:
There are Five Fallacies about God that create crisis, violence, killing and war. First, the idea that God needs something. Second, the idea that God can fail to get what He needs. Third, the idea that God has separated you from Him because you have not given Him what He needs. Fourth, the idea that God still needs what He needs so badly that God now requires you, from your separated position, to give it to Him. Fifth, the idea that God will destroy you if you do not meet His requirements.
There are also Five Fallacies About Life that likewise create crisis, violence, killing and war. First, the idea that human beings are separate from each other. Second, the idea that there is not enough of what human beings need to be happy. Third, the idea that in order to get the stuff of which there is not enough, human beings must compete with each other. Fourth, the idea that some human beings are better than other human beings. Fifth, the idea that it is appropriate for human beings to resolve severe differences created by all the other fallacies by killing each other.
We think that we are being terrorized by other people, but in truth we are being terrorized by our own beliefs.
I was also told in The New Revelations:
Your experience of yourself and your world will shift dramatically if you adopt, collectively, the Five Steps to Peace:
Permit yourself to acknowledge that some of your old beliefs about God and about Life are no longer working.
Explore the possibility that there is something you do not fully understand about God and about Life, the understanding of which would change everything.
Announce that you are willing for new understandings of God and Life to now be brought forth, understandings that could produce a new way of life on this planet.
Courageously examine these new understandings and, if they align with your personal inner truth and knowing, enlarge your belief system to include them.
Express your life as a demonstration of your highest beliefs, rather than as a denial of them.
This leaves us with a critical question. Precisely what is it that we don’t fully understand about God and about Life, the understanding of which would change everything?
Conversations with God says that what we don’t fully understand is who we are and where we are and why we are where we are. We are living a Case of Mistaken Identity and we have no idea what we’re doing here.
What does any of this have to do with the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut? What does it have to do with the shooting in Aurora, Colorado? What does it have to do with the shootings in Columbine, at Virginia Tech, in Tucson and in Wisconsin, or at the mall near Portland last week?
(Did you know that a man emptied 50-rounds of ammunition just outside a Macy’s store at a shopping center in Newport Beach, California on Saturday, the day after the Connecticut school massacre? No one was hurt. He shot his gun into the air — for reasons not yet entirely clear. Was it a protest? Was it a means of drawing attention to how easy it is to shoot multiple rounds of ammunition in a public place in America? We don’t know. The man is in custody and is now being questioned.)
What does this stuff about God and who and where we are have to do with any of that?
Everything. Because if those shooters understood who we are, where we are, and why we are here — that is, if they had been taught in their earliest years (or even heard later in life from our society’s most highly valued sources) that who we are is an Individuation of Divinity, that We Are All One (including One With God), and that we are in the Physical Realm in order to express and experience Divinity Itself — they would and could never have pulled triggers on guns that fire 30 shots in 30 seconds, as Jared Loughner did in Arizona, in an effort to kill as many people as possible.
(From the bench in Federal District Court, Judge Larry A. Burns said he was not going to make “political statements,” that he was just “a single federal judge” who had “no intention to change the law.” Still, he questioned the wisdom of allowing the unrestricted sale of high-capacity magazines, like the one Mr. Loughner used to carry out his crimes.
“I don’t understand the social utility of allowing citizens to have magazines with 30 bullets in them,” Judge Burns said.
Neither do I, judge. Neither do I.)
And as part of that Big Discussion we need to ask ourselves with pure motive and honest evaluation: Is what we have believed in the past about ourselves and about God working? (That goes for those who don’t believe in God at all, by the way.) Are our fundamental and most sacred and fervently held beliefs about God, about life, and about each other producing the results we had hoped for? Or are they, in fact, producing exactly the opposite results?
I believe the second assessment is patently and obviously true. And so I invite people everywhere to engage — softly and with reverence, gently and with patience, kindly and with tolerance — in a global conversation (I call it the Conversation of the Century) as part of a worldwide movement aimed not at rejecting God or eliminating God, but at expanding God in our lives.
I invite people to join a Civil Rights Movement for the Soul, freeing humanity at last from the oppression of its belief in a vengeful, violent, and vindictive God, and releasing our species from a global doctrine that creates separation and vicious competition, replacing it, finally, with an ethos of unity and cooperation, understanding and compassion, generosity and love.
I will speak more about this in the days ahead. And in my next entry here, I will offer my answer, from Conversations with God, to the searing and penetrating questions with which this exploration began. We need to make some sense of what happened in Newtown last week, and about what’s happening all over the world on this very day. What is going on with our species — and why?
The exploration here continues…
And until next we meet here to move that exploration forward, I send you my deepest hope that you will experience God’s infinite caring and unconditional love, and that Divine Compassion will comfort you at this hour, even as It comforts those directly and immediately affected by all of the violence and dysfunction occurring on our planet.
May God’s blessings come to you and move through you to everyone whose life you touch this day.