A Voice in the Wilderness
WHAT IT FEELS GOOD AND BAD
FOR ME TO BELIEVE
It feels good to me to believe in God. It feels good to me to believe that someone “has my back,” that someone is “there for me,” that someone is supporting me, empowering me, uplifting me, protecting me, and embracing me. It feels good to me to feel that I am not alone in this Universe and not without help in this life and not without a Home to which to return when my time here is over. It feels good to me to believe in a God who loves me unconditionally and empowers me unlimitedly and accepts me unreservedly. It feels good to me to believe in a God who gives me Free Will to express and experience myself in the way that feels most authentic to me and most loving to me and most wonderful to me. It feels good to me to believe in a Higher Power; that there exists in the Universe an Essential Essence, a Pure Energy, that I may use to impact in a positive way the expression and the experience of my life. It feels good for me to believe that there is no separation or difference between this Essential Essence and me, and that it is, in fact, that of which I am comprised.
It feels bad to me to believe in a God who is separate from me, who is made of something I am not, who is watching my every move, noticing my every mistake, judging my every choice, and holding me to account for my every misdeed. It feels especially bad to me to believe in a God who may be approached in only one way, accessed by only one path, found and rejoined by only one method — and who condemns and punishes with everlasting torture and unremitting anguish anyone who comes to God in another way, by another path, using another method — no matter how pure their love for God or how sincere their search for God or how deep their desire for God may be.
This does not mean that those who do believe in a God who is and does these things are “wrong” for doing so. My comments above are in no way meant to imply that my beliefs are in any way better or more accurate, more sensible or more reasonable than anyone else’s beliefs. I want to make it very clear that all beliefs about God (including the belief that there is no God) are honored by me (and, I hope, by everyone), and that no one is intended to be disrespected by my statement above. To disagree is not to disrespect, and to offer one point of view that diverges from another is not to scorn, but to invite greater understanding.
The only aspect of spiritual practice that I cannot personally condone is any attempt by a believer or organization of believers in a particular doctrine to forcibly impose on another that doctrine or dogma which the believer holds dear. I consider every individual’s spiritual experience and truth to be the most personal and sacred aspect of their life, and I do and will not support any attempt to compel or coerce by any means—emotional or physical—any person to embrace or adhere to a particular teaching, canon, or creed.
Our differences do not have to create divisions, our contrasts do not have to create conflicts, and the variations in our beliefs do not have to create violence in our lives.
There is another way. But we will not find that way by searching for it. We will only find it by creating it. Let us, therefore, go forth into our world in peace and in love, knowing that if there is a God, surely this is God’s desire—and that if there is not a Higher Power, there can be no better way to live in the absence of one.