An Open Letter to Our World
DOES GOD REALLY DEMAND AND
COMMAND OUR ABJECT OBEDIENCE?
EDITOR’S NOTE: I am excited to be able to use this space on the Internet as a place in which we can join together to ignite a worldwide exploration of some of the most revolutionary theological ideas to come along in a long time.
The ideas I intend to use this space for in the immediate future are the ideas found in GOD’S MESSAGE TO THE WORLD: You’ve Got Me All Wrong. I believe this new book (published last October by Rainbow Ridge Books) places before our species some of the most important “What if” questions that could be contemplated by contemporary society.
The questions are important because they invite us to ponder some of the most self-damaging ideas about God ever embraced by our species. For example…
One teaching about the Divine is that God demands obedience.
We also note that the vast majority of those who believe in God believe that God is judging, condemning, and punishing when God’s demands are not met.
But now comes The Great What If . . .
What if God demands nothing, judges nothing, and punishes nothing?
Would it make a difference? Does it matter? In the overall scheme of things, would it have any significant impact in our planetary experience?
Yes. More violence, more brutality, more killing, and more outright war has been committed in the name of God than under any other banner. If the entire world believed that God demands nothing, judges nothings, and punishes nothing, the spiritual basis for much of the righteousness that underlies, justifies, and motivates humanity’s most egregious and self-damaging behaviors would evaporate.
Further, if judgment and punishment were now said to be not part of God’s Kingdom, the foundation of humanity’s entire legal system would be shaken to the core, with many of the laws in many of our countries having to be rewritten or repealed.
As well, if we embraced the notion that God demands and commands nothing, many of our cultural norms, customs, and prohibitions would be stripped of their moral authority, and would likewise eventually have to be abandoned for lack of any premise or basis.
Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the case of same-gender marriage. Even as restrictions against marriages outside of a person’s faith or race were one day held as being “against God’s Law”—but are now seen as perfectly acceptable expressions of love (except in some communities and cultures, where it still is not)—so, too, will gay marriage one day become widely embraced as entirely appropriate between people who deeply love each other. This will occur when the entirety of humanity abandons all notions that an expression of true love that strays from past societal norms somehow breaks God’s commandments.
If there are no commandments from God, then we can no longer kill, no longer punish, no longer judge, oppress, harm, restrict, limit, or damage others in the name of the Lord. This would wipe out an entire mountain of vindication for a huge catalogue of human cruelties and atrocities.
The question is, would it also remove from humanity’s experience a moral compass upon which our species has depended? What would our new moral compass be?
Perhaps it is time for us to acknowledge that God has been telling us from the very beginning, and it is becoming more clear to us every day, that humanity’s Ancient Cultural Story about a God who is demanding and commanding is plainly and simply inaccurate.
It is okay now to remove this ancient teaching from our current story, and to stop telling this to ourselves and to our children.
God demands and commands nothing. This is because God has no reason to demand or command anything. And this is because God needs nothing.
God “needs” no experience—emotional, physical, or spiritual—since God is the source of every experience God could have. How can the source of something need that thing? How can the Source of Everything need anything? And if the Source of Everything needs nothing, why would It command anything?
It is not as if some behavior of ours, such as obeying God, could cause God to have an experience that God could not have without us exhibiting that behavior. To put this another way, God is not dependent upon us for God’s nonexistent needs to be met.
There is no reason, then, to believe in a God who is so displeased in the absence of a particular behavior that we will be punished horribly and eternally.
God is Love, and this love knows neither condition nor limitation. It is not based on receiving anything back, and it is not withheld because God is angry to the point of everlasting condemnation, for the simple reason that God is never angry to the point of everlasting condemnation (or ever angry at all).
There are those who say that God demands or commands things not because God needs something, but because we need something. Specifically, we need instructions, directions, requirements, and commandments in order to stop ourselves from running amok, and to help us make our lives work.
This viewpoint holds that without commandments and directions, we wouldn’t know how to behave—or be willing or able to behave in ways that serve our continued survival—because of our very nature.
It is said by some that it is “human nature” to behave irresponsibly and uncontrollably, selfishly and even violently, and that it is only God’s requirements and restrictions—and the threat of God’s punishment if we don’t heed them—that keeps us from being totally self-centered, self-serving, and self-destructive.
Following suit, punishment has become the rationale for all civil laws and government regulations restricting and governing the behavior of people, from stoplights and speed limits that must be obeyed, to product labeling rules that must be followed, to sanitary standards that must be maintained, to workplace regulations that must be followed.
Without these and other behavioral rules being imposed, the conventional wisdom goes, everybody would do as they pleased, no one would be protected, and people everywhere would be the victim of those who are careless or unscrupulous.
Yet are humans incapable of being self-regulating?
The answer is no.
All humans have the innate ability to govern their own behaviors and to adjust them to the degree that they harm no one, while producing maximum positive results for each individual and maximum benefit for the collective. All we have to do is determine to use that innate ability. Ironically, what ignites the desire to do so is the absence of rules and regulations . . . from God or anyone else.
God understands this. That is why the ultimate gift God has given humanity is free will. Freedom is the fundamental nature of divinity. And God knows that humanity will always act in humanity’s best interests, once those best interests are made clear.
If you want a wonderful example of this, watch people as they whiz around the traffic circle at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris—where there are no lane markings, no traffic lights, no signs showing who goes first or where, and no police officer to direct the endless and rapid flow of vehicles.
Thousands of people make their way around that monument every day in a hectic mish-mash of interweaving iron on tires—and they do not have to be forced by any law or regulation to yield the right-of-way, stop before smashing into others, or go when others have stopped. They do so automatically.
When you know what it is you’re trying to do, the preferable and beneficial action to take becomes instantly obvious and very clear to you. That’s why there are fewer traffic accidents on that circle than there are on the Champs‑Élysées a hundred feet away, where traffic lights abound, lanes are clearly marked, and the way to proceed is guided by rules and regulations.
Humanity on a global scale cannot become clear about its own best interests until humanity on a global scale is clear about what it is trying to do. And this is where we have fallen short. We have not moved to total clarity and mutual agreement on what it is we are “up to” here during our time upon the earth. Once we do, our behaviors will self-modify and self-regulate in ways that will produce maximum effectiveness.
A species that is highly evolved is one that has reached a collective understanding about what is in its highest and best interest, based on a mutually held awareness of what it is seeking to achieve and to experience.
Because we are not at that stage in the development and evolution of humanity, the pressing question today becomes: What could get us there?
The answer is: A letting go of our Ancient Cultural Story about who we are and why we are alive; about the purpose and process of life; about the nature and desire of God.
God told us in The New Revelations that in order to get to that place, we will need to have the courage to take five huge steps:
Step 1: Acknowledge that some of our old beliefs about God and about life are no longer working.
Step 2: Acknowledge that there is something we do not understand about God and about Life, the understanding of which will change everything.
Step 3: Be willing for a new understanding of God and Life to now be brought forth, an understanding that could produce a new way of life on this planet.
Step 4: Be courageous enough to explore and examine this new understanding, and, if it aligns with our inner truth and knowing, to enlarge our belief system to include it.
Step 5: Choose to live our lives as a demonstration of our highest and grandest beliefs, rather than as a denial of them.
A huge shift in humanity’s thinking—perhaps the biggest invitation ever issued by life to life—would be the accepting, embracing, and adopting of the following spiritually revolutionary statement:
Nothing can occur in all the Universe that violates the Will of God.
Everything in human theology, virtually every tenet of every religion on the face of the earth, is rooted and built on exactly the opposite thought. God’s will can be violated, our religions say. This is the foundation of every religious doctrine of judgment, condemnation, and punishment.
Yet the violation of God’s will is utterly impossible unless there is something more powerful than God in the universe—something that can override God’s will. But nothing of the sort exists, for God is the All In All, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Sum Total of Everything.
If, therefore, something is happening, it is happening because God has not stopped it from happening. And if God has not stopped something from happening, how can it be said that it is happening against God’s will?
Those who say that God allows God’s will to be thwarted, and that, therefore, it is possible for people to violate the will of God, have rendered themselves blind to a simple logic: If God allows something, then it is not against God’s will.
You could not lift your little finger if God did not want you to. Everything that happens, therefore, happens because God allows it to, or it wouldn’t and couldn’t be happening.
The theological question thus becomes not whether God allows—and therefore wills—what is happening to be happening, but why God would allow it.
The answer is that God’s greatest desire is for that fundamental aspect of divinity that we just spoke of—freedom—to be expressed in every moment by every manifestation of divinity. And since God cannot be hurt or damaged in any way by anything at all, God has no reason to place restrictions on the freedom of any of God’s creations or creatures.
God also has no reason to judge, condemn, and punish anyone who uses that freedom. Indeed, to do so would be to change the definition of freedom itself, so that it would then mean: “The ability to do as you are told, or suffer the consequences.”
Yet this is not what freedom means. That is not freedom at all.
Freedom is Love demonstrated; it is Love in action. Restriction of any kind is not Love in action, because restriction is limitation, and Love knows no such thing.
Total Love and Absolute Freedom are synonymous, and produce the theological concept known as free will.
God has given all of God’s creatures this gift so that God could give Itself the gift of totally experiencing the wonder and the glory of what It Is. Yet free will is obviously not free will if the use of it in a particular way produces indescribable and everlasting torture in the fires of hell. Such a response to the use of God’s greatest gift to humanity would make a mockery of both the gift and The Giver.
As well, free will means nothing in an environment in which there are no choices. If God is to experience Its full wonder and glory, that which is not considered fully wondrous or glorious in human terms must exist alongside of that which is, so to produce a context within which wonder and glory itself may be not simply known, but expressed and experienced. Thus, the physical universe has been created as a Contextual Field within which choices become possible.
Another way of saying this is that the Contextual Field that is our universe exists in the way that it does because in the absence of That Which Is Not, That Which Is is not.
That is, it cannot be experienced.
In the absence of Darkness, Light cannot be experienced. In the absence of Small, Big cannot be experienced. In the absence of There, Here cannot be experienced. In the absence of Slow, Fast cannot be experienced. Nothing can be experienced in the absence of a contrasting element. It can be known theoretically, but it cannot be expressed experientially.
Therefore has God created a universe in which divinity has what appear to be exact opposites, or dualities, but are not.
Using an example from our physical reality, we often label things as either “hot” or “cold.” These appear to be opposite ends of a polarity, but they are not. They are degrees of the same thing—called temperature. There is no “duality” in temperature, there is only One Thing, variously expressed.
In much the same way, all manifestations of life are expressions demonstrating degrees, or variations, of the single thing called divinity.
And thus has God invited divinity’s human individuations to judge not, and neither condemn, that which seems to oppose them, but to see it as simply another aspect of the Self, providing an opportunity to be a light unto the darkness, that they might know Who They Really Are—and that all those whose lives they touch might know who they really are as well, by the light of this example.
One’s free will choosing of any thought, word, or deed need not be, therefore, a demonstration of one’s obedience, but may be an acceptance of one’s invitation from God to step into the highest demonstration of one’s best idea about oneself. With this understanding, what may have been considered one’s burden may become one’s joy.
Life becomes an experience of exaltation when one realizes, finally and at last, that neither fear nor obedience are required by God.
(The entirety of the exceptional text of GOD’S MESSAGE TO THE WORLD: You’ve Got Me All Wrong brings our species theological constructions that truly challenge the world’s thinking about God. Five full chapters of this book may be sampled here: www.godsmessagetotheworld.info)