An Open Letter to Our World
IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT BELONG
TO A CERTAIN FAITH GOING TO HELL?
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…
. . . the belief that God who is a male super-being who demands obedience, who says we are imperfect because we have not been obedient, and who tells us that in order for us to be in God’s good graces (and thus, eligible for admission into heaven), we must meet certain requirements.
Among those requirements are that we believe in God in a certain way, and worship God in a particular fashion.
What this comes down to is that we must belong to a specific religion—or at least, hold true to its tenets.
The thought that we even need to be in a good place with God arises out of the idea we explored above: that only absolute purity and total perfection is allowable or present in heaven, and that this probably does not describe us—so we’d better do something about it.
This thought, in turn, emerges from the other thought explored earlier: that we entered this world in a state of impurity, branded at birth with Original Sin, Inherited Imperfection, or Ancestral Guilt, and that we all have in any event offended God with our own sins during our own lives.
And this thought surfaces from a deeply-held belief that we can sin, and that God can be offended.
From these congealed notions is born a deep concern in the hearts of many people that we are not in God’s good graces now. And so we look, individually and as a collective, for ways in which we can get into God’s good graces—before it is too late.
The popularity of religions is based on this yearning, and on their promises that they can produce this result.
Religions, we are told, are our passports into heaven. All we have to do is follow their mandates, live according to their guidelines, obey their rules, and respond affirmatively to their injunctions.
Dramatically increasing the stakes in all this is the statement of some denominations that their religion offers the only way to achieve what is called “salvation.”
We are told that if we do not believe what they teach, if we do not embrace their doctrine, if we do not accept their canon, creed, and credo as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, we are condemned by God to everlasting damnation.
There is no question about this among the faithful within those denominations: We must believe in God and worship God in a certain and particular way or our eternal soul is eternally doomed.
* * *
Now comes The Great What If . . .What if God does not need to be worshipped, and does not need to have humans believe in God in any certain way? What if God does not need human beings to believe in God at all?
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, of course it would. If we let go of the thought that one way is the only way to worship God and get to heaven, the spiritual self-righteousness that appears deeply embedded in humanity’s experience of God would virtually disappear. And absent that self-righteousness, all of the religious wars and inter-denominational struggles, the ruthless and senseless killing that has soiled the pages of human history for millennia, would likewise ultimately disappear.
If we felt that we didn’t even need to believe in God for God to welcome us back Home, we could then enter into whatever belief in God we might develop—if, indeed, we chose to embrace such a belief at all—and do so as an expression of pure joy and absolute wonderment, rather than an outgrowth of angst or a product of trepidation. A loss of fear about what will happen if we do not profess a belief in God would spell the end of all fear-based religions.
Indeed, as the love-me-or-else threat was taken out of our experience of God, our entire relationship with The Divine would shift dramatically, putting us into a genuine friendship with God in which our worried trembling would be replaced by our empowerment.
* * *
On another level, if we held the thought that God has no need for our worship, our species would stop seeing the whole notion of “worship” as a good thing, but would view it, accurately, as the kind of subjugating human activity that denies our own divinely bestowed magnificence—to say nothing of our own presence in that which we say we adore.
This elevating of the human self to its rightful place of awesome inclusion in the expression that is God would reshape humanity’s basic identity, altering our species’ understanding and expression of itself. And it would do this so completely as to remove and eliminate selfish, hurtful, malicious, or malevolent behavior from the human experience forever. We would suddenly know who we really are, and who everyone else is, and we would treat ourselves and everyone else much differently.
This is, in fact, what has occurred within the civilizations of all highly evolved beings in the universe. The effect that such a shift in beliefs would have on the planet would be to, at last, civilize civilization.
Now, here is GOD’S MESSAGE TO OUR WORLD…
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 God demanding that we worship, believe in, and approach God in a certain and particular way 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 does not care what religion we belong to (or whether we belong to any religion at all). Religions are the inventions and conventions of humanity.
God doesn’t care what we believe about God (or whether we believe in God at all). Beliefs are the inventions and conventions of humanity.
God doesn’t look to us to provide God with something that God needs (because God needs nothing at all). Needs are the inventions and conventions of humanity.
The need to be worshipped (to say nothing of the command to be loved) could only be the characteristic of an insecure, unfulfilled, imperious, tyrannical ruler—which cannot possibly describe the God of this universe.
The need to be approached in a single and specific way, making every other approach (no matter how sincere the motive, no matter how pure the intent, no matter how arduous the effort) not only insufficient, but a cause for judgment, condemnation , and damnation, could only be the characteristic of a totally unreasonable, utterly intolerant, preposterously hypersensitive, unbelievably small-minded, and insanely draconian despot—which cannot possibly describe the God of this universe.
* * *
The idea that God demands to be loved defies all reason and logic. Yet it is held by many, for it is written, in what has been labeled as The Greatest Commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
So let it be said clearly and without equivocation: The God of this universe—by virtue of being God—needs or requires the adulation of no one. As well, the God of this universe—by virtue of being God—has nothing to lose by welcoming any soul who arrives at divinity by any path, and is nothing but overjoyed when any soul has found its way back Home by realizing, accepting, and assuming its true identity.
The idea that God rejects everyone except those who come to God by one singular and particular path is simply mistaken. It defies all rational thought and directly contradicts the definition of Love.
The idea that God rejects everyone except those who come to God by one singular and particular path is simply mistaken.
The good news is that our Deity is not the God of the brand name.
God’s love, God’s acceptance, and God’s joy in us is not dependent upon what words we say in prayer, what name we invoke in supplication, or what faith we embrace in hopefulness.
In the eyes of God a Jew is as good as a Christian, a Christian is as good as a Muslim, a Muslim is as good as a Buddhist, a Buddhist is as good as a Mormon, a Mormon is as good as a Bahá’í, and an atheist is as good as all of the above.
That Which Is is That Which Is, and neither its Isness, nor its joy and bliss in being the Isness, is dependent upon any particular expression in any particular way of any particular part of the Isness.
* * *
Let us go even further. It is not even necessary for human beings to have any belief that there is a God in order for God’s blessings to flow. The flowing of God’s blessings is God’s greatest joy, and it is a process that is uninterrupted and eternal. It has nothing whatsoever to do with our love for God, and everything to do with God’s love for us.
Again, this may be the toughest concept for human beings to accept. The largest number of us just can’t seem to embrace the notion that divine love flows freely to all, without exception, requirement, or condition of any kind.
Or, in a remarkable inversion, many declare that God’s love does flow freely to all, and that God’s condemnation and punishment of His subjects for not believing in God, or for any wrongdoing, is a demonstration of His love.
It is only through such convoluted theological architecture that the idea of a God kind and good can be constructed and preserved—although it is questionable if such preservation has been achieved at the level that those who have constructed this theology might have wished. It seems far more evidentiary that the idea of a God kind and good has been simply forfeited by religion, and that this is the chief reason for the rejection, by millions, of the idea of any sort of God at all.
This is one of the greatest sorrows to have befallen the human race, for it has robbed so many members of the species of their greatest resource, therefore crippling the species itself immeasurably.