I recently had a revelation about how we might consider what God is. I have never worried about delving into this question. Lucky for me, I grew up around adult conversations between my Uncle Jens, a prolific theologian, his students, my father, a pastor/political science professor, and our family members happy to chime in. (I also had really terrific Sunday school and confirmation teachers. I’m not kidding. Lutheran liberalism in the Twin Cities’ West Bank is alive and well.) So I knew that pondering the God question is doable, is done, and questioning dogma is a perfectly normal thing to do.
I use the word, “revelation,” only to mean for me. My idea is not original; I imagine it has floated around at least since ancient Greek mystery schools, and perhaps in the more esoteric areas of the religions extant. More recently, I have heard closely related ideas from Jewish thinker Martin Buber; even from Bernie Sanders. But it hit me full force not too long ago, and I think it’s worth sharing.
My atheist friends will doubtless see no need for my formulation. But for those who appreciate the “idea of the holy,” and think there is a benign presence bigger than all of us, but find most religious doctrine to be out-of-touch or out-of-date, I ask you read through this.
Let’s scrap, for now, this idea of God as a two-legged, two-armed creature. Making God in our image just gets us into trouble. What race would God be? Which sex? Unimportant attributes like hair color, facial features, just divert us from taking God seriously.
Instead, what if God is the connection between all sentient beings? We know fascia is necessary for our bodies to exist. In fact, biology has discovered just how interactive all the systems in our bodies are, from gut to brain to synapse to mouth to spine to genitals. Our bodies are a system of relational structures and processes.
God could be that which connects us to the universe and each other. That would be why love and kindness are such important and immutable qualities for life on Earth. Hell is simply the state of thinking you have lost that connection. Heaven is the recognition of connection.
For now I am making this my way to think of God.