The word God

Main Entry: God
Pronunciation: \ˈgäd also ˈgȯd\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German got god
Date: before 12th century

1 capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality: as a: the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe bChristian Science : the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind 2: a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship ; specifically : one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality3: a person or thing of supreme value 4: a powerful ruler

This NPR “This I Believe” entry is one of the first things I posted to my facebook page, an essay from Penn Gillette on being an atheist. I really enjoy this piece a lot, it struck me.
I posted it and several other atheist writings to my facebook page and got some interesting discussions with religious friends. It was the first time I really felt like facebook delivered something valuable to me. A truly different opinion than I was used to getting from people in cambridge or nyc…

But lately I would say I do believe in God. It’s not a statement I would have imagined myself making but it’s true, I do believe in a supreme or ultimate reality. A being or a principle seem to be the same thing to me in this area.

So a quick breakdown:
1) I believe in God as dictionary defined: all powerful force, all knowing, etc, but not really like a person.

2) The Bible is the word of God. Yes, but so is every other book because God is in everything.

3) God is in everything, from distant stars to microscopic particles. (but God doesn’t necessarily care if you kill an ant or not. God is more of a motion than an object.)

4) God does punish.
God punishes consolidation. (Dinosaurs: as large animals and any large consolidated system, ie Wall St, General Motors, etc)
God punishes walls and any unfortunate individual in the wrong part of a shadow.

5) God put us here to communicate our point of view.
-God wants us to share what is in our head, it is the unique gift God gave to each of us.

6) Heaven and hell are both here.

7) God would like me to reflect upon God from time to time. It’s a great thing to reflect daily.

eight) God would like me to grow in my experience of God.

9) Anthropomorphic representations of God do God a disservice.

10) God did give us something special like a soul. We have an ability to reflect that other creatures do not fully have. Therefore God would like us to use this gift.

Okay, so does this make sense? Simply replace the concept of the personal god with the process of evolution? That is the process that is happening everywhere at once, all the time. So it is god? We can feel reverence for this process and know that it speaks through all of us and connects us to others and the earth. It seems a little hokey to the skeptical me but basically works for me so far.

And this would be a monotheism that promotes diversity as strength? What does god say about the balance between replication and mutation?

At one level, it’s just a bit of picking and choosing some parts from eastern religions, western religions, new age, indigenous tribes, etc and mashing them up a bit. We are talking about religion a lot these days. Less judgment, more observation.

So here is what I would like the church service to be-> get a bunch of people together and watch youtube videos. ;) you can check out my favorites, in my eyes, they are reverent. hold some sort of group jam where a few people take turns playing favorites.

But we could spice it up, start by doing a couple group activities, sing, speak in unison, CIOC. Then for 2 or 3 minute spots, 10-15 people give 3 minutes presentations of some piece of information they found in the world or online. everyone simply observes what that other person thinks in important and why, say amen each time or something like that. then after everything, cap it with a song, unison speech, CIOC.

How do you create some in-person gathering to share in person, our individual views into this shared online community space? This is not intended to increase our dependence or time spent online, if anything it allows us to not look online for a week, knowing that we will see several viewpoints in the service. The focus is on specific and nonexpert points of view. Is it important to actually not have criticism in this at all? just observations during the service. Questions occur in casual discussion after. The service would be an observation of all the different ways that God works through us.

I love this cat jumping in/out the box video. God is definitely at work here. God is inside the cat, asking the cat to explore this physical space. The need to explore is in all of us. God wants us to seek the unknown. Often we have no choice, we are compelled to, in a way similar to the way the cat is compelled to explore the box.

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6 Responses to “The word God”

  1. Alita says:

    we often use God as a phrase to express feelings like shock, overwhelmed, happy, sad, angry, confused, and whatnot. The phrase ‘Oh My God’ will always be the same but with a different tonality.

  2. eric says:

    God damn it feels good for an atheist to shout “I believe in God!”? Even more encompassing, God is beauty. God is the predispositions of the universe. God is the universe! When god arrives midway through a sentence, we don’t even have to capitalize his name!

    Living and breathing is praying to god. It is a constant conversation.

    And amazingly, so many of the past ruminations on god hold true. We are actually made in his image. The same fundamental rules of the universe that made rocks, clouds, trees, snakes, and planets also made us. This means that, if we really look at ourselves honestly as products of the universe, we can even continue to anthropomorphize him to a degree.

  3. dan says:

    see also->
    http://fish.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/03/god-talk/?em
    “[B]elieving that religion is a botched attempt to explain the world . . . is like seeing ballet as a botched attempt to run for a bus.” Running for a bus is a focused empirical act and the steps you take are instrumental to its end. The positions one assumes in ballet have no such end; they are after something else, and that something doesn’t yield to the usual forms of measurement. Religion, Eagleton is saying, is like ballet (and Chekhov); it’s after something else.

  4. Ben Dalton says:

    I met up with some old friends in Berlin this weekend. One of the things we did (as well as chatting, drinking, eating good meals, etc) was to sit around a computer and watch maru jump in and out of a box. We also watched (and later impersonated while strolling the streets) the weirdest dog, keyboard cat, et al. Real loud laughter amongst friends is a good thing.

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