Sunday, May 07, 2006

Childish notions of God keep religion childish

"God and Tragedy," Thomas Moore’s column for Spirituality and Health’s March-April 2006 issue is available in the Archives area of that site. Moore talks about our images of God,
"To deal effectively with our personal tragedies and society's violence, we need a more sophisticated image of God. Stop using "he" or even "she," and immediately you have a more mysterious notion of divinity. Imagine God as the creating spark of this world or as the source of life, and you let go of the anthropomorphisms, the too-human images that reduce the idea of God to a mere projection of our reality and our wishes..."

"Religion does a disservice when it gives us childish notions of a God in the sky who will save us from human insanity. We have to be fully part of this world and take on our responsibility, doing everything possible to prevent wars and make people safe. Maybe we won't ever solve our problems completely, but we can make progress toward that goal..."

"Naïve notions of God are dangerous today, as well. God is the source of life, which is fragile. If we give up the notion of a grandfather in the sky and replace it with a deep sense of the mystery at the heart of things, we might understand the importance of our efforts to make this world safe for us all. A childish notion of God keeps our religion childish."
As a response to this notion, he suggests,
"We need images for the infinite, at the edge of which we live every moment of our lives. We need help maintaining a personal relationship with our mysterious God.

...we have to empty out our images at the very moment we employ them. We can't take them as fact. We have to see through them even as we find God through them. Maybe it would help to remember that God is there beneath all images and names we have for "him." But paradoxically, we can only come close to that God when we give up any names or images we have and to which we have become attached — which is any image at all."
Moore concludes,
"As my heart grows bigger, the language I use for God becomes that much more accurate, and therefore, that much more undefined."

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