Originally published February 12th, 2012
I recently received a message on Facebook from a lovely girl that I went to middle school with. I hadn't thought of her in years, but who could ever forget a girl named Wakana? As I recall, she was one of the brightest girls in my class. The 4.0 type. Anyway, she wasn't looking to rekindle a friendship that never quite existed, but she had obviously checked out my profile page. You know that little niche where you can find a persons religious views? Mine states that I am a Pantheist, and she was curious to know what that meant. I was happy to explain...
I've always been uncomfortable with "my way or the highway". With absolutes, with black and white. I'm a designer, and an artist. I have a deep understanding of grey! I have been baptized no less than 3 times, in 3 orders of Christian faith- yet I no longer consider myself a Christian. My spiritual journey so far has been largely personal, mostly introspective, and in the last 5 years very important to me. Along this journey I came to an understanding for myself that there's more than one way to get there. More than one path.
When I was growing up Mother told me to never speak of religion or politics in an "uncertain" crowd unless I was prepared to debate. As an adult I ask "Why is this? The answer is simple. Its because both are so closely attached to the ego. Make no mistake, the ego's position is ALWAYS to be right. We're instructed from the very beginning to be the most intelligent, the most studied and to always have the right answer. After all if you aren't right, then you're wrong! If only we could dissolve our egos.
I'm so sick of hearing people drone on about how religion is the root of all evil, and how it was the basis for almost every war the world has seen. While that may be true, Holy wars are not started by Gods or religions. They are started by men. By our fathers, our grandfathers, our brothers, our friends. God, Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad- don't drag them into it. They aren't the problem. WE are. Of course admitting that requires the taking on of personal responsibility. Its so much easier to blame a God that doesn't really exist, cultures we don't understand, or organized religion for the woes of the world than to take that responsibility for this royal mess we've created.
Two of my favorite people on this planet are Atheists, and they are raising their children as Atheists. There is much love between us and they respect my position to "believe", and I respect theirs to not. Unfortunately I have found most Atheists to be just as judgmental and smug in their non belief as the conservatives of any organized religion. Believers are simpletons, sheep. My spirituality is frivolous and negated by the intelligence of science.We "drank the kool-aid", subscribing to ideologies of religions created to control the masses and give them moral compasses.
Sorry Sam Harris, but that kind of generalization has nothing to do with me. Or my journey.
One of the most asinine things I've heard anyone say on the matter is "Science has proven there is no God." Don't be ridiculous. Science is amazing, but it cannot prove there is no God. Regardless of your religious (or non-religious) views, have you ever asked yourself why Science is so bent on disproving God? Stephen Hawking is a brilliant mind, perhaps one of the greatest the world has ever known. He has famously been quoted saying that "There is no heaven, its a fairy story." Perhaps he's right and the story we've been sold is just a fairytale. Can he prove there's no God? No spiritual realm beyond what we can see, hear and touch? Um, no.
Because I believe we're all spiritual beings, I fear a world where faith is not accepted just as much as one where the ideology and belief systems of any one man's religion is the mandate for all. There will never be a shoe that fits all feet.
For the record I do not believe that God is a old white guy with a long white beard, floating through the heavens on a cloud casting profound judgements upon his wayward children way down here on earth. Is God a man? A woman? I seriously doubt either. A collective force, perhaps. I do believe in both creation and evolution. And I do believe there's a point and purpose to this magical and glorious life we've been given. Most religious leaders will insist that all you need to know is written within the pages of their doctrines. If we knew it all, would there be a point to the journey?
Because of the separatism and persecution that man's religion has liberally showered upon the world, so many, including my LGBT brothers and sisters have turned their back on their spiritual selves. And why wouldn't they? Who needs all that judgement?! However if I ponder this for too long, it makes my heart heavy. Not because I fear for their immortal souls mind you. For the truth as I know it, is that God is not outside ourselves but indwelling...and has absolutely nothing to do with man's religion. Therefore our souls could never be "up for grabs". Its just that they're likely missing out on such a beautiful and extraordinary layer to their human experience. A layer that for me, just keeps getting deeper and richer the more I explore and embrace it.
I think my personal position is best explained in this lovely quote by the Persian poet Hafiz~
"I have learned so much from God that I can no longer call myself a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, or a Jew. The Truth has shared so much of Itself with me that I can no longer call myself a man, a woman, an angel, or even pure soul. Love has befriended Hafiz so completely it has turned to ash and freed me of every concept and image my mind has ever known." -Hafiz
For something a little better articulated and bit more "textbook" about Pantheism.....
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Life is a DJ, you are the music. Let's dance.