Rescuing God from Religion

Rescuing God from Religion

There are a great many religions being practised in the world today and many gods associated with such religions. Some people are believers and some have no firm belief and waver in their attachment to the God of the religion into which they were born. It is particularly important for those who waver to realise that they are free to construct their own idea of God - the creator-figure who can provide them with the comfort and consolation they may need in times of trouble but without the baggage of religion.

It is a shame that the idea of God has become conflated with that of religion because they do not necessarily go together. What has happened is that the authorities of different religions have hijacked God, taken possession of this idea and have assumed unique knowledge of the characteristics, properties, thoughts and intentions of God-the-creator. If you think about it, all religions are forms of idolatry because they cause people to worship doctrines or forms of words which become objects of attachment, normally to the exclusion of all others.

It is particularly true of the Bible and Qur'an which contain much to terrify people about the consequences of non-belief and much to encourage obedience to both religious and worldly law. Religion has become the main support of establishments across the globe and has played a large part in the maintenance of social control. Jesus, who is supposed to be an aspect of the God of love, speaks of hellfire and outer darkness 14 times as punishments for alleged wrongdoing. Two parables end with his approval for revenge upon some miscreant and the Synoptic Gospels all refer to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as an unforgivable sin.

All over the world and even in some so-called advanced countries, the sin-and-punishment scenario or the obedience-and-heaven alternative is inculcated into young minds so early that it becomes difficult to recover and reclaim one's own soul later in life. Provided they get you young enough these soul-colonists have you for life.

However, people grow up and the myth loses much of its power and becomes less believable. There is more and more discrepancy between the picture painted by religion of an ultimately benevolent God and a world drenched in suffering and evil. Prayers to the almighty seem never to be answered. Wars happen and children stay hungry. Nevertheless, people remain enslaved to their religions with all their accompanying baggage of obedience to the status quo and subservience to those in power.

It is not easy to let go. Conditioning is powerful and the need for comfort and consolation and, especially, fear of the possible nothingness of death, are powerful forces preventing people from freeing themselves from these imperialists of the soul.

There are so many different varieties of religion. How can we choose between them, especially when all are based upon supposition and not upon reality? This is what makes it both necessary and possible for individuals to construct their own ideas of God free of any particular religious idolatry.

My own constructed ideal God is an abstraction from all things good, all things beautiful, all things infinite and all forms of the perfect. This is not a person in any sense but probably something like the condition for the existence of the universe. Alternatively, God is the universe trying to make sense of its own existence and using conscious beings to do so.

My idea of God is not an active agent because, if it were, it would do something about the horrible state of affairs which prevails in the world today. This brings us to what is, perhaps, the most important point- that spiritual autonomy is not only for yourself (although this would be enough) but affects others. Flexing your spiritual muscles in this way by constructing your own God frees you to think more independently about other things - the state of the world, of who is responsible for it and how to do something about it.

Have the courage to take action in the worldly as well as the spiritual sense without fear of any divine repercussions. You will realise that you have nothing to lose but the constraints on your thinking . You will join with others to effect change for the better for everyone.