A friend challenged me to define my belief in God, since he apparently had trouble understanding it during our inebriated back-and-forth slurring at the bar after last call. Here’s my attempt at defining this most controversial of beliefs as objectively as possible.
Additionally I decided to forgo the use of the word ‘is’ for the duration of this writing, as I feel when writing about something such as an unknowable concept like God using definite affirmations seems counter-intuitive. Plus, it may end up being way more fun this way. Certainly more challenging.
I believe in life. In existence. I appear to be perceiving and interacting with the universe, and seeing seems to be believing. I have an idea that everyone else believes in existence too, although I have no way of knowing if anyone else exists consciously other than myself except through word of mouth. Yes, you can tell me you exist, and yes I appear to be able to physically observe your existence, but objectively that cannot be considered anything more than proof of my own ability to observe and interact with the vibrations of reality that intersect my own consciousness and drive my own perception of reality. Therefore I can only trust myself, and not take the word of someone else and what they may believe when considering my own beliefs.
I’m a humanist I suppose, so yes in a sense I do believe in a concept of God. God, from my observations of my own experience of existence, does not appear to be a person or some corporeal entity that exists separately from my own consciousness to watch and govern my actions. I do not believe in a God as creator of the universe or divine father. Rather, God can be observed and appreciated in the way a beautiful woman moves as she dances Flamenco in a flowing red dress, or a radiant golden sunset over a rippling ocean casts diamonds of light across the waves. God could be that first bite of thanksgiving turkey after a day of preparing and fasting for it. God may be kissing and loving your wife or husband, and God can be heard in the first word of your child, and the stars at night and even that bloody nagging itch that wont go away on my calf. God, from my perspective, can be considered to be my conscious perception of these great things and my ability to mentally process and take delight in them. Or sorrow, fear, remorse etc. God is not limited to the positive – any action, any emotion, any experience at all is a derivative of the experience of God itself.
I read once that the word ‘Allah’ originated as an exclamation of sighting God. I find that to be really quite poetic and simple, if it were to be the true meaning. From my understanding one would chant “Allah Allah!” upon observing great things, like an amazing dance or a fantastic feast or a beautiful natural sight. “Allah! A glimpse of God!”
Sadly I have found nothing to back this up, so it seems unlikely to be true. Be that as it may I still like to think of it as such.
It may seem like I am saying I believe that I myself am God, especially since the only intention I can observe to exist in the universe is my own, but I do not mean that only my experience can be God. Yes, I am God, but you are God, too. God can be considered as life itself and the act of existence and observance of existence. We are all God. I’d like to say that God is the human experience, but that would be unfair to dogs and elephants and dolphins and spiders and, well, possibly even trees I suppose. They are God as well. Facets of God, at very least. God as in the conscious observation of reality (defining reality can wait for another day). Since animals do consciously observe and interact with the world it would be unfair to say they are not included. An argument can be made to say that self-awareness should be necessary for the definition but I believe we simply do not know enough about the animal experience to omit them.
So yeah, I guess you could say I do believe in God. Probably not the same way anyone else does though. And that’s the cool thing – our relationships with life are deeply individual (unless you join a religion I suppose, but I have too little experience with religion to comment fairly). Some people put a face to life and call it their God. Others just love life.
In short I’m just using the word God to explain my feelings on the state of active participation with life. Perhaps that can be considered stealing the word and redefining it. That may be so, but that is still my belief on the concept of God, if I must have one.
Ultimately I consider myself a scientist. That is my current profession if not my vocation. But one important facet of science can be defined as the search for the human soul, and that can ultimately be considered the search for God itself from a certain perspective.
It often amuses me that science and faith appear to be so at odds with each other when at the end of the day they appear to be a search for the exact same thing. I find it interesting how much a simple difference in definition, a re-imagining of the words, can divide people so strongly.
Phew. That was more challenging than I expected! Did I slip up? Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments, I love hearing other opinions and perspectives on topics such as these. :)