gracious God--that is how i begin my morning meditation, with a prayer that addresses a God that i will never fully understand. it would be easy for me to be an atheist, except i can't get past the idea that a long series of unlikely events had to occur in order for life on this earth to exist. how is it that in this small corner of the universe life evolved on this tiny planet? there must be a beginning, a primal cause, and for me, God is the most satisfactory explanation.
i reject the idea that God is a "personal" God, a great santa claus in the sky, or a vengeful rule-maker with a notebook, keeping a record of how good we are at following mandates recorded in an ancient collection of writings. God is not my buddy. God is not jesus. God is not the cause of all the terrible things that happen in this world.
i don't know what God's role in the world is. i believe that God cares for all that God created, that all life is sacred, that all of creation should be honored and cared for. i don't believe that God intervenes in human history or that there is a "will of God" to be discerned. i believe that the only commandment, the only will of God, is that we love one another and in so doing we love God. there is no "right" religion, and as we explore the role of organized religion in history, it appears that religion has done more harm than good. we fight one another in the name of religion. we seek to convert one another by any means possible, including force. we commit the worst sorts of atrocities in the name of God, and it is little wonder that many come to the conclusion that there is no God.
two verses from the first epistle of john are for me the most true sentences about God: the one who doesn't love, doesn't know God, for God is love (1 john 4:8) and God is light and in God there is no darkness (1 john 1:5). this is the essence of religion, not the layers of complexity that have been heaped upon us by religious authorities. God is not the christian God, not the islamic God, not the hindu God. God is. for me, that's enough. love is the key that unlocks the mystery of God. if we seek to live a life that is filled with love, we come to know God, even if we don't believe that God exists.
may we love, not in the name of any religion, but simply because that's the best way to live. may we honor all that is around us, caring for the planet that is our home. may we cast aside the differences that religion imposes on us and embrace one another as human beings without any need to control each other. shalom.