© Doug Rodgers 2009. All Rights Reserved.
Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation
November 8, 2009

God and I go back a long way, to the beginning of time - my time anyhow.

I went to Sunday School starting about age 5 and have been going to church ever since. I've been fascinated by the idea of God all this time, sometimes believing, sometimes not, but always engaged. What could it mean, this idea of something that isn't, yet is; and can't be defined, yet somehow exists. Or does it? And what is existence, is it physical? If God is physical, then where is he, she, it?

After years of trying to believe the traditional vision of God as I was taught, miracles and all, I finally decided that I didn't believe, couldn't believe, in spite of trying. So I drifted into the God that was left after you took away all the things that conflicted with reality, which I saw as science. At that point I was making the choice, which I still hold to, that the universe really is consistent. Things behave in ways that obey certain rules, which we keep figuring out and know only imperfectly, but which don't change arbitrarily. Any concept of God that I can accept has to fit that basic criterion.

But the God that doesn't violate the rules of time and space has a communication problem. How can God talk to me? My thoughts are physical processes, electrical and chemical, that can be measured and observed - and are, with increasing sophistication. Since I'm a physical creature, then God has to speak to me in a physical way. So that means there must be an instrument that can eavesdrop on our conversation. Either that or I must have a non-physical dimension which talks to God and then relays the message to my physical part. But then we have the same logical problem - where do the physical and non-physical meet?

So I gave up on that whole thing of trying to construct a logical framework for God. In fact, I gave up on God altogether. Like the Buddhists, I figured that the question of God is an interesting one, but not the important one. The important question is how do we live our lives.

Having given up God, I kept seeing Him as a metaphor for the mysteries of our lives. I notice how convoluted our speech has to be in order to avoid the G word. I also realized that sometimes I have a feeling of God. A vague feeling, one that comes only sometimes - when it wants to and not when I want it to. Most often it comes when I'm singing. Not listening to music - I don't do that very much - but performing.

There seems to be something about all those physical systems: making the sounds - the tone, the volume, the time duration, the pitch, the proper vowel sound, the consonants. There is the breathing - big breath here, quick breath there, stop the sound here, but don't breath since there isn't time. Then there are the words - not forgetting them or losing my place on the page. Also, the other musicians and maybe a conductor. Anyhow, there is a lot going on and I can't loose track...Still, I get this feeling. So maybe God is a song.

We are so focused on the external or objective view of the world. Since we manipulate our environment so extensively, we are stuck with being constantly aware of maintaining that artificial bubble that we live in. And there are so many of us, that it isn't like we can reject our artificial world and wander off into the wilderness. There is no wilderness - not where we could live, anyhow. We are stuck with a more or less civilized life where everything that we need, except maybe the air itself, is provided by other people. We have to convince those other people to feed us, so we work. And that leaves us precious little time for the other side of existence, the primary one, which is direct experience. I think of it as the inside view.

So lately I've been thinking of God as just that inside view of the world. The same world that science sees from the outside view. Not two conflicting views, but two perspectives on the same universe. God is what we feel, what we experience. Not just one of the emotions that play across our brains all day long, but something deeper, more constant, more positive, more connected. So maybe that's what God is. Besides, if you have that calm, peaceful feeling, what else do you need? As the book (I just read says, the healthiest state of mind is a mildly delusional optimism.

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