Archive for the 'monotheism' Category

Similes and metaphors

February 2, 2012

I sometimes wonder whether we have taken too literally what was meant as an analogy in our monotheism: the idea of loving God as if he were a parent.  I think God, the universe, forces we can’t see, need our positive regard as much as we want theirs.  I don’t think God is grudging and I do think our attitude towards God matters.  So, I’m inclined to believe that the notion of God that portrays him as a parent could be a development out of an attempt to get people to love God with more effective focus.  As I see it, a problem arises, in terms of making spiritual progress, if we get stuck in the analogy and can’t move on to faith in and a relationship with a more impersonal “God.”  Just as we need to get our own egos out of the way, we need to stop insisting that God have one, too, at a certain point in our spiritual development.  In this regard, I think physicists and mathematicians have a leg up, with their ease with abstract thinking.  I suspect that relating to the universe involves both an earthy component of loving from the heart (as we would a parent, spouse, or child) and a more diffuse component of perceiving without our usual limits of material consensus reality (a sort of abstract mental process).  To me, combining the two in one person, integrating the two components in ourselves, is the great mystery.