The Lies We Believe About God
Strange title…what do you think? Do you think YOU believe any lies about God?
It’s hard to say because most of us have been raised in a world that was based on the patterns of our ancestors. Whatever Grand Mother and Grand Father, or even Great Grand Mother or Great Grand Father, did was what we did. And the same goes for what we believed.
It’s part of our domestication. You may not wish to admit it, but, yes, we all are domesticated in many ways.
So, back to God, or Divine Universe, Spirit, Goddess, Divine Energy, whatever name you use to reference the Spirit that’s in, around and through all that is. And those names didn’t include the names from other cultures, Buddha, Krishna, Allah, and so on.
We have learned that the many names refer to the One God, no matter the religion or culture. The names mean God, and I believe as many others do, that those names are all referencing the One Energy that is the God of all.
William Paul Young, author of “The Shack” offers some possible ‘lies’ you may have believed, maybe now or maybe at one time? I’ve added my own thoughts too.
1. God is a Christian. Well, even Jesus wasn’t a Christian, he was Jewish. The word “Christian” was developed by the people who despised the followers of Jesus. The Greeks and the Romans thought of this religion of Jesus as a religion of the slaves and the poor. They nicknamed the followers of Jesus “Christ ones” or “Christians.” The name has stuck for about 2,000 years.
God isn’t any ‘religion’. God is God, Spirit, Energy. God belongs to everyone and every religion and culture, by any name.
2. God is in control. How often have we heard the well-intentioned words “It must be part of God’s plan”? What if there is no “plan” for your life but rather a relationship in which God constantly invites us to co-create, respectfully submitting to the choices we bring to the table? We have free will. We are in control of our own lives. While God, or some higher power, maybe our inner Christ, our intuition may guide us in our decisions, we must ultimately carve out our own path. Sometimes a little curvy with out of the way trips and other times straighter as we are focused on a goal or aspiration.
Either way, we use our free will to make choices, but those choices can certainly be guided.
3. God is a prude. Sexuality is a beautiful and creative force (but) only when it is an expression of agape, which means other-centered, self-giving, committed love. Within a committed and loving relationship, anything goes, as long as it causes no harm and is mutually agreed upon by both parties.
The thought that the gift of sexuality is then a sin just doesn’t make sense. We are here to express our selves as an expression of God as us, and that goes for our sexual expression. Gay, straight, Bi, Trans, etc. It doesn’t matter. Divine Spirit loves us all.
4. You need to get saved. God has acted decisively and universally for all humankind. Our choice is to grow and participate in that reality or continue to live in the blindness of our own independence. For 99.99% of the people on Earth, there is not a moment where they are “saved.” Rather it is a slow and dawning realization, which may occur over years, that God is with you and a part of you now and always has been.
We do the ‘saving’ for ourselves by recognizing who we are, a child of God, that Divine Spirit that is everywhere. And as we awaken to that reality, we save ourselves…however many times we have to re-member who we truly are.
5. God is not involved with coincidences. There are no chance encounters; detours are usually intended destinations that are simply not on our agenda. In what often appears to be random and exempt from purpose, nothing is apart from the abiding presence and activity of God. Young believes that God speaks in the language of coincidences and it is how he both nudges and steers us. To pick up on these coincidences, we must be fully present in our lives, paying attention to the small signs God gives us, sometimes in our dreams, sometimes in conversations, sometimes in music. Spirit speaks in many ways.
The key is ‘to be fully present.’ If we are not connected, we tend to miss opportunities that are presented, or if we do experience the ‘coincidence,’ we don’t connect it to the possibility of God’s presence.
6. Sin separates us from God. Mistakes are an essential part of being human. That’s what the word ‘sin’ is, a miss, as in archery. Missing the mark, the target.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God. That energy, that Spirit is with us always. There is no separation. There is only that mistaken belief of separation. We are not perfect, and we learn from our mistakes. The goal is to continue in a positive direction, using our unwise choices and/or errors in judgements, as tools to learn and grow by, thereby growing closer to God.
7. God hates you. God is love, so that love is expressed in you and through you. No matter what.
The famous words — “For God so loved the world.” The entire world. Everyone. God does not only love, God is love.
And because God does not change, that love is eternal. Even when we make a mistake, when we refuse to believe, that love is there.
God loves you. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
8. God supports their political party. This lie becomes particularly virulent around election time. But this isn’t true—spiritual concerns are not the same as political concerns, and so no one can claim that God is “with” their particular party. Rather, if you follow the teachings of the Christ and the edicts of God, you are all One, no matter what political party.
We are to love others as we love ourselves. We are to aid the poor. We are to preserve our environment. We are to protect life…all life.
When we believe the lie that God is with a particular party, we begin to blindly follow that party, treating it as God. And that is a mistake.
9. God thinks less of women. This is not true, nor did God place woman lower than man.
This lie begins in Genesis 3:16 with the metaphor about the Garden of Eden and the interactions with God, and Adam and Eve. When God tells Eve, “you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”
Many read these words as a commandment for women to submit to the authority of men, but this isn’t the case. This line, spoken by God, maybe isn’t a curse, but rather a prediction.
This is more a mankind interpretation of the Story in the Hebrew Bible.
The original Hebrew word for “helper” as it is applied to women in Genesis 2: 18 is also applied to God when assisting the Israelites, and to neighboring armies giving aid to those in need. It doesn’t imply subordination—quite the opposite, in fact.
Pulled from Adam’s rib, woman is made of the same stuff as is man and is equal in the eyes of God. Of that, there can be no doubt. She is raised up just as man is, as a child of God.
10. God is not good, but distant and cruel. If we took the Hebrew Bible literally, it would seem that God is cruel and distant. But we fail to consider that the Hebrew Bible is a story, a story of our soul’s journey to acknowledging God’s presence in our lives and in us.
So, of course we see God at times helping the Israelites and at other times almost punishing them for their failure to follow the Commandments.
Those Commandments were set so we would learn the Laws to follow, how to love God, how to get along with others, so as we grew in understanding, we would know that it all boils down to LOVE. Love God, love your neighbor, love yourself.
11. God helps those who help themselves. In a way, this is true. When we help ourselves by working on our connection with the Spirit, that Energy we know as Goddess, Buddha, Divine Universe, that connection itself is helping us be who we are meant to be.
But we also have Grace, that free and seemingly unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the bestowal of blessings.
God’s love does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. We cannot and are not required to change ourselves to earn favor. God wants our hearts, not our perfection.
Still, it behooves us to work on our soul connection by learning who we are and that way we do help ourselves and others.
12. God Doesn’t Exist. It seems apropos to conclude with this. We hear it most often when there are tragedies or super storms wreaking havoc on homes, and people’s lives.
“If God existed, then why did such and such happen?”
We in Unity believe, as do many other New Thought and Progressive Churches and Centers, that we are co-creators with that Divine Presence that is all power, all knowing, everywhere present. Therefore, it is the energy of us, creating the hurricanes and blizzards, the floods and ice storms.
How, you say, do we do this? With our thoughts. That energy we send out to the Universe can be positive or negative.
This is why we say to work on being present. Be conscious of what you are thinking. What the words are that you say to yourself, whether silently or out loud.
We mentioned the words of Harry Potter’s Professor Dumbledore and the power they have last week: “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.”
This is a powerful true statement. So, watch your thoughts and words….
So, if you find yourself doubting, caught in the web of lies we tell ourselves about God, just open your eyes. You’ll find that wonderful Spirit soon enough.