Monday, May 7, 2012
After reading this article today by a Stanford University anthropologist, it brought to mind many experiences and observations I have on the subject of "hearing Gods voice".
Most people of various religious persuasions pray to their God. I gave up long ago trying to know or decide if God hears EVERYONE'S prayers, or just those of certain religions. I have my hands (mind) full just trying to take in the concept and breadth of "God". Whether it is an inescapable notion from my childhood programming, or just a hope...I do believe in "God". I just don't follow in the notion that everyone has to have a "personal" one. I think God...whoever he/she is...is the God of everyone. I just don't think God looks like or acts like anything/anyone we can physically identify with. I think I have evolved to a notion that is more "Bahá'í-ish" than anything else where "The existence of God and the universe is thought to be eternal, without a beginning or end.". Where I fall away from the temptation of embracing such a religion is the Bahá'í notions of "progressive religious revelation result in their accepting the validity of most of the world's religions, whose founders and central figures are seen as Manifestations of God". The God of reason and infinity that I can maybe only BEGIN to understand would never go for most of the religious "manifestations" I have observed or read about. Yet, if only by choice, I embrace a "higher power" who in light of an eternal lifepan with no beginning or end would simply smile at most of our adolescent religious reasonings. Where I think he would draw the line would be the Holocaust, The Inquisition and a number of other religion inspired atrocities that span the ages. I don't envision any intelligent supreme being laughing or smiling at those insane human eras or events carried out in Gods name.
One of the reasons I can still embrace or believe in "God" is because of the core reason that I believe there is rationality behind "cause and effect". The sciences...and even some religious studies...are continually advancing our human understanding and reasoning if only by our more in-depth looks and experiences with scientific "cause and effect". It is harder to believe that life is an "accident of nature" somehow...and I find it easier to embrace that there is some sort of "divine order" to the universe. I am quite sure I will never totally grasp what that means in my short life span...but I am prepared to "step out in faith" on that belief.
Of course, if you go with me on that "divine order of the universe" statement...then you might have to consider that everything that happens has a reason...a "cause and an effect". That causes me problems when I think of the immensity of our previous and present global conflicts or the sheer drudgery and dilemma of the mass human consciousness of depravity, depression and mistreatment of our fellow humans or the elevation of animal rights and adoration over human rights and adoration. When we try to understand the difference between "good and evil"...with EVIL being the seeming winner of most elections and debates...I start wondering how a "God" could be comfortably behind this universal "cause and effect". These observations help me wish for a "Jesus" or "Gandhi" to come along as the sole voices of reason our traditions of them suggest in order to save our "souls"...yet the results of all those movements tend to always come back around to mass manipulation, institutionalization of ideas, and no real change in the REASONS we pursue a certain religion or belief system.
I grew up in a fundamentalism where many people claimed to have "seen" or "heard" God. With an imagination as strong as mine, if anyone should have seen or heard him as a child...it was me. I read the Bible through probably more than three times by the time I was 12. While I think that was a great exercise in learning to read and think...and while there were moments of "revelation" when I did so...I cannot say I saw or heard God in a physical, human way. I actually probably came away with more questions than answers for God when reading "Holy Books". In my unique, individual view or sense of God...I think he just smiles at all of that...when and if he thinks of me.
Even though I have more questions than answers the longer I live on these matters...I can state that I do hear "Gods voice" at various points or moments of my existence, and I think those revelations are just as valid as those who claim to have heard him audibly or seen him physically.
I have periodically had strong urges or flashes of clarity in my mind about certain decisions I have made and some relationships I have had. One has to ask where those sudden, even passionate, ideas or urges come from that often take us in a completely different direction than where we were headed. Is that God's voice? I think often it is.
Then there are the various human intersections I have experienced where certain people come into your life and say something or notice something, even about you, that totally revolutionizes the way you were thinking or perceiving things. I think I have heard God's voice in some of those people. I think I have also heard "the Devil" a couple times as well:)...but I have always known the difference.
I have also heard Gods voice a few times in books and movies, or in a song. You know, those times where you lose control or are taken to a higher level of consciousness...without warning or planning. The story or statement touches your "soul" to a point where you are overwhelmed with emotion, longing or pure and simple "truth" on a matter. I think these things help determine who we are based on "cause and effect" and is the basic manner in which God "speaks" to us.
I have heard God speak in bars...and I have heard the Devil speak in churches. I have seen great acts of love and compassion by "non-believers", and I have seen unfathomable pride and hate from some "believers". All in all, I think that God speaks to those who feed the receptacles of truth and reality...that being a sound mind attached to eyes and ears that are willing to connect to it, and hands and feet willing to respond with appropriate action.
God speaks to everyone...in one way or another. Are we listening?