Wednesday, March 24, 2010

But What if There is a God....? Part Two New Age Gods

I had a conversation with a friend recently and immediately I turned the conversation to the big God question. He is a former Catholic who I think might be in the closet about his catholic beliefs, but likes to profess his faith in his own personal customized God. His God is the universe, it's matter, it's thought, it's conscientiousness. He even believes that we are living in a world that is not real, that is instead virtual like a matrix style program conjured up in some advanced virtual reality synthesizing machine or in the mind of a deity. He doesn't believe in matter. He thinks everything is a thought. So I asked him "What if a hammer fell on your head? Wouldn't it affect you? Wouldn't your head be damaged?" To which he replied that the hammer isn't real and neither is his head.

We got really deep into the idea of relativity. We came to the agreement after an hour or so that yes, our emotional perception of events are relative in that they are subjective to how we perceive them. September 11th was a sad day for some and a joyous day to others, for example. But we disagreed that events are relative in the matter of them actually happening. I came up with an example. I put a pink lighter on the table, and asked him if was there. He basically said it was relative to the person. Well I told him that if a person didn't acknowledge the lighter I could use the lighter to light their pants on fire, and then they might notice. We never did really come to an agreement but I think I made my point pretty clear.

These new age Gods that many people believe in nowadays can manifest themselves into things more dangerous than some of the traditional monotheistic Gods. Most of these beliefs seem benign. My sister is into the power of crystals and water and Fung Schway. She really believes that if you organize your residence in a certain way it can summon powers. Now yes a well arranged and designed dwelling can affect your mood in positive and negative ways, but I believe that is due to the atmosphere it creates and not due to spirits or energy.

To believe that God is anything is crazy. Straight up. If I rape a child is that God right there? This idea that you can apply the divine to anything strikes me as remarkably absurd. A murder, rape, or war could be God then. For those who say "so what?" Who cares about saying God can be a rape or murder, why does God have to be moral? Why can't something immoral be God? Well the monotheistic Gods certainly are immoral from time to time, there's no doubt about that. I just have trouble with people saying that it's God. It opens up the possibility of taking the responsibility away from the person committing the act.

Then there are the traits of this new age God that can be anything. Does it have a conscience? Does it have the power to intervene and suspend the laws of physics for certain human beings some of the time? Does it have a relationship with us at all? Did it create the universe and the laws of physics? If it has a conscience then it has a personality, and therefore it can love and hate and take sides on an argument or position. If it is a thinking God then it is a God like the ones a theist believes in, but maybe it chooses to not intervene at all or hear our prayers like the deist's God.

What if it is real? What if this new age God can be anything is real? Well it doesn't need to be worshiped in the way the theist Gods do. If I meditate or arrange my furniture a certain way I might be able to tap into an energy source that could benefit my life in many ways. The problem I have is where is this supernatural element and where does it differ from the material world that we see. Is it in another dimension? The problem with identifying this type of God is that it is customizable to the individual. Basically it could be anything and it could be nothing, at the same time. I think these are people who are disillusioned by traditional religion, but somehow feel the need to have faith in something, so they invent this God in their own imagination, and apply it to whatever they feel comfortable with. It could be energy, it could matter or thought. It doesn't punish, or only does when the believer wants it to. It has no shape or could be shaped like anything. It is what it is in the mind of the beholder.

I'm having trouble imagining this God being real because it could literally be anything. That conjures up infinite scenarios of possibilities. As long as a person keeps their personal God to themselves, and doesn't impose it on me or the general public I think I can live with that.

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