Reflection 4. God

 

Religion and science are meant to be used to promote the welfare and well-being of humanity. Their creative forces both derive from one creative force, often referred to as God. However, this term has become laden with meanings and associations that are negative, limited and false. This term God, like other aspects of life, needs to evolve to fit the needs and requirements of the present age. Former anthropomorphic or culturally iconic views of God, comprehensible and acceptable at a more childlike developmental stage of humankind, are no longer more suited to more advanced modern minds.

For our purposes here, the term God when used will be used to denote an unknowable and infinite essence that is the creative force behind all existence. However, because of its various conflicting and limiting conceptualizations and connotations intellectually, emotionally and socially, I will limit the use of the term God in this paper. Like religion, the name God has been associated with so much harm and falsehoods that have been done in their names, but not in line with their true natures. Because of the misuse of these names, much like calling abuse or rape love, it will take effort and time for many people to become comfortable with the uncorrupted and undefiled use of these terms.

This may be one explanation of the commandment given by Moses centuries ago not to take the name the Lord thy God in vain. What does it mean take someone’s name in vain? Many people interpret this to mean not to swear or cuss using God’s name. This interpretation may have validity, but it does not seem significant enough to be one of the Ten Commandants, nor is it comparable to the other commandments, such as not to commit murder or adultery, in its apparent spiritual or social value.

However, when someone takes a name, such as in marriage or in some title, there is an expectation that they will live according to the standards associated with that name. When they do not, they have violated the sanctity and trust associated with that position or name. Because the name of religion and God has been so abused, desecrated and debased, and so many false oaths and claims have been made in their names, many people have turned away from them.

Another interpretation of this commandment is not to use God’s name, or, by extension, God’s religion’s name, to promote hypocritical, empty, fruitless, blasphemous, selfish or prideful endeavors. This seems to be how these terms are often used these days and helps explain why many people recoil when hearing the name God used in is such a profane, hypocritical and degrading manner, and why growing numbers identify themselves as agnostics or atheists. They have rejected the false gods that have been made the idols of self-serving, arrogant, ambitious and ignorant people. I also reject these “Gods”, as any thoughtful and well-meaning person would. It might be worthwhile at this point to clearly state that I am presenting my own very limited beliefs and understanding, not speaking on God’s behalf.

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About rodclarken

Dr. Rodney H Clarken is professor emeritus, School of Education, Northern Michigan University.
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