Why are people so obsessed with God?
When asked, “do you believe in God”, I don’t say “yes” and I don’t say “no”. I say, “I don’t believe in the God that you don’t believe in.”
I too don’t believe that God lives on a cloud, that He has a big white beard and listens to our thoughts, keeping a tally of our deeds. In fact, I don’t believe that He is a he at all, nor a she. For those of you who were given that definition of God as children and never dug so deep as to the point that it was revealed to be a metaphor, I wouldn’t be surprised if you consider the whole idea of God’s existence to be highly unlikely, and I’d be inclined to agree that with your definition of “God”, you’d be foolish to believe.
The thing is that in organized religion (referring predominantly to Judaism here) for the longest time, most people were illiterate and therefore it was assumed that most people needed to be given simplistic versions of reality to cling to, because the true vastness of God and all the complexity and ambiguity that comes with it, is simply too abstract for common folk.
Today, more people than ever are rightly turning their backs on these simplistic interpretations of God. The problem is that instead of their discontent leading them to dig in more deeply, it all too often results in a dismissal of the idea of God altogether. Given that, it’s no surprise to me that so many people in my generation crave spirituality that they feel their native religions can’t provide. To me, these are two sides of the same coin.
Yes, I’m saying that even mainstream Judaism (see Maimonides, Baal Shem Tov, or Mordechai Kaplan) acknowledged that the God-on-a-cloud image was metaphor, and that God in the truest form is nothing so tangible. In fact, in Judaism, the only thing that you are allowed to say to describe God is that God is One, and other than that you can only describe God by what God is not. Why? Well this gets to the root of monotheism as a concept, that there is only One thing and that One thing is God.
With that in mind, I’d like to share my understanding of God, coming at it from an scientific and very logical angle.
Let’s start with this: Anyone, with even an elementary understanding of science would acknowledge that I, sitting across from you, am shooting waves and particles of all varieties with every passing instant. The fact that you hear me means that I’m definitely projecting waves in the range of 20–20,000 Hz at you. The fact that you can see me means that I’m also without question shooting waves at you in the order of 10 to the 15th exponent Hz as well. If I’m close enough you’ll feel my body heat, and depending on where I was before we met up, you may even pick up a smell.
Anything beyond that, given the inherent limits of our senses, simply shouldn’t exist. And yet with more sophisticated instruments, all forms of radiation can be measured emitting from me in all directions, and just because your senses can’t pick them up, that doesn’t mean you are not impacted by them.
Everything emits, reflects, or absorbs energy. Our direct connection to other people, to the sun, to plants, to the earth beneath us, is made up of both perceivable and un-perceivable energies that flow through us; that have been in circulation since before our birth and will continue long beyond our death and that of our world.
The story that we make of our five senses allows us to engage with the world in a mode that is comprehensible to us, but we know that energy of wavelengths too big or small, fast or slow, for us to perceive are all about us in every direction.
The fact that in the past 150 years, our physics have come to the conclusion that time and space are inherently linked, only reinforces the reality that our entire existence can be found in a specific range of wavelengths, that which we can perceive with our senses and instruments, and from that limited scope we derive all meaning. This could make one feel small, or absolutely massive depending on what you’re comparing it to, but in fact all it means is that we exist and that we are not all that exists. We are just one manifestation of existence, a slice of the time-space continuum that goes off infinitely in all directions, big and small, fast and slow, relative to us that is.
So, what’s the point? The point is that we are all connected. That includes things within our realm of existence — notably other people, the sun, and the natural environment — but also things too big/slow or small/fast for us to comprehend — be it the pre-material universe or our understanding of electrons moving the speed of light and seemingly being in multiple places at once.
The relationship we have to all things, and the interconnectedness of all things to one another — as absorbers, reflectors, and emitters of energy — that is the ‘One’ thing that I call God. The energy that I can perceive and that which I can’t, that has been in circulation for all time in both directions, and in fact shatters the concept of time and space altogether.
It is the right now and the fact that there is only right now and there only ever has been right now and that all that is One inherently connected system; it is with that perspective that I see my life a series of connections to the world around me, energies that I absorb, reflect, and emit again, and hopefully adding more peace and not more chaos. That is the awe and respect that I have for God, and my God is ‘One’.