Whenever people ask me “do you believe in God?” I never really know how to answer it, and I feel that it is an important question to have some sort of answer to, so I’m going to try to flesh out some thoughts. As some background, I was raised without any religious assertions from my parents, they never took me to church or discussed any form of religion with me.
Saint Irenaeus once said “the glory of God is man fully alive.”
This speaks to me. I believe that God was created by Humankind in its image, instead of the famous converse. I do not believe there is an actual, singular God, but I do believe that there is a personal God inside each of us. Once a human becomes fully alive, as Irenaeus says, we have understood Godly beauty.
To me, God is beauty. This belief is influenced by Scottish poet John O’donohue, who defines beauty as something beyond just glamour. Beauty is a more rounded becoming of oneself, finding a greater sense of gracefulness and elegance in life, and forging personal depth. Now, these words are from a poet, so of course they may seem romantic. To me, this means realizing the beauty in every landscape of life. A rounded becoming of oneself means looking into your own soul and exploring. In this modern age, we are constantly flooded with information and we can become hyperaware of the outside. O’donohue points out that we see so many faces and people, but we never truly see our own face, only representations of it. Despite this position we are in, we can never know what it is like to peer deep inside someone, we can only do this with ourselves. For this reason, we need to find ways to look into ourselves. O’donohue believes that in everyone there is a place “where you have never been wounded, where there’s still a sureness in you, where there’s a seamlessness in you, and where there is a confidence and tranquility in you.” This is God.
We can experience God in this sense by being enveloped in beauty. Whether it’s music, art, poetry, nature, being in love, silence, a slice of pizza, prayer, exercising, raising children. Beauty, and thus God, can be found in anything. Anything that takes you to another place where time seems to stop and the concept of “now” expands beyond your own mind, this is true beauty, and this is my God.