Saturday, January 9, 2010

Choosing God

There are plenty of Gods in the world today, so in essence it's a buyer's market. So, if you're in the market for a God (and a religion to go with it), I think there are some questions that you ought to ask yourself before you choose:
1: What will my God require of me? Forget the "Broken heart and contrite spirit" stuff and get to the nitty gritty. What do I have to do for my God? Most religions have at least some, "Thou shalt worship me" component to them. So, the purpose of the religion is to glorify God. This has always struck me as a little funny. I mean, this is God we're talking about, right? The supreme being? Why does this being feel he/she/incarnation/spirit/essence needs to be reassured? Isn't He/She/It secure in His/Her/Its godhood?
How much money am I going to have to give this God, and what will it be used for? How much is my God going to micro-manage my life? Will I be told what to wear? What to eat on certain days? What thoughts to think and when to think them? Whom to hate and whom to love?
2: What do I get out of this (I mean besides salvation, or lots of virgins, or nothingness)? For instance, in many Christian religions, the reward for a good life is to hang around heaven all day singing God's praises. That doesn't strike me as being much fun. I want to be able to date all the neat chicks and I'd like a Rolls and a Rolex.
I think that some tangible evidence of God's intentions and sincerity would also be helpful.
All I'm saying is, think before you commit yourself.


Jacqui Binford-Bell said...

Choosing god? Or choosing a god? I think some of them might be a great deal more fun than others.

Most the the pagan gods in tribal areas seem to want some really cool costumes and neat dances. I sort of put my foot down about human sacrifice though right at the moment I could think of a short list I would offer up.

Frankly I think beyond a ritual now and then it is god that should be doing it all for me. After all that is where the power rests, right?

You do pose some interesting questions. Religion was once about the people and now the people are about the religion. Ministers of the faith once ministered to the masses and now they are CEO's of the church as corporation.

And no fun costumes!

Becky Stauffer said...

Rituals interest me. Being raised a Mormon, we had very few rituals. I always enjoyed (still do) watching midnight mass on tv at Christmas time. I don't know why these repetitions of ceremony appeal to me, but there's something in them that is soothing. To me if religion doesn't offer some internal peace and escape from a troubled world, it's not doing its job.

Your post reminded me how I dislike hearing athletes "praise God" when they win at something. Do people really believe God is responsible for helping them win at games?

I avoid brick and mortar churches as I think Jacqui is right, it's all about money, power, and influence. Whatever happened to "Feed my sheep."

By the way, I could embrace Christianity as a way of life apart from the deity belief. But "Christians" have co-opted Christ and pretty much removed the spirit of his teachings from present day Christianity making it more offensive than appealing. Still, I love many New Testament scriptures such as The Beattitudes.

As for costumes, I'd not mind being required to wear a lovely black lace mantilla.

Jacqui Binford-Bell said...

I was in college when I embraced Catholicism for the mantillas and Latin, Becky. I frankly liked not knowing what the priest was saying. And Cathedrals are so beautiful.

Then away went the Latin. And off came the lace and I became rapidly disenchanted. Went to Temple with a Jewish friend for a couple years. I am still rather fond of Sufi dances and chants.

So much of the teachings of Jesus are echos of Zen teachings. But the religions have so perverted them. When Jesus told Peter to "build my church upon this rock" I don't think he meant a structure. But to hold services to him in the open as his entire ministry had been. He did want to tear down the temples and I think he would be abhorred at what religion has built.