Sunday, 4 March 2012
What in the world is God?
What I intend to do is discuss... and at the same time straighten out my own ideas about... what in the world 'God' might be.
Halfway through the book I had to stop and recover my senses. I had the same thing when I read Phillip Pullman's Northern Lights trilogy. It might sound a little crazy (but then I am a little crazy) but I find that these kinds of thought-invoking fantasy novels help me to determine my own beliefs far more than, say, reading an informative book on religion, or having a discussion about God. I suppose it's like lucid dreaming in a way.
The thing is, you have different levels of consciousness: there's the level you're on during the day, when your brain is working on moving parts of your body, processing what's coming in through your eyes and your ears, as well as thinking about what needs to be achieved during the day, who you're talking to, what you want to eat, etc, etc... Then there's the level your're on when you're asleep, when the 'awake' part of your brain is out of gear and you have no real control over where your thoughts take you, and often no memory of them once you're awake... And then there's the magical place between the two, which you find yourself in just as you fall asleep and when you wake up, and sometimes during lucid dreams. It explains why some of us get our best ideas as we're falling asleep: your brain is no longer using energy on moving parts of your body or organising your daily activities- it's able to play (for want of a better word... no on second thoughts that's exactly the right word). And I think that when you've lost yourself in a fantasy novel, the same process takes place: your conscious brain is still working, but it's no longer processing the outside world, so it lets you work 'real' things out at the same time as drifting away from reality. Makes sense?
Now a bit of religious background on my part: my Mum was a pretty strict Christian when I was a child. We went to church every Sunday so Mum could speak to God, so Dad could sing the hymns, and so me and my brother could get bored and act up. Years later, Mum strayed from the path of Church of England Christian belief and got tired of having to hide her real beliefs from judgemental peers, so she became a Quaker. My Dad is a physicist and believes (mostly) in science. We had physics lessons at the dinner table. But over-all, both of my parents wanted to make their own minds up about everything, and allowed me and my brother to do the same, within the framework of what we had learned about religion and science.
But I would still say 'I don't know' if I was asked the question again.
So let's not say that this is my belief, because then it becomes something solid and lasting. It's not. It's an idea, open to change, ready to be abandoned if proven wrong, willing to shift and mould itself into something else. So I'll use the word 'idea'. I like it better.
So, accepting this idea, you must accept the idea that everything is joined as one huge 'thing' and that nothing's ever finished. You die, your body breaks down but God/Heaven/Hell's still there in every little part of you, and every little part of you goes back into the system and becomes something else, something new.
So basically, we make our own heaven or our own hell. If we love each other, we can join together and be a part of our own kind of heaven. If we screw the world up, if we're all assholes to each other, and teach our kids to be assholes; if we rape the earth of all it's natural beauty and all it's resources, we will make our very own hell to live in forever; in all the forms we will ever take.
And this kind of leads me onto the part of my idea that began to gel whilst reading American Gods, and is about as far as I've got with my idea so far. Imagine that you're a real, living God. Now, we break our Gods down into boxes in the same way we break everything else down into boxes: little nibbly chunks of understanding so we can make sense of it all. We put them into boxes of good and bad, destruction and creation, life and death.
But what if you had to put all of that into one big box and deal with all of it? What if you had to be a God of good, bad, destruction, creation, life and death, all at once. What if you could see it all? Every starving child crying? Every moment of blissful orgasm? Every single happy thing and every single sad thing, and the unavoidable connection between them? Imagine how it would feel to be that God. I imagine you would feel it all, you would feel all the sadness and all the happiness at once, but you would also accept and understand that it must be this way. It just is this way.
It's just an idea...