T h e w o r l d t h r o u g h m y e y e s
This thought isn't exactly mine - my sister actually wrote this many years ago, when she was at UWI. I remember being struck by it when I first read it, and I've kept a copy of it ever since. I include it here, because although I didn't write it, it pretty much explains how I feel about one of the Big-Two-Subjects-People-Can't-Seem-To-Discuss-Rationally; religion (the other being politics).
Religion and me parted ways slowly but surely over the past twelve years or so, although I have a fulfilling relationship with God, whatever one conceives him/her/it to be . I find it disconcerting that any "club" of people claims to have all of God's answers right there at their fingertips. That's how I see religion - as a bunch of man-made clubs; 'if you believe this, you can join our club.'
What I find even more troublesome is what I perceive to be the inherent exclusivity of religion. While most modern religions respect the beliefs of others (or at least say they do), I believe that most religious people truly think that, when all is said and done (and I mean ALL is said and done), THEIR religion is the 'right' one.
I don't believe that God heads up a country club, and that only those members of that club will be allowed entry to His grounds. I believe that God transcends religion, transcends any man-made institution that professes it 'knows' God. I believe.......well, why don't you just read my sister's words. She echoes what's in my head, to a large extent.
Who Are You To Judge?
Time is standing still once again as I absorb the beauty around me. It is the beginning of a new day. The sun has shaken off the confining darkness it has lived behind for the last few hours. As it lingers on the wall, purple, red, yellow and fuchsia are splashed onto the blank crystal blue canvas, left there for its experimentation. Its inviting warmth finds my face in a crowd of many, and shines good morning to me.
This is my God.
As time begins to move, the day becomes alive. The afternoon heat rests its hand on everything, causing the violet blue, silver green hummingbird to flitter from red hibiscus to yellow hibiscus, to drown its beak to taste the sweet nectar of life. As the hummingbird moves, I notice the majestic life behind me. These foundations have been here epochs before me, and no doubt will be here when the generations I have borne are my only living legacy. Today they are plush. Between the rich greenery, the luminous yellow lives of the poui trees litter the ground with their sunlit petals. They create the floor, for the creatures to walk on.
This is my God.
As I look up between the trunks that grant me their protection, I can see where the heavens open up, where the highest leaf touches the lowest cloud. It has now turned into the peaceful time of the day, when the sun hands over its authority. As it kisses the world goodbye, it shows off the other side of its splendour, saying good night with colours, luring us into the dawn of night.....the moon phase. The moon becomes our vision in the black darkness around. With the stars at his side, he lights the night into our hearts, making this the time for lovers.
This is my God.
If I am a part of this natural beauty, and find solace in open places, why am I the heathen? Why am I the atheist if I am not in a man-made configuration, practicing an institutionalized religion, to man-made images in front of me?
Religion today has become obsolete. It has become a regular shopping mall, providing potential consumers with bargains on certain purchases. If they select the "correct" religion, the rewards are much too numerous to think about. Does this action make someone religious? Does it make one more appreciative of God? Why should my thanks to God, my moments with Him, be confined to a specific day(s), for a specific period? If anything, I am more in touch with God than many of the "God-fearing", "dutiful" congregations which fill pew churches today.
My God is an omnipresent God. he is the water on the soft sinking sand, as it washes the foot prints away, leaving room for another experience. He is the wind that carries the voices of nature to the heavens. If I need to, I can shout my confessions to him, or whisper them, and let the wind take it from there.
The structure of religion may work for some, and to the non-believers of my format I say, give those of us who have found God on another level, the benefit of that choice. he is in our hearts, as he is in yours. The Desiderata quotes, "Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be......."
My peace is not on bended knee on a pew. I have found my peace....and it is all around me.
Responses to "Who Are You To Judge"
When I read "Who Are You To Judge", my first thoughts are that the things around us are the manifestations of what God has created for our enjoyment and peace. The things around us must lead us to God because when we recognize the beauty, we will want to know the creator of the beauty. Man has set up rules and regulations based on the word of God (the Bible), and some of these rules are carnal, leading to the concept of religion being misleading with some truths. Only by a one-on-one communication with God can we get to know him as he will lead us to those who can help us understand with wisdom. God never said Trust in man"; he said "Trust in Me". Actually, I agree with some of your initial comments. Too bad some of those so-called Christians have screwed it up! Keep the faith, not the religion - "Leave religion to the religious".