“And Moses said to God, ‘Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and shall say to them, the God of your fathers sent me to you; and they say to me, What is his name?’ What shall I say to them? And God said…I AM THAT I AM…I AM has sent me to you.”
I have a great many friends who assign their fate/favor to “ The Universe.” They are good and very sincere people, but I don’t understand exactly what they mean by The Universe. They ascribe thinking, choice, and planning to this entity. Furthermore, they seek, through various ways, to influence this entity to act in their favor. In my way of thinking, this kind of belief/action demands the Universe to possess a consciousness very like a mind. It also seems to assign good and less good means people use in relating to The Universe and one another.
If this is the kind of mind/personality/entity they are speaking about…isn’t that very much like a god? And if so, why not address it as such? Is it that not saying the word “God” somehow imparts a holiness or righteousness that people who use the word cannot attain to? Does a generic term for God produce a generic sort of spirituality somehow superior to the name brands?
I am probably over thinking this, but words matter to me. The words a person chooses to express him/herself, say much to me about the speaker and the spirit that moves them. It’s not a matter of choosing “big” words or simple words…it’s a matter of what the words mean and is the person using them aware of their meaning?
This defect in me dates back to my early teen years when my father reprimanded me for parroting something I heard that sounded good. He was of the mind that I should think for myself and choose my own words based solely upon my own understanding. I don’t know if people do that anymore, after all we all have a thesaurus on our phone, but I am stuck with it.
Humans are inherently hypocritical, perhaps that’s what bugs us so much about hypocrisy in others. There are Christians I know who take umbrage with the term The Universe. Their attitude is often reflected back at them by those who dislike the term, God. This happens though both are essentially speaking of the same thing and both are using the same kind of “I’m better than you” thinking.
I believe what underlies the issue, and causes so much friction, is the general association of the word God with church and church with standards of behavior. Corporate worship and publicized standards of behavior are what most Universe-ists oppose. They see the church as a governmental and judgmental body set on restricting their behavior. I wonder what Universe-ists would think if I told them church members see it the same way? My guess is denial, but that does not make them correct…only blind.
If I have this correct, the big difference between the two views/terms is whether the standard behind opinion/belief/judgment is a positive or a negative. Here, we are in subjective territory because positive and negative are most often determined by how our own ego is made to appear. Behavior based upon one’s own principles is okay, however when others operate under the same principles, their behavior is abhorrent. Remember that inherent hypocrisy I mentioned? Yes, we all do it.
Freedom to do our own thing is usually seen as positive…disagreement or restriction with our choice is perceived as negative. But, is it? Can’t a corrective voice when we are behaving badly be a good thing? I think so. Can the voice of moderation heard when we are being extremely blessed likewise be good? Of course, it can. Whether one sees it as such is a reflection of how teachable and open minded we are in truth as opposed to our profession.
As a writer I rely on a second, or even third, pair of eyes on my work as essential to a well told story. If that is true for a work of fiction, how much more is that true with life? The Universe or God whichever you choose to call it both seem to expect from us a well lived life.
As a Christian, I see the church as my editors. They offer advice/corrections…I take it or not as I see the usefulness of its application. I suspect Universe-ists do the same, but they call their editors friends. The point being we are all about the same thing. Let us lay aside resentment, contention, and ill will in favor of love, peace and mutual respect.
“…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just…if there be any virtue…think on these things.”
Postscript: If you are wondering about God’s answer to Moses, I AM THAT I AM is a description of the self-existent one, the author and source from which all else springs…the well spring of the entire Universe. Jesus told those who questioned him, “Before Abraham was, I am.” Among those who heard him there was no confusion about his meaning.