Wednesday, November 17, 2010

God Is Not on Your Side

One of the biggest problems in world and local conflicts is that groups and individuals believe that God is on their side. Making allowance for variations in religious beliefs, if we look to God as the creator of the universe (including a scientific approach that says that something got all the atoms and molecules into the right condition for a big bang to move things along), there is no logical or theological reason to assume he would take sides. The only reasons to claim he takes sides are believer ego and believer strategy. Both of these are initiated by humans and not by God. If you create something, you want others to appreciate it, preserve it, and improve it. God probably takes the same outlook.

Believing that God is on your side is harmful to improving our world. Whether you are attacking others because they don't believe the same things you do; whether you consider that only your group will go to heaven or achieve nirvana (however you define it); or whether you feel that God promised you territorial exclusivity or political power, you are sowing conflict and encouraging destruction of God's creation.

Organized religious groups compete for shrinking pools of potential followers, pushing the importance of their history, their good works, and their lifestyles. None of these things give one group an edge over another in God's sight.

No matter what organized religious groups say, faith and the existence/importance of God in your life are personal matters. It's not whether you follow a defined discipline that counts, it's whether you keep yourself perpetually aware of God's presence and whether you follow his moral ways in order to help improve his creation. If we help each other as we journey through life, we are helping God. If we hurt each other, we are trying to possess God, which is clearly impossible.