The perception of ‘God’ has changed over time
By Jim Hatton
Concept: it’s the way we look at things.
A lady was driving to work one morning, and she was running late. She tried to make it through the intersection before the traffic light turned red. She totaled her car but, ultimately, she was alright. That was Sept. 11, 2001, and she worked near the top of Tower 1 at the World Trade Center. Was the accident a good thing or a bad thing? It’s a matter of perception.
Perception can change over time. Ancient Egyptians traditionally worshipped many gods. Tutankhamun’s father, Akhenaten, introduced the idea of a single god. This concept of God was adopted for a while, but eventually the ancient Egyptians went back to having many gods. Today the vast majority of the world population believes in a singular source, one God.
For more than 3,000 years, pre-Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, God has commonly been perceived as male. “He” looks and acts like a human and lives a place called heaven. This God is separate from earthly humans, and humans believe that they have to pray to God (or His Son, Jesus, in the Christian religion) to get the things in life they want.
Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism are somewhat different. Yes, they both teach that there is only one God and that humans are one with the Divine. Mystic Christians teach the same thing but, in everyday practice, even Buddhists pray to the Buddha to change their lives, and Hindus pray to many deities or expressions of God.
After formally studying and experiencing all these traditions, I have come to respect and honor them all. I am not here to say they are right or wrong. It is right for all individuals to seek their own path, what is right for them, and what inspires them.
Most people follow the popular or common religious/spiritual path they are born into. Then there are those who later break away from the religion of their childhood and choose a different path or, perhaps, transcend their given tradition and use it as a portal to the mystical path. Examples are the Buddha, Jeshua ben Joseph, and Meister Eckhart.
Although it was documented in ancient writings some 4,000 years ago (the Vedas and Upanishads), there is an emerging concept in the spiritual but not religious world that humans were created by God-Source and that we humans are made of the same stuff as the Divine. After all, if God-Source is everything, then there is nothing but God-Source and we must be made of the same stuff!
For many people, this is a scary proposition, as so many modern-day religions traditionally view God as a being who has human characteristics such as emotions, who needs to be worshiped or appeased, who rewards and punishes, and who takes revenge.
The key to understanding the concept of Oneness is that it has nothing to do with human personality. The true Oneness concept is that God-Source has no emotions, fears, or human personality traits. It is an “Isness,” pure consciousness, and is the Source of all life, both physical and non-physical. It is this beingness that is within everyone. It is our true eternal nature. The personality of a human is simply a mental construct and is not real. Only the human experience of the personality seems real.
And then there is the mystical concept that the creative power in the universe, whatever name one chooses to call it, cannot be named, cannot be completely understood, and cannot be conceptualized in its infinite existence by the limited human mind.
There are many concepts of God: Source-energy, Allah, the Divine. None of them are correct or incorrect. As we can see, these concepts change as they go in and out of popularity. It is my contention that whatever path or tradition we may choose, we all seek to return to the experience of that pure place from which we came.
May your path be filled with Peace and Love.
The World is not broken, Be in Peace….
Jim Hatton is an Author, Spiritual Teacher and Speaker. He makes his home in the Rogue Valley, Southern Oregon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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