Who is Your God?

When someone asks me if I believe in God, my immediate reply is, “Define God.”  Most people define God as the creator, an invisible, omni-present force, who has a surprising number of human characteristics.  He is creative, loving, compassionate and deeply concerned about human beings, while at the same time jealous and vengeful.  In short he is anthropomorphic.  It seems there are as many concepts of God as there are human beings. 

And of course each religion is certain that the God they believe in is the true God and that other religions’ definitions of Gods are  inaccurate.  All other religions, that is, except Buddhism, which says it doesn’t matter. 

Buddhism says that belief in God is a distraction because if there is a God, he certainly is so far beyond human comprehension that it is futile to try to figure him out and that he is far from needing worship from us insignificant mortals.  Buddhism says that it is much more important to realize who we really are and to use this information to maximize inner peace and minimize suffering in this lifetime.

The Buddha used the example of being shot by an arrow.  If you are shot by an arrow you don’t spend your time figuring out who shot it, what direction and distance it came from, whhat kind of wood the shaft is made of, etc.  You focus on extracting the arrow as quickly as possible, thus minimizing suffering.

Although I was agnostic for many years, I have, in my contemplations of God come to the conclusion that God does indeed exist.  Not because there is life and human beings on Earth, but for the simple reason that the universe exists and it operates according to a set of cosmic principles (which have molded evolution, including human life, here on Earth).   The fact that there is matter and energy as opposed to nothing is proof enough for me that God exists.  And I can only characterize God by describing the laws of the universe.  Beyond this, our existence in this swirling cosmos is a mind-boggling mystery which I know that I will never be able to comprehend.

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2 comments ↓

#1 ZhanXi on 07.16.09 at 5:45 am

I am a secondary school students in China last year, TO Bee or Not to Bee published in China are very popular, I and my mother shared this interesting inspirational fairy tale, really thank you so much to tell us the philosophy of life This book is not thick, but I looked up I do not know how many times, perhaps to help upset whenever I think of this book plenary. Language lessons, I also introduced to the teachers and students, all of us, like me, like saying the entire special: life is to enlighten others with their own section of the journey. I always remember this sentence from the first time I heard of when a firm has to remember, I am very grateful to you.
Sincerely ??

#2 John on 07.17.09 at 12:18 pm

ZhanXi; Thanks for writing. It’s deeply gratifying for me to know that To Bee or Not to Bee is impacting people half way around the world. The book is selling better in China than any other country, perhaps because of its Eastern orientation to spirituality. What goes around, comes around (literally!). I’m glad to know that you, your mother, fellow students and teachers have found it helpful on your spiritual paths. May you continue to grow in love and awareness. Namaste, John Penberthy

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