God, a fixation for human beings since the beginning of time, continues to permeate every aspect of our daily lives. Some believe in an entity having created everything that exists, others claim that no such entity exists and that we are here by “miraculous” coincidence, and others yet assert that mankind itself, individually as well as collectively, is ‘God’. Either way, one thing is certain, human beings are engrossed in this age-long debate. But who or what is God?
“God is the Unmoved Mover, the Necessary Essence allowing for our contingent and finite existence.”
The dictionary describes God as “the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe.” Essentially, even if you believe in polytheism, the God being referred to is the One perceived at the proverbial ‘top of the food chain’ or hierarchy; the one we believe to be the All-powerful, All-knowing and All-good. As for me, I believe the most basic definition of God outside of personifying Him, is as follows: the condition or essence by which all things are allowed to exist and work together. As Thomas Aquinas would say, God “is the Unmoved Mover”, the Necessary Essence allowing for our contingent and finite existence. If this is God, then where does Religion come into play?
Religion is “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.” It started out as Philosophy, folks asking questions about their world and their existence. What no doubt led to disagreements, over time, separate groups were formed based on agreed-upon views and interpretations of various concepts and ideas. It is human nature after all to seek comfort in the company of like individuals.
As time elapse, informal groups turn into formal factions to propagate their own ideas or views. Over the years, these factions grow to the point of establishing their own institutions called ‘Religions’. These ‘Religions’ claim a stake on an idea, an entity, that had been around long before them, and will be around long after their demise. Much like everything human beings come into contact with, we try and lay claim to things for the purpose of power and control. What better way to have power and control over something than to have complete monopoly over it? Schools claim monopoly over intellectual knowledge, Medical institutions over healing knowledge, Religions over spiritual or metaphysical knowledge and Sciences, over everything else. These institutions claim and establish themselves as the only place to receive information and “truth” on all matters, as a collective. They assert that anything other than what they provide, discover, or approve is “idiocy”, “irrelevant”, “blasphemy” or “unscientific”. Is this in fact true? Must we rely on these institutions and believe everything they say as infallible? Are they the makers of our reality?
Truth is everywhere. It is integrated into the fabric of everything. If you have the willingness and are open to seek it, you will you find it. These institutions, like most human endeavors have altruistic beginnings. As a result of their earnest search, they possess ample of true knowledge, answers, and wisdoms to questions and concepts we ponder on the regular. Over time however, due to majority’s tendency to “get comfortable”, they began to exert the status quo as “truth”, if only to perpetuate their way of life. As a result, they reject, many times violently, any idea contrary to the current norm. None have been as gruesome as the atrocities committed by Religion, “in the name of God”. Let all these things not deter you. As an Eastern adage goes, “when you are lost, go back to the beginning.”
The answer is as it has always been, up to the individual. It is up to you to find out the “Truth” and there’s none higher, than to answer the question of our origin. It is imperative that other non-essential things are prioritized around this highest of question: Who am I or Why am I here? Do not forget that something set our ancestors on this quest for Truth. The same something that causes us to endeavor in similar fashion. While some have purposefully or inadvertently made a mess of things, they have also uncovered much. It is up to us to use these institutions as they were intended, as a resource, as a library—a place where we can go and collect information to aid us on our quest; not in thinking they are infallible, not blindly following their concepts and ideas, but with great discernment.
I believe that as each of us take this journey, we’ll realize what was true all along, that God indeed exists, and He is not confined to any of the theories and concepts we have developed to try and understand Him; and also, He is not religious.