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God vs. god.

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From http://www.flickr.com/photos/94307917@N06/8584449034/: God Light
God Light by benjamintarr
"In God we trust." "God bless America." "So help me God." God plays an important part in the life of most Americans.   But this column is not about a real Creator. It's about the one Nietzsche proclaimed to be dead. So if you cannot accept the idea that there is a difference between an ineffable real God and the one we invented, what follows won't make much sense to you.

I believe we created our own version of god in our image and then projected that image onto an imaginary man who lives in another world. When we did this we took the sacred in ourselves and gave it to our invented god. As a result, we unconsciously disowned the sacredness in each other. In doing so, we gave responsibility for our morality to someone else. We made something natural into something supernatural.

This displacement allowed the birth of mythologies that in turn evolved into religions with all the many theologies that became irreconcilable. This irreconcilability has caused more suffering than any other human invention. But make no mistake. It is a human invention. Let me repeat that: our theologies are human inventions and our differences as to who's right and who's wrong would be comical if they weren't so painfully damaging to humanity.

In this simple act of displacement, we gave birth to inhumanity. We allowed evil to be justified on religious grounds. We allowed wars to be fought and millions of humans to be killed and maimed. We are allowing uncomprehending, innocent children to starve to death. We are allowing the degradation of our only home, planet Earth. We are allowing personal greed and ambition to overpower the common good.

I believe inhumanity becomes easier to justify when we project the sacred onto this small invented god with human characteristics. As long as the sacred is in someplace or someone else, we won't see it in each other. As long as it remains in the supernatural, our constant arguments about whose god is the real and true god will go unresolved.

For if we recognized the sacred in each other, how could we tolerate the damage that we do to each other? If we treated each other with the reverence that we reserve for our invented god, what kind of world could we build?

Today, our country is in moral turmoil. Some call it a culture war. Whatever it is, it hides the real problem. We're arguing about whose morality is the right one. I repeat, that displacement of the sacred is the issue that fuels the arguments. Because our theologies and consequently our morality depends on displacing our sacredness onto a   real God or an imaginary god. When we do this, we only continue to argue about whose moral positions are correct.

If you read this far, you might think I'm an atheist. I'm not. I'm an agnostic, I believe that a real God, if "It" does exist, cannot be understood by humans. And because of this, I believe neither atheists nor theists own the market on the truth. So the whole discourse only distracts us from what we really need to do. We need to see the sacred in others, nature, and ourselves. When we do this, we can begin to eliminate the misery, within which far too many humans live. And we can eliminate the judgment that allows us to see suffering and blame it on the victims.

Regarding the existence of a real God, we'll all find out for sure soon enough. In the meantime, we might reclaim responsibility for our own morality. We might quit arguing about whose holy book is true. In the process we might create a better world.

Robert DeFilippis

 

Author, columnist and blogger with a long career in business management, management consulting and executive coaching. I am a certified ontological coach. I've studied clinical therapeutic practices in Gestalt psychology and am a Certified Birkman (more...)
 

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are we displacing our morality... by Robert De Filippis on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 10:31:28 AM
Thanks for a model of clarity on a tough subject. ... by Robert S. Becker on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 11:24:30 AM
You make the crucial point that people are arguing... by Derryl Hermanutz on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 12:55:01 PM
I'm an admirer of Ms. Armstrong and have that book... by Robert De Filippis on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 2:12:40 PM
Men are genetically programmed to follow a leader,... by Simon Leigh on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 1:11:36 PM
The atheists I know behave very well.... by Robert De Filippis on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 2:16:23 PM
In fact it may even be the most common one. But, a... by M. Wizard on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 1:31:25 PM
Thanks for your comments. I do want to point out t... by Robert De Filippis on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 2:19:05 PM
It's very true that religion, practiced correctly,... by E. J. N. on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 3:05:14 PM
is that one would have to be directed away from ma... by M. Wizard on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 8:27:38 PM
I meant that one would have to be directed away fr... by M. Wizard on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 8:54:43 PM
"Real and true religion is in harmony with science... by E. J. N. on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 2:25:55 PM
"God is the Divine Light-Energy-Source of our exis... by Robert S. Becker on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 3:08:49 PM
I wholeheartedly agree that we should "reclaim res... by E. J. N. on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 9:53:36 PM
that if one achieves full realization with little ... by M. Wizard on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 9:03:25 PM
I understand the Hindu traditions of avatars, sidd... by E. J. N. on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 10:07:16 PM
and I agree with that. BUt as my father used to sa... by M. Wizard on Friday, Mar 29, 2013 at 7:02:57 PM
Wizard, for those who, like myself, do not necessa... by Peter Duveen on Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 10:00:18 AM
but for me and a lot of other people, reincarnatio... by M. Wizard on Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 12:52:02 PM
Wizard, I would like to offer an alternative theor... by Peter Duveen on Monday, Apr 1, 2013 at 11:28:04 AM
I also like to quote Isaac Newton, one of the foun... by Wesley Steinbrink on Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 5:25:52 PM
Thank you so much for your great insight! I will d... by Jody Walker on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 2:52:32 PM
that forgives  God is that He does not existS... by Mark Sashine on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 3:34:04 PM
That is the only way we can make sense out of the ... by David Vicks on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 8:59:13 PM
Unlike the plastic view of God as sitting on a thr... by Peter Duveen on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 9:39:04 PM
But to paraphrase Peter's eloquent quotation, Sai ... by M. Wizard on Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 12:56:30 PM
First of all we are not "free" if our actions are ... by David Vicks on Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 2:46:13 PM
rather than conscious choice. ... by M. Wizard on Monday, Apr 1, 2013 at 5:38:34 PM
Instinct is a lower level primitive animal more au... by David Vicks on Monday, Apr 1, 2013 at 8:33:55 PM
... it would be far easier just to eat, drink &... by M. Wizard on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013 at 11:45:17 AM
As George Carlin use to joke about.  That doe... by Michael Dewey on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013 at 2:20:38 PM
... are really just avoiding the sheer terror of p... by David Vicks on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013 at 7:19:09 PM
which deserves a lot more time and space than I am... by M. Wizard on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013 at 7:49:42 PM
No I don't think that. However there are a lot of ... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2013 at 1:36:15 AM
as non-believers faced with the idea of being judg... by M. Wizard on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2013 at 1:59:15 PM
So why would they be afraid of something they don'... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2013 at 7:45:07 PM
so you assume everyone else's is too. Oh I can exp... by M. Wizard on Thursday, Apr 4, 2013 at 11:03:31 AM
I hope that what you say somehow gets through the ... by David Vicks on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 8:49:37 PM
David, you raise an important point. "I can't beli... by Peter Duveen on Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 8:25:25 AM
It has the power to prevent any hostile evil force... by David Vicks on Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 2:12:52 PM
1 of 2David, you bring up an excellent question as... by Wesley Steinbrink on Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 9:32:37 PM
you work your way backward to try to justify his c... by David Vicks on Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 10:31:32 PM
God does not make someone do wrong works. God has ... by Wesley Steinbrink on Sunday, Mar 31, 2013 at 9:11:02 PM
Yes there is a ton of GOOD...no question about it.... by David Vicks on Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 10:50:18 PM
To be a robot and be programmed to only do good is... by Wesley Steinbrink on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013 at 9:55:07 PM
I meant to say "To be a robot and be programmed to... by Wesley Steinbrink on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013 at 10:01:29 PM
2 of 2There is one other way for God to recreate u... by Wesley Steinbrink on Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 9:33:37 PM
Lastly...What God requires is in short: Acceptance... by Wesley Steinbrink on Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 9:59:15 PM
That's a human trait. God is suppose to be perfect... by David Vicks on Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 10:54:15 PM
You are correct that God does not need or require ... by Wesley Steinbrink on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013 at 9:16:27 PM
That is better then NEED but still pretty human. W... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2013 at 1:39:36 AM
God has to take blame and responsibility for EVERY... by David Vicks on Sunday, Mar 31, 2013 at 12:45:32 AM
This is my reading of the situation:There is no do... by Peter Duveen on Sunday, Mar 31, 2013 at 6:55:56 PM
In Daniel 8:26 about the vision of stars and hosts... by Michael Dewey on Sunday, Mar 31, 2013 at 7:38:20 PM
in order to excuse God so you can keep your belief... by David Vicks on Sunday, Mar 31, 2013 at 11:09:30 PM
Well, Vicks, fact is, you make many good points, a... by Peter Duveen on Monday, Apr 1, 2013 at 8:57:56 AM
To admit God is not All Knowing.A lot of what you ... by David Vicks on Monday, Apr 1, 2013 at 9:00:58 PM
But at this point I don't see the need to believe ... by David Vicks on Monday, Apr 1, 2013 at 9:01:41 PM
Many things that you speak of are addressed in Mer... by Wesley Steinbrink on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013 at 8:46:30 PM
God did the ultimate suffering for us in Jesus on ... by Wesley Steinbrink on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013 at 9:43:37 PM
Just because God knows of something does not mean ... by Wesley Steinbrink on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013 at 9:37:08 PM
creating Hell, which is eternal damnation, which i... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2013 at 12:38:56 AM
It is good that you leave the door open for some "... by Wesley Steinbrink on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013 at 8:40:59 PM
Thank you Sir for the article. It was shared on Tw... by Lady Di on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 8:54:16 PM
Easter this year falls on April Fool's Day.Could t... by Doc McCoy on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 9:10:11 PM
I think not. It falls on March 31st, April fool's ... by Robert De Filippis on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 9:44:32 PM
Thanks for the correction.  Old age can make ... by Doc McCoy on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 at 10:20:56 PM
After many long years of study, meditation, contem... by Cynthia Piano on Friday, Mar 29, 2013 at 6:32:02 AM
Part 1 of 3    I want to add more i... by Wesley Steinbrink on Friday, Mar 29, 2013 at 8:12:28 PM
Religion itself is not bad but unfortunately the f... by David Vicks on Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 10:56:43 PM
I do not believe in religion - if by it you mean r... by Wesley Steinbrink on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013 at 9:00:12 PM
Part 2 of 3    Christianity has pro... by Wesley Steinbrink on Friday, Mar 29, 2013 at 8:13:26 PM
Part 2 of 3    So the three methods... by Wesley Steinbrink on Friday, Mar 29, 2013 at 8:15:28 PM
A higher PowerAn intelligent DesignA HeavenA Soul&... by David Vicks on Saturday, Mar 30, 2013 at 11:06:39 PM
We may feel these needs. But if these are not real... by Wesley Steinbrink on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013 at 9:06:16 PM
References to "God is - some resources for all to ... by Wesley Steinbrink on Friday, Mar 29, 2013 at 8:17:06 PM
Just because God knows of something does not mean ... by Wesley Steinbrink on Tuesday, Apr 2, 2013 at 9:34:21 PM
There IS Good and Fairness and Joy and Love and Be... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2013 at 2:11:29 AM
If you never check out Mere Christianity or y-jesu... by Wesley Steinbrink on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2013 at 9:48:46 AM
Vedic Literature gives u... by Jody Walker on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2013 at 5:32:03 PM
Would the conscious beings that enter human bodies... by David Vicks on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2013 at 9:07:12 PM
What if we are spiritual beings trying to be human... by Jody Walker on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2013 at 9:58:49 PM
This is a nice theory, but there are no facts to ... by Wesley Steinbrink on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2013 at 11:02:36 PM
A psychologist turned spiritualist believes that. ... by David Vicks on Thursday, Apr 4, 2013 at 12:45:41 AM
God is in those who humble themselves to accept th... by Wesley Steinbrink on Thursday, Apr 4, 2013 at 9:39:03 AM
Jesus said that He was one with God- on the same l... by Wesley Steinbrink on Thursday, Apr 4, 2013 at 9:41:43 AM
He never existedclick hereZeitgeisthttp://www.zeit... by David Vicks on Thursday, Apr 4, 2013 at 3:33:02 PM
That is why I directed you to http://www.y-jesus.c... by Wesley Steinbrink on Thursday, Apr 4, 2013 at 8:16:15 PM
Also, if this is not enough, Shattering the Christ... by Wesley Steinbrink on Thursday, Apr 4, 2013 at 8:27:32 PM
Actually this is a quote from Mere Christianity... by Wesley Steinbrink on Thursday, Apr 4, 2013 at 7:56:30 PM
CS Lewis was an atheist and came to be a Christia... by Wesley Steinbrink on Wednesday, Apr 3, 2013 at 11:07:33 PM
Better links:http://www.tektonics.org/jesusexisthu... by Wesley Steinbrink on Thursday, Apr 4, 2013 at 9:22:32 PM
And another:http://www.tektonics.org/TK-J.html... by Wesley Steinbrink on Thursday, Apr 4, 2013 at 9:23:31 PM
Please check out this link:http://www.kingdavid8.c... by Wesley Steinbrink on Friday, Apr 5, 2013 at 8:55:03 AM
http://zeitgeistlowbandwidth.weebly.com... by David Vicks on Thursday, Apr 4, 2013 at 10:20:28 PM
At the above supplied link to http://www.kingdavid... by Wesley Steinbrink on Friday, Apr 5, 2013 at 8:58:45 AM