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No More God?

Posted January 5, 2013

I'm toying with the idea of striking the word “God” from my vocabulary in 2013.

Do you think I could do it? Do you think I should do it?

I thought I had come full circle on the word God, but it remains troublesome. And easily misunderstood. Are the alternatives any clearer?

Years ago when I began to change my concepts about God, I started experimenting with other names. For me, the word “God” conjured up a male Supreme Being who was monitoring my behavior, the God I'd been taught in childhood. That God might bless or punish me, but that God was definitely separate from me.

I started listening for a name to encircle my newer understanding that God is everything and God is within everyone.

A lot of people used “Spirit,” but the way they talked, Spirit seemed to have all the personal qualities of God – Spirit said this and Spirit did that. Universe became a favorite of mine for a while. My first church was attached to Father-Mother God, although they have since moved into genderless descriptions.

I tried Source, Creator, All That Is. But as my belief in God-as-everything grew stronger, the words seemed less important. I started using “God” again. Every now and then, I stop and specify that it's shorthand for the eternal life force in which we live and move and have our being; the life, love and intelligence of the universe; the light on which all else is built -- which would simply be too long a reference to use every time! So, back to “God.”

When I wrote The Five Principles, I included a short explanation about using the word “God” because I knew it triggered baggage in many of the spiritual-but-not-religious. But apologizing for “God” didn't feel good.

Then just the other day, Abraham-Hicks said in its daily email: “Doesn't the word God just set you off on all kinds of tangents that don't have anything to do with your relationship with that which is this Eternal Energy of Love, which is your Source?”

Really? I thought, Do people still feel that way? Even Abraham has baggage about “God?”

But the final shock was talking to a woman going through a tough time who told me, “Well, I just remember what you said in your talk – we're here to do God's will.”

What?! Surely I didn't say that! How many times have I pounded the pulpit and insisted God does NOT have a will for your life? God doesn't want anything for you, any more than the sun wants you to behave in certain ways or air has an opinion about your decisions. God just IS! Available for your sustenance. A life force, not a puppet master.

Well, come to think of it, I do often say humans are on earth for divine purposes or their soul's growth. I can see why that might be considered God's will. But that's the trouble with the word “God,” I think. When people hear it, they probably assume I'm using traditional definitions about the divine and their relationship to it.

So I'm considering ways to avoid “God” this year. Although I reserve the right to use OMG in texts, and I'm planning more work with Ken Wilber's Three Faces of God concept. (More on that later.)

It's not just because other people get the wrong idea when I say “God.” Maybe I get the wrong idea, too. Maybe I should consider more precise phrases and descriptions, exercising more care in exactly what I mean by “God,” rather than assuming we all use the same shorthand.

What else to call it? I like Abraham's “eternal energy of love.” Or eternal life force. (My friend in Florida, Rev. Lauren McLaughlin, wrote a novel you might enjoy called Go to ELF, short for Eternal Life Force.)

Ground of Being. All That Is. The Source. The Force! For that matter, I've always liked the Jewish G-d with a hyphenated blank space to remind us that God is so much more than we can imagine. Un-nameable. Indescribable.

Do you have thoughts about this? I'd love to hear them. What's your best description or name for the divine? For that matter, what do you think we're describing? What IS God?

I hope you'll share your thoughts. (If you don't see the comment section, click the tiny blue number in parentheses to the right.)

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