"Do you believe in GOD?"
I 'believe' (because I'm not sure) it was that Marmite man Jordan Peterson who responded to this question with something like: " It depends what you mean by 'believe', and it depends what you mean by 'god '. And, in his usual pompously erudite way, dismissed the question itself as a bit 'sixth-form' - a sneering jugement with which I actually have some sympathy.
What does it matter whether anyone *believes* in anything? And how tedious is it to be trading and arguing over concepts and semantics?
Perhaps another way of asking this question, or seeking to get to any true value within it, might be to ask: "What do you worship?"
To me, that's the most important and telling information in this particular enquiry, after "why are you asking?" and maybe "why don't you mind your own damn business?!".
Let me suggest then, for the purposes of rising above teenage debate and the horrifically un-useful game of 'my god's better than yours', that a far more functional investigation revolves around 'worship' and even 'adoration'. By that, I mean where do your thoughts habitually go? What are you obsessed by? And what gives you your life? (which nicely, coincidentally, brings us back to God)
Notice now, that I am using a capital 'G' to emphasise the elevation of the object, the object of my attention, awe and wonder. Prompting me to ask the earnest seeker again: "What do you find yourself thinking about, predominantly?"
As I have more readlly and easily, in recent years, observed or caught myself 'in consideration' or where I am pointing my perception, I am glad to report that my God is less the problems of the world and my momentary fears or anxieties, and more the wonder and appreciation of being.
In fact, so good is the habit becoming, that I can catch myself being caught up, velcro-like, on the many and dreadful prompts of the inherited culture and simply release them - allowing joy and wonder to be present, instead, again.
My 'God' - that which overwhelmingly draws my attention - is less my worldly fears and preoccuptaions, and more an active wonder and revelry in my momentary, yet seemingly eternal, being.
Do I believe in it? Hell no!
In a state of active wonder or awe, there is no room for man's pathetic attachment to concepts. It's an active, all-consuming experience, unsullied by unsettling doubt or monkey-minded mysticism.
If that state is God, let's call it that, and do so in upper case - GOD - to express my thanks and adoration.
When a prospecting 'Witness' once asked me, on a cold Bristol street: "Do you believe in God?", "No," I responded, "I know GOD". That was pretty much the end of the conversation.
When you know, you know, so to speak. And when you know, there is no need for belief. No need for debate. And it brings compassion for those still asking the question, putting their precious perception in doubt, when it could be rapt in awe.
Carl Munson
"Do you believe in GOD?"
This is Carl Munson's website and home of the Come Back to Life project
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