No matter what your religion, faith, culture or background, if you recognize the core of God as the personification of Love, you will be able to hold all things up to that, and you will know if it is of God or not. We are sparks off his divine flame; so therefore what is of love will resonate at a deep place within us, and love will recognize Love. This is the easiest way of knowing God. But what about the details? Does God have a name? Do all names mean the same God? Is God really a He? And what about the fearful things taught by so many religions? How do we know God even exists?
The core essence of God being unconditional Love - this may seem a difficult answer for many. Many have been taught that God is similar to a strict high school principal or a prison warden. Many are taught we have to earn love, to be perfect and never make mistakes or there will be fiery consequences. These are all manipulations and scare tactics that have been handed down by men, traditions of fear to control mankind, and do not reflect the real nature or characteristics of God. Much truth about God's love can be found in the Bible, but much twisting of the beauty of it continues to occur by those seeking to influence and control by fear; for their own gain, or simply because they want to be safe and follow a tradition instead of knowing God for themselves.
Religion is often used as a fence, whereas God prefers the freedom of open pastures. Houses of prayer and fellowship are wonderful when they are focused on Love. God does not want us to follow one another; he desires each one of us to be the mystic, to be able to hear Love in our own hearts, to follow him. But God desires us to encourage one another to actively pursue Love, to help one another become aware of spiritual need, to share how Love has guided, protected and healed us in our journey. To be a reflection of Love's power in each other's lives every day. An excellent spiritual connection is what Love desires for us, and the tradition or path a person takes to receive it may vary on where the person lives or what the person can recognize at the time. "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (1 John 4:7,8)
Does this mean that the God that Christians pray to is the same God that Muslims pray to? Is every way of worshipping God OK? First of all, we must not lump together prayers in all one group, and just as Christianity has many divisions, so does all other world religions. In Love's desire to interact with us personally, he also hears prayers individually. "The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him." (Proverbs 15:8) There are people making good and bad choices in every faith. No matter where we may affiliate ourselves, we are still the ones in charge of what we choose to do with what is placed in front of us. If we choose to hate one another because our religion or culture tells us to, that is a problem, because it goes against the core essence built inside of us. God is pure and of light, and always has his hand outstretched to us to come closer. When we choose things not of love, we separate ourselves from him and become dark. Light and dark cannot be in the same place together. This is why when we choose to do things of Love, we can hear and see more clearly further opportunities of expanding love around us. And when we don't, we lose our way and lean more upon our own limited understanding or easily give our power away to others.
So if you are a Christian praying to the great Santa Claus in the sky for the next item on your list, you see God in a different way than I do, even though I am a Christian. If you are praying not to go to a fiery hell, you are praying to a God that I do not know, since the God I know has used parables many times to explain things, but torture could never coexist with Love. In fact, in Biblical days there was a pagan ritual of sacrificing children to false gods by burning them to death in fire, and God shows his repugnance for that by saying: "The people of Judah have done evil in my eyes, they have built the high places of Topheth to burn their sons and daughters in the fire, something I did not command, nor did it come up into my heart." (Jeremiah 7:30, 31) It is not in the heart of a loving God to do such a thing, it is unreasonable. And this is why we don't have to be trained scholars or considered wise in the ways of the world and figure out all the arguments and translations of ancient words to know the heart of God. The truth of his love will always be reasonable. This also helps us to recognize when people are hearing God or other supernatural beings, because of the characteristics of their god. There are many fallen Angels (demons) that have set themselves up as gods since ancient times, and want communication to mislead and control humanity, and behind the fa§ade of goodness they will be recognized by the lack of love and reasonableness at their core.
"God" is a title, just as "President" is a title, but both the President and God have a personal name. What is God's name? In the Bible alone we see many names he has gone by Yahweh, Almighty Lord, Alpha and Omega, I AM, Jehovah, Creator of Heaven and Earth, etc. This was one of the first questions I asked of God, and I was told that even if his name was written as a series of numbers, by the time I got done saying it, it would be wrong. Why? Because God continues to change and expand, and that is the nature of Love. God is neither male nor female, but has maternal and nurturing qualities as a woman does, and the protective and supportive qualities that a man does. Most people refer to God as male, and as a father figure, and this is what Christ did as well, which also reflects a desire to accept Love's leadership or authority in our lives. So no matter if you call God Heavenly Father, Divine Love, The Big Guy, etc, it is not going to encompass all that he is; but to address him with love and respect, and to know the Love he stands for behind any name he is given. God knows what his full name is at every moment and all that it encompasses, the same as he knows our unique heart and spirit behind whatever name we may have been given at birth.
We were made in the likeness of God. What does this mean? We know that it goes way beyond the physical body. God doesn't have flesh, hands and legs. So what does it really mean to be made "in the image of God?" Simply put, we have the same spirit. As previously stated, we are each a spark off the Divine Flame, spirit created from Spirit, love from Love. "Then God said, " 'Let us make man in our image' so God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them and God blessed them'" (Genesis 1:26-28) Love has many facets, like a beautiful turning gem. Whenever we show compassion, mercy, kindness, empathy, encouragement, joy, happiness, forgiveness, peace, faithfulness, self-control and any of the other attributes of love, we are expressing who we really are at our innermost being. That is why it feels so good to do these things, and is a part of fulfilling the purpose of why we are here: to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength...(and to) love your neighbor as yourself." (Mark 12:30,31) When we love, we remember who we are, who God is, and who our neighbor is. Once again, it is all about Love.
But how do we even know that God exists? He moves the leaves. What does this mean? God knows it's difficult for us because he is invisible. We can't see him. But microwaves, radio waves, gravity, the wind - all these are invisible too, yet we know they are there. How? By the things they do. We know the wind exists because it moves the leaves on the trees, and that helps us to know it is there and believe in what is invisible. This is why God has used physical signs and wonders all throughout time in every culture in every part of the world, supernatural things to show that he not only exists but desires to participate in our lives, and has the power to help, because he loves us.
Just as parables and illustrations have always been part of teaching about Love, so have miracles, healing, true prophecy, Holy stigmata, words of knowledge, intuitive gifts, visions, apparitions, near-death experiences, special dreams - all and more are opportunities for us to see and know that we are not alone, never have been, and never will be. The "proof is in the pudding," as they say. In other words, God will always verify what is of him, and what is not; simply if we ask. Test it out. "Taste and see that God is good..." (Psalm 34:8) Hold all things shared with you up to Love and see if your essence rings true with it. Ask in prayerful communication with God for validation, for him to let you know, and to express it in a clear and identifiable way so you will not miss it. Also use your God-given reasoning ability, any validation of personal evidence or empirical experience, and notice if the information makes positive changes and differences in your life.
So recognizing the core essence of God as unconditional love releases us from all fear, traditions or teachings that are not of divine origin, and helps us discern all things seen, experienced or heard by holding it up to see is of good and God, or not. As sparks off the divine flame, there is a resonance that will occur within us as we identity Love and make our choices accordingly. More important than giving a particular name to God is giving him love and respect, and desiring to expand the mystical and personal communication between the both of you, which may include many different ways of identifying one another. We can become an instrument of God by reflecting his love in all that we do, because we were made in his image. At times this may include demonstrations of the supernatural power of his love through gifts such as miracles, healing, and sharing of experiences of dreams or visions, and so on, which are all part of his unconditional fullness of Love. "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God." (1John 4:18)
We are getting an awful lot of that sort of preacher lately.
"The leaves move, therefore there is a god."
"Microwaves are invisible, but they exist, therefore there is an invisible magical super being moving the leaves."
I like it too - brightens up my day to know that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is Proving His Presence in these ways.............
Not really sure it is fair to blame your god for all the destruction He caused when he blew the leaves in New Orleans.
Mike - do you think it is worth explaining about air currents and weather patterns?
Hello. I am back.
I see you missed the point (yet again)!
Obviously you are "untouched" by love. You only feel the breeze, like the leaves.
No - I love the breeze, I just do not see the need to accredit it to a magical invisible super being. Which means you are the one missing the point.
As for the OP - it is just propaganda, that is all.
Now explain to me why I am untouched by love if I don't believe in a god, cause if this was true, I would see a lot of love going around from believers. Or are we talking about "tough love" again?
Let's talk about Hurricanne Katinna, God makes it rain on the just and the unjust AND BOY DID IT RAIN!!! ... Jesus talked about wisdom and foolishness when it came to buildings and rain and floods. There are wise places to build and foolish places to build. Whether by human corruption or just plain stupidity there was a lot of foolishness regarding buildings in New Orleans.
Let's talk about foolishness a minute ... It was the Saturday before Katrina hit and I was in a little 24 hour place across from the Prince Conti hotel ... one of those unique NOLA establishments where you can get Jack Daniels and scrambled eggs 24 hours a day, and Katrina was in the Gulf ... they were laughing and mocking people for talking about evacuation. This was going to be the biggest hurricane party New Orleans had ever seen. Evacuate? Naw! That's for cowards! Have another drink. We'll all be just fine!
They tried to get me to stay ... and trust me, I was tempted because it seemed as it would be a great adventure. I stopped at a Sam's club on the way out of town and stocked up on water, and supplies. Other than the fact that the prices were raised, there was no indication of the impending doom, it wasn't even crowded.
I wondered if I was overestimating the danger. Still, it seemed wise to me, to take precautions.
When evacuation was forced, I was on my cell phone and computer helping the very people who had tried to convince me to stay find their way out of town.
When it was over, and all the attention was on New Orleans, while the residents fired weapons at resscue workers, when I wasn't participating in my own personal recovery, or helping my clients, I was there with the churches providing relief ... I saw hundreds of chruch vans from Indiana, Ohio, Nebraska loaded with volunteers. Not only for high profile disaster aress like New Orleans, but rural Mississippi, where there were no TV cameras. No news photographers and no electricty for months becuse THEY weren't high priority.
Jesus warned about building in foolish places without solid foundation ... but for every idiot spouting rehtoric about how Katrina was punishment from God ... I saw hundreds, maybe thousands of Christians working without pay, using their own time and resources to provide relief to the Katriana victims. It never occured to me, or them, to say, "Well they had plenty of warning, and they were idiots, so let'em suffer"
Not once did I hear the people on the ground "blame" them for their plight, nor even chastise them for their foolishness. It was not the time or place for that.
OK, so a few high profile big mouths got on TV and exploited the situation for their fifteen mintues of fame. So, what? Whether or not God was behind the Katrina destruction He was certainly there for the relief effort, through His people. I was there. I saw it.
Well, politics and the stupidity of building on flood plains aside, if your god is responsible for the help he provided, he is also responsible for the damage in the first place.
You can't have it both ways. Stupid people get the blame for building on a flood plain. God gets credit for the clean up. And even though he is responsible for the wind blowing, but not when it ends in destruction?
Why not give the people who helped out all the credit instead? Or were there no atheists among them? Just christians doing their bit. Because god told them to. They felt no compassion of their own? Not one of them felt compelled to help out of the goodness of their hearts or because it is the right thing to do - it was all god's doing. Except for the damage in the first place.
I didn't say he didn't get the blame/credit. In fact, I will say he DID create Katriana. And Katriana is responsbile for the destruction you describe.
Even if there is not God (which I do not grant) If you had your way, the people who helped wouldn't even know each other because you would elimiate churches. They would not have had the oranizational structure nor the social contacts to mobilize as quickly as they did. If you had your way, many of them would be in jail for refusing to teach their children darwinism.
If there is goodness in thier hearts it came from God, regardless of thier belief in Him. I truly don't expect you to understand, any more than I expect a fish to understand that he's wet.
And no, I saw no vans with the American Atheist logo.
As for the initial article, I like it, (though it's w-a-y too long for this forum)
I'd like to see it as a hub. :
Love is Love. God is Love. If you know love, you know (the essence of) God.
SSSSSOOOOO, "just like the wind, which we can't see, so is Love". Therefore....., well you can use your intellect, (or imagination) to do the rest. :
BTW, you didn't welcome me back, I am devastated you didn't miss me.
To answer the question posed, "Who is God and does it matter what you call Him?" Well, He is Who He says He is. As for what you (we) call Him does indeed matter. I like to be called by (certain) names. I DO NOT like being called (other) certain names. So it matters to me, what others call me. (I am sure you feel the same way).
So, it makes sense that He approves of names given (by) Him, to be used of Him. Eg. God does (can)not lie, so to call Him by (a) the name "Liar" would be offensive to say the least. He is after all a living Spirit, and not (just) an idea or impersonal "force".
Your god gets offended? Some all powerful super being.
You sure it is not just his followers who get offended?................
Keen to know about the breeze he blew through New Orleans now though. How many did he kill with that? I am assuming it was his responsibility - seeing as he is in charge of making the leaves move. Or did I miss the point again?
Did I say He gets offended? Or did I say it is "offensive"?
Some do. (many do) but not all.
Come on now...meteorology has taught us that one. Isn't the wind a product of high and low pressure systems etc.? The point, (if I must explain it to you) was an analogy with the wind being "invisible", and only it's effects being visible. Must I go on?
I don't know who God is but I think there is a higher power responsible for all that we see around us. Its hard to believe that all that exists today (planets, stars, etc) came about on its own. I believe in the Big Bang theory, et all, but one wonders how and why the big bang was initiated. If Big Bangs and Big Crunches are routine and timed - one wonders who times them and how they come about. If its automated, someone must have programmed it to happen at a particular instance upon fulfillment of particular set of conditions may be.
As for the second part, I don't think it matters to me what you call Him. But, sadly, it does matter to a lot of people and consequently you've had strife and bloodshed all through the ages. If some millions call God by one name, does that make all the rest any inferior or sinful? The logic is bizzare. Every religion claims that their Book is the "word of God," etc. But then, how come there are so many religions. Shouldn't they have accepted "the truth" if such a thing ever existed.
Many scientists ar turning away from the "Big Bang Theory", and by consequence, the Big Crunch. I share your perplexity about the origin of all things, as explained (or attepted to be explained) by science. They have no answer. Many (non-religious scientists are relegating that explanation to the realm of philosopy and religion. Science can't prove it ir explain it because it cannot observe and measure it. They can only theorize and hypothesize.
Religion like most things in our world are the aswers to the quest for "truth" and "reality". Where there is truth, there are lies, or counterfeits. Truth has existed, and exists now. It is embodied in a Man. He has a name, and is an actual historic figure. You should have heard of Him before now.
Deep insight. God is only love and compassion. If you know how to love your fellow people, you know God.
On & on & on & on & on & on & on & on & on.
Was that enough? LOL
That's it. It was an "analogy"! NOT proof. I know you are not looking for "conversion", just a discussion.
You are a living proof (to me) that God IS! Every breath you take, speaks of His wonder. Every heartbeat you have in your chest, speaks of His mercy. Every word you think, speak or write speaks to me of His Awesome intellect, that He can put a brain in your head, and watch you learn...You amaze me!. I truly love communicating with you. (no sarcasm here)!
I can't see Him (with my eyes), but I can see His workmanship in (you) all things.
He is the wind, and you are the leaves! :
I love communicating with you too. I just don't feel the need to take away from your uniqueness by saying some one else is responsible for you. I give you full credit.
Communicating? You may be communicating Mark, the other party has ear wax. Religion causes excessive ear wax. I liked many of the thoughts on life in this hub, but my view on dog is well known.
I don't mind "someone else" being responsible for me.
I am in safer hands than I would be in my own. (And that is not a statement of low self esteem either.)
Wow David, I could have expected this from one of our less educated friends, but not from you, really. Are you having a bad day? Come on, relax, there is life outside the church, trust me
I am well aware of that. But Katriana was not something on the news for me. I saw reality and I saw the way it was spun. This has nothing to do with education. It had to do with experience.
Ah, well no doubt you bumped into a bunch of poker players from Las Vegas. I happened to be in Vegas playing poker for a living when it hit. We took a collection from the players in the Wynne poker room (most of us put a couple of hundred in) and drew lots to see who went. 4 guys went down with about $50k worth of food in a truck.......... No church involved.
And no, I did not go personally, but it is rather offensive that you feel there MUST be a church involved.
I didn't say that, but even if I did, it was no more offensive than you trying to interpret my experiences for me.
Chill out dude. I was not interpreting your experiences for you. But you made some pretty strong statements implying that the churches were the only thing keeping the Katrina survivors going.
Obviously Katrina is a "hot button issue" for you, and I am sorry if I pushed your button.
If I implied that I'm sorry. The strength of my sentiments had to do with Katriana, not the churches. I also know that while they were not perfect, FEMA and the Corps of Engineers took much more crap in the press than they deserved. The crap flowed down hill and these very hard workers becaeme demoralized because CNN and the other news agencies decided to focus on the imperfection rather than their numerous successes.
The red cross was also very visible and though it has Christian roots, is primarily a secular organization.
There was a huge outpouring from all branches of society. Tell your poker buddies I said thanks.
Probably education was not the best word to use. It just came from the observation that less education tends to co-inside with zealotry, and I did not really want to use the other one knowing all well that you are not a zealot. Yet you definitely sounded like one when giving us an impression that after-Katrina help was delivered ONLY by churches. With all respect, I can hardly believe that.
If I implied it was only churches, I'm sorry. There were civic clubs, motorcycle clubs and just plain individuals helping too. But the number of churches were overwhelming. There was one thing the churches did that the civic clubs did not. They prayed with the people.. Perhaps some will see this as a small thing ... but let's suppose, for just a minute that there is no god (I still don't grant that as true, but let's suppose it is.) and let's also assume that "evolution is true" ...
Many, many noted psychologists, (even atheists) agree that ".. we use God as a comfort device. Religious people look to God to abolish their fears that they may have...."
There is nothing these people needed more than "a comfort device" and having lost everything they needed their fears abolished.
Even though I happen to believe this need is for a "real God" and someone else might think that this is a psychological need that evolution somehow placed in us, the point of agreement is that the need is real.
The comfort offered by those prayers was real , and the sincere belief in God by those offering the comfort was also real. For someone to want to yank that away at the time of greatest need is probably the cruelest thing I can imagine. Whether it was God himself or the belief in God, those prayers gave hopeless people hope.
If I sound like a Zealot, it could be that I'm a touch sensitive about anybody, whether they are a prominent Catholic Bishop, a prominent Baptist, a prominent Methodist or a prominent atheist trying to score political or rhetorical points from Hurricane Katrina based on the twisted reporting from CNN and other news agencies. If someone was here, and they went through it ... that's one thing.
It's the same reason I give you so much respect for what you say about Russia and the old Soviet Union. It doesn't matter what the press said or didn't say. You were there.
LOL David, take it easy
I know you are not a zealot, and you don't shove down my throat your particular version of religion. Miscommunications happen all the time, we cleared that one and can move on to the next
And you know me too, mass media do not have any credibility in my eyes, eye witnesses do
Katrina was a defining event in a lot of our lives around here.
There was a seafood restaurant along highway 90. I took a beautiful woman there for a fantastic dinner. After dinner we walked along the beach in the moonlight. Walking along the beach in the moonlight with a beautiful woman ... one of my most cherished memories ..
After Katrina, she was a nurse with the Corps of Engineers. I went to visit her one day and we drove down highway 90 ... I suddenly realized we were at the place where the restaurant used to be. The restaurant was just ... gone. There was no trace of it The sky was beautiful the Gulf was calm. And all around there was nothing but piles of debris and devastation.
I went to my friend's wedding at her brother's house ...after Katrina there was nothing not even a slab.
I could go on and on ... to drive for hours and hours and see nothing but the devastation ... yeah, I guess I'm still a little sensitive
We're good! Thanks Misha!
In reality, whether God (Or the Christian version of it for Americans) exist does not have to do with whether Christians help out in the case of a natural disaster.
Even if 10 millions Christians did a charity drive, i am not convinced anymore about the existence of their God than before they did it. The reason being they are doing it because they believe what they are doing is right and not of any supernatural elements. So it does not add to any theory of supernatural forces unless you have a biased view and want everything to be linked to Christian God.
God is for me, a symbol of values ( love, compassion etc etc) and not a religion, statue figure or person. Anyone who link God to a face, person, name or religion is only looking at a symbol without understanding what the message means.
I also think religion are just "comfort device". To me there is no difference between people going to a church and going to see a therapist. One is group therapy and social experience, the other is individual.
Wait a minute! Good Grief----everyone saw Katrina coming! EVERYONE!!! Huricanes originate from a variety of places and most of them come off the coast of Africa-It is the STREAM of things, alway will be and always has been. Now the thought and discussion of peoplke helping ---you cannot be positive that the majority of those vans were christian or religious people in them.
I believe in Unconditional Love and that is what Christ' FATHER wants of us-unconditional with NO STRINGS ATTACHED!! Religions cannot grasp that concept-not even a tiny weeny bit. If you Love you MUST be a Chrstian--not so and it says that in that Bible they use as a sword to pierce anyone who doesn't believe and see things the same exact way they do. If possibly there is something else out there they will deny it and try to re-inforce their sword into your head. For some of us it doesnt' work that way. They FEAR anything that the Church does not teach and if it even remotely sounds like it is against the church they will prejudge it without ever taking a look at it to actually KNOW it might be truth.
I don't think GOD or whatever you want to call it cares what he is called, just as long as it isn't late for dinner! LOL LOL LOL!
those say ther is no god its a wrong concept,if its a true give a proof,then where human beings originates from?and why we come on this land?why not other?which make us from soil?why not from wood?which make this land,sea,mountains etc.the solution to these is that there is one god who make us from single soul,
Why should I have to give proof? I don't understand.
You are the one saying there is a magical invisible super being out there so maybe you should give some proof?
And - "I cannot conceive of any other answer" doesn't cut it I'm afraid.
Well those of you should get a better education of Biology and Geology and all the OLOGies to figure that one out. The proof is on you!
I guess you haven't seen that we now can grow a human ear on the back of a mouse................
LOL here we go again... Maaaaaaaaaaaaark, you've got a customer!
Looks like a muslimist too - we don't get enough of those.
thename of god is allah,all other are its also its name becuse meaning of that relate to its properties its faith
Here is a link to lots of -ologies and what they are of:
Who is God?
Well I'm reminded of an anecdote i read years ago. It was about an inquisitive young son of a professor of philosophy.With the characteristic irreverence of little boy he asked his father
'Dad is there a God?
Sure son; there is one.
Is he very strong...
Of course he is !
Is he so strong that he can make a stone he cannot lift?
The professor was about to answer, but he stopped abrublty.
I still wonder what the Professor must have been thinking.
As for what you can call him/her/it
I think it is up to us to do that. i prefer Lord X
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