Confusing Metaphor for Reality

Currently listening to: Fear of Flying by David Karsten Daniels

If I say I do not believe in God, I am certain that many believers will say, “How, then, are you not an atheist?”  Well, the reason for this is simply that language is a poor substitute for reality. We use words and symbols to describe experiences and intuitions that cannot possibly be condensed into language.

Many religions have taken the word “god” to mean only one thing:  a supernatural being who deserves worship, controls history, etc.  While I think there is some value in religious claims about God, I also believe that religions have taken literally what was a metaphorical and limited description.  They have taken for literal reality what is symbolic.  Ancient people experienced the creative force at the center of life, that Ground of All Being, and their experiences led them to speak of it.  So, they chose metaphors that were sometimes personal–at times they described God as a being.

The problem is that experiential metaphors were taken as concrete realities, and so when people speak of “God,” they are almost always referring to a Person.  I simply think the personal image of God is incorrect.

Do I believe there is something creative and beautiful and transformative at the center of life?  Yes, I do.  But do I believe that this something is a person sitting on a golden throne in heaven?  No.  This personal image is what I reject when I express disbelief in “God.”


~ by eternaldode on 25 September 2009.

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