OK, let me clarify that question. I’m not asking about your negative experiences with religious organizations, or people. We’ve all had enough of those. I’m asking where you stand on the idea of a creator. Does that concept have meaning for you? I’ll get us started.
I practice the ancient African tradition called Ifa. I believe that there is an infinite consciousness that underlies everything that exists in the Universe. In Ifa we call this consciousness Olodumare, the best English translation is simply God. In my view God is an impersonal force of creation. The Creator exists beyond all dualities and therefore cannot be defined as male or female, light or dark, etc.
From this perspective the only way to honour God is by honouring all of creation. Each of us, in fact everything that exists, is part of the greater whole that is responsible for the unfolding of the Universe. Some of you will disagree with that. That’s fine. This is about mutual respect. I’m not here to question your beliefs.
Regardless of how you understand God I think we can agree that everything that is/was/will be created originated from that source. Of course if you’re an atheist please feel free to share your thoughts about why you don’t believe.
In Ifa we do not believe that human beings are flawed creations in need to redemption. We believe that we are all part of the unfolding Universe. Each person playing a role, however small, in the ongoing creation story.
It is important to separate God from religion. All of the world’s religions started as means to transcendence. But, when the original systems became politicized religions were less about spiritual development, and more about control. The intimate relationship between created and creator was superseded by dogma. A convenient control mechanism for the religious, and political, elite. In every faith subgroups have survived which preserve something closer to the original teachings of that system.
In Buddhism this means freedom from the cycle of birth and death, or enlightenment. In Ifa we speak about sitting at the right foot of Orunmila, or ascending to the point where we move beyond our human consciousness. Perhaps it is a union with the creative principle. I don’t know. I don’t claim to be an enlightened being.
I have always felt that heaven is more about blissful union with God than hanging out with harp playing angels, or scores of willing virgins. But that’s just my opinion.
However you define, or deny, the existence of God it is crucial to remember how deeply personal these beliefs are. The most important thing that we can do to set an example for humanity is to respect each other’s beliefs even if we happen to disagree.
I hope that this brief post can start a dialogue within the community. All I ask is that we all be respectful of one another and tolerate points of view that differ from our own. So please share your thoughts and your beliefs.