Whether you realize it, the concept of God or a Higher Power affects your life. It affects how you perceive reality. It shapes the way you value things and people. Thankfully, you have the power to control this. See how and why you should.
Defining the Subject of God or a Higher Power
The concept of God or a Higher Power stretches back to Animism, the theory that some divine essence is within everything. It infers that some unseen intelligent force is observing, guiding and directing things to some extent.
It is human nature to seek answers for things we don’t know. We want to know how things work. So, we seek answers for the cause of things. This goes hand in hand with questions about who we are and why are we here. That’s why the following discussion will help you. We think it will help you answer these deep questions.
There are three ways to approach to the subject of God. You probably favor more approach more than another. Some people use more than one, while others only use one approach. The easiest way to understand the differences is to answer the questions.
- How do you relate to the concept of God or a higher power?
- Is the Higher Power known by reason, faith or experience?
- Or, is it a combination of these? Please pause a moment to think about it.
- Write a short one or two sentence answer.
The Social Reach of the Subject of God
The three largest religions by population are those of the Abrahamic tree. These are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These systems aren’t new. They result from combining and rebranding Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian and Assyrian mystery religions. Together they boast over 4 billion followers. Today, there are over 10,000 versions on these themes.These systems have the greatest impact on the culture of the world.
These belief systems affect the minds of many people, which infiltrate the culture and governments. Their beliefs become part of the laws which govern everyone in their social reach. The greater their social reach, the larger their customer base.
The main goal of these systems is to generate income. In fact, the wealthiest religion has more material wealth than most countries. The Vatican of the Catholic Church is a country. It holds an estimated net worth over 400 billion dollars. This includes cash, real estate, precious metals, and art.
Above all, Christianity and Islam are the leaders in marketing and rebranding. They improved on the dying-god sect religions. This makes their product accessible to more people via belief. Whereas Judaism bases its membership on ethnic lines.
Next, they perfected the process of indoctrination and groupthink manipulation. Most cleverly, they added sacred texts building on the work of their closest competitor, Judaism. Thus, legitimizing their product while showing Judaism in a negative light.
The Three Ways to Approach God
Before you proceed, take the time to write your initial thoughts about the above questions. Everyone will have different answers. Above all, there are no wrong answers. Your answer to this question will depend upon many factors.
Your answer will probably change over time. We are constantly reframing or affirming our perceptions and values. This happens in two ways, either consciously or unconsciously. We make changes consciously when we use our intellect to review facts and then decide. Changes to our thinking can occur unconsciously. This happens when we are subject to brainwashing. Psychological manipulation can frame our thoughts, values, and behaviors. And we don’t even know it’s taking place.
If observe your social environment, you’ll probably see a great deal of programming. And, you’ll see how some of it revolved around this idea of a higher power (either directly or indirectly). Manipulating people using this concept is a common tactic in religion and politics. For that reason, this discussion will help you recognize this type of social manipulation. And, then you can also assist others.
Approach by Reason
The first of the three ways to approach this subject is by reason. People who like this approach want objective answers. The prefer rational logic and the proven sciences. The classical proofs of the cosmological existence are the starting place for their quest. This leads almost always to more existential questions.
Is there really a need for a higher power? Does the world or our universe need one or more to operate it? How does it relate to theological beliefs like the afterlife? It also begs questions about human nature. For example, is morality proof of some type of divine intervention? Or, is morality a part of our DNA? Then again or perhaps morality is simply a logical necessity for civilization? Are morality and belief in a higher power independent subjects?
Answers to the above are beyond any scientifically verifiable evidence. So, you need a good understanding of logical reasoning to develop sound conclusions. This lack of proof does not satisfy the burden of proof. The classic argument from ignorance is a guiding principle. The absence of evidence is not proof of absence. Hence, the correct use of inductive reasoning will provide answers in degrees of likelihood.
We highly recommend you add logical reasoning to your truth-seeking toolbox. We are all different. Your research may provide different conclusions. A lot will depend on the sources of your data. Also, we have different skill levels, backgrounds, personalities, and instincts. Our life experiences are all unique. So, our conclusions about a higher power will probably be different. Being pro-facts doesn’t mean you should be anti religious.
Approach by Faith
The second of the three ways to approach is subject is by faith. Almost everyone who prefers faith has religious beliefs. More than likely they are part of the Abrahamic tree. They assert faith is the only approach to a Higher Power. Faith is believing in things without evidence. Admittedly, this takes considerable effort to maintain. The modern world surrounds us with resources and facts. Training the mind to pick between ideas and facts is stressful. Attempting to reconcile facts that don’t align with what you believe results in the mental tension and discomfort of cognitive dissonance. This is also known as the religious headache.
This group is skeptical of scientific, rational, and logical proofs. They also reject experiential methods. For this paradigm, the Higher Power is a mystical persona. For that reason, the approach by objective data and rational thinking processes is man’s wayward wisdom. Similarly, the approach via experience is a fabrication of man’s imagination.
So, the lack of proof is actually proof of their faith. Faith alone is the only true path to Divine revelation. Generally, this group rests its authority on sacred texts and the leadership of a charismatic leader.
You shouldn’t discount the use of faith in your own methodology. Faith and hope are the basis of a positive outlook. Every plan has the expectation it will succeed. Faith and hope help us through life’s adversities. These attributes help us overcome obstacles. For that reason, faith is also a useful component of your truth-seeking machinery. Not as an excuse to ignore the facts, but to regulate attitude.
Approach by Experience
Last but not least are those who assert a higher power reveals itself through experience. This third way to approach the subject is god is a purely subjective vantage point. In its pure form, it is the counterclaim of the above two approaches. It’s the position one cannot approach the subject by reason or by faith. Because both reason and faith are subject to corruption or the invention of man. Here the direct experience of the divine provides all the proof.
These types of divine encounters have some common attributes. Terms like “oneness” and “transcendent silence” are common among these types of Eureka” experiences. Practitioners use a number of spiritual technologies to get this knowledge. Interestingly, people who have near-death experiences also report similar revelations. So, it would seem that this type of experience is common. People drawn to this approach believe experience is proof of some type of divine energy or higher power.
Many ancient cultures spent considerable time and effort investigating these processes. These mental activities sometimes including psychoactive substances for the purpose of shifting consciousness to non-ordinary states. The goal here is to connect directly with the Universe or Higher Power(s).
The above outlines are pure extracts of the three ways to approach the subject of god. There are people who ascribe to just one of these three methods. These are people who tend to be extremists. Thankfully, there are also many people moving to a more holistic approach to this subject. We think using all three approaches is beneficial. It makes your spiritual journey more well rounded. It helps make you more open-minded.
Interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their own path.
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s Book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia
This article is an excerpt from – How to Find the Truth (2001) by JJB