God is a word that means many things. It is the most abused word. How does it affect your life?
The term God has made a mark on society. No other word has created such division and sparked such violence. In some cultures, speaking or making jokes about God would be a serious crime. It is against the law in some cultures to draw a picture of their imaginary friend. Speaking of God as a metaphor for the transcendent is a taboo.
One cannot question the concept of God. This brings their entire belief system into question. In fact, in some parts of the world, it’s a crime punishable by death. So, let’s be brave and discuss the word, God.
God is the Most Powerful Metaphor
The best place to start this discussion is with the Abrahamic religions (1). These are religions of Semitic origin, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. They are the most popular religions with over 3 billion members. So, they have a critical mass effect on many cultures. That means even if you aren’t a follower, you are still very much under their influence.
Today there are over 10,000 versions of these religions. Beliefs differ depending on the sect and the teacher. Every sect has a unique approach to the subject of a higher power. These religions aren’t new. They result from combining Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Assyrian mystery religions.
Gods are metaphors transparent to transcendence. And my understanding of the mythological mode is that deities and even people are to be understood in this sense, as metaphors… ― Joseph Campbell
However, followers of the world’s most popular religions mistake the metaphor of God for a fact. This doesn’t happen by accident. It is the conscious use of group and self hypnosis techniques which literally overcome your ability to use common sense.
The need to believe overpowers your ability to weigh facts. When myths become fact, then those in control of the programming can install any beliefs, behaviors or values. This makes the word God the most powerful metaphor on the planet.
It is not their fault. Many people have indoctrinated into the dominant religion of their culture. This is possible through the process of groupthink manipulation. This is a brainwashing technique that is the basis for Western theology.
Loving God More than People
Man’s inhumanity to man will continue as long as man loves God more than he loves his fellow-man. The love of God means wasted love. ‘For God and Country’ means a divided allegiance — a 50 percent patriot. ― Joseph Lewis
What happens when we elevate an imaginary being above the people and the planet? That is obvious. Organized religion is at the root of man’s crimes against man. It seems to contradict the message that the creator wants us to love one another. Instead, we use various forms of mythology as an excuse to hate. This is the tangible effect of the most powerful metaphor.
When The Word God Becomes Meaningless
The most abused word in the language of man is the word, God. The reason for this is that it is subject to so much abuse. There is no other word in the human language is as meaningless and incapable of explanation as is the word ‘God.’ It is the beginning and end of nothing. It is the Alpha and Omega of Ignorance. ― Joseph Lewis
Since the word God can mean anything, it becomes the reason and excuses the exercise of hate. The word God becomes the excuse to commit unspeakable acts of violence. It spawns racial, ethnic, and religious genocide. It’s the reason for gender discrimination and subjugation. Knowledge is the enemy of ignorance.
Opinion Without Substance
It has as many meanings as there are minds. And as each person has an opinion of what the word God ought to mean, it is a word without premise, without foundation, and without substance. It is without validity. And it is all things to all people and is as meaningless as it is indefinable. So, it is the most dangerous in the hands of the unscrupulous and is the joker that trumps the ace. It is the poisoned word that has paralyzed the brain of man. ― Joseph Lewis
The best thing about metaphors can express any meaning we choose. There are over 2,000 different supreme beings and almost 50,000 variations on this theme.
When you overuse any word, it becomes meaningless. This applies to the word God. Semantic satiation makes the word God confusing, divisive, and volatile all at the same time. It is a figure of speech. It’s a term for something we infuse with our own meaning.
The meaning is often contradictory and unsupportable by logic or reason. This is exactly why many religions have priests, ministers, and clergy. Teachers are necessary to explain the jargon and create arguments to support the illogical assertions.
Overcoming Reason with Belief
The fear of the Lord’ is not the beginning of wisdom; It has made man a groveling slave; it has made raving lunatics of those who have attempted to interpret what God ‘is’ and what is supposed to be our ‘duty’ to God. It has made man prostitute the most precious things of life—it has made him sacrifice wife, and child, and home. ‘In the name of God’ means in the name of nothing — it has caused man to be a wastrel with the precious elixir of life because there is no God. ― Joseph Lewis, An Atheist Manifesto
Fear is a primal motivator. Our fears become our limits. We become comfortable living our life stuck in the clutches of a dualistic framework. Faith becomes the trap for our intellect. It is a worldview without validity, and it prompts followers to protect their God with violence. Sadly, it is often necessary for believers to resort to violence. God is their excuse.
Overall, this manifesto is a bold statement against the concept of theism and for a humanist approach.
What is Humanism?
Humanism is not a religion (2). Humanism is a philosophy emphasizing critical thinking. This philosophy has three guiding principles.
- See all living things as equally valuable. This includes all human beings, all living things, and especially the environment.
- Profit should not take precedence over the health of people or the environment. Promote our role in the world as caretakers of the future. They champion the use of the scientific approach to solving the problems.
- Promote the fair and fair flourishing of all people, championing human rights for everyone.
Confusing Spiritual Exploration with Religion
Spiritual technologies are processes are the tools of consciousness. They enable us to expand awareness and explore higher states of consciousness. These processes stand up to the test of science. Many processes produce measurable physiological characteristics. These signatures are unique from waking, sleeping, and dreaming. Because they are processes, they do not the belief or faith in any religious doctrine. All you need to do is follow the process.
Don’t make the mistake of confusing religion with spirituality, nor religion with spiritual exploration.
Point of fact, the believers and followers of one God often treat the Gods of other belief systems as metaphors. So in reality the most powerful metaphor is just an excuse to exercise the most harmful aspects of human greed, bias, and prejudice.
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(1) Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia
(2) American Humanism Organization, americanhumanist.org
(3) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia