God is the most powerful metaphor in our modern culture. It holds many different meanings. How does this concept affect your life?
One cannot question the concept of God in many cultures. When you do so, it brings their entire belief system into question. It’s a crime punishable by death in some parts of the world. So, let’s be brave and discuss the word, God.
Are “Gods” Metaphors?
The term God has made a tremendous mark on society. No other word has created such division and sparked such violence. Speaking or making jokes about God would be a severe crime in some cultures. It is against the law in some cultures to draw a picture of their imaginary friend. Speaking of God as a metaphor or analogy for the transcendent is taboo.
“Religions are, by definition, metaphors, after all: God is a dream, a hope, a woman, an ironist, a father, a city, a house of many rooms, a watchmaker who left his prize chronometer in the desert, someone who loves you — even, perhaps, against all evidence, a celestial being whose only interest is to make sure your football team, army, business, or marriage thrives, prospers, and triumphs over all opposition. — Neil Gaiman
Still, the question remains; are gods metaphors created to describe forces we do not understand, or do they exist as some living entity? Historically, when bad things happen, it’s because God allowed it. The insurance industry calls natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes “acts of God.”
“I don’t expect Christians to see God as a metaphor, but that’s what he is. Perhaps it might be clearer to call him a character in fiction, and a very interesting one too: one of the greatest and most complex villains of all – savage, petty, boastful and jealous, and yet capable of moments of tenderness and extremes of arbitrary affection – for David, for example. But he’s not real, any more than Hamlet or Mr. Pickwick are real. They are real in the context of their stories, but you won’t find them in the phone book. — Philip Pullman
God is the Most Powerful Metaphor
The best place to start this discussion is the Abrahamic religions (1) Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. They boast a combined membership of close to 4 billion members. So, they have a critical mass effect on many cultures.
This critical mass makes the acceptance of magical thinking a slippery slope. People extrapolate assumptions about words and phrases without understanding the context.
“People will listen to sophisticated physicists, using God as a kind of metaphor for the deep constants, the deep problems, the deep principles of physics, and say that in that sense, I believe in God. The reaction is, “Oh, this great physicist believes in God — that means I’m free to believe in the trinity and the crucifixion and the reincarnation of Christ” — and all that stuff, which of course has nothing whatever to do with the fundamental constants of physics, which is what these physicists are talking about. — Richard Dawkins
So, even if you don’t ascribe to these mythologies, you are still influenced by their massive social reach. When thinking about the subject of a higher power, there are three primary ways to approach this subject. You can view the subject from faith, experience, or reason.
The more liberal your thinking, the more likely you are to use reason. Many people in the Abrahamic tree use a combination of faith and experience. The more magical your thinking becomes, the extreme your beliefs, and you’ll tend to rely on faith. The reason fanatics rely on faith is because there is so much evidence against their beliefs they must learn to shut it out, ignore it, deny it exists.
Today Western organized religion has over 10,000 versions. Beliefs among them differ depending on the sect and the teacher. Each of these has its interpretation of the doctrines and higher power. These religions aren’t new but the rebranding of Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Assyrian mystery religions.
However, followers of the world’s most popular religions don’t use God as an analogy. Instead, they treat this term as a factual entity. But, it doesn’t happen by accident. It’s an essential building block in establishing mythology and superstition as facts. They use self-hypnosis techniques to overcome your ability to use common sense.
The need to believe overpowers your ability to weigh facts. When myths become fact, those in control of the programming can instill beliefs, behaviors, or values. It makes the word God the most powerful metaphor on the planet.
“Whatever religious people may say about their love of God or the mandates of their religion when their behavior toward others is violent and destructive when it causes suffering among their neighbors, you can be sure the religion has been corrupted, and reform is desperately needed.” — Charles Kimball
“Man created God in his image: intolerant, sexist, homophobic, and violent.” — Marie de France
“All over the world, belief in the supernatural has authorized the sacrifice of people to propitiate bloodthirsty gods, and the murder of witches for their malevolent powers.” — Steven Pinker
Religious indoctrination is part of the social structure in many cultures. The dominant religions use self-hypnosis and group hypnosis to cement people into their systems. God is the most powerful metaphor because these religions need you to believe it, he/she exists. It is the linchpin on which everything else rests. They adopted these brainwashing techniques from the ancient mystery religions and their mythologies and superstitions. These techniques are the bedrock of the recruiting and retention practices of the Abrahamic paradigm.
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 contradicts the message that the creator wants us to love one another. Instead, we use various forms of mythology to excuse hate, which is the most apparent 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 that 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 God can mean anything, the word god becomes the most powerful excuse for the exercise of hate. You can interpret what God wants to justify 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 is that they can express any meaning we choose. Today there are over 2,000 different supreme beings and almost 50,000 variations on this theme.
When you overuse any word, it becomes meaningless, and it applies to the word God. Semantic satiation makes the word God confusing, divisive, and volatile all at the same time. As a figure of speech, it becomes an adjective to qualify statements. It’s a term for something we infuse with any meaning.
The meaning is often contradictory and unsupportable by logic or reason. It’s the reason many religions have priests, ministers, and clergy. Teachers are necessary to explain the jargon and create arguments to support the illogical assertions.
Belief Overcomes Reason
“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, 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
Our most potent motivator is fear. Our fears become our limits. These limitations keep us from questioning the boundaries. So, we become comfortable living our life in 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 the most powerful and convenient excuse for harmful behavior.
Overall, this manifesto is a bold statement against the concept of theism and for a humanist approach.
What is Humanism?
- See all living things as equally valuable, and it includes all human beings, all living things, and the environment.
- Profit should not take precedence over the health of people or the environment. We should promote our role in the world as caretakers of the future.
- They champion the use of the scientific approach to solving problems.
- Promote all people’s fair and fair flourishing, championing human rights for everyone.
Confusing Spiritual Exploration with Religion
It’s not an innocent mistake. The Abrahamic religions have engaged in a life-long campaign to confuse spirituality with religion and offer counterfeit dogma for authentic spiritual exploration. The misdirection works well. It keeps millions of paying customers.
Spirituality isn’t just talking about things that deal with the spirit; it involves exploring consciousness and awareness first-hand. Western organized religion is all about the belief in mythology and superstition, and it is significant for the absence of any processes for investigating the consciousness.
The believers and followers of one God often treat the Gods of other belief systems as metaphors. So, in reality, God is the most powerful metaphor, which becomes an excuse to exercise for acts of human greed, bias, and prejudice. So, what do you think? So, are gods metaphors to explain away things we don’t understand or are they actual spiritual entities?
Do you have a different opinion on the subject? Please don’t hesitate to reach out and provide us with your comments.
(1) Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia
(2) American Humanist Organization, americanhumanist.org