Who is God outside of what religion has informed us? Can we receive Gods Word, guidance, and revelation outside of scripture? Can the ideas, and concepts of God be understood without religious language and iconography
Religion is a system of practices and beliefs that translate spiritual phenomenon into comprehensive language, concepts, ideas and images. It is an attempt to inform us of the Divine Truth that is beyond and above the range of normal physical human experience. It assigns identity and purpose to the physical and the spiritual, man and God, life and death, the known and unknown. It is the voice of God speaking into the lives of mankind.
We trust religion because it has done all the research, cracked all the codes and can answer all our questions about the mysteries of God, the universe and mankind, what else is there to know or discover when religion claims to have the ultimate truth. Religion gives us God according to its own understanding describing Gods character, abilities, desires, personality, etc. So, in each religion we have a God that is presented in customized packaging that can’t be confused with another; that’s why you’ll never confuse Jesus with Muhammad or Buddha with Krishna nor their messages.
My question today is, who is God outside of what religion has informed us? Can we receive Gods Word, guidance, and revelation outside of scripture? Can the ideas, and concepts of God be understood without religious language and iconography. Think about the God religion has given you, the picture it has painted the characteristics and personality it has attached to God and consider how much of that “defining, describing, and decoding of God” you have contributed to according to your own spirituality, and experiences with God.
The priest and the theologian are not the only people able to comprehend and discuss matters of the Divine. God is relational and deals with mankind in personal ways. God guides you on your specific path, blesses you according to your particular needs, and communicates with you one on one. This personal God desires a personal relationship where we get to know God for ourselves beyond what we have heard or have been told. Just as you were created to be one of a kind so also a one of a kind relationship with God is available that may look different than what religion is telling us is even possible.
Back before the rise of e-commerce, before Amazon, Door Dash, Insta Cart and shopping apps people like my parents physically went into the grocery store and shopped. They made decisions on what to buy based on exploration of the products in the store, curiosity, and a critical examination of the items. Things like size, price, value, their three kids, and how the products contributed to a better quality of life were all factors that determined the usefulness of the product. They didn’t shop with apps, like we have today, that take the critical decision making out of shopping with instant product reviews telling us what’s the best buy, what has worked for everyone else, and what has the most stars.
Don’t get me wrong, I love apps. A few weeks ago, I used my Kroger app to compile a digital shopping list and headed to the store. The app guided me up one aisle, down another and around the store directing me to what I was looking for with swiftness and perfection.
Peanut butter aisle 12. Check! Lemon juice aisle 3. Got it!
Taco Bell soft taco kit ai le 5. Sweet!
Taco sauce aisle 7, uh…
Wait a minute it’s not where the app said it is. How is there no more taco sauce when the app says the store has 15 bottles on the shelf. I looked at the image, and aisle location on the app, then looked at the shelf, nothing! Again, I looked at the image on the app and looked at the shelf, nothing! Confused, I stepped back to take a more detailed look at all the shelves but still no taco sauce.
It was frustrating, I placed trust in the app because it had done all the research, cracked all the codes and was able to answer all my questions, what else is there to know or discover when the app claims that what it offered was the best thing for me, my ultimate truth. Faced with a mystery, I put the guidance of the app away and began to critically examine the items myself. I became curious and started exploring the shelves, picking up bottles and reading, doing my own investigative work. Once I put the app away, I was free to research and discover truth for myself, I had no biases, no prejudices, no preconceived ideas or limited perceptions and understandings of how things were supposed to look. I ultimately found what I was looking for; same product just wrapped in different packaging. My eyes were closed to discovery, truth, and experience in any other manner than what the app had informed me.
So that got me thinking about how we are missing out on new spiritual experiences, new discoveries of God and exciting new encounters with the Divine because we're looking for familiar religious images, recognizable presentations of Divine Truth and denomination friendly ideas of Divine Reality. Our focus is on what we have been told is the only possibility, therefore we reject everything else as false. Religion gives us a spiritual shopping list that we’re regualry looking to fulfill, there is faith, devotion, praise and worship, and a connection with God just to name a few.
Are we only searching for faith, devotion, praise and worship, and a connection with God in familiar packaging? If so, I say we’re missing out on experiencing a newly packaged kind of faith, devotion, praise, worship and connection with God. We miss out when we cease to recognize God as a mystery and stop being curious about who and what God, Divine Truth, and Ultimate Reality is.
Who are you without religion? Can you determine your moral values, identity, purpose, calling, life's meaning outside of religion? How does spirituality, prayer, worship, praise, faith, love, connection with God and enlightenment look outside of religion? Is it difficult to answer these questions? Maybe that’s because you've been cond