Monday, November 23, 2015


   In the last century, philosopher Martin Heidegger is reported to have said that if God exists, he is known by his absence.  At the same time here in America, the "God is Dead" notion was very popular, especially among young people.

    Today, however, when I read the "Comments" sections of popular Internet websites, it seems that rather than being absent or dead, God is woefully misunderstood and mocked.  For example, literal Fundamentalists believe that God created the universe in six day; God told Abraham to kill his son, Isaac, God told Noah to build an ark, etc.  Some Christians see God as a strict and fearful judge.  Some see God as a heavily politicized figure (who is on their side).  And some see God as a Happy Someone who wants us to be rich and comfortable, or as a Fearful Someone who is about to end the world in fire and brimstone--on a date the continually miss.  Admittedly, there is much to mock in these distortions of who God is.  (In fact, part of the "God is Dead" notion was an outcry that the word, "God" had become so distorted that is had been rendered meaningless in everyday society.)

   Also, many envision God as Someone Up There or Out There whom they expect to "come down" and fix our problems.  (We Americans claim to be one nation under God.)  This God is like a daddy who is absent most of the day but then comes home from work and fixes the problems the family faced while he was away.  Such people lament, "If God is all powerful, why doesn't he prevent sickness and wars?"  "Why does he let children suffer?"  This distortion of who God is sadly leads to much pain among many people.

   Distortions like these arise from  a poor understanding of the true God of faith as presented by our religions and denominations.  Faith is different from religion.  Our Catholic faith may be described as our loving acceptance of God and God's teachings, particularly as presented to us in the person and teachings of Jesus Christ.  Our religion is our faith as it is organized and presented to the world.  Religions can and sometimes do distort the understanding of the true God.  

   I don't remember the exact words but a Catholic writer once said, "If you want to mock God, don't mock the distorted God we so often give you.  Mock the true God.  The story of the true God is so crazy and unbelievable that you will have plenty to mock."

   Who is the true God?  Since, in today's culture we prefer to understand through personal experience, I will give a description of the true God as we experience God.  We experience the true God as the presence of Eternal, Infinite, Overflowing Love is in the universe and the world:  in ourselves and in all people and things.  Without this experience of God, we have only an abstract theological notion of God or a Catechism description of God, neither of which would have much effect on our lives.

   More fully, the true God is Living, Conscious, Eternal, Infinite Overflowing Love.  For brevity's sake I'll use the designation, "Living Love" for now on.  I will not use the word, "God," because the distortion of the name has become an obstacle to our experience of the true God.     

   Living Love is Creative of the universe and of the world and us in and through the universe's evolution, which Living Love set in motion and watches lovingly as a parent, from within the evolving world.  Our own experience of our creativity is an image of Living Love's creativity and presence within us.  

   Living Love is Healing and Salvational.  In and through Jesus Christ, the world is saved from sin.  Living Love, alive within us and all the societies of the world, gives us the graced discernment, responsibility, creative ingenuity, and power to work to heal others' physical, mental and spiritual anxieties and illnesses.  Our experience of wanting to reach out and help others and bring justice and peace to others and the world is our experience of Living Love within us and the world.

   Living Love is World Transforming and Evolving.  Living Love within us and the world is calling us from the future.  From within us, our families and nations, corporations, governments, schools and universities, science and technology labs, professional offices, our trades and service industries, etc., Living Love is attracting and "pulling" us into the future, to build an ever new world of luminously humanizing justice, peace and progress, as we move the world's inter-connected and inter-related evolution forward toward it's one blessed goal of Wholeness in love/Love.  Our inner sense of attraction and call into our future growth and fulfillment is our experience of the presence of Living Love within us and the world.

  Living Love is also alive within criminals, war makers and terrorists, calling and empowering them to come out of their darkness into the light of a true, loving, luminously human life.  Their response to the call to peace, humanity and compassion is the sign of the truth of their God. 

   Rather than "coming down" to fix our problems, Living Love is showing us great respect, giving us the discernment, energy, talents, freedom and responsibility to build our lives, society and world in ever growing peace and justice.  It is up to us, Living Love's graced and empowered image and likeness.  As spiritual adults, would we really want to be spoon fed like helpless children?  It is in recognizing our call, opportunities, talents and responsibilities toward ourselves, others and the world, and in carrying out our call in strength, justice, humility, peace and love, that we experience Living Love within ourselves and today's world--and tomorrow's.                      

   The extent to which we distort and/or reject our experience of Living Love's call and empowerment to live lives of life-giving, energizing, healing, peaceful and just, world-transforming  love, that we distort who Living Love us, and then possibly even blame Living Love or deny Living Love's very existence.  In the process, we dehumanize ourselves.  (Our religions and denominations should take note not to distort our true faith and dehumanize us in any way.)

    So if anyone wants to mock God, we should invite him or her to learn of Living Love.  And in the process, we should also invite him or her to join with us as we work to make the world a more luminously human image of Living Love.