The latest UU Carnival has as its topic a quote from James Luther Adams: “A good deal of so-called atheism is itself, from my point of view, theologically significant. It is the working of God in history, and judgement upon the pious. An authentic prophet can be a radical critic of spurious piety, of sham spirituality.”
When I entered the UU ministry, I had already done a lot of thinking about atheism, agnosticism, and theism. There had been a long period of time when I wasn't too certain about what/who/how God could be; in fact, there are times now when I am not too certain.
It was my experience in AlAnon, needing to find a Higher Power in order to work the 12 step program, that pushed me to define my thoughts about God. And it was helpful to me to listen to the several nontheists I knew. I found that their perspective pushed me further, to examine my own assumptions, my prejudices, my uncertainties. But in order to work through the first few steps of AlAnon, I had to find a Higher Power.
My "old white guy on a throne" didn't work for me any more. In casting about for a power that was greater than my power, I settled on Gravity, one thing I knew for sure that was greater than my power. Gravity morphed into Natural Law as Higher Power and it was there that I found myself in agreement with my atheist friends.
I wrote the following short piece later as a result of my changing thinking, in an effort to broaden and not make captive my thinking about God.
What do I believe about God?
I am an atheist, if you ask me about the old white guy in the sky. I am a believer, if you ask me about nature or spirit or love. I am an agnostic, if you ask for proofs of God. I am a believer, if you ask for my experience of God.
To me, God is all----nature, spirit, love, cosmos, creation. God is in all----in me, in you, in my belongings, in my animals and the plants I tend, in all beings, animate and inanimate. God is in my relationships----with myself, with other beings, with the universe. God is beyond all----infinite, endless, limitless.
How can I know God? How can I not know God? God is all around me, God is within me, God is beyond me. God is in all my experience, yet beyond my experience.
God is mystery, yet I know God when I tend my garden, when I care for my pets, when I nurture my relationships.
God is invisible, yet I view God in the starry sky, in a mountain meadow, in a mighty storm.
God is infinite, yet I experience God in the limitless ocean, in an endless prairie of grass, in the wind which cools the hot day.
God is not human, yet I pray for God’s guidance; God is impersonal, yet I seek God’s blessing; God is detached, yet I feel God’s presence.
God is genderless, yet I sense God’s understanding of my womanhood.
God is changeless, yet I am aware of the continuous growth of creation.
What do you believe about God?