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WITH OR WITHOUT GOD

By Barbara McDowall

I am an explorer, a seeker, a reader of a variety of metaphysical and spiritual articles and texts as well as a participant in numerous conversations.  I have found myself questioning what I have come to understand about God.  I truly appreciate the many perspectives presented to me from different faith traditions as well as the contemporary scholarship that abounds.

I find it timely that Gretta Vosper's recently published book entitled, With or Without God: Why the Way We Live is More Important than What We Believe is available. Release of the book and subsequent interviews have provided much food for thought lately.

How we live our lives is often far more important than what we say.  Through actions, it will become clear what our values are and what we hold dear.  Often what we believe tends to get in the way of an inclusive society and spirituality.  The great teachers that have come to us through time have certainly been much more about the actions than they were about the words.  To use the vernacular, actions speak louder than words and talk is cheap.  The people that really get my attention are those who walk their talk.

I have found myself faced much more with this dilemma.  I see myself as a divine being with the DNA of god and as such must approach every day seeking to bring my god self to the world.  I have the same attributes as god ~ unconditional love and forgiveness, compassion, non judgement, acceptance, peace, etc. Some days I am better at it than others.  Do I believe in a god who lives outside of me; a god up there with control over my everyday existence and that acts on emotion? Sounds quite human, actually. Or is there something much more profound going on here.  What is becoming more resonant to me is a god within me, as well as in everyone and everything around me

And if I am god and you are god and everything around me is god then the responsibility rests with me as to who I am in the world and how I respond to the world, to the god in me and the god around me.  I am responsible for my impact on others and every sentient being on the planet.  I can no longer blame and shame others including god for what happens because I recognize how integral my part is in the whole. 

I now must hold myself personally accountable for what I say, think and do.  With this realization, I am capable of much good.  However, this must be balanced out with my humanity.  This is a huge responsibility.  I am a spiritual person having a human experience and as such I will stumble and make mistakes.  However, I do know as a result, I will learn and grow. The challenge is to move beyond the acquisition of information, it is to put into practice what is learned.  This will my lifelong challenge.

Authentic Living

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