Word on the street has it that a whole bunch of folks are just dying to find out what I believe in. A Jew, a Buddhist, a Zen practitioner who seems excessively fond of quoting both Jesus and Mohammed, a praiser of the Bhagavad Gita…  Well, the answer is just this simple (ready?): I believe in the living G-d who not only created all but actually is all–me, the snow on the street outside my window, the spaces between computer keys, my wife Bobbie’s love of family, the family’s love of Bobbie, Stalin’s toilet paper holder, the last time the Hartford Chiefs played class A baseball at Bulkeley Stadium, the reason Anna Nicole Smith led the life she led–even the idea that there is no G-d–and anything and everything else I or you can or cannot put into words.  I do not believe that G-d drew back to leave space for G-d’s (no personal pronouns when I speak of G-d. No anthropomorphism here.) creations. It’s all one. It’s all G-d.

Is it workin’ for ya?

This is my belief, and while beliefs aren’t subject to proof, there may be something to be gained–a kind of validation, which, of course, you wouldn’t need if you REALLYby believed–by measuring them against a standard of utility.  Sometimes the usefulness of a belief is obvious.  If I believe–even in a jaundiced, limited way–that the tv weather prediction is correct and dress accordingly, it will usually leave me better protected against the elements than should I not. If I believe that carrying an umbrella will in fact prevent the rain from falling–as opposed to only falling on me– I’m on slippery ground.

The Mad Hatter Principle

So, is my belief in G-d at all useful? Damned right it is! But before I get into that, this is the time to expand a bit on just what it is that I understand as G-d. This, by the way, is the privilege of the writer. Remember the Mad Hatter: “When I use a word, it means what I want it to mean.”G-d as described in the Abrahamic religions–for me–gets complicated, messy and confusing. All the good versus evil stuff. The shoulds and shalts versus the better nots and flat-out don’ts make me uneasy when I look at the world. I get twisted around Lucifer, the angel who became the devil and clever enough to con G-d into impoverishing, torturing and killing the children of his sincereworshiper, Job. This is neither omniscience nor love in my human understanding of such things. It also sticks me with the ancillary belief in free will: G-d saying, “Hey, it’s your ball. Run with it, but remember: it’s actually my ball, my rules; I’m ref and there is no video replay challenge.” And then there’s the question of tsunamis: do they have free will? I know there are those who’ve attempted to reconcile these things, but what they’re selling I’m not buying.

Back to utility. There is an article in a recent NY Times Sunday Magazine describing science’s probe not into G-d but rather why I and others believe in G-d. The idea is broached that such a belief might make evolutionary sense if it actually had some relevance to survival. Now keep in mind that survival to science means no more than staying alive for as long as possible and, while doing so, having babies. Other concepts, like quality of survival, are ignored in this article but are of great significance to those of us actually involved in surviving. [The idea that science at this moment doesn’t even acknowledge existence, let alone survival, on the spiritual realm (what the Kabbalists call the 99% world) will be the subject of a later diatribe.] To my recall the writer concludes that there is no survival value in believing in the existence of G-d.

The “wait-a-minute’ moment

Not involved in survival?! Feh! It is patently obvious and unmistakably clear that my belief in G-d–whether expressed in terms of the powerful Father, the loving Son or the impersonal, interdependent, co-arising ever-changing universe, is about not just survival but survival in the most successful, glorious and (dare I say it?) blessed way possible.

It’s like this: My belief is that I was intended whether my biological parents intended me or not. (Yes, family members who might be reading this, I know full well that I was indeed intended by John and Frieda and dearly welcomed at that!) I am an integral part of this totality. The totality is designed for me to be a part of it. In fact it would be a significantly different place without me. All I could possibly need is here and available.  Now that’s love! 

This belief is what sustains and encourages me when I don’t feel loved and connected to others, am between paychecks, while walking alone through dimly lit garbage-strewn streets at 3 a.m. without benefit of weaponry or bodyguards or even when I’m lying in the street after being run down by a car. The 23rd Psalm in action.

My belief in G-d reduces stress on biological, psychological, social and spiritual levels. It leaves me feeling like the boss’ beloved, protected and well-prepared-for-the-task-at-hand son in the midst of an ever-new and challenging and satisfying job. Always in just a bit over my head, surely,  while surrounded by teachers, resources, competitors, compatriots, friends, enemies and bystanders. Ready, willing and able to take chances. Not guaranteed success and at the very same time protected from any real failure.

How can I beat it? The intoxicating combination of joy and fear, like a first date or standing in line for your turn on the rollercoaster or warming up before the big game or–and I can only imagine this one–rushing to the hospital to be delivered of twins. My belief in G-d is my reality. What’s yours?

Published in: on March 17, 2007 at 5:40 pm  Comments (4)