Our thesis in the previous essay (#113 “Transcendence”) was that nations and individuals are choosing self-destructive behaviors or “paths.” Nothing influences those choices more than theology which is the science or study of God. Virtually everyone has their opinion about God either about what God is or is not.
Atheist: There is no god.
Polytheist: There are many gods.
Monotheist: There is one god.
Agnostic: I don’t know if there is a god or not.
Mystic: There is only god.
Whatever our opinion about God there is one irrefutable reality. No institution has been responsible historically or even today for as much murder and mayhem as religion and beliefs about God are central to the behavior of the religious.
For all of us, whether religious or not, God exists in a context, our personal narrative. Nations all have dominant narratives also. The American story about religion did not begin well. For example, a dominant story relating to the identity of God and the fate of colonists 200 years ago included Calvinism and the doctrine of predestination, the depravity of mankind and damnation for the majority of humanity to torture forever in Hell. “Even newborn infants were not exempt but fried with the rest, that their punishment might show forth God’s glory. The number of the ‘elect’ [those predestined for salvation] was so negligible that their state, however blissful, scarcely merited consideration. It was not a comfortable doctrine.” (1)
Remnants of Puritan theology live deep within the American collective unconscious especially in our fundamentalist sects. How could we rewrite the American narrative to escape the toxic influences of the old theology? Click on the link below to begin removing the delusions of that “ole’ time religion.”
Insight # 114: God is being itself, not a being. —Paul Tillich
- God in this blog and in print in The ABC’s of Simple Reality: The Encyclopedia of Self-Transformation, Vol I (2018), page 205-220, by Roy Charles Henry.
- Current Event #113
- Bacon, Martha. “Miss Beecher in Hell.” American Heritage. December 1962, page 29.