What is God?
What a Pandora's Box of a question! There are probably as many answers as there are religious and spiritual beliefs and then some.
This post is not to start a debate. It's a rhetorical question, really.
We don't often question why we believe what we do. Sometimes it's just easier to go along with what we've always known. Especially if we have no need or reason to question it. If it resonates with us, so it goes.
I didn't really think about it or question it until faced with a crisis. I was raised Catholic. God to me was some guy in a white robe with a white beard that was simultaneously loving and yet to be feared. We sang songs about him. I liked the songs. I liked most of the stories. I enjoyed the faith community and our pretty little church. God somehow knew everything and when we died, we'd meet him. He somehow created everything but no one seemed to explain sufficiently to me where the heck HE actually came from. I wondered, if he's so good, why does he let all the bad stuff happen in the world? Seemed kinda fishy...
Other people of course have differing beliefs about their higher power(s) and what, if anything, happens when we die. He, She, they or 'it' is referred to by many names. It's always boggled my mind why, if so many people agree on some kind of higher power or being, why there is so much fighting about whose 'God' is better or right. I mean, seriously. Why does "God" want us to hurt one another or disagree so we can get glory? That never made sense to me, either.
All of my children were baptized Catholic. When my daughter died, she was given a Catholic burial mass. My eldest son received his First Communion the spring after she died. For almost a full year after she died, I threw myself into my religion and the faith I was raised with with more attention and devotion than I ever had. For the first time, I really paid attention to the words and stories. I re-learned with my son as he prepare for First Communion. I was looking for answers.
And then, one day, I was sitting at Mass and although I truly felt the presence of a loving energy, I literally stopped mid-recitation of the Profession of Faith and realized I didn't 'buy' what I was saying. It was like the proverbial light bulb going off in my head. It was always the same. Every single time, we said the same thing. Why? It never made complete sense to me. I was not speaking MY truth. I was regurgitating someone else's truth. I realized I didn't fundamentally agree with everything the Catholic church stood for or wanted me to subscribe to. I literally couldn't speak the words anymore. It wasn't my truth. For me, the doctrine had too many disparities with my own personal beliefs. For a supposedly loving and accepting place, they disapproved of who I was and the choices I'd made. If I didn't conform to their ideals, I was denied being able to truly participate in the tenets of the faith I did enjoy and believe in. Yet somehow, if I asked forgiveness, on my death bed, I'd still be allowed 'in'. WTF? I walked away. From Catholicism and from the Catholic church, because I could not lie to myself or to them about who I was. I did not denounce everything. I just knew it wasn't the right fit for me any longer.
When my younger son started asking about God and church, we read the Children's Bible together. I sought out books that helped me to explain the different beliefs out there and that no one belief was any better than another. We were all different and thus we are all entitled to our opinions and beliefs. It is my hope that when he is old enough and decides what, if any, religion he wants to subscribe to, he can fully learn and participate as he chooses.
I found a wonderful book for him and it not only resonated with me, but also with him. It is called, What is God? I think it should be required reading for everyone on this planet.
It is a wonderfully simple explanation of the different major religions and their beliefs. The ultimate message being there are commonalities and differences and we get to choose which one is best for us.
To me, "God" is not a person, it is not judgmental, it is an energy vortex of sorts. It is love and peace. God is not a person, place or thing. God is love. It is that from which we came and that to which we return. The law of energy conservation pure and simple. The 'dust to dust' part is stardust... Maybe that's why I sparkle :-)
To you, God may be something else. In the end, it doesn't matter. I do hope whatever you believe in, that is brings you peace and feels right in every way for you. I honor the Divine in you, as I hope you do in me.
It doesn't really matter what God is or is not. All that matters is what God is to you.
God is love.