My friends: Back at my computer after a few weeks of travel, I find that a reader liked this blog post from March 23, 2012. Seven and a half years later it still rings true. So for those who haven’t delved that deeply into my archives, here it is again. Enjoy. I’ll be back with more news soon.
How can human beings possibly know the nature of God? We can’t, of course. Yet ever since our species realized we were alive and part of a vast living Mystery, we’ve been trying. And whether we’re religious or not, most of us have some ideas about this Mystery. It seems to me we look at God from three major perspectives.
Objective Facts: Using mathematics and tools like X-rays, electrocardiograms, telescopes and microscopes, Science looks for factual information about the mysterious origins, forces, and laws of physical life.
Abstract Theories: Religion interprets the Mystery of life in words, theories, symbols, scriptures, and stories about enlightened spirit persons whose wisdom, compassion, and passion for social justice bring healing and hope.
Personal Truths: Psychology encourages us to explore the mysterious workings of our hearts and minds for insights that bring awe, compassion, and self-knowledge, and to express our experience of the Sacred in creative ways that reflect our individuality.
Until very recently these three perspectives were sharply separated. Scientific investigations took place in laboratories, religious ones in places of worship, and psychological ones in consulting rooms, art studios, and asylums. Moreover, since the invention of alphabets, the viewpoints of religions have predominately shaped humanity’s God-images.
But this is changing. The universal access to information that technology brings is closing the gaps, and our differing perspectives no longer totally separate us from ourselves, each other, or God. In fact, they are merging into a deeper, more unifying vision. This is deeply disturbing to those who prefer separation to connection, simplicity to paradox, and certitude to dialogue.
However, those who seek truth and understanding find it refreshing and inspiring. Why? Because the newest insights and discoveries from science, religion and psychology confirm the same intuition that spirit persons from every place and time have always shared: that a primary characteristic of the sacred Mystery is Unity in Multiplicity.
Consider the myriad forms of life on our planet. Each has a separate reality of its own yet all live together in one giant, inter-connected home. Look at the variety of religions that have sprung up over the millennia. Despite cultural differences they all speak the same language of love, compassion, tolerance, and the sanctity of life. Look at different individuals. No two are exactly alike, yet we all share the same matter, physiological systems, instinctual drives, and archetypal inheritance. And all our parts work together to help our bodies and species thrive.
Three perspectives; one Mystery. A Holy Trinity as it were. Unity in Multiplicity.
I can think of nothing more sacred than the miracle of life. Without it there would be no science, religion, or psychology. No miracles, healing, or compassion. No people with ideas about God. No God. If the nature of God is expressed in Unity in Multiplicity and we are each living, breathing participants in that Unity, then we are in God and God is in us.
How would your life be different if you held this image of God in your mind as you went through each day? How would the world be different if humanity shared this God-image?
The Wilbur Award is given by the Religion Communicators Council for excellence in communicating religious faith and values in the public arena and for encouraging understanding among faith groups on a national level.