I was talking to somebody to a fellow teacher the other day when faith popped up in our conversation. I love these types of conversations because I get to see where people stand and I always love watching how people react to Christian theology. This person I was talking with was so excited to tell me about her spiritual revelation she had several weeks ago. Through the course of the discussion I realized that while we were both talking about God, we had strikingly different definitions of Him (using this pronoun actually reveals my viewpoint and I’m not even sexist). I learned a great many things in this talk and I’m quite astounded.
Have you heard of The Secret? That’s a stupid question. I should apologize because if it were a secret than nobody would know about it. Anyways, one idea that this movement propagates is that God is not some super being doggy paddling around the universe but rather a common collective of everybody here on Earth. I don’t know what the big secret is but this isn’t anything new. This sort of idea has been around for thousands of years. Anyways, followers of this belief think that if everybody on the planet committed to being completely good then we would all have completely satisfied lives. This sounds nice to me…being satisfied.
So everyone is good? Or at least capable of good? Then why are people running around blowing things and other people up? Why are old men stalking female hikers and killing them? I understand people trying to better themselves but where is the baseline for good when there seems to be so much evil in the world?
If this were all a joke I would say get ready for the punchline. But it isn’t a joke. The woman I was conversing with proceeded to tell me that her church taught that evil doesn’t exist because everyone, in his or her own mind, is creating something which is good because when God (being or collective? I didn’t ask) created the universe and everything in it he called it good. It seems to me that this bit of scripture has been manipulated. This logic really does seem backwards to me. Terrorists are creating (explosions, bombs, propaganda) rather than destroying (people, technology, environments). I fail to see the connection.
Well then, if evil doesn’t exist and good comes from everybody committing various levels of goodness (I’m using the term lightly at this point), what is the baseline? What standard does this common collective draw from to formulate some sense of…goodness? The answer is simple (I suppose). If everybody takes what he or she likes from the religions he or she finds appealing then truth and goodness rise to the surface. So take the creations story and Jesus from the Bible, the Buddha, Mohammad, L. Ron Hubbard (so we can use computers), and live happily ever after. This sounds like an ingenious plan, but again I struggle with the logic.
Let’s say that my religion is family. There are all sorts of family values out there for me to choose from. So I’ll make marriage part of my religion and go select a few women to play the role of wife. I’ll have a few kids from these women and then I will take the girls as more wives for me–marriage is healthy right? The more the merrier (marrier?–bad pun). Well then I confess to my wives that I was previously married and had a child from that previous marriage. So my wives tell me that they want that child. Children are good and pure. So I sneak into my ex-wife’s house, steal the baby and bring him home. Now we are a happy little family. Right?
I don’t think so. If this had any element of goodness would polygamy be such a big deal on the news right now? What about that mother that loses her child because somebody else thinks that he deserves it? How does this become good? Why would I want to believe in a God that could potentially be evil or contradictory? Many would argue that Christianity encompasses all of these things. I’ll talk about that eventually. As for this big secret, I’m not sure it’s so hot.