THE PROBLEM OF “G_D”
categories are useful
When I first saved this post in my word processor, it wanted to title the document “The Problem Of ___”. Well put. I love it when my computer and I are One.
I say that I’m Buddhist. But I love “G_d”. The problem of “G_d” is that “god” has become a generic term.
(Disclaimer: this post questions irreverence. It does not intend to alienate or offend anyone, so if you find it misses its mark, please let me know, and I will do my best to correct or clarify. My wish is simply to speak plainly about a topic that seems to generate much confusion.)
I have a wonderful blogging buddy, Melody, and she’s been writing some incredibly powerful posts about issues she’s had revolving about an entity she calls “god”. One of her posts inspired me to try to put some words around a phenomenon that I imagine many of us have noticed if we’ve tried to discuss religion: The word that is spelled “g_o_d”.
Over the years, in my spiritual explorations, I’ve gathered many impressions of possible definitions of the word “god” or “God”. I’m talking about a word at this point, not an entity, force, deity, etc… just a word.
This word wields particular power; yet it seems to have many meanings. Misunderstandings over the intentions behind the word’s meaning sometimes escalate tragically before the parties involved have even checked to see if they agree about the definition of the word itself.
“We” think it might be helpful to draft a list of more specific designations. Check out the results at dictionary.com and Wikipedia; I’m going to borrow from Wikipedia. I don’t wish to imply hierarchy, so I’ll use colors, and just start at the top of the Wikipedia page, with my (completely subjective) favorite color. Quite apt, since “they” are all connected, and the color wheel depicts a spectrum, a cycle…
God Blue: A singular deity in theistic and deistic religions.
God Indigo: The supernatural creator and overseer of the universe. Attributes: omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, omnibenevolence, divine simplicity, eternal and necessary existence.
God Violet: An immaterial, personal being, the source of all moral obligation, and the “greatest conceivable existent”.
God Purple: Greek Theos.
God Fuschia: When used in English within a community with a common monotheistic background, “God” always refers to the deity they share.
God Crimson: YHWH (LORD) (Judaism)… Beyond expression…
God Carmine: Krishna-Vasudeva/Vishnu/Hari
God Red-Orange: Aboriginal Achaman
God Orange: The being designated by the name Jesus in the Bible
God Yellow-Orange: The names of G_d in the Qur’an… beyond expression…
God Yellow: The thousand names of Hindu gods
God Chartreuse: The titles and names of Krishna
God Green: The Elohim (masculine plural.. as well as pagan deities…)
God Aqua: Lesser divinities recognized by historical Buddha
God Blue: Phenomenological God (yes, that’s Blue again…)
You can dig deeper into Wikipedia’s links and find even more… And that’s just one source of information.
No wonder discord arises, when, over centuries, a single term has been used to designate such profound, complex, and personal experiences from the heart of humankind.
I begin to wonder if one of my attractions to Buddhism is the variety of deities, understood according to quality:
Green Tara: Fixes things like magic.
White Tara: Stops death.
Vajrapani: Run for cover.
Heruka Chakrasamvara: Brace yourself, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride…
Shakyamuni: All Chill…
Lhamo Dorje: New Kid On The Block
When you say “god”, unless you’re within a familiar circle, you have no idea at what point, with what word, you’re likely to offend.
If, when you say “god”, you’re talking about:
Nature of Reality
Origin of All That Is
And so on…
Then you’re talking about my Enlightened Beings. And when I say “Enlightened Beings”, then I’m talking about your god.
So what do you think about categories of “god”?