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- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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Sunday, August 25, 2019

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The Form of God

I don't doubt God. I have firm faith absolutely in God.
It's religion I'm doubting.
- Bono

How can God be so many different things to different people? How can God be a young Jewish man to some, an ancient male figure to others, and a female or an eagle or have eight arms or be formless for others? And how about having three forms simultaneously (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost)?  How can God be the incarnation of peace and love for some, while embody justice and divine retribution for others? How can God be, for some people, someone/something that intervenes in each human's life on a daily basis, while for others God is more distant and does not micromanage our lives. How about free will and/or predestination?

Of course there are many theories. The most common belief is that exactly one of these views toward God is real, while all the others are false, and often viewed as intentionally heretical falsehoods. And of course many other people believe all ideas of any "god" to be strictly human inventions.

Personally, I believe that God is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Benevolent (although that seldom means that we get what we want). Being omnipotent, God can and does appear to each of us bearing exactly the characteristics (form and message) that best serve us individually. Those who need love see love. Those who need justice see justice. Those who need a "personal" God get that. Those who need a distant beacon to mark the goal get that.

For me, this idea that God can be everything and anything to each of us drives my commitment to honor all people and to respect each of their beliefs about God.

God's Spirit moves through us and the world at a pace
that can never be constricted by any one religious paradigm. I love that.
- Bono

We must be ready to learn from one another,
not claiming that we alone possess all truth
and that somehow we have a corner on God.
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu

God has no religion.
- Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi

Religion is a blessing when, and only when,
it provides a focus for a compassionate community
to minister to its members and to the world at large.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Religion as a human phenomenon is as riddled through
with potential for both good and evil as any other phenomenon.
- Richard John Neuhaus

We can never be the better for our religion
if our neighbor is the worse for it.
- Anonymous

Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity
are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.
- Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully
as when they do it from religious conviction.
- Blaise Pascal

It is only partly true that religion does more harm than good in society.
The community makes God into the image it wants,
vengeful, or milky sweet, or scrupulously just, and so on.
- Mary Douglas

A common denominator of all religions
is that they have the power
to bring out both the best and the worst in people.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

I never considered a difference of opinion
in politics, in religion, in philosophy,
as cause for withdrawing from a friend.
- Thomas Jefferson

Further reading: Perspectives on the Nature of God

Many Religions, One Divine

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