If God is universal energy, permeating the cosmos and all human beings, then everything is God. I believed. Human beings are a “spark” of Divinity, a soul. Religions, and particularly “spiritual but not religious” people, dearly hold these beliefs. Why? An intimate connection between the God Source and all human beings is considered natural and self-evident. But specific explanations are rare1. Instead, we find just a collection of suggestions that convey general beliefs without bothering with specifics, such as:
Divinity can be found “within”, in the soul;
Human beings contain a divine essence, a Higher Self, a divine spark or ray;
We have an intimate Cosmic connection, we are a droplet or wave of the Cosmic Sea;
We are Channels of the universe, potentially perfect expressions of God;
Human beings connect (or disconnect) with Source through sacred rituals, prayer, and meditation.
Catholic teachers promise us faith, prayers, and sacramental rituals will save our souls– so we swallow communion wafers and confess sins to priests. Eastern Spiritual Masters say we are gods, and that the Spirit dwells within2. (Though most of us appear to be sleeping gods in need of awakening through special initiations and meditations). Modern spiritual seekers crave initiation into mindfulness and meditation practices. Is it natural or self-evident that we have a connection with universal energy, Self, or God? Specific explanations are rare indeed.
If everything is universal energy and we are already connected with that energy or God, why are we separate? Why do we need meditation or sacred initiations to reconnect with our Self? Or, to disconnect from our self? More importantly, why are human beings fallen, sinful, or in need of salvation? Specific answers are rare. Instead, we find only a collection of suggestions that convey general beliefs.
Questions for readers: Any thoughts on “I am God” beliefs? Any key points I failed to mention?
pg 204 New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought, Hanegraaff, Wouter J., State University of New York Press, 1998. Print.
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Bible, 1 Corinthians 3:16, King James Version
What Buddhism Really Says About Reincarnation
– Buddhists don’t believe in a supreme being, argues scholar Jay Garfield, Professor of Humanities, Yale-NUS College Singapore.
– Like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, Buddhism IS a religion, but not in the theistic sense.
– Buddhism is a religion without theism, or no god.
– Buddhists are more akin to Pantheists (see podcast below).
– For Buddhism, as opposed to Hinduism, a better word than reincarnation is rebirth.
– Buddhism itself doesn’t necessarily require belief in reincarnation or rebirth, though actual Buddhists probably do believe.
– Buddhism encourages us to rethink egoism and to consider an orientation to the world characterized by care and joint responsibility. That can’t be a bad thing, says Garfield.