Alexander P. De Filippi
Until a few years ago I was an atheist, then I became an agnostic and finally I became a believer in God, or did I? Although I have accepted the existence of a benign universal force that is everywhere and I have also become a believer in the existence of a very malign force equally powerful, I have a great deal of issues with the interpretation that all religions give of God. People have said trough the years that the devil is in the details, I can’t agree more with them, “the Devil is in the details” and religions are full of details that instead of taking people closer to God they are in fact moving people away from God or at least keep them at a distance. In fact those details are so dangerous that make many believers fanatics, and no religion is exempt of them, especially Judaism and the two religions that emerged from it, Christianity and Muslims.
I believe that God, or this benign universal force, if you don’t want to call it God, is communicating or attempting to communicate with all of us at all time, and is trying to steer us in a very constructive way. I see this benign force wanting us to be concern with our bodies, to take care of them properly, that we eat right, we don’t smoke, we drink moderately, work out, etc. Also I am of the opinion that this benign force wants us to live in peace, to make progress socially and industrially, that we take care of all of us like good people care about the rest.
By the same token I believe in this universal, evil force, that is attempting to steer us precisely in the opposite direction, to be absolutely individualistic, to live life like the atomic bomb is going to fall in the next few hours, or days, so what to care of the environment or anything by that matter but having the most fun we can regardless of the pain we cause to everybody else.
I have come to believe that religious people emphasizes so much the details that in fact they have become stern allies of devil forces; they scare people away from them; they antagonize people that were in fact getting close to them. Also they are very absorb in the idea that someone “has” to believe in God and attend to church service to be a good person. According to that version many Mafioso are good Christians and many environmentalist friendly “atheists” are evil.
What God wants? How God define when you are being good or bad, when you are walking toward the light or toward the darkness. Here we have the first and biggest problem of all, how me, or anyone, including the pope, can know God’s will? Every religious person can tell you, that God is everything, that God is everywhere, that God is bigger than the Universe, existed before and will exist after the Universe is gone. Then how any person knows His will? If God is bigger than the Universe, and we know that the Universe is massively huge, meaning the earth is to our galaxy what a grain of sand is to all the grains of sand of all beaches on the planet, and the same goes for our galaxy in its relation to all the galaxies, then how a human on this earth, can know the will, the thinking of God? Many religious people strongly believe they know the will of God to the point they can even regulate “the time we suppose to get out of our beds”.
I find offensive and terrible dangerous when religious people arrogantly assume to know the will of God to such degree. My views, considering that I can’t comprehend God’s will to that degree, takes me to guide myself using principles. For example, I believe God wants us to take care of this planet, to take care of the environment in the same way He wants us to take care of our bodies, keep it clean and healthy, do not pollute it. Nevertheless, taken care of the environment is an idea that did not come from religious people, in fact is an idea that came from the liberal atheist side back in the sixties, from the hippies movement, from them it expanded to today to everyone, in fact religious people have become environmentally friendly over the last decade. Therefore, about the environment, who was acting according to God’s will first? Religious people or precisely those that in the sixties were seen as lazy and godless? In fact even today the most radical people in protecting the environment aren’t religious, they still in the non religious side of the equation. Why this happen? How come, protecting the Earth, protecting the environment, protecting God’s creation is an issue that religious people still do not take to heart as much as the non religious? Because God is talking to “everyone”, to “everyone”, all the time, if religious people could not hear or doesn’t want to hear the message “protect the home I have given you” then He talks to others, using a different language. How many times have we have heard the phrase “God works in mysterious way”? well it is true.
Religious people believe that you have to believe in God to be in touch with God, I do not believe so, I believe that you are in touch with God’s design if you walk toward the light more often than when you walked to the darkness. I believe you are closer to God or to the benign force by your actions according to principles related to the main design than to the details specified by those people interpreting “God’s will”. The example I just gave about the environment and the “hippies” and religious people approach to it trough the decades, illustrates who was walking, in that major respect, to the light and who was walking to the darkness, today is easy to understand and accept this example, but try to explain it to religious people in the sixties, it would have been impossible, the same thing happens today about other issues.
Summarizing the point above, you are, in my modest opinion, close to God, only, no a minute before no a minute after, when you do no hurt anyone else illegitimately (*), you contribute to the welfare of the rest of the population as much as you can, you care about you health mentally and physically, and you care and protect the environment, regardless of how you classified yourselves religiously. Therefore, if a particular Buddhist person is doing more about those issues I just mentioned than a Christian, then that Buddhist is following God’s principles better than that Christian person.