Personal and Impersonal Gods

I have the amazing and glorious privilege of living in a society which openly allows for multiple religions. I know people who revere pretty much any god/God/Goddess/goddess you’ve ever heard of. Personally, I like it. I love it, in fact. In a discussion tonight, I finally recognized something about myself. I wanted to explore it a bit before heading off to sleep.

My husband adheres to the Nordic pantheon, while I am a universalist. He really does not “get” the universalist approach. Tonight he said he thought it sucked all the divinity out of the divine, watering it down so completely as to render it utterly pointless. Useless. Without power.

In that moment, I realized that much of my recent spiritual pursuits and frustrations were in response to this; that I was thinking that my own approach was lesser because it didn’t match his approach. He said that statement above and I realized, the reverse was true for me. The smaller and more individualistic the divine becomes, the less grand, awe inspiring and powerful it becomes to me. I don’t need my concept of the divine to have a face, a personality, or even any inkling at all that I exist. I don’t need my concept of the divine to hold my hand as I go through life. I don’t need to make sacrifices or supplications in order to appease some external power in order to feel that I have some control over my life. I don’t need a parental figure promising rewards and punishments for approved of behavior.

There are those who do need pieces of these things, for all kinds of reasons. And that’s FINE. Really.  Until … well, until my needs are pushed aside while others demand I accept their needs AS mine. That’s not acceptable. At all.

In short, my path is mine. And it’s fine. His path is his. And that’s fine too. He will develop the relationship with divine that he needs in order to get whatever it is he needs. Just as I have developed the relationship that I need. Trying to change my own relationship in order to fit someone else’s concept of ‘workable’ will just cheat me. Not him.

I don’t NEED the divine to be anything but what I have come to understand. And I also recognize that my way won’t work for others, and that’s ok too. I have no interest in attempting to convince anyone that my way is right, because I also see that truth is relative.

I had a friend who went to the dentist, and while trapped in the chair the hygienist was talking about a very literalist interpretation of the bible. Now my friend is a geologist and an archeologist as well as a Mason, so she’s very NOT a literalist. I started to imagine how I might respond in this scenario. In my mental replaying of the scene starring me, I found myself saying “I’m sorry” to which the reply was “why?” I said, “because that makes the divine so tiny and small. Limited and unimaginative, set and stagnant. And that tells me what you need of your concept of the divine. While I can understand that, it still makes me sad. So, I’m sorry” and then I walk out because the response to THAT statement is never a good one.

I like living where there are so many different religions and spiritual approaches because it gives me permission to breath, to say “I don’t need your path, I have mine. May your path always be an inspiration and a comfort to you.”