You’re probably wondering, doesn’t he mean “In the beginning”? Actually no, he doesn’t.
And you’ve probably heard the old adage, don’t discuss politics or religion. This is going to be one down one to go. Let’s start with religion.
I consider myself very spiritual, and I consider myself a Christian, just not very religious. To me, religion is an organized set of rules defined by men to govern how people who support that religion should live and act. To me, that sounds more like a club, not necessarily a connection to a higher power. Notice that I said, “people who support that religion”. One of my problems with religion is that sometimes people who support a religion expect everyone to support that religion. In some areas of the world or in some interpretations of a particular religion, the penalty for not following those rules is death.
I guess I should consider myself fortunate that I was raised in a time and a place where doubt or even disagreement with the predominant religion of your location did not render you headless. My family belonged to the United Methodist church in our town until about my eighth grade year. I refused to walk down front with all the other kids my age when it “was time to join the church” (5th or 6th grade). I simply wasn’t convinced that it was something I believed yet.
Since my mother was raised as a Presbyterian, in my 8th grade year my parents joined with about six other couples in starting a Presbyterian Church in town. I did get actively involved in that all through high school.
In Sunday School, the gentleman who taught our class had a great belief in teaching us about other religions. As a result, we made many trips to different churches all throughout the area: a Jewish synagogue, the Catholic church, the Methodist Church, the Lutheran Church, the Episcopal church and we went to a Quaker Meeting. And then we would discuss everything we saw and heard.
In college I went through the typical agnostic period that so many of us do, I’m sure. But that never stopped me from inquiring about other religions and what other people believed. In fact, after God reached out to me and brought me back many years later, I continued the trend of exploring other religions. When the Jehovah’s Witnesses came, I invited them in and visited their church. When the Mormons came, they came every Tuesday night for about 4 months. They brought videos, we talked and they left me a Book of Mormon. I went to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints once. For those of you who don’t know, they’re the Mormons.
I went to the Unitarian Universalist church for about 6 months until I realized that whatever you believed, they believed.
And I have a strong logical bent, being a Chemistry major for the first half of my college years, so things have to make sense to me too. My Spiritual Faith, in large measure, is based on science, as I’ll explain shortly.
Add to all that my list of some of my favorite spiritual writers:
- Neale Donald Walsh, author of the Conversations with God series.
- Bart Ehrman, a leading scholar in religious studies.
- Reza Aslan, probably best known for his book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.
- John Dominic Crossan, is a major scholar in historical Jesus research.
- Paramahansa Yogananda, was an Indian yogi and guru who brought meditation through his writings, but particularly Autobiography of a Yogi, to the western world.
So, with all that background, I will now attempt to explain the title because it probably comes closest, with some explanation, to forming the basis of my accumulated beliefs. You don’t have to believe anything I say or believe; I simply reserve the right to believe it, as you have the right to believe what you wish.
However, you do not have the right to impose your beliefs on me or anyone else, or bring harm to anyone because they do not share your beliefs.
What I Believe and Why
The Big Bang Theory suggests that the Universe (Everything, with a capital “E”) is expanding from one microscopically small central origin point that roughly 13.8 billion years ago exploded giving rise to all matter and energy.
Note that number, 13.8 billion years. It’s Time and while humanity measures time, God is eternal, so He (I’ll stick with the grammatical convention of referring to God as masculine here, although God is simply Spirit.) has always existed. When we say “before” something, we’re referring to Time but God existed before Time.
Walsh, in Conversations with God suggests a more faith-based telling of that origin that makes sense to me when compared with the Big Bang Theory.
God, as Spirit, had no way of identifying Himself, nothing to compare Himself with. Spirit was and is everywhere. Personally, I define God as Love and the Energy of Love is everywhere.
Einstein also taught us that energy and matter are related. Quantum physics is changing and confirming Einstein’s theories and shows that particles can be connected across great distances (like the Universe). Don’t get wrapped up in the scientific details here. My only point, as it pertains to this is, that we are all connected to God all the time because we contain the same spirit as God.
Back to the Big Bang. God decided at some point to focus all (or some or most?) of His Energy at one focal point until it exploded, yielding matter and energy flying all around. Over time, this expanding Universe created galaxies, stars, planets, etc.
This is all well and good, but so far there was nothing animated about what God created. Whether through evolution or God becoming bored with rocks and fire, when it was time, the spark of life came forward and created mankind, in His own image, the Spirit of God.
When I was a kid, I wondered how God could hear all of our prayers and know what we all wanted. I know now that God is in all life, all inanimate objects, everywhere, all the time. And if we recognize that and block out all the distractions and listen for that still small voice, whether it’s a voice or not, we can recognize it because it’s part of us and we are part of God.
The God that existed before the Big Bang.
In another post, I’ll elaborate on how this affects Christianity, in my view.