What we call God

A couple of days ago, I tweeted this:

Wish the atheists would notice that we don’t believe in that God, either.

Several folks retweeted that, but a few atheists replied, suggesting that it didn’t matter which god I don’t believe in. What matters is that I believe in some god, and so I’m silly. (That’s my approximation of what they were telling me.)

I had pretty long twitter conversation with one person, @straggleyway, who wanted to understand what I meant when I tried to say I really don’t have a definition of God that I believe in. So, I’ve been thinking about it…

I’m really moved by this quote from Temporary Autonomous Zones by Hakim Bey. As weird as it is, this is the kind of Christian I am.

Everything in nature is perfectly real including consciousness, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Not only have the chains of the Law been broken, they never existed; demons never guarded the stars, the Empire never got started, Eros never grew a beard.

No, listen, what happened was this: they lied to you, sold you ideas of good & evil, gave you distrust of your body & shame for your prophethood of chaos, invented words of disgust for your molecular love, mesmerized you with inattention, bored you with civilization & all its usurious emotions.

There is no becoming, no revolution, no struggle, no path; already you’re the monarch of your own skin—your inviolable freedom waits to be completed only by the love of other monarchs: a politics of dream, urgent as the blueness of sky.

Actually, I left off a part that came right before this one, because in the first sentence, he uses the word “god,” which might make it read a little differently… Here’s the earlier bit:

Chaos comes before all principles of order & entropy, it’s neither a god nor a maggot, its idiotic desires encompass & define every possible choreography, all meaningless aethers & phlogistons: its masks are crystallizations of its own facelessness, like clouds.

Chaos. That’s the thing that I call “God”. And when Bey says “it’s neither a god nor a maggot,” that makes perfect sense to me. What I call God is something much bigger than any “god”.

It’s a word I have very mixed feelings about, because of that. We—humans—have used the word “god” (or “God”) for limited beings for as long as we’ve been around. And a few mystics all along have insisted that God isn’t limited…

So, while there’s tension there, I do use the word God for something Bey calls Chaos, something I once called “the Universe” (before that started seeming too small, and words like “omniverse” started seeming more appropriate, and then words seemed to fail completely, leading me back to “God”).

It kinda looks to me like ideas of godness improve when they’re criticized. That is, we come up wtih ideas we like better. That’s really all I got. No certainty, no propositions, no definition. Just the smell of grace around me, an awareness of love, and how it draws me.

Whether you consider yourself a person of faith, a “believer”, an atheist, or whatever, I’m curious. What’s “God” mean to you?