When we talk about God we are giving a name to our awareness of the great unknown that underlies the creation and progression of all of reality. Being aware that there must be some kind of ultimate truth prompts humans to create religious systems that attempt to describe in detail the nature, actions, and requirements of God. However, most of what the word “God” must represent lies beyond our human capacity to understand, much less describe. This means that religions must be recognized as human institutions created by human minds in efforts to help guide and influence human behavior.
However, just because humans attempt to do an impossible task does not mean that task is not worth the effort. Whatever we learn through our scientific, philosophic, and religious efforts must, inevitably, bend toward the truth of ultimate reality or none of our conclusions would lead to meaningful outcomes. Gradually, humans have come to many accurate conclusions about life and the nature of our universe, and have made significant progress over the ages.
However, it is important to remember that what we know of what is true, whether scientific or spiritual, is gradually discovered from a common sharing of personal experiences. Scientific knowledge, for example, comes from shared results of independent investigations, unfettered by personal bias. This is true even though scientists’ personal biases (hypotheses) are often the catalyst for initiating specific scientific investigations. However, scientists accept the final objective conclusions of their studies because when observed results are verified as true, that tells them that all other explanations are fantasy. Truth is always what it demonstrates itself to be.
Likewise, spiritual knowledge and faith come from an honest and open personal searching unrestricted by religious doctrine. Still, that does not mean that religious dogma cannot be instructive and useful in facilitating personal spirituality. However, developing an inner, private sense of the spiritual is always more important than surrendering to institutional pressures to profess beliefs in specific religious doctrines. Those who seek truth from the depths of their own being tend to be in greater harmony with everyone else than those committed to believing specific religious teachings. Even Jesus taught that life is more important than doctrine.
So, if sacred books and religious institutions are man-made and thereby limited and biased, how can we most directly and naturally experience God, the Infinite to which they all refer? One possibility is through a basic understanding of the statement, “God is love.” Similar to the word “God,” the word “love” is nearly impossible to define. Yet, when love is in our midst we are usually aware of it and recognize it as it touches our hearts and minds. The statement, “God is love” seems to make obvious sense and when thought or spoken it can change our attitude, even in the face of evil.
Perhaps within the deepest meanings of God and love, brought together, we are provided a doorway whereby we can experience pure spiritual truth while still fully aware of our immediate physical reality. This seems true to me based on experiences I have had. So, until I understand God and love with even greater clarity, I will assume that whenever anyone brings an attitude of love into any human encounter that, that creates a moment for everyone there to experience God’s presence and influence. If the statement, “God is love,” means anything, it means that; when God, faith, and reality merge into full human awareness.