Given that the world was meant to end last week and we are all looking forward to the end of the Mayan Calendar next year I thought I’d repost an old entry that hasn’t been up on One Small World yet. Enjoy…
‘I want to begin by saying that I am not religious, nor have I ever been religious. I don’t hate religion but I have always considered the Western religions to be pock-holed with hypocrisy, protected by defensive logic and the great purveyor of intolerance. Many people’s faith is true but it seems to me that far too many involved in the machine of God use the institutionalised power to abuse and control.
But recently I received a book that had God in it, recommended into my hands by someone much more intellectually respectable than I. And it was a God I’ve caught myself listening to.
Fear not, I’m not out to convert. Let me explain.
Conversations with God, by Neale Donald Walsch made an impression on me for several reasons:
- Any man willing to offer a wholesale rewrite of the Bible – to not only undermine the entire Christian religion but to have God dictate the whole thing – and yet still not come across as a zealot or a crackpot, I think deserves a moment of attention. If only because of the sheer novelty.
- Most people without a specific religion will have wondered which – if any – is the right one? Conversations with God says that none and all of them are. It takes the best of a lot of religions, both east and west, and defines a way to live that is positive and without strictures and punishments. A universe without Hell and one with endless possibility.
- And finally, it poses a God that does not ask to be believed in; that couldn’t care less what each of us are doing.
I would once have considered myself of scientific mindset – skeptical to a fault – but I have always been one to let children have their Santa, the Scots their monsters, intelligent people their fairies and believers their gods – so long as their belief-system hurts nobody but themselves.
But Conversations with God presents an empowering Christian God that not only fuses the best of east and west philosophy, but offers actual advice on how to better oneself, and explicitly states that there is no such thing as the 10 Commandments. All this in a book in which God claims co-authorship alongside a devout Christian – that alone makes it worth a look.
It can be read as the ‘Pimp My Ride’ version of the bible – God is happy to let you have cash, bling, and hookers knowing full well that you will outgrow them – just like the ridiculous spoiler on the back of your pimped-up car. You will lead (or mis-lead) as many lives as you need in order to ‘find your own perfection’.
But wrapped up in this New-Age God’s sermonising is an accessible message, one that most people are familiar with but that is glaringly absent from the teachings of Western religions: You are in control of your life, you have the power to change anything. The church is a mismanaged hoax, fear and cowardice are your only enemies and not even God himself can lead you to heaven. It’s all about you and you alone.
Think: ‘The Secret’ if God had written it.
So I would recommend Conversations with God, particularly if you are a little lost in life, as I was when it came into my hands. Refreshingly, it is a religious book that isn’t out to save you, but it might have you wishing that if there were a God, that it could be this one.
Not that He would care you thought so.
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