teaching that G-d is a god of limitation and human attributes is one
of the most devastating to the human psyche. Yet, religion has
continued to perpetuate this image of G-d even though all evidence
gives us proof that this is a man-made image that has not benefited
mankind to any great degree. I am saddened whenever I come
across well-intentioned, sincere people who have accepted this belief
and all too often attempt to convince others that this is the truth of
G-d. Their god is much like a puppet-master who controls our
lives rather than the G-d of ever-lasting love that has gifted us with
the ability to choose and in so doing experience the consequences of
our choices. Their god will heal us of all manner of disease and
the consequences of bad choices if we will just live the
"righteous" life ... that is righteous according to their
ideas of morality and right and wrong (dogma).
We can read these words of wisdom from the Apostle Paul in the
ancient scriptures in 1 Corinthians 13:11 ... "When
I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as
a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things."
Amazingly enough these are words from a man who fostered man-made
religious dogma still considered relevant in many Christian theologies
and churches today. Dogma that is self-defeating in so many
ways. Yet, it is a statement to be remembered as we contemplate
what it means to be an "image of G-d" especially when this
image may be totally devoid of religious reasoning.
I found these words about how Judaism defines G-d to be interesting
and worthy of contemplation; the author is Rabbi Amy Scheinerman as
posted on Reform Judaism: "Our
tradition reflects the view that humans are created in the image of
God. Many interpretations have been proffered to explain this
notion, including that humans have a capacity for morality and
gratitude, unlike other animals, that they have an insight into the
world that is unlike other species and closer to God's, and that they
have a sense of self and relationship which is God-like.
Tradition holds that humans have free will, meaning that they choose
their own actions. This entails great responsibility.
teaches that within each person is a Yetzer Tov (inclination to do
good) and a Yetzer Ra (inclination to do evil). At all times, we
are aware of the correct course of action as well as tempted by the
wrong course of action. These struggle within us, as we struggle
to make the correct behavioral decisions. Judaism does not
promulgate dogma about God, but does limit legitimate Jewish belief to
say that there is only ONE God, and that God is incorporeal.
Throughout the ages, may scholars, sages, and philosophers have shared
a wide variety of ideas about God, all of which are legitimate by
Jewish standards. As for the relationship between God and the
individual, it is one spoken of by metaphor: king/subject,
parent/child, shepherd/sheep, lover/beloved, and so on. Each
individual's relationship with God is unique and deeply
we accept as truth that G-d is the Source of all Creation but not a
"creator" of our life experiences, it becomes even more
important to realize what it means to be "made in the image and
likeness of G-d." Do we see ourselves as the
"creator" of our life experiences or merely a human that is
susceptible to all manner of worldly effects; i.e. disease,
loneliness, poverty, failure and depression? We create this
image of ourselves whatever it may be. It is within our power to
create strength, health, happiness, prosperity, joy and success.
But, we must win the struggle against the inclination to "think
evil" ... that is to think that all those things that diminish
life are possible for us. Our reality is that we are living to
either the belief that we are of the "likeness of G-d" or we
are not. This "likeness" being the intelligence to
choose those things that reflect an "image of G-d" within us
that is powerful in its ability to experience the wonderful life of
health and happiness and joy and peace and love and success and
prosperity in all things that concern us ... and this is the
"image of G-d" we must see in the mirror of our mind each
and every time we see our think about who and what we are.
SO IT IS!
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