I read with great interest of Jimmy Carter’s decision to “Lose his Religion.” Frankly, I agree that losing one’s religion is the first step to true spiritual freedom. Religion is primarily an invention of men to control others. As a positive organizing force it has had its ups and downs.
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, who was not a member of any church or sect. I did not return to Jesus to please anyone, to fit in, to avoid eternal damnation or to make myself better than others. I came back to Christ after many years as a non-believer, as a result of repeated encounters with a loving God, to whom I want to be closer.
My gnosis with God, who has no religion, does NOT include identifying those who are, or are not, going to heaven. Nor is it about determining who are bigger sinners than me or the endorsing of hateful political practices. God speaks to me through the beauty of nature and the majesty of how we are all connected. God urges me on in the loving acceptance of what I cannot understand, namely the inner workings of others. No one’s perfect.
And Yet, the Bible and other ancient texts, tell a magnificent story of His creation and profound influence on the evolution of human enlightenment, a story which is too astounding to ignore. So I don’t. It is a story that speaks to me.
The only thing “nonbelievers” are missing is an active imagination, the ability to have experiences beyond their five senses. Some people call this “having an open mind.” Even the belief in nothing is a belief. Some feel they are called to serve God. Some feel they are called to serve science or art or pizza. Some, like myself, see no contradiction in the myriad of human thought and imagination. Quantum physics theorizes that we are all connected, in ways most of us will never comprehend. My art points me in a similar direction, as does my relationship with God.
It’s actually pretty simple. Since no one can actually know or prove some all-encompassing truth of how this universe, in all it’s vast complexity, really works, any attempt at asserting what is true is a willful act of the imagination. If what another imagines does not resonate with us, we label them as delusional or a heretic. They have failed to “capture” our imagination; we remain unconvinced. If we, on the other hand, agree with their imaginings we call them enlightened. Their story makes sense; it appeals to us. We then accept it as truth.
For me, the story of Jesus resonates. I feel a calling to do whatever I can to be closer to God, to give up my will in service of His. The world makes a lot more sense to me now and I am a lot more joyful, knowing I’m connecting to something much larger than my puny little self. He sparks my imagination and that makes me happy.