Why “God” Is Such an Important Word
Probably the simplest, most difficult, complicated, controversial, and important concept in spirituality–and I’d probably say reality–is God.
Sometimes it doesn’t feel right to even talk about God. Who are we to talk about God? Who am I to talk about God?
If I’m being more honest and vulnerable–I guess in a moment like you ask God to talk through you–we could see that the reality of God is the most important phenomenon, the most important expression for humanity and for our survival.
Revelations about God
In Judaism, there’s a story about a man named Abraham who had a revelation that there was a Creator of the Universe. This Creator cared about the universe and particularly cared about every individual human.
Imagine being Abraham, having that Revelation and that Truth. Imagine having the experience of God at a time where people didn’t think about God in that way.
People thought about local gods; the god of the wind, the god of this, and the god of that…not about the Creator of the Universe–one that cared about people.
Imagine you had kids, brothers, sisters, friends, and you knew this was truer than anything you ever knew. Imagine how important it would be for you to want to transmit that to your kids, family, and community–you just got to share there’s a God.
Origins of Religion
When we think about it that way, to me, it becomes very obvious how religion started.
How do I encode this and make sure my kids know and their kids know?
I’m gonna write a song or story about it. Let me write a prayer or make sure I write it down. I’ll create a dance. I got to make sure that we all know that we’re here for a reason and that we’re scared about. It’s also our job to care about each other.
Martin Buber is a famous philosopher and Jewish thinker who passed away a long time ago. In his book, Eclipse of God, he talks about the importance of not abandoning the word “God”.
He didn’t talk about whether God exists or not because he’s probably too smart to talk about whether God exists–unlike me.
But he says, we must not abandon the word because you can’t find a word like it. He says, in the inner treasure chamber of the smartest philosophers with the most crystalline, pure, pristine, diamond, shining ideas, you will never find a word like God.
It’s a word that’s been consecrated on many tongues for all time. A word that represents people dying and people living and people’s worst moments and people’s best moments that’s been in the mouths of men since the beginning of the beginning.
He said, “Where can you find a word like that?” I think he’s smart, he doesn’t talk about God, he talks about the word because the word points at reality.
The Shared Soul We Call “God”
It’s like a soul. Some people don’t think they have a soul. That’s weird to me. Really, you don’t think you have a soul?
Because I can feel your soul…because it’s you. You don’t think the world has a soul? What about the cosmos? What about the universe? Just us that has a soul?
You can’t see the soul in your pet dog? The pet dog has a soul and you have a soul, but the world doesn’t have a soul?
We all don’t have a shared soul that we call God? A source that cares, that’s deep, that’s transformative, loves, knows that order will conquer chaos, love will conquer evil, and that this whole drama that we all live in is actually about something?
You don’t think so?
That’s HaShem which in Hebrew translates, Ha just means The, and Shem means Name. There is no name, it’s just The Name.
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