If God is One, then He’d best be very big. The ‘God is One’ path can lead us right into the heart of tribalism, and it’s so tempting in its certainty and security. This is a bit scary for me. There are things I want to say that are hard to take back. I’m a bit scared to unleash my intellect on something that may dissolve under the onslaught, and to my long regret. I notice how I want to say ‘eternal regret’ and don’t. Damnation haunts the tents of the fundamentalist camps, and eternal punishment is a potent archetype.
I’m wondering if holding these strong, strongly bounded theologies is not, at bottom, a kind of spiritual tantra. Maybe not about God, what God wants, the nature of God, but a way to maintain a high degree of spiritual tension. Trouble is, when you get there, you need to confront the fact that it’s not about truth. It’s so obvious that a godly and compassionate Muslim is as close to God as a godly and devout Christian. Anything else is dangerous nonsense. It’s not sufficient to have compassion and respect for our benighted neighbours. We have to take it a step further and understand that each person stands alone in his conversation with God, and that there are as many conversations as there are people.
Voltaire: God is a circle with no circumference whose centre is everywhere. If the centre of God is everywhere, then each human being has God in their centre, is in some way God, has in some way, the power and the grace of God.
I read some time ago, in some spiritual text, that generating polarities generates spiritual power. The writer called the power hub in a polarity a ‘vortex’. I wonder if religious people perhaps use the strong polarity of God end Satan to generate spiritual qi energy, to feel the fire. Power run into a constricted place creates voltage. Something about resistance? Not sure how that works exactly, but I think it applies here. By running spiritual energy into a tightly defined and polarized system do we increase the voltage? If this is true, do we then, by extension, have to believe that the polarity is true? For there to be true polarity, the poles have to be equal and opposite. The devil (I won’t capitalize it, because I don’t think it’s equal in any way) and God have in some way to be equal for this to work.
The price is high enough, though. Once we start perforce believing that the devil is equal in power to God, thinking that he is any kind of real threat, we hand power over to him, make him more and more real, because he feeds off our thoughts, fears, and preoccupations.
I don’t think that demons are an opposite to God, or that they are even necessarily deserving of the name ‘evil’. They are, in my understanding and experience, horrifyingly dangerous parasitic entities. The damage they do is shocking. They are hungry and they feed on human agony, horror, despair. I don’t feel inclined to elevate them to the status of fallen angels. More like tapeworms. In a whole other school of thought I have heard them called ‘larvae’, which maybe comes closer to what they are. They need to access human food through human hosts. This doesn’t make them great or powerful. Just nasty and dangerous. Not at all worthy of being set up as a polarity to God.
Jesus came to bring His children home. When a child is running to leap into her father’s arms she’s not spending much time thinking about anything else, or stopping to label her brothers as demonic, or damned, or as anything at all, because she’s running with all her strength into her father’s arms, which is the only place she ever wanted to be.