by Richard Kieninger



God is; yet we cannot know Him. To some men He does not exist, because they literally do not need a concept of Him—and God does not insist upon being recognized. Some atheists conduct their lives in complete concor­dance with God’s Laws because through experience they have found such con­duct most profitable and serene. Large numbers of Orientals have no concept of God as a finite entity. They make no attempt to visualize Him or to name Him or to attribute commandments to Him. They feel no need to; furthermore, He is beyond that. The Ultimate Source, the Great Father/Mother of the Universe, need not judge them.


We of the Western Tradition have an approach to God which is essentially intellectual. We seek to affirm His existence in order to give Him our obeisance. Our churches command that we must believe in Him. The actual fact is, how­ever, that each person views God in a way which is directly proportional to his emotional maturity. God stands as the highest good; therefore each man’s con­cept of God lies in his view of what goodness is, and God can be no greater to him than he is capable of conceiving Him. The primitive man makes gods of animal spirits which may be more like demons to placate. Cultures which are emerging to the point of artisan dominance over their environment make gods of the products of their own hand, and they worship idols into which they project their own prowess. Further cultural development brings man to view his gods as humans writ large. This stage seems to depend upon man’s recognition of his own supremacy in the world. His gods are the extensions of his own ego, and he begins to feel love toward them.


This love proceeds in two distinct phases, the first of which is goddess oriented. She represents the essence of motherly love in her protective, uncondi­tional love of her earthly children, who are all equal in her sight. The goddess’s devotees love her to the extent that they gratefully bask in a freely extended love which need not be earned. But as a culture develops from a matriarchal, nature ­oriented phase to a patriarchal outlook with emphasis on acquisition of property and accumulation of wealth, then a male god rules the pantheon and often supercedes all others. He is a Supreme Being whom man envisions as the lawmaker and judge. Fatherly love tends to be extended conditionally to a child in exchange for obedience, and the worshiper of a male god is forced into the position of trying to earn acceptance through good behavior and demonstrations of worthiness of God’s inheritance. A male god always dominates in cultures where private property is amassed and competition for power consequently en­sues. The need to gain the favor of the family patriarch who will decide the inheritor of his possessions permeates the society and establishes its view of God. This is essentially where Christianity, a Western religion, stands today.


The Jews slowly transformed God from a despot into a loving Father who promised to limit His power over mankind. Thus He became elevated as a symbol of His own high principles—a manifestation of justice and truth. In­deed, our contact with God is primarily through the evidence of His self-execut­ing laws of Karma. Christ’s contribution was to show God as the Supreme Source of Love by whose grace we even exist. Christ was an embodiment of that Love, and this enlarged concept of God took on motherly aspects of forgiveness and love for all men equally as His children.


It should begin to be evident that varied human concepts of God are just that—human concepts! All of man’s gods, including the Judeo-Christian God, do not exist. God is; yet we cannot know Him. Our god can only be an extension of ourselves. As we learn to love ourselves, we mature to the point where we truly come to love others, and as we love our fellowmen, we express our highest love for God. But the question of what God is really like is com­pletely hidden from us. We like to infer His nature on the basis of our beautiful planet and the powerful mental tools with which He endowed each human Ego. But He is nameless, disembodied and all pervading. He is the Prime Cause and the Creative Principle—and certainly not a “he” more than a “she.”


The Oriental does not trouble himself that God is unfathomable and ut­terly spirit. The Oriental believes that since all things reside in the “One”, man is therefore a part of the One. By being “quiet”, a man most closely blends with the One; and through the art of meditation, man seems to feel the interpenetrability of himself with the One. God is not over there while you are here. Your mind is a part of His; your atoms are a manifestation of Him. You exist inside the framework of God’s Mind.


Perfect self-love is the key to loving God. Immature love is tied to a helpless dependence upon a mother or a childish obedience to a father figure, and these attitudes, of course, the person projects upon God. Mature love re­quires one’s healthy self-acceptance and the ability to be outgoing, to relate to others without fear. The sympathetic attunement between the man who can love and the Source of Love generates a rapport which exceeds all other joys. But even then, he can only feel the oneness, for God is not to be seen or heard or understood. The man of love does not need theology; he is already in tune with the universe.