by Bil Aulenbach

Invented Gods: Man’s Invention

This is the first part of a six-part series about the many different invented gods that Christians worship. Personally, I prefer to worship Creation.

About a year ago, I taught a three-session class at the University of California, Irvine, Division of Continuing Education about the historical Jesus. About seventy people attended. One was an older man who stated emphatically that religion was an invention of humanity in every session.

I agreed but reminded him that this class was not about religion or God. I think he was disappointed that I didn’t take his bait.

So, now I want to answer him and the many others who hold that same conviction: religion and God are an invention of man.

It all started in October 1958, when a fire engine broadsided my friend, Brad, and me. Brad died instantly. I lived. Why?

I heard two explanations from mainline Christians. The first was that Brad and I must have done something to deserve this. The second was that God must have needed two Episcopal seminarians in heaven. Both explanations made me want to barf.

I despised that god! Even the word God had, and still has, too many negative associations for me, so I never use it.

Shortly after the accident, I developed a new word to describe the higher power I believe in—Creation. I loved this word—it had no gender, covered all of the universe, and didn’t require much explaining or any arguments about who God is.

Creation has served me well as an explanation and an object of worship. I must love, respect, and take care of Creation so that we humans can continue creating.

That theology has also allowed me to concentrate my efforts and devotion on the historical Jesus, who is my Christ. I have no doubt that the foundation stone of his teachings is agape—the highest form of love. Agape is unconditional, always forgiving, accepting, and caring. Because of my Christ and his foundation stone, I have lived, and continue to live, a very rich and fulfilling life.

For my Lenten discipline in 2019, I listened to a Great Courses series entitled “A New History of Life,” taught by a paleontologist. He traced the evolution of life from the big bang to the environmental changes that are happening today on our planet. I thoroughly enjoyed the course, but then I never had any problem with science, religion, and my theology working together.

The professor in this series stated that thousands of years ago, when Homo sapiens first appeared, they quickly invented a god to help them hunt. Humanity has been inventing religions and gods ever since.

I have no problem with this idea, especially since I believe love is God. My invented religion is not provable, but it has enriched my life.

I have no idea whether my beliefs make me a Christian. I suspect many would say no, but I don’t care. My faith is fulfilling, and that’s all that matters.

What do you think? Come back next week for my take on the god Big Daddy.

 

Image courtesy of mrhayata (CC BY-SA 2.0)

2 Responses to Invented Gods: Man’s Invention

  • I think of “God” as a non-human like entity….actually, a “spirit” that attempts to influence us through persuasion, not coercion. to do the right thing in every instance of decision making in our lives.

    To me, God is not man like, has no body and is neither male of female. to me God is pure agape..just a spirit that tries to help us to make good decisions that will benefit us and all around us including the environment. We often do not make good decisions …left to our own devices.

  • “For me, different religions are beautiful flowers from the same garden or branches of the same majestic tree.”
    Gandhi

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