Reality changes at different stages of growth.
Plenty of people will disagree. Reality is as they say, reality. But is this really true? I would say not. First of all, we know from molecular physics that reality is actually very relative. It is relative to location, but most importantly, we learn that the very act of observation changes the reality of what we are looking at. We subtly change reality by actually viewing it.
I don’t know if it matters that more than one person is looking at the same thing. Does it change it for both? The same? Differently? I don’t have a clue. All I know is that the activity of viewing changes the motion of the atoms.
Psychologists and attorneys know that reality is not the same for everyone. That is why there are such strict and careful instructions when dealing with “eye” witness testimony. No two people see the same event exactly the same. When everyone tells the same exact story, you can be sure they have cooked up the story.
We have come to expect this difference because we have learned that we are all unique, and what we bring to an event is our own unique blend of genetics plus each and every life experience we have engaged it. They are all in the mix in deciphering this new experience.
It seems not a fair leap from that to suggest that therefore what was reality for us in our twenties is not the same reality for us in our forties. We have twenty additional years to factor into our experience of the event. Jesus is not the same for me today as he was when I was thirty. I have lived nearly thirty additional years and I bring those experiences to my experience of Jesus.
More importantly, what was important to me, central to my life has changed. And it will continue to change. So my panorama of reality must change as well.
What this hints at I suspect is that truth changes. Now some folks will claim that this is pure nonsense. Certain religious types are fond of expounding on truth being truth, unchanging and forever. I guess that sounds right, but the more I think about it the less I believe it.
There are few things that are absolutes, much as some faith traditions might wish to explain otherwise. Perhaps God’s unending perfect love for his creation is one. I would be hard pressed to disagree with that. I don’t know as I would want to disagree with that.
Beyond that however, as we move closer to the world of humanity on planet earth, truth begins to be more slippery. Murder is not acceptable, but then we carve out exceptions and call them not murder. Infanticide is not acceptable, but we again carve out exceptions. These change over time as anyone can note from a simple examination of history.
What I suggest is that we mature, and our reality or truth or both, mature with us. I say we “do.” I should probably say we “should.” If our faith is alive and well, we are perpetual seekers. We seek truth and understanding of our God and the world around us.
The God of wrath and retribution is one reality. It is many people’s reality and their truth. They claim to, and I have no doubt they do, find it in the bible. They are people who like rules, and consequences for not following them. They recall that they were controlled as children this way, and they see God as parent, controlling them in the same way. The did the same to their children, and so it goes. They think it right, and moreover they think it the only way.
I won’t deny that imposing punishing consequences may be an appropriate way of controlling children at a certain age. When they are unable to grasp the fine mental explanations of why, best to make the failure to comply a consequence they wish to avoid.
I don’t think that that model is necessary as we mature. We hopefully learn to do right because it makes sense to do right, and for no other reason. I don’t any more love God because of fear that I will not attain heaven. I love God because God is worthy of loving.
Growth in faith for me at least means leaving behind fear. I do not attend Church out of fear, nor out of obedience, nor out of any need to work toward my salvation. God knows the heart, and we seem unable to really get that. He knows when we act out of “have to” rather than “want to.” Have to, is okay for children, but I believe God is ready to move from Father to Friend.
To be friend, I must want to. So I discard a lot of fear based concepts regarding God. I find it illogical to continue with them. I don’t think about devils and hell and ” Jesus dying for my sins.” No God produces such things for his creation, nor creates so poorly that such things are needed. No God sends a Son for death. A son dies, to be sure, but does so willingly, not for sins, but to show the Way. The Way of living and of dying and of living again in harmony with God.
It’s taken me a lot of years to work this all out. And no doubt I’m more wrong than right, and no doubt I’m creating God in my image to too great an extent. But I have lived by a maxim for many a year. God must be at minimum as great as I can conceive. So I feel, at least, that I am on the right track. God knows the mind and heart. He knows honesty. If that doesn’t count, and some properly constructed liturgical incantation is the deal breaker, then I’m off the mark and God is not any God I can logically understand.
But if we are wired for God, then I suspect I can understand at least the framework of God. If I am in God’s image, than the mind must be the main vehicle in which we share commonality. At least that is my reality today.