Tell me all your thoughts on God

The one-hit wonder band Dishwalla’s song “Counting Blue Cars” might be an anthem for all who wonder about the big question of “God?”:

Tell me all your thoughts on God
‘Cause I would really like to meet her
And ask her why we’re who we are.
Tell me all your thoughts on God
‘Cause I am on my way to see her
So tell me am I very far, am I very far now? …
And ask many questions
Like children often do

On Monday, I decided to ask about a few of your thoughts on God with an online “flash survey,” which if you’d like to take, is still accepting submissions:

The result has been fascinating, and a little unexpected. Although I asked in the survey for folks to try and pick one guiding theology, many ignored that advice and picked a few. I’m glad you did, because I saw three overlapping theologies that seem to have captured our imaginations. I’ve learned that most of us identify as agnostic (we don’t know if God exists or not), humanist (whether God exists or not doesn’t influence our behavior or commitment to human progress), and transcendentalist (we see the idea of God represented throughout Nature). We have a few avowed atheists who believe that God does not exists, and a few theists, who believe in a traditional notion of God. But that’s not most of us. So much for the so-called atheist/theist divide of yesteryear. Today, we’re clumped up much more in the middle. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for atheist or theist beliefs in our community. Our commitment to diversity of belief guarantees a place in the conversation for all who attend our church. What this survey insight suggests is that we must be more gentle in our assertions of “who we are,” for we aren’t as we’ve always been — and probably never have been.

This middle path sets us up for productive conversations around the issue of the concept of God. Thinking of God as a person creates all kinds of theological problems. What kind of person would do bad things to good people? What kind of person would create a world of inequity and suffering? What kind of person would treat their children with such indifference?

On the other hand, thinking of God as a process, concept, or framework for understanding the whole of Nature can be productive—and is really how progressive theologies approach the “big questions” of how to make meaning in a world as complex and paradoxical as ours. These are the religious ideas that have always excited my search for truth and meaning.

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