For the record: I wish this were more eloquent. But I can’t, because my sense of religion isn’t in English. I don’t believe in god, and I don’t think I ever did.
I get weird when I talk about religion. I get weird when I talk about spirituality. I get weird when I talk about God.
And for maximum weirdness: This was the soundtrack to writing this piece.
Every morning is the first.
I find myself afraid of travelling, afraid to travel to a land and a place I even in my dreams cannot imagine. I try, night after night. I dream of the alien and the strange. As always it scares me – and as always it is unavoidable. I am there and cannot be elsewhere. In my dreams I long for home, yet I do not know what home is. ‘Home’ is the fleeting sense I have for my longings – ‘home’ might be nothing – ‘home’ is my most profound name for God.
God has no history. That is what makes him unique.
In biblical beginnings he already is, and has no past. As he is a lone god he has no parents, no family, had no childhood and does not possess a private life. All his actions, thoughts and reactions exist in relation to man. God created us in his image, we become his mirror. Through man God gets to know himself.
His first commandment is creation: Procreate! Be many!
God is a creator who in the story of the great flood becomes a destroyer, like a child, suddenly angry.
He is a fertility god, throughout Genesis obsessed with human reproduction, to the degree that he demands part of every man’s penis as a tribute. As a consequence of having made Abraham’s descendants into a large nation and thereto promised them land he becomes a god of war, a warring god. In this he acquires a taste for blood and so demands the Israelites commit genocide upon genocide, not to mention the blood he demands in tribute at his altar. As history develops God becomes a lawmaker, judge and executioner – to then, at the end of Isaiah, suddenly start talking about love and tenderness and the dream of a new and eternal kingdom of peace.
Yes, it is truly as God grows, learns from his mistakes and matures.
He is alien, and through the meeting with man he gets to know himself.
Reading the Bible it is not at all obvious that God is someone who wants you well. He obliterates humanity, all the animals on land and all the birds in the sky in the great flood and his reason? He regrets having made them.
In Exodus God himself cannot control his power. He descends in smoke and fire onto the mountain Sinai, warning the Israelites to not approach, too close and they shall die.
Sometimes I realise with unexpected clarity that the god to which I prayed actually is the same god, the same being, that a couple of nomadic tribes worshipped 4000 years ago, a god, which in turn, has borrowed traits from a number of other gods in the eastern Mediterranean area.
The god of my childhood tastes of my grandmother’s Sunday roast and the conservatory in which we congregated for worship, this god is safe, and we were all children of the Heavenly Father – God is also this wholly foreign being.
It is a realisation that is suddenly overwhelming.
Furthermore God is both a supreme deity, god of all, and a personal deity. The personal gods used to have very limited power considering their responsibility, their domain, was a single person, family or tribe. Not so this god. He is god of all as he is god for each and every one. He was the god of Abraham, the god of Isaac and the god of Jacob, he was my grandmother’s god, and he is the god of my father. And he was my god.
My god was obviously far from the god of Abraham or Moses, but then so have God changed and matured.
God is not immutable. Nevertheless he is the same god.
Every day is a new day. Every day is the same day. We are here, in foreign lands, and cannot be elsewhere.
Tomorrow we shall again lack a past. Tomorrow it shall no longer hurt, that which pains us today. As God in the beginning was innocent, so shall we. We shall be gods. And God called the light Day and the darkness Night.
And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day.