Sunday, February 27, 2011

UU's and God

When someone tells me that they don't believe in God, I usually say,  "That's interesting.  Tell me about the kind of God you don't believe in."   When they get over their surprise, they quickly warm to their task and tell me about the God to whom they were introduced as children...the guy in the sky; possibly angry, sometimes spying, always meddling.   Sometimes they worked out for themselves at a very young age that sitting in the clouds was an impossible feet.  Sometimes they came early to the conclusion that no God who could be called, "good" would cause them such pain and anguish.  Sometimes they believed it all for a good long time, and then met science teachers or loving non-believers and then felt that they had been duped.

There are many good reasons for not believing in God.  But there is no good reason for a grown up to insist that the guy in the sky is the only kind of God and that all believers in God believe in that kind.  That's a patent falsehood about theology and about people, and UU's, dedicated as we are to truth, have no business espousing it.  

For a quick and lively run-down of  other kinds of God you might or might not believe in, check out this article,  Got God?   from the Winter UU World.


Chris said...

"Tell me about the God you don't believe in" is an interesting exercise for adults with religious pasts, but it's downright hilarious for UU kids unencumbered in that way. My daughter was asked in her Sunday School class to draw God, and when she said she didn't believe in God, the teacher dutifully asked her to draw the God she didn't believe in. My daughter replied that she didn't believe in any God, so she had no idea what to draw. The teacher then told her that she should draw something, so she drew a cheeseburger.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to work out the God with the impossible feet!

Elz Curtiss said...

Good point, Chris. I get so exasperated when I see all those 1950s caricatures on tv shows and movies, when clergy are called in. Nuns, priests, Episcopalian-type grandfathers -- you name it, it's out of date! But this does tend to reinforce, in some ways, that mythic God Christine is talking about.

On the other hand, it's worth pointing out that many UU kids wind up not believing in what someone once described to me as "the vague and watery" UU divinity. They go for something more solid, if not more judgmental.

Angie Andriot said...

I like the cheeseburger story! For me, it's hard to separate "God" from the Christian "God." Partly because of the way the word is used like it's one particular diety's name. It's like the Christian God is hogging the name for himself, not letting others use it. Or something. It would be like me naming my kid "Human."