I was raised in a Jewish family, so I grew up most familiar with Judaism.  As I grew older, I started to see many “flaws” in my religion.  At one point I called myself an atheist, but that was just a ploy to be cool.  I was always very lucky in all of my endeavors, I would find things that I wished for, snow would fall when I happened to need to miss school, things seemed to always work for me.  I was not always aware of this, but at some point I started asking myself why was I so much more lucky than my friends.  After some thought over many years I came to the conclusion that I was doing something “right” ( I was always kind of the odd one in the class or group that I was in, I was always doing things a little differently) and perhaps there was someone rewarding me.  At that time I thought it was God, but later I started to come to the idea that perhaps there were some invisible laws governing everything and not a being that watches over the world to carefully reward and punish.

I am willing to accept that there is a perfect being in the world (or outside of it) called God.  I am willing to accept that God is all powerful, omniscient, omnipotent, etc. and the creator of all.  However, the God that is described in classic monotheism,  the three Abrahamic religions, is not this God.  The God that they describe is childish, growing, imperfect.  In the holy books he is portrayed making mistakes and even being taunted by the devil.  There are many instances in the texts when he is portrayed as such.

Classic monotheism ceased to make sense to me when I was 14 years old.  It was then that I had first heard the story of the book of Job.  I was in a theatre/Russian literature/art/creativity camp, and we were doing short skits of historical and mythological people.  I was to do a monologue as Job.  Job was a very pious man who believed in God, and followed all of his rules.  One day the devil taunts God by saying that Job is only pious because God provides him with everything good, and God agrees to test Job by killing his children and wife, making him sick and destroying his business.  Of course (though with some anger) Job continues to be a pious man and is returned to his former glory; well not quite, he gets a new wife and new kids, not his old ones back.  It had never occurred to me that God could be so cruel.  Upon further examination, the idea a supposedly perfect God could be manipulated by the devil is quite absurd.  If God is a perfect being, then God should not be affected by outside forces.  Though perhaps the God of the bible is real, God is then not perfect, but flawed and human-like.

Another very famous instance when God “makes a mistake” is in the story of Noah’s Arc.  After the whole incident takes and so much of the world is drowned beneath the great flood, God seems to almost apologize, promising to never do such a thing again “And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart [is] evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.”  (Gen 22)

Asian philosophies and religions have always appealed to me more than the classical western religions.  I always had an interest in Buddhism, and Tao.  From Buddhism, the idea that all is one, the idea that we are all connected had a lot of appeal.  The Taoist ideas of balance and “natural living” also seemed to make sense.  These combined with my Jewish upbringing brought to my current views on “the Sacred”.

Most certainly the the universe is governed according to certain laws, much greater than ourselves, that we may, or may not understand.  Some of these laws have been discovered by scientists and thinkers through the ages; however I believe that there are many that have not.  Sometimes things that we do have very clear effects, the kicking of a can makes it move forward, but at other times though our actions do impact the flow of the world, we do not see them.  Every action has consequences and all beings and actions are connected in one way or another.  Lets call it energy flow, that connection.  In my belief, perhaps there is a God, but it is not the God that intervenes with the flow of things, not a punisher or a rewarder, my God is simply the initial pusher, or rule maker.  God created the universe and let it be, or initiated it into action.  In many ways my understanding of what God is, is similar to Richard Swinburne’s idea of why God must exist.  Since God does not punish or reward, then the laws that govern the world in some sense do.  Actions have consequences both positive and negative.  Whether we see something as a reward is just relative to our mindset; one might see finding some money on the floor as a reward for something that they did earlier, another might view it as a coincidence.

Another  important aspect of my views is that there is no supernatural or “sacred”, rather everything is sacred.  That is not to say that there are no miracles, if we define miracles as things that we cannot explain that astound and bewilder us, just they are not “supernatural”, they are governed by laws that we don’t understand.  In the same way an airplane would seem supernatural to someone who does not know how it works, things like ghosts, if they exist, are not supernatural, they unexplainable to us.  The world of the sacred is the world that we live in.