I’m not a religious person. When asked what my religious beliefs are, my quip is always the same: “I believe that religion exists.” It’s as honest and succinct as I can possibly get without deliberately offending anybody.
I see great wisdom and beauty in virtually every religion and philosophy. They are surprisingly similar in their core teachings and central beliefs. And I don’t begrudge anyone their path. In fact, the most profound thing I’ve ever heard on the subject is this: “There are as many paths to God as there are people.” I’ve carried that with me most of my life and allowed it to guide me. And as long as everyone stays on their own paths, we’re cool.
But we don’t, do we? Not collectively. Not historically. And not - in too many cases - personally.
Why is that?
We are social creatures by nature. It’s built into our DNA. We don’t just rely on each other for company and support, comfort and intimacy. We need each other to validate our realities, to prove that we are right. I think of it as a sociological spellchecker for the soul. And it’s frighteningly powerful.
If left unchecked or unchallenged, this mechanism can take over, leading to passionate disarray, violence, disenfranchisement and social fracturing, even war. It’s at the root of our proclivity for mob mentality. And it explains not only our voracious addiction to social media but also our quickness to embrace anything that fits into our worldview...sadly including fake and destructive information presented as factual reality.
I’m getting a little preachy here; I’m aware. And while that runs counter to my message and my beliefs, it seems humanly impossible on some level not to preach anytime any form of God is introduced. And that’s why my “religion” of choice is art.
You see, what works for me is to stay in my spiritual lane, creating stories and allegory through my work, providing a compass primarily for myself but with the hope that I can connect and communicate with others.
At the end of the day, I truly believe that to be the purpose and idea behind any and every God: to give us meaning through connection. For me, anything more - any exclusion or shunning or damning - is not the word or the will of a God, it’s a form of collective social madness. It’s manipulative. It’s controlling. And frankly, I want no part of it.
So, how many Gods does it take to change a lightbulb?
I believe that the only functional answer to that is ALL of them. Every single God - every individual path - needs to converge and agree that we even need a lightbulb. They all must metaphorically embrace this together. And then they all need to worry solely about their own lightbulbs, letting others pick whatever varieties they prefer.
Until that happens, I believe the world will remain at least partially in darkness. But I also know that only I get to decide what kind of light to shine in my own room. I choose a 60W bulb, tinted in RED. My door is open. Feel free to come by and bask in my light anytime.