Question Two in Beach’s book Questions for the Religious Journey is this:
Does the question of God presuppose God?
Initially, I found that to be a head scratcher. Question 1, after some reflection, I gave a qualified “no” to - I do not find people to be incurably religious, but I do find us to be incurably spiritual. And upon reading his chapter, I’m not convinced we disagree, even though he answered the question with a “Yes”. I think we have different definitions - I operate from Dr. Brené Brown’s definition of spirituality
“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives.”
And this is very much how Beach defines religion, with connectedness having an essential role. My definition of religion is a belief system or practice that touches spirituality, but which by necessity is a shared practice with some kind of structure.
This question of God, though. Phew! Now, I’m reading this book to re-connect to my own spirituality, which has gotten a little shaky in the stresses of the last year, but it’s subjectively been a good, long while since I believed in a personal deity that had a name and a face and could be addressed directly. More and more, the idea that the Divine is small enough to be related to as if It were another person just feels completely un-transcendent to me. So this question initially makes me recoil - No, of course not, you can’t make me believe in your God.
Beach hinges the chapter on a quote, though, that shifts the ground under me.
In music, in the sea, in a flower, in a leaf, in an act of kindness - I see what people call God in all these things.
Now that- that sparks joy and makes my heart sing. In all of those things, I see what is connected and beautiful and beloved and holy - about humanity, about the universe, about the divinity of both. I, too, see what people call God in all these things, even if I do not choose the same name for it.
And so I’m a reluctant “yes” to this one - searching for divinity in the universe presupposes at the very least that we need something larger to be part of, regardless of whether we call it God or Science.
How about you? Is this too abstract, or do you, too, believe that searching for something divine means that divinity exists to be sought?