April 10, 2008

What in the name of God

I wrote this a while ago on a web board called the Lodgeboards. It’s a friendly little place and there is a debate board there and I wrote this to share and get some talking going. I read Nick's post at Diabetes360 and I thought I would jump on with a little essay on religion too. Here Goes:

What in the name of God is Gods name? And for that matter what's he do?

I am not at all convinced we see the workings of God, we certainly don’t see them in real time but some times I think we see the acts of Providence after the fact. Providence, it seems to me is the sorting out the mess we make with our freedoms into the best that it can be. I think in retrospect there are some things that seem silly that turn out to have a lot of good after the fact.

Take Atkins for as a case in point, now I mean this as much as a joke as anything but I’ll use it as an example. A few years back the lovely Mrs. YDMV and I did the Atkins no carb thing. I lost 15 pounds over three months an put it right back on just like everyone else. I did learn to carb count. Funny, a year later that carb counting became a life safety skill for our first diabetic kid.

It was almost like there was this master plan out there saying, ‘You you gotta learn this skill, not for you but for what is coming.” Almost like it was providential.

So I am not so sure that God doesn’t have a hand out in every little aspect of life and I am just too dam stubborn and stupid to see it.

Someone on one of the diabetes parents boards (there is a board for everything out there) wrote: “I truly believe in God, Allah, Jehovah, Buddha, by what ever name your religion calls it, there is a Master force directing the universe.”

Wow I think there is a lot of wisdom in that. I particularly like the by “what ever name” part. Assuming there is a God, that God is going to reach out to people in the way that best lets those people understand Him (Her if you like.) OK who has kids? (On that board we all did it was a diabetes parents board right? LOL.)

Anyway as parents we try every conceivable way of explaining stuff to our kids we can, to get them to see a point. Seems like a good plan. I figure God would do it too. God’s a parent. I can’t see a parent getting all hung up on the name we call Him, as long as we call.

There’s even old testament biblical teachings about this. As far as I understand it to goes like this; Abram (Abraham’s name before God changes it) get called by God Jehovah. But Abram is a newbie and doesn’t know from Jehovah. He grew up with a house idol called Shaddai. So Jehovah says to Abram something along the lines of, ‘look you’re used to the name so call me Shaddai, we can sort it out later.’

Now that is an interesting historical and religious moment. Your big three religions all look back to this moment as significant.

Jews, Muslims and Christians all look back to this event as a critical part of their faith. God is saying, “Hey Kids. There is only one of me, God Jehovah, but hey call me what you will we can sort that out later, just get the one God idea down for now.”

So here is the Old Testament fire and brimstone, iniquity to a thousand generations, God saying, something like ‘Dude just call me the nick name for God you know for now.’

Ya think we could figure that out but (my apologies to Steve Martin) Nooooooo.

Look at all your major religions and there are striking similarities if you are willing to be open minded about it. The basic ideas of the Ten Commandments are there in all of ‘m.

So maybe that all powerful God is saying to the kids, ‘Dudes call me what works for you, live a good life, here some basic ideas on how to do that. I’ll translate the general ideas into the variety of different cultures you creative little twerps have come up with so each of you has some basic idea of Me. Start small. I can work with that. Be cool dudes.’ (Yes I think God uses the word Dudes, particularly if it helps get His ideas across, hey wait that's my whole point here….)

If God is infinite love and wisdom then we are not going to understand but a small, small, finite bit of Him. In fact by definition of finite and infinite we understand nothing in relation to everything, so ‘Call me what works for you to learn something of the love part’ seems real logical to me.

So if we are allowed to call the one God by a nick name that works for our limited cultural understanding aka Shaddai, I can’t quite see how we are with in that same spirit if we have trouble when others call that same God by the names of Allah, Jehovah, Jesus or what ever.

So when we (read humanity) do something in the name of God is it really in the name(s) of God or taking that name in vein. God's will or ours?


  1. I once heard a Catholic priest say what you said (without the "dudes" but I think He uses "dude" too!).

    He said something to the effect of, "Do you mean to tell me that a child that is born in a remote village somewhere in the mountains of Asia who is buddist and whose whole community is buddist and who dies a buddist But lived a "Godly" life is not going to Heaven? the one thing that I DO know is that no one on this earth knows for sure."

    I was so impressed.

  2. Yes, I can get the 'God works in strange ways' and the Providence-thing, but I wish we'd get some advance notice...

    BTW, I live on a street called Providence...God's work??? 'Enquiring minds wanna know'