Having a belief in God is neither good or bad. What matters is what type of God you believe in.
Who you believe God to be, the character and values you believe him/her to hold, is what determines the impact that belief will have in your life.
We’re all handed a version of God (a version of the universe’s posture towards us and the rest of creation). It’s up to us to decide whether or not that version is in alignment with what we know about the world we live in and those we share life with.
For me, most of the version I was taught growing up contradicts what I’ve come to know about the world. Much of which negatively impacted my life. And so I’ve spent the better part of a decade redefining what I believe to be our universe’s essential nature and what it means to live life well as a citizen of it.
I don’t find issue with people who reject God. Because most people who reject God entirely were handed a terrible version. And many, like me, have had to leave certain words and language behind because they carry too much misplaced meaning.
It’s less about God, or Universe, or Spirit, or Allah, or whatever name a culture uses most. At the base level, the key question is simply, What is the universe’s essential nature and what is its posture towards us?
All the fruits (good or bad) of one’s belief system, grow from that single seed.
Is there room in this universe for all of us? All of our infinite diversity? Or is there only room for a few? Is the universe angry? Loving? Impartial? Is now all we have? Or is there a tomorrow?
These are questions that are impossible to factually answer.
But factual truth isn’t the point of the questions.
The point of the questions is to assess how our own positions on those questions affect the quality of our life and those around us.
Is the fruit of our belief life-taking or life-giving?
For example, if you believe there’s only room for a few, then you’ll spend your energies either (a) obsessing over saving everyone (ironically, from your belief, not theirs) or (b) casting away those that don’t fit your definition of “in”.
I would argue that this belief is life-taking.
For me, the filter is simple: Is my belief system, my framework for making sense of the world, (a) big enough for everyone to thrive inside it? Or, (b) only making room for a portion of us?
The answer should always be (a). If it isn’t, I widen my frame.
One of my favorite quotes is from Ayn Rand:
Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.
When it comes to my personal framework, any time real life experience contradicts my theoretical frame, I know that it’s a result of my vastly deficient understanding of the universe.
So instead of attempting to restrict the universe into my own limitations, I accept its invitation to grow my capacity for empathy, inclusiveness, and love.