OUR NOTIONS OF GOD

Kant’s “Critique or Pure Reason” provides us with a basis for understanding the ineffable nature of the divine.  As Kant observes, all our experience comes to us within the field of time and space.  Hence, we are separate from each other because there is space in which to be separate.  Time and space are the profound conditioning factors of our human lives.  We cannot experience anything except in the field of time and space.  Kant calls this “the aesthetic forms of sensibility.”  This is what in India is called maya.  Maya is the field of time and space that transforms that which is transcendent of the manifestation into a broken up world.  TAT17

When you think about what you have experienced in the apprehension of forms in time and space, you employ the grammar of thought, the ultimate categories of which are:  being and nonbeing.  Is there a God?  If the word “God” means anything, it must mean nothing.  God is not a fact.  A fact is an object in the field of time and space, an image in the dream field.  God is no dream, God is no fact – “God” is a word referring us past anything that can be conceived of or named.  Yet people think of their Goad as having sentiments as we do, liking these people better than those, and having certain rules for their lives.

(gods)  In almost all other systems, the gods are agents, manifestations, or imagined functionaries of an energy that transcends all conceptualization.  They are not the source of the energy but are rather agents of it.  Put it this way: Is the god the source, or is the god a human manner of conceiving of the force and energy that supports the world?  In our tradition God is a male.  This male and female differentiation is made, however, within the field of time and space, the field of duality.  If God is beyond duality, you cannot say that God is a “He.”  You cannot say God is a “She.”  You cannot say God is an “It.” 

   That is why, when Zen masters talk, they always dissolve the word by saying the opposite immediately afterward.  That which is no thing.  That which is not that.  TAT18

If we take these forms as things in themselves and link ourselves to those outer seemings, we are not transparent to transcendence and neither are the forms.  The goal in psychiatry, it is said, is to bring the mental structure that is governing our lives into accord with this energy that comes from sources we do not fully understand and cannot locate.  We thereby become transparent to transcendence.  We become like panes of glass, and a radiance shines through us that is otherwise blocked off.  A god should in a like way properly be transparent to transcendence.  TAT 18

When Yahweh says, “I am God,” he closes off that possibility.  When your God is transparent to transcendence, however, so are you.  That which is of the transcendent is the same in the god as in yourself.  If the god opens to transcendence, you are one with what you call “God.”   Thus the god image introduces you to your own transcendence.  This may be somewhat hard to grasp.  But when the god closes himself and says, “I am God,” he closes you, too, because this says you are just a fact and so the relationship, in these terms, is between you and the fact that is no fact.  TAT18

This is why, to appreciate the language of religion, which is metaphorical, one must constantly distinguish the denotation, or concrete fact, from the connotation, or transcendent message.  TAT 19