Statement VII

by zenquaker

Principle 4: God is All (The Pervasive Principle)

The unity of all things postulated in the Unity Principle (P3) is God. God is the unity of all things. I came to this conclusion soon after my experience of the unity of all things. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the unity of all things was exactly what I had postulated God to be oh so long ago. Something beyond our normal experience and at the same time beyond our understanding. The unity of all things was the God I had been looking for.

This is what I meant when I said that my Zen practice brought me back to a belief in God. Cancer made me believe in God. An examination of religion brought me to certain conclusions about God. Exodus disgusted me so much that I reexamined my belief in God and rejected it. I went to Zen based on the steaming truth or Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen. Zen brought me to the experience of the unity of all things. I recognized that the unity of all things fit my conclusions about God.

That leaves me in a bit of a lurch, though. Contrary to common misconceptions, Zen is not opposed to the belief in God. But at the same time Zen is not about the belief in God, and so it gives no context for an understanding of God. Lacking any other context, I went back to the context of my culture: the Bible. Having rejected the Old Testament thanks to Exodus, what I was left with was the New Testament.

That didn’t work out so well. There I am, reading the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus says that you can only divorce because of cheating, and marrying a divorced woman is adultery. I grew up with an abusive alcoholic, and I wasn’t the only one he abused, so I’m not real big on the concept of beating women. It seems that Jesus is saying that if a woman leaves her husband because he beats her, she can’t remarry without committing adultery. I’m not down with that, and it seems to be a pretty clear violation of the Hippocratic Corollary (C3-3).

But again we have to think about context. In the context that Jesus was saying these things 2000 years ago, the woman couldn’t leave her husband and he could beat her all he wanted, because she was his property. I think that goes a bit beyond the Hippocratic Corollary. There are several problems here. One is that Jesus was talking in the context of a completely different morality. The other is that I’m not even sure what he said. There are many men who have decided what I get to know about what Jesus said, and I’m not sure I trust them.

Yet there is much in my reading of Jesus that makes it seem to me that he saw the same things I saw. So I am reading the gospels and trying to take what I can from Jesus, within the context of my moral framework and the other statements of belief I am expounding here. I don’t expect the end result to really be anything Christian, and would hesitate to even call it the teaching of Jesus. It will just be my best attempt to understand God. Of course, explication of all that will first require me explaining my moral framework, which will require some further supporting material. Hopefully when I am done with all of that I will have something to say about Jesus.