Saturday, November 25, 2017


Given what I see in the world today, especially given what passes for religion, I totally understand atheism. It really makes sense. I cannot blame anybody for being an atheist today.

But I'm not an atheist. I do believe in God. However, and here's the kicker, I think we need a new definition of God.

Baha'u'llah has said that He has "instilled into every word a fresh potency", so why not the word "God"?

In many ways, this reminds me of science. Up through the late 19th century, we had taken science about as far as we could, given the definitions that we had. If you're not studied in the sciences, this maybe difficult to explain, but it's true. Given the various definitions of things like "time", "space", "energy", "atom", and all sorts of other things, we had taken science about as far as we could. But then, in the early 20th century, Einstein gave us a new scientific definition of "time". It was no longer this thing that flowed forward at the rate of one second per second, although that sort-of definition describes our every day life with it. Nor was it the mare dictionary-esque "the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole". No. Einstein postulated a flow of time that was directly related to its proximity to a gravitational source. All of a sudden that not only eliminated some discrepancies that arose from the old definition, but showed us many new possibilities that we hadn't even considered.

All because our definition was limited.

Now let's look at God, not as some mystical entity, but as a word.

For a long time, God was seen as a superhuman being that was worshiped because it had some power over nature and our lives. In fact, this definition not only worked for poly-theistic religions, but also describes the common Christian concept of God, too. While Christianity, in general, would see God as the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority, they still view God as "superhuman".

And you know what? This definition has gotten us as far as we can go with it.

Muhammad, and Islam in general, seems to define God mostly through the virtues. This, too, is a good, but limiting definition.

The Baha'i Writings elevate God even above His attributes, removing Him from any direct connection to His creation. The concept of all creation "emanating" from God is quite remarkable. The fact that Baha'u'llah says "And if I proclaim Thee by the name of Him Who is the All-Compelling, I readily discover that He is but a suppliant fallen upon the dust, awe-stricken by Thy dreadful might, Thy sovereignty and power", truly astonishes me. It made me completely rethink my very concept of God.

So when an atheist tells me that they don't believe in God, I usually suggest that it might be a question of definition. After all, Baha'u'llah Himself says, "Whoso claimeth to have known Thee hath, by virtue of such a claim, testified to his own ignorance."

Changing definitions to be more accurate, closer to the truth, can change so many things. This is really hitting home as I read more of the Writings of the Bab. The way that He equates the understanding of how God interacts with the world, recognition of His own station as a Manifestation, and our service to the world shows me more and more how important this subject is.

And again, when I think about just how much the world itself changed with this new definition of time, and space, and the very matter that makes up our universe, I can only imagine the changes that will occur as we, as a society, begin to come to terms with these new definitions that Baha'u'llah has given us.

These words really have been given a new potency.


  1. See, this is what I get for being too busy at week's end to read others' blogs. (Barely enough time to get my own posted.) Had to wait 'til today to catch up. And boy howdy!

    Kalimat & Khoda. Words & God. I could write a book. Oh, wait, I did. Well, WE did. You & I. Not forgetting your spiritual grandmother & spiritual daughter.

    Redefining. That's what Baha'u'llah's Message is all about. And from that (unrecognized) Root, I firmly believe, also the message of 12-Step programs.

    Once again, thank you for letting me know about the Challenge in the first place. It's been a lot of good reading (&, I hope, some halfway decent writing).

  2. Man! This is a really terrific post! Thank you for some excellent food for thought.