Recently, a dear friend approached me with an incident she had just experienced. She found herself in an argument about the nature of God. As with most philosophical or theological arguments, it got heated and both parties left the arena angry and hurt.
In my response to her sharing with me I admitted that: “Honestly, I could get angry at any moment in time because sometimes I see the world – mostly people – ignorant and violent as we try to shovel our own agenda down on each others’ throats.” Then I stepped back and said: “But I know better now. When I start feeling the anger coming up, I start stepping back and start observing what is happening inside of me. Walking the path of the Divine is an inner journey not an outer one.
Most people believe that we need to ‘claim’ the righteousness of our beliefs but really it is about having your own experiences. God is an inner experience, an intimate relationship not a set of rules or a book telling us who or what God is. When I feel that I want to engage in such conversations I just remind myself that some people are looking for an outer experience and as part of that they believe that their job is to convince others about their mental interpretation of a text that may have been written 2-3 thousand years ago.
I remind myself that I am looking for the God/Divine within that cannot be explained or agued about because it is personal. This is usually where all argument fails. No one can argue with your own personal experiences. The Bible is only a source of guidance, not a set of rules though lots of people think otherwise. I do not mind that. I follow my own inner path and connection with God/the Divine.”
As she expressed how hurt she felt because of the other parties unkind comments, I truly felt compassion towards her and said: “I do understand that. At the same time, I notice that there is always a reason. I may not understand why others need to do what they do but I still have compassion for them. I guess that they are in fear of some sort. I appreciate that. Then I move back to what is true for me. And with that I let them be. What we fight, we persists.”
In closing, I must say that defending our beliefs is just part of human nature. Our beliefs are part of who we think we are. When we start having inner experiences, we stop needing to argue for our beliefs. When we are settled with and embrace our beliefs that stem from our experiences, we simply allow people to have their own.