Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Listening For The Divine

I used to say (and think I'm ready to return to saying it) that it isn't that God doesn't speak to us anymore; it's that we just don't take time to listen.
That thought originally occurred to me at the time in my life when finally I had come to realize that the Bible - noble as it is in many respects yet desperately flawed in others - just could not be God's revelation to human kind.
I had lost my faith in the Bible God, or the God of the popular religious conception, but still felt surely there must be something powerful, even majestic behind everything. I remained unsettled in my God-thinking for a long time, then slowly moved ever closer to atheism as I waded into freethought.
But it was silence that brought me back to my roots. It was quiet reflection that allowed me to get in touch with the all-connecting power of the Cosmos. Only when I shut out the cares of life and its many distractions could I tap into, what is for me at least, an inner source of truth.
In this I don't think I am alone.
Theodore Parker, the renowned nineteenth century liberal theologian, in one of his prayers said this:
A greater revelation is Your still small voice, which whispers in our soul that all this magnificence is but a drop of You, a little sparklet that has fallen from Your presence, O Central Fire and Radiant Light of all. The outward things are but a whisper of Your wisdom.
Then there is also a lovely Native American prayer that has been variously attributed which begins: "Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds and whose breath gives life to the whole world...."
Yes, Great Spirit, I too think I have heard your voice. I contemplate this wonderful Cosmos and I too desire that you would "make me wise that I may understand what You have hidden in every leaf and every rock."
My choice is to listen for that small voice and not ignore it away. My life has been energized and enriched by the thought of divine purpose. My sense of responsibility to others has deepened because I no longer feel like an insignificant speck among insignificant specks adrift in a meaningless universe. 


  1. Hi Doug, I enjoy reading your thoughts, thanks. What would you say to a hard-nosed materialist who suggested your thoughts were all wishful thinking? (That's not a covert way of suggesting I think that, for I don't, but just an honest question.)

  2. Thanks for reading and for your question.

    Perhaps the biggest difference between the "hard-nosed materialist" and me is that I'm willing to admit I may be wrong and indeed guilty of wishful thinking. Let me hasten to add that I don't think I am, believing my intuition and intuitive reasoning are not misleading me - but I would be foolish indeed to insist that must be the case.

    The hard-nosed materialist has an ax to grind as surely as the religious fundamentalist. I doubt I could have a meaningful dialogue with either. Faith is faith and we shouldn't deceive ourselves about it.

    But with those who are only leaning (even strongly) one way or the other, meaningful dialogue is possible. There is a real difference between "I think but I'm not sure" and "this is the way it is, period."

    1. The hard-nosed materialist has an ax to grind as surely as the religious fundamentalist.

      I have seen that myself.

    2. Extremism always gives me the willies.