When did God become a dirty word? 7 ways God trumps cheap medication and the mafia.

Is God Listening?
I've given up, people. Blogging now instead.

Imagine random strangers sauntering through your home at all times of the day and night to visit the temple-like prayer room.

If you’ve lived in such a home, you know you’re likely going to need a therapist later in life, join a monastic order or become a spirituality blogger.

And no, not for a second as a teenager did I think it was odd to have strangers and friends seek the blessings of our 3-foot granite elephant God statue, housed in a make-shift prayer room.

Those who visited the friendly Lord Ganesha usually came seeking blessings, peace of mind and stock market insights.

Survey says…“Don’t talk about God!”

While I didn’t ultimately join a cult or spend many years in therapy, I did start a blog which focuses on improving your life and even occasionally mentions God here and there.

So imagine my surprise when I did a reader survey recently and received an overwhelming response from you reminding me that the last thing you wanted to hear about was…God.

You don’t want to read about it and many of us don’t want to even think about it!

And you almost can’t say the word “God” out loud in public places ‘cause people will think you’ve lost your mind.

We are more interested in a game of Angry Birds, Harry Potter novels, Miley Cyrus twerks, Kim Kardashian selfies and what the new royal baby, Prince George, is wearing today than anything to do with the ruler of the universe.

What we’re going to do during half-time of a football game has become more interesting than the afterlife.

Sunday football now trumps a day of devotion.

Instant messaging now replaces the rosary and prayer. Karaoke has replaced choir practice.

No doubt, God’s on the run. And there are some legitimate reasons for God’s disappearance from our everyday lives.

After looking at some of the many reasons for God’s absence from our lives, I’ll propose 7 reasons to consider allowing God back into yours.

A laundry list of reasons why God is less popular Vladmir Putin and bachelor Juan Pablo.

♠ Why would you ever want to worship a God whose many followers seem to be judgmental and carry around a holier-than-thou attitude? If God-worshippers are arrogant and ego-fueled, what can God really have to offer?

♠ You can see your new Android phone. You can see and heart the photos you post on Instagram. You can observe the many floats streaming down 6th Avenue in New York during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

Unfortunately, you can’t SEE God. Not only can you not see God, the entity, but you don’t feel you have enough evidence of God’s existence.

♠ You’re frustrated, confused or just offended by the mumbo jumbo in religious texts. You’re weary of words like sin and salvation, atman and samsara, the Covenant and the Law, tawhid and wahid, flustered by the myriads of angels, prophets, and kings in the religious books.

♠ The ways of worship trouble you. You might disagree or be offended by various cultural and traditional practices for worshiping God around the world.

You find fire worship and chanting loony, prayer five times a day obsessive, or the practice of confession disconcerting, scary and giving you a feeling that you might do some jail time.

♠ The same reason you hated school and your parents while growing up: rules and commandments.

There doesn’t seem to be leeway.

The standards are just too high. Accepting God doesn’t seem to be enough.

If you make the wrong move, commit the wrong sin, or find yourself off course, you’ve bought a one-way ticket to hell, or you might be reincarnated as Charlie Sheen in your next life.

♠ Although God is accepting and open to all, you’re offended by the close-mindedness of it all.

If you drink, you’re not permitted to.

If you party, you’re told God doesn’t approve.

You’re condemned if you divorce, lie, steal, text and drive, or watch House of Cards.

You’re told what is tolerable and what will make you burn in hell for eternity.

♠ You’re terrified that religious folks are using God for their own social and political agendas, absolutely petrified that your life will be dictated by principles in holy books and dictates from one religion or the other. You see the religious fanatics in every country trying to dominate the political discourse and hijack civic life with religious legislation.

♠ God ruined your relationship, gifted you a mother-in-law from hell, forced you to become a lawyer, or made you live in Flint, Michigan!

God allows billions of people to go hungry, die in war and remain in abject poverty.

What kind of maniacal God would allow so much suffering?

You didn’t get the job you wanted, the man you desired, the home you had envisioned in your mind since you were six. Instead, your life has been filled with disappointments, failure and heartbreak.

♠ Scandal-ridden clergy members and controversial ministers who are hypocritical, abusive and showy.

Not cool.

The men and women who claim to serve God include cons, sex-hungry thieves and scandal-filled charlatans. They drive fast cars, pocket from the people they lead and flash bling like 50 Cent (the rapper, folks!).

Now, there may be a myriad of other reasons God is simply an afterthought in your life.

Why do YOU hate God?

Why do you treat God like a house guest who has overstayed her welcome? Hang up on God like a telemarketer calling at dinner time?

7 practical reasons to give God another go.  

You might hate God and hate me now for writing about God.

As I said, many of you who answered my survey told me not to talk about God whatsoever, and yet here comes this post about God.

Don’t worry, friends, I promise you’ll only see posts about God as many times as you’ll see X-Factor judge, Simon Cowell, being kind to a contestant (never), but a little more than how many days it rains each year in Southern California (twice).

What God can do for you that cheap medication and the mafia can’t.

Forget about all the reasons you’re resisting and keeping God away from your life.

Develop a relationship with God and you’ll experience these 7 benefits in your life. (Hey, it’s cheaper than feel-good meds and less dangerous than asking for a favor from a mob boss)

1)    Strength.

When life-crushing and soul-shaking experiences come into your life, how do you deal with it? Ok, after you put down the gin and rum, how do you deal with it?

Alcohol and medication can only help you cope for so long. When life is unusually cruel or throws you under the bus and runs over you a couple times, allow God to carry you through the difficulty.

You can share your sorrows, summon the strength to carry on and seek the counsel of God. 

It’s like your own personal psychologist without the insurance companies, therapist couch or condescending personality, similar to a trusted, loyal, uplifting and supremely helpful best friend.

2)    Meaning and fulfillment.

Have you pondered the meaning of life after a binge 50-episode Duck Dynasty marathon?

Or charged off on a holiday shopping spree to rival those of Victoria Beckham? All the while feeling like you’re caught up in a consumerist lifestyle which gives importance to material wealth and social status?

God allows you to find meaning and fulfillment in your life. You’ll realize that you yourself are enough. You’re divine! You don’t need to be anything or anyone else.

Your purpose now is to live a divinely-inspired life.

Cozying up to God can help you find fulfillment and purpose, including loving your neighbors, loving God more, serving others, or inspiring others to live more divinely-inspired lives.

3)    Humility.

You may think you’re smarter than Einstein, hipper than Jay-Z, more beautiful than Heidi Klum and more talented than Jessica Chastain, but you’re probably more likely living in a place where cannabis is legal.

Many religious traditions talk about being meek and humble. You may find that tough to do as our monster-like egos consume our lives.

Putting God in perspective allows you to surrender your ego to this omniscient, omnipresent entity.

The greater presence of God in your life permits you to be open to others, to temper that gigantic ego and to be a person of service.

4)    Peace of mind.

Isn’t it nice to know that you don’t have to travel life alone?

God’s available at a moment’s notice to listen and to be there for you.

You can conveniently unload life’s thorniest and weightiest problems on God.

All you have to say is, “God, I can’t handle this, give me the mental stability and emotional peace to deal with this challenge. Walk with, walk beside me, and help me through this one…”

5)    A practice of love and compassion.

Having a greater divine presence in your life allows you to see the divine in other people.

You can become a more loving person by becoming a more God-inspired person.

God doesn’t want to hurt anyone or see anyone suffer. God’s NOT a mafia boss or an angry ex-lover.

God is love and compassion. Seek more God in your life and you’ll find that you’re more loving and compassionate to others.

Interestingly, today’s religious fanatics are usually the worst at showing love to others.

If you, on the other hand, understand that everyone shares the same divinity as you, you can’t help but feel a kindred spirit with your friends and neighbors (and even your family)

6)    Hope in despair.

How will you wake up tomorrow?

How are you going to deal with your house being flooded, cancer, a divorce or a legal squabble?

With God, you have two kinds of hope. First, God promises that you’ll get through the rough patches and make it to a better day. You’ll have the strength and courage to face life’s most cruel trials.

God may not alleviate the situation as much as transform you to be more accepting and resilient in your life’s struggle.

God can inspire you to find solutions, seek resources and light that spark of creativity to change your circumstances.

The second way God can provide hope is by giving you comfort at the end of life.

Your trial run on earth can be rewarded with heaven, enlightenment, reincarnation or other eternal rewards.

7)    Community and fellowship. Although there are many complications you’ll encounter with religion, each tradition offers you a unique way to congregate and respect God.

Find a suitable religion, and leave ones that don’t resonate with your soul.

To deal with life’s trials and tribulations, God can help us through the dark alleys, but you can also benefit from the help of a congregation, church or temple community on a similar life path.

Most traditions of God-worship are communal and bring together a community of people.

Your co-worshipers can provide the additional courage, understanding and direction to help you through the ups and downs of life.

They’ll be there in the good times and the soul-wrenching ones.

I hope you’ll consider giving God another chance.

I hope you’ll even consider purchasing this book I wrote about God, Is God Listening? I wrote it 2 years ago, but just put it up for sale for your reading pleasure. Yes, you’ll laugh, cry and think about God differently.

Are you willing to give God another go? Or are you going to jump out the third-story window if you ever hear the word “God” again 🙂 ? Let me hear you in the comments below.

32 Comments

  1. Third story? Go up a few more floors please !

    Seriously though, I find I function well in life without any need to think about God. At first I thought this was my rebellion against an upbringing that had God at the centre of it.

    But now, I know it’s just a part of being me. There’s no requirement to consider if God does or doesn’t exist, and then get sucked into arguments for or against it.

    1. hahah you’re willing to jump out a 10th story window??

      Fair enough – you hate God. LOL why Razwana why? (kidding!) Thanks for chiming in 🙂

  2. Vishnu,
    Great post, I think for me, it is the word God I struggle with. I read somewhere that “God is Love” – the same words you wrote, and for me that made sense. When I think about God I see Him as some rule maker, some crazy moral compass that I have to live up to. What I am learning is, that believing in God, means living love. And if your living with love, you are creating a Universe that lives and breathes love and acceptance. So if that is God, then I’m starting to believe.

    1. Wow – beautiful, Melanie. God = Love. No question about that. I think if you love and treat others as you’d like to be treating, you are already living a divine life!

  3. Hi Vishnu,

    This post was very confusing in the beginning…I kept looking at the choice of your name and if you didn’t have any say in the choice of your name, as usually we don’t give ourselves our name but you chose the same name for your blog, I couldn’t reconcile myself to the words you have used for God and the way you seem to be so upset with Him though you lived with Him in your growing up years!!

    Then came the second part of your arguments and I feel you appreciate His quiet blessings, depend on Him and even advocate that He deserves another chance!
    Vishnu, you have to wait just one more day. What a coincidence that my post on HIM is ready and will be up on Wednesday…you have to read it…I don’t want to reveal my views but I never said don’t talk about Him…at the same time, I have been quite sceptical about His goodness!

    You have made a good case for Him. I appreciate your efforts.

    1. hi Balroop – thanks for your comment and many apologies for the confusion. I was trying to point out the common objections to God before getting to the reasons to give God another go in life. Glad you stuck with me to the end of the post. And even better was the treat of reading your post on faith this week – a really enjoyable read and continued inspiration of God’s blessings.

  4. Vishnu, you know me and my blog – I’m always talking about the God who listens and the One who loves me, loves us all. As you stated above, humorously may I add, so many run from God, but their running is all in vain. If we truly immerse ourselves in the Scriptures and the teachings of Jesus, we can’t help but love God and our neighbors. Anyone with a “higher than thou” demeanor either hasn’t met God or is delusional. There are plenty of folks like that out there who give religion a bad name. But, our God is above all that. He loves them, too, and wants them to come into the fold.
    It is our job, as Christians, to love them and shine the light of Christ, the real Christ, into their lives. And, as long as I have breath, I will never cease to praise our gracious and living God.
    Blessings to you, my friend, and best of luck with the book!

    1. I love your blog Martha because of your spiritual and divine topics! And your constant encouragement to praise God and to have God be the center of our lives. I think you”re absolutely right – the more of God’s love and light we share with the world, the more likely people will give God another look. Thank you for your inspiration, wisdom and divine encouragement!

  5. Hey Vishnu,

    A very interesting post and it’s great to see someone writing about something so controversial!

    In my opinion you don’t have to be religious to believe in God. I feel that as long as you believe and be a respectable human, don’t kill, steal and do obvious things that would make it so no one wants to be around you for the rest of eternity, then you don’t have to go to church ask for God’s help.

    I once read on Quora about a guy saying that his mind doesn’t believe in God but his heart doesn’t believe in God, I think that’s how I feel. My heart wants to believe that there is something watching over us but I’ll never really know for now.

    Last thing, whether you believe in God or not, if you do not believe in yourself that is where the much bigger problem lies!

    1. Thanks for your comments, George. Yes, there are a lot of positive aspects one can receive from a relationship with God, but yest, you can live a fulfilling and happy life without God in your life as well.

      There is no way to know for sure about the existence of God and I guess that’s where faith steps in. Believers see God working in small and mysterious ways in their lives but it is hard to prove or pinpoint it is in fact God.

      Thanks for commenting on a ‘controversial’ post 🙂 and for being so open-minded about the topic!

  6. First of all, I’m just about over my jealousy, a natural response to learning you get two days of rain over there in California. For those of us here in the north of England stuff like that’s not easy to hear.

    Second of all, love the post. I do often wonder about the reasons we’ve become so reticent about discussing the subject of God. It’s a big topic I know, but aren’t these the ones that are most worth our time, thought and attention? Aren’t these big questions what it’s all about?

    There are so many worthy reasons for looking into faith. You describe seven great ones in this post. I think the biggest reason is that every person on this planet, whether they’d like to acknowledge it or not, is a believer. Some believe in science. Most of us have moral beliefs about what’s right and wrong. Some of us believe in God. Some believe there is no God (yes, this is a faith based position too). The more open we can become about examining what we believe and why the better. At the very least, taking the time to do so helps us learn to understand those whose beliefs differ from our own. It helps us to honour life, and to treat every individual with dignity and love.

    1. Micah – yeah, living in CA is a paradise – especially Southern CA!! I’m grateful for everyday I’m here. I’m not sure why we’ve come so reticent to talk about God – yes, it’s a big topic but God is not politically correct, not easily understandable, requires us to do better than we’re currently doing and requires sacrifices. It’s not as easy as liking Facebook posts or catching a movie. lol

      And I absolutely love your point on reflection and understanding each others beliefs. All fanatics would be upset to read this! Your suggestion to try to examine better, learn from each other, extend compassion to each other and love is downright…divine! i can’t wait til you’re rich and famous, Micah, and I have to wait for 7 hours in the rain to hear you speak at a sold out auditorium in rainy London!

  7. Vishnu, you are a treasure. If you’re ever in Charleston SC, please let me know.

    I was agnostic for many years, even as I thought of God being Love. I never liked the rituals of religion, and was lucky to be introduced to the Church of Religious Science (not to be confused with Scientology)

    We were lucky to be inspired by a lovely female minister, and I made many friends as we sat in the basement having coffee and cake after the services. There was never a mention of Christ (I am Jewish), it was all about God and Love.

    I have been a devotee of the spiritual path (whatever that means), and have found peace and happiness in my studies.

    Keep up the good work Vishnu.

    1. Hi Leni – appreciate the kind words and the offer in SC.

      There are many problems with traditional religion which turns people away from God. All we really need is our own experience or relationship with God. Glad to hear that you’ve found a path that suits your spiritual progress and that doesn’t distract from God or love.

      Wishing you ever more peace and happiness. Thank you for visiting and your comment.

  8. I can so relate to the avoidance of talking about “God.” “God” mean so many different things to different people. I was raised attending church on a regular basis. I have not attended as regularly as an adult, but certainly would be open to it.

    I agree that not only do you find the spiritual support that we often are looking for, but you find a group of people that you actually can see and can serve as your personal community. The rules of an organized religion is what holds people back as well as that extra time it takes to attend church after working all week. For kids, it is always wonderful to be affiliated with a church and be exposed to religion in some form.
    Thanks – your posts are always informative and entertaining!!

    1. HI Cathy, thanks for your comments. I just wish that talking about God wouldn’t be so taboo but it seems that it’s politically incorrect not to mention God in public. We talk about every other topic including politics and reality tv but not God. Kind of intriguing because it brings up so many passionate disagreements and divisions, instead of understanding and love.

      Yes, there are many positives and some negatives of organized religion. I imagine the key is finding something that works for each person and using the experience of seeking God as a daily spiritual practice. God doesn’t have to scare lol and can actually inspire us and uplift us 🙂

  9. Amen, Vishnu! I really appreciate your latest blog post. I find myself often avoiding using the word God for fear I may offend someone who’s not religious or worse, I’ll get the weird “YOU believe in God?” look because I read Tarot cards and follow Astrology. It’s assumed I’m not a person of faith, but to me the Moon, the Stars and the heavens above are God’s most inspiring creations. I’m thankful to be in the presence of God every day.

    1. Thank you for your comments Daria and welcome to the blog!

      Thank you for sharing your sentiments which resonates me. Yes, when did it become odd to to talk about God casually? It really has become a dirty word haha where people think you’ve lost your mind or said something offensive when you say say something about God. And it never used to be that way – I mean, people were more on God’s bandwagon back in the day. What happened! Has God lost the pr battle?? haha or are we more lost these days??

  10. Hi Vishnu,
    I love this post! I can’t describe how much more meaningful my life has become accepting God into my life. My ego’s fears of being alone kept me alone for so many years. It’s amazing how connecting with ourselves (our own piece of God inside us) can bring us the courage, joy, and counsel we need.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Amita

    1. Thanks Amita for dropping by. So happy about reading your journey to God and the positive effects it has had on your life. If God is meaning, courage, joy and counsel, I’ll take a double portion of that in my life:)

  11. I just want to assure you dear Vishnu that I do not hate God. But, I’m a Buddhist and don’t believe in God as a divine creator. I love reading and writing about the spiritual, but I’m just not God-focused. Will you still love me?

    1. Yes, of course Sandra – lots of love for you – you are one of my favorite people and bloggers:) You love to read and write about the spiritual and I love to read your writing. Minus God, I think we are on the same page on almost every topic 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by on this post!

  12. You’re awesome and well done for putting a controversial topic so beautifully. Just like some of your readers here, I can’t believe how much more peaceful life has been ever since I practised my religion. It helps in times of loneliness and also times of confusion and at the same time, when we’re at the peak of all things, it’s great to know that there is Him up there looking out for us. Thank you, Vishnu, for the reminder. 🙂

    1. haha you’re awesome too my friend!

      Glad to hear that God is playing a role in your life Aqilah and with it, you’ve found peace, comfort, presence, clarity and support.

      God is great:) !

  13. You have a lot of interesting thoughts here. I’m glad you talked about this since it’s interesting how few people wanted to talk about God, why exactly is that? I want to know.

    For me, it comes down to a point you mentioned. God is something you can’t see and can’t touch. I’m very focused on the here and now. I like to interact with things that are tangible and have certainty. Since I can’t see God or know what God is for certain, it makes me uncomfortable to believe. By definition, it’s a leap of faith – that’s hard for some people to do. What if it’s misplaced and my conception of God is incorrect? Or perhaps I’m just over thinking it.

    1. Good points here you raise, Steve. I get what you’re saying about being in the present moment. And I totally get what you mean by not having certainty but to challenge you, what do we really have certainty of ?? lol

      I think Eckhart Tolle says it best in that in the present moment, we can find this state of nothingness. And that in nothingness, he says, is also everything. And in that everything, he says is the divine spirit. He doesn’t allude to it as God but suggests we could.

      I don’t think there’s a right answer – there is a right answer for each person when it comes to God. We can accept and rejoice or run for the hills. Or come to the place where there’s something unexplainable which exists out there about this unknown realms of consciouisness – we just don’t have the ability to understand or define it.

  14. Thanks for this, V. Inspring and witty as always.

    I particularly enjoyed the thoughts on hope and God. “God may not alleviate the situation as much as transform you to be more accepting and resilient in your life’s struggle.” I think many people look for divine miracles but I believe God works most often as you describe: giving you enough confidence and hope to take on challenges with strength.

    1. Thank you Jody Lamb for your visit. I LOVE how you said that – your ability to take wit and restate it with so much wisdom is a divine gift:)

    1. I’m not sure if that’s how I see God operating, Mary.

      My understanding is that life happens with positive and negative circumstances. I don’t believe God is creating difficulties and challenges for us. In fact, my book talks about this issue directly. I point out that God isn’t a mobster who creates pain and suffering but is available to all of us for hope, strength and counsel.

      It’s a different approach to God that I hope you’ll consider. I used to think that God was creating the circumstances around us – what if He’s a silent wise bystander who is there to guide us?

  15. Hey Vishnu, an interesting take on quite the provocative subject.
    A couple of years ago, I sat in the Lent/Easter celebration of my daughters previous school, a church school. It was a pretty interesting experience in all, with the teachers and children having put in a lot of effort to present songs, art etc. The ‘sermons’ were relatively appropriate, but to be honest, I was both shocked and appalled when the children (ages between 6-9) were led in an impromtu re-enactment first of Jesus’ persecution and then the ‘saving of sinners’ where the children were asked again to stand and beg for mercy, repeating ‘Forgive me, for I have sinned.’
    What I found really difficult was the sight of tiny, little children, completely innocent, of pure hearts and joy, simply doing as they were told and then being told (or made to admit) that they had sinned.
    God is not a concept that I am averse to, admittedly I prefer the roundedness of the name Universe, but then I do find myself more drawn to spirituality than religion, which provides for me, all of the points you raise except perhaps the last one.

    1. hi Li-ling – thank you for sharing the experiences of your daughter’s school. I can see what you’re saying with Christianity and the concept of sin. And how younger children may not be in a place to understand the concept. In the Christian faith, salvation is possible through the forgiveness of sin but how to teach that to children and what’s appropriate for that age, I’m not sure about.

      And I think that keeping an open mind and expanding the concept of God to universe is also fair. We can call God whatever we want and you’re right – you can get the same benefits including the last one 🙂 For example, if you’re in a situation where there’s love, compassion and understanding (and you’re in a group setting) you’re receiving the benefits of fellowship and community.

      It’s always so nice to hear from you and get your insights. Thank you.

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