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.
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)
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.
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.