I’m not religious, and God for me is inner-self as well as the universe and all the energy that comprises it. But for me, when people talk of God, my translation doesn’t take away from the power, sense and utility of their message, it empowers it. To that end, I support messages from others that I feel will benefit all who’ll listen. I realize there are others, atheists or agnostics, who shudder upon hearing one speak of God because they feel it irrational. But to purposely disregard a message just because “God” is mentioned is an extremely weak perspective.
I think most monotheistic religions would concur with the premise – God is “within”. So it shouldn’t be much of a leap to translate a message that states “put ones faith in God” to “believe in yourself” and believe in your abilities. Find the self-confidence within and understand that walking with a degree of intrepidity in life is not only human, but also part of our design. “God works in mysterious ways” is the exact same as “we don’t understand the universe and there’s no telling what may happen, so act from a perspective and attitude of gratitude and empowerment”.
It’s just as weak a perspective to off-load the responsibility of ones’ actions to someone else, or something else – even God. So understand, while I don’t condone the institution of religion, I do recognize the importance of its utility. Community, connection, hope, self-confidence, purpose and direction are powerful needs and religion can for some, provide it, however misguided it might be to others who give logic a higher precedence in their life.
If you were dehydrated and on the verge of death, and a priest were to offer you “blessed” water which he claimed came from God himself, would your ego and stubbornness not allow you to drink? It’s water. It has the same value, regardless of where the priest wants to believe it came from. You know you didn’t create the water. It came from something you don’t understand, otherwise you’d be the richest or smartest person on the planet, because you could manufacture it out of cosmic energy or explain the quantum-mechanical principles that underlie its very existence.
Whatever “God” is, couldn’t you just put the vernacular aside and drink? It doesn’t change the water’s “value”, especially if your body is in a compromised state and needs it.
A preachers prime directive is to help people period. The “notion” of God is secondary. It’s a means to an end. The end is to feel better about life, to feel hope and to encourage faith in one-self. There are multitudes of people suffering, hurting and in pain. They lack guidance and direction. They are “dying of thirst”. Preachers like this, who have valuable information to offer, and who can deliver that message in a powerful way, can provide those people some emotional relief. To spite the giver of a valid message only does you the disservice.
In all religions, there are many lessons to be learned about people and the way people work. Each have their own anecdotes about dealing with life. Try not to disregard those valuable lessons just because you don’t agree with the “institution” of religion, which is very different than some of the lessons they convey. Remember, religions packaged-up stories that the majority of people could understand and relate to. And I can understand not wanting to buy what the “institution” of religion is selling, but don’t disregard the value of some (not all) of the lessons they put forth. This goes for sermons and speakers as well. Don’t disregard the message just to spite the “institution”.
This video is about focusing on the positive. It’s about understanding how the mind works. It’s about having faith in your abilities and faith that your destiny will be greater than your history. So what if TD Jakes’ definition of God is different than your belief in “something” greater. Hear the logic of the message. Understand its utility.
For anyone reading this, atheist or agnostic, I ask that you just think about what I’m saying, play with it. I’m all for everyone having an opinion, even if its counter to my own beliefs. I just don’t agree with beating anyone up over arbitrary subjective belief systems that usually change over time and with experience. I don’t believe that one has to convey meanness to get their point across. We all have a choice. If you don’t agree with something, feel free to just walk away. No one is coming after you to try and convert your beliefs.
And for those of you who understand this message, those who can internalize it and benefit from it; the ones who are currently having a hard-time processing life. I only ask you do one thing – Take another step.
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