Brian Wilcox 'Purple Bee Balm'
A devoutly religious person asked the Sage about belief in God.
"Do you believe in God?"
"Not that God."
"The one you're talking about."
"So, you don't believe in God?"
"I didn't say that, did I?"
"What did you say?"
"I said, 'I didn't say that, did I?'"
This, the Sage was thankful, ended the matter.
Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.
*Joseph Campbell. Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor.
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When a child, Jesus became my first love, best friend, and life companion. Jesus remains a face of Presence to me, one I can respect, adore, and feel safe to be close with. If someone asked, "Who was Jesus?" or "Who is Jesus?" or "What did he look like?," I have no answer. If asked, "What is your theology about Jesus?," I would answer, "I don't have one." If asked, "What is your Christology?," I would say, "I don't have one." Still, Jesus, a representation of the Ineffable, reminds me of what I felt as a child in love with him ~ kindness, friendship, warmth of affection, and love. The image of the man Jesus, as do other representations of the Sacred, inspires within me a sense of the Sacred.
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Basil Hume (d. 1999), a Roman Catholic cardinal, told a story about the God-image his mother gave him in his childhood. His mother called Basil into the kitchen and said, "Son, I've just finished baking some delicious cookies, and I've put them into this cookie jar. I'm going to leave this cookie jar right here on the table. But don't dare sneak in here and eat any of them. Remember: God is watching you!"
For years, Basil lived in fear of this watchful "God of the cookie jar." One day, though, it dawned on him. If he had snuck into the kitchen and put his hand in the jar and secretly pulled out a cookie and eaten it, God would have looked on and said, "Basil, they're so good! Have another one!"
*Albert Haase. Living the Lord's Prayer.