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Crisis of a Name: A Letter to God

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Dear God,

(C/O: Yahweh, Allah, Jehovah, Ahura Mazda, Jah, Brahma, or Whomever happens to be in the Office at the time of receipt.)

Why is Your identity such a big deal? The more important question is, why is Your identity such a big deal to people who like to blow everything out of proportion? I really think we need to sit down and talk about this today.

Firstly, I really want to let You know exactly how damaging this emphasis on monotheism is without clarification on differences in practicing cultures. Some of us explain away a good chunk of this on the Tower of Babel, but let’s be realistic, Your Graciousness. That’s a bit of a cop-out. Three thousand years ago, that story might have silenced hoards of Hebrew children wondering why their playmate down the street in ancient Jerusalem spoke a different language, but after the advent of proper archaeology and other social sciences, we are nowhere near as innocently ignorant.

We could start with the concept of a Cradle of Civilization, which seems to be a popular and supported theory. They started popping up everywhere, didn’t they, once the trend for writing washed through Sumer? Not that Sumer actually had anything to do with the goings-on in East Asia, but word gets around eventually. Hunter-gatherer tribes the world over settled down and tried their hands at farming. Thus, being rather successful, they independently evolved culturally throughout the course of time. They still continue to do so, though it’s much harder to notice when you’re a part of the pattern rather than looking at it objectively.

However, it doesn’t matter where in the world we go. Every culture believed in something supernatural, something grander than humanity, that had some hand in the day-to-day, the earth’s very existence. Some believed in many gods or spirits making a concerted effort. Some held to the belief that only one force drove everything. Anthropomorphic, animalistic, elemental, it doesn’t matter. Down at the barest roots, humanity believed in the universe, in whatever form of You best conformed to their cultural background.

Isn’t that a funny notion? The people who have gone to war (or still bicker and kill each other) for “God” or “Allah” or “Tezcatlipoca” are merely fighting with each other over trivialities, over a name. The name extends further to more than just the name itself and into the realm of human differences. People are inherently afraid of change (why is that, really?), and equally can’t seem to bear it when someone or some other group thinks apart from them. Every generation fears the next, and one nation, though outwardly friendly, is constantly judgmental of its neighbors. We’re naïve and petty over some of the most important things.

Dr. Seuss knew what he was talking about: butter-side up or butter-side down … in the end, it’s still just buttered toast.

I do admit that there is much more than a name involved, but they are never, ever actually fighting in Your name (whatever that might happen to be, in their opinion) as they claim. They’re fighting because they believe that their variant of You is supreme/better/the only version of You that there is or should be. Clearly, someone is just being silly. There is also the general fact that wars aren’t merely fought over religion alone. The Crusades, a prime if older example, had so much more driving them than the attempt to control the Holy Land for the sake of the Divine. Never underestimate the power of human greed, or even the extent to which someone will go to satisfy his own personal ambitions.

But, the longer I talk about this particular facet, the more likely I am to make someone angry (not You, of course, Omne, but someone else who might have a completely different perspective than mine that they hold to be true … which would really only further cement my theory that people only ever argue over personal differences in matters of truth (not to be confused by debates over matters of fact)). I would much rather focus on something more positive if I’m to continue. I’d like to remind You of the people who seemed to get it right, and ask why such is so difficult.

In the beginning, there were many gods: gods of the home, gods of the sky, gods of totally imaginary places that may or may not have some significance in the collective human psyche. Each god represented something, and no matter what culture You crossed into (even if You hopped from Ancient Greece to the frigid north of Finland), there were always similarities, mirrors, parallels. If You somehow knew the language of the other group or could communicate, “So-and-So is my god of the sun!” the odds were in Your favor that they would respond, “Oh! How fascinating! We call him What’s-His-Face!” They would find the similarities, realize that things really were rather compatible, and all kinds of nifty meshing would ensue. The Romans were particularly notorious for adopting gods and goddesses into their very cosmopolitan pantheon, and it worked tremendously in their favor as expansion continued.

Then, Constantine got this brilliant idea. You inspired him in that very particular way, and he decided that You were the answer to everything. At least, he decided that a form of You was the answer to everything, and set about converting the Roman Empire and, subsequently, the known world to Christianity as best he could—even posthumously. There happened to be a slight problem with this. I’m not saying that anything is wrong with Christianity, Omne, but I will say that it wasn’t the brightest move for a culture whose religion is tightly intertwined with its politics and governing systems. Nature abhors a vacuum, and hundreds of gods and household spirits dwindling down to a Singular Entity had to have been quite the obstacle to tackle for a good while—long enough for mass chaos to break out and help lead to the ultimate downfall of one of history’s most enduring world powers.

Not only this, but more was lost with that massive pantheon becoming significantly diminished. There was no longer the ability to find particular cultural similarities with total strangers. Either they worshiped your God, or they didn’t. If they didn’t, they had to be, at the very least, ignorant of some grand truth and basis for deeper metaphysical understanding.

I love You, Darling. Truly, I do. But, seriously, isn’t there some way You could better influence people into realizing that You are absolutely Everything and Everyone ever conceived of regarding this religion-and-belief business? In actuality, half the time, You’ve been reduced to a political tool (much like the environment these days), and You know as well as I that You are worth far, far more than that.

I really must ask, however—does any of this keep You up at night?

Hugs and Hot Cocoa (as I’m sure You need comfort food as much as anyone),


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