An Interview with God: Encountering the Unexpected
A Journey into Alternatives
By: J. Marlando
I am not unlike most people. I was raised to believe in God and slowly grew more doubtful than faithful. My doubt arrived from the typical questions left unanswered: If there’s a God why do so many tragic and sad things happen…if there is one god, why are there so many different religions….if God once spoke directly to people, why doesn’t he appear in our times and stop all the wars and hatred. As a young history buff, I saw that our kind delivers a past of bloodshed, torturing and suffering; of subjugations and slavery; a hideous history made at least in vast majority by those calling themselves “religious” and/or God fearing.
As a young historian with a bent toward philosophy, I saw great temples and churches built for the “glory of God” while hungry beggars stand most virtually on their steps. The paradox sickened me. I was in my twenties then; a time when I quit religion and began my long road of skepticism. That was a half century ago. I have not been back to church since but I am no longer a skeptic.
It is my intent to answer some vital questions here that many skeptics have. I want the reader, however, to keep in mind that I have no desire to change anyone’s mind that has their own faith or particular religious belief. This article is written for those who are the doubters, the skeptics and the disbelievers but are also seekers, as I called myself for many years. If the views offered in the following offend you, we will apologize now and say stop reading at the juncture where you begin feeling more lost than found. With all this in mind, we will begin.
There I was sitting alone, looking across that vast forest of pine trees to the far horizon thinking about creation and God; why was I where I was; was there purpose and meaning to any of it? I also thought about the common scientific and scholarly views; those who hold the existential view of being and nothingness, the reductionists!
As always I had a yellow pad and pen in my hand. That was just in case I caught hold of some profound idea or even a thought that I wanted to remember. Then, I drifted off into contemplation or imagination, something that happens to me when I think too much or too deeply. Perhaps you’ve had the same experience while driving a car—one minute you’re in the present and then, miraculously, you’re ten or twenty miles down the road wondering how you got there? I have experienced this many times!
I was kind of in that limbo-like state of mind when a younger person approached me and sat down beside me. I was actually glad for the company as I had hiked many miles into those magnificent Rockies alone and I had been deeply engrained in my questioning what life was all about. A topic I often wallowed about in. Anyway, I said hello to the stranger.
The stranger smiled.
“I am here to answer your questions,” he said.
I was a little shocked and yet I felt comfortable: This must be an angel I first thought to myself, God is old and powerful while this young man is…well, beautiful, almost in a feminine way. Then for some reason I asked him the strangest question, “Are you God?”
The young man smiled. “Whatever you name a thing, it becomes,” he smiled.
I wasn’t sure just who I was talking to but I had never seen such a bright glow in anyone’s eyes and so I thought to myself, yes, this must be God, who else would be in such a desolate place except for a fool?
“What is it you want to know?” He asked.
“Do you mind if I take notes?” I answered with a question. I held up my yellow pad.
He smiled again. The interview was on.
Me: Okay, let me start with the hard stuff: Is there meaning and purpose in life?
God: Everything has purpose, it is up to you to give it meaning.
M: What about the Big Bang…Weren’t the heavens and earth created by you?
G: Nothing is created, it is always manifested.
M: From what?
G: From what you call…god!
M: Wait a minute, don’t you call yourself god?
G: Once you name a thing, you necessarily project an image onto it. For example, what
do you see in your mind’s eye when I say Zeus or Yahweh?
M: Wow, very interesting.
G: Now you see how names, titles and labels create the image. And with all images appear binary opposites, do they not? What I am trying to tell you is very complicated so give it some thought and let’s move on.
M: Well, wait a moment, why must there be opposites in the world?
G: For one thing we know things only by what they are not.
M: Well, okay, if you say so.
G: For another, everything that lives does so centered in countless alternatives. If it were any other way there would be no free will.
M: I have heard strong arguments against free will.
G: I have a challenge for you—do something that you do not choose to do.
M: Okay, you got me there but I am thinking about how we are all indoctrinated to believe this or that. For example, if I have been raised to believe something…say, that Buddhism or Catholicism or Islam is truth, doesn’t my indoctrinations diminish my choosing and therefore corrupt my free will?
M: But you just said that we have free will.
G: You are free to question your beliefs; where they came from, why they are what they are or you can choose not to.
M: But people live entire lifetimes never realizing they are acting out of their indoctrinations and not from their own volition.
G: Yes, you are right. One must be willing to deconstruct their concepts to be free of them.
M: Speaking of all this, I once heard a scientific lecture that said that we have no free will because our brains have decided on an action before we are aware of it.
G: Yes, I’ve heard that argument too but permit me to explain as simply as possible. You make the decision, the choice, but it must go through the process of the brain so the brain can physicalize it. Another way of putting this would be to say that the machine has no ideas of its own beyond what it is told. It is really quite complicated but trust me when I say you have free will. Remember, you are not your body so, in this scenario, think of yourself as the ghost in the machine. The very thing that your modern scientists deny at every turn!
M: I’ve heard so many people denouncing belief in the spiritual.
G: Yes, they are the materialists but permit me to give you a giggle. It is the body that does not really exist. Well, at least not in the way that you are used to thinking about the reality of stuff. Take the tree that I’m pointing at…
M: Yes, I see the one.
G: That tree is 99.9999999999 empty space and merely made to feel solid by ethereal fields of force. What I’m getting at is nothing exists as you think it does, not even you.
M: I’ll have to give that one a lot of thought. I want to go back to the topic of freedom. I think that I may have you this time: what about people who simply do not know they are enslaved by dogmas or ideologies or the concepts that’s been given them?
G: They are still free. Have you ever heard the story of the jealous husband who put his wife in a closet when he went to work because his jealousy was so intense? Well, the truth was that his wife wanted most to leave her husband because she was so unhappy. Nevertheless, whenever he wasn’t home, she was forced to endure that dark little space waiting for him to let her out of the darkness and back into the light. Months and months went by but then one day while he was away at work it occurred to her that the closet door had no lock. And that is the story of free will in regard to indoctrinations.
M: You are saying that people are trapped by their own concepts?
G: I’m saying we can be, just as we can be trapped in other people’s concepts. Clearly this is how sexism and racism unfolds; the parents pass down the social memes of their times, of their their religions, and other concepts to their child as truth and the child believes them.
M: So how do you know what to believe and what not to believe?
G: You have to decide. Opto, ergo sum!
M: What does that mean?
G: I choose, therefore I am.
M: I have a very personal question that I have always been curios about and now seems the time to ask about it: Of all the religions in the world, which one do you choose? You can tell me, I will keep it a secret!
G: In ancient times, the times of Moses, I was named Yahweh Sabaoth. Yahweh Sabaoth means, the God of the Armies. This God was a warrior god who is said to have split seas to save one and destroy the other; that cursed one and praised the other; who loved one and hated the other. Such a god would be a tyrant god would he not, tyranny simply cannot be divine nor can the organizations of the tyrant be. Do you see what I’m saying? Think of God as the observer observing. Are you grasping what I’m saying?
M: So you are forever looking down on things—the eye-in-the-sky so to speak?
G: I am on the outside and inside of all things.
M: But you cannot be both the lion and the lamb; the predator and the prey!
G: If I wasn’t, I would not exist…but then again neither would you. Surely you can understand that?
M: I cannot. I am suddenly very confused.
G: The creator and created are one!
M: I will have to give that a lot of thought.
G: Look in your heart.
M: Okay, then I will ask directly: Why do you permit bad things to happen?
G: I have already told you, it is you who has free will. I am the observer, observing; the inside out and the outside in. Split wood, you will find me there…Lift a stone, I am there!
M: My question was why do you permit bad things to happen?
G: I just told you, I am the alpha and omega; the mind in all phenomena. Didn’t I just tell you to chop wood and you will find me there?
M: But you are the giver of life?
G: No, no my boy. I am life, don’t you get it?
M: I’m trying to…I just can’t seem to open my mind to everything you’re telling me.
G: I have already told you, open your heart.
M: I’ll try…I really will!
G: Now, now, don’t get down on yourself. Remember, you’re okay, I’m okay. That’s the ticket!
M: I’ve always tried to do what’s right!
G: How’s that working out for you?
M: Are you laughing at me?
G: I am not.
M: I could see it in your face. You were laughing at me.
G: I was smiling. Do you have any idea of how many different right and wrongs there are?
M: What do you mean?
G: The rules of right and wrong change with the times; what is right in one culture is wrong in another, what is right here is wrong there and what is wrong today is right tomorrow. It’s all such a social merry-go-round, don’t you agree?
M: I guess but…but then how does a person know what is really right and what is really wrong?
G: I will tell you a secret…there is no right and wrong, there is only that which is kind and that which is cruel. As long as you do the kind thing you will have done the right thing. Kindness is good and cruelty is evil, it’s as simple as that.
M: There have been times that I could have been kinder.
G: Ah, you have discovered purpose!
M: I have?
G: Indeed you have.
M: But…but there are certain people I just don’t like.
M: Well, people who have hurt me,for example.
G: I see.
M: Selfish people. I don’t like selfish people.
G: I see.
M: Stupid people bother me a lot too. There are a lot of stupid people in this world!
G: I see.
M: So you see, it’s nearly impossible to truly be kind to everyone…some people just rub you the wrong way.
G: But kindness is precisely your purpose and anyway, all those people are you only in different circustances. You see, your differences are only aparent!
M: Wait a minute, I have nothing in common with the bum on the street.
G: You have everything in common with the bum on the street except your experiences.
M: Oh I get it, you should treat people like you would be treated, is that what you’re saying?
G: You said it…but no, you don’t get it. That’s fine, few ever do…Anyway, yes, you need to treat everyone as you would be treated. What is so difficult about that?
M: Well nothing when you say it like that but…
G: Just think about it, if everyone did just that much wars and all of man’s inhumanity to man would simply go away.
M: That’ll be the day, the world just doesn’t work that way.
G: What you mean is that people don’t work that day. The world is really a very nice place to be. Look at you sitting here in the midst of nature, transcendent and intuitive. Is this not a place of great peace and beauty?
M: Yes. I have always loved the mountains. Just look at that manificent peak leaning against the sky. The one that is still snow-capped and glisening in the sun.
G: Very impressive indeed.
M: A touch of heaven!
G: All is heaven. Heaven is not a location it is a continuum, a never ending dance!
M: I’m not following you.
G: I didn’t think you would. Let me put it this way: You are always where you are as either as probability or manifested. The idea that heaven is over there someplace is a mere concept but in actuality there is no such thing as “over there.”
M: Now you’re really confusing me.
G: Look around and tell me what you see.
M: Well…I see thousands of trees, those beautiful peaks, a little snow, some clouds and the sky; I see the ground and…well, hugh boulders and…and…I think in the very far distance I see what might be a road. That’s it, at least in overview.
G: None of it truly exists over there, it is all in here (he pointed to his head).
M: Everything I am seeing is in my mind. I can’t believe that.
G: Think now—external and internal perception are the weaving of one fabric, the fabric you call reality!
M: Are you saying I’m imagining all of this?
G: Not at all. What I am saying is that you cannot separate what you see inside your mind from what you see outside your mind. You only imagine that you are separate from everything else; that there is a dividing line between you and the object but there isn’t.
M: Now you’re really messing with my head. What are you talking about?
G: I am merely trying to explain that the mindscape and landscape are the same.
M: Okay, I think I have you this time: If the mountain I’m looking at is not truly over there why then would it take me a good couple of hours just to reach it?
G: Neither time nor space exists except in your mind; they are merely measuring tools that people use while in the physical realm.
M: You mean while they are alive?
G: Look, nothing that has ever lived can die! Well, at least not in the sense that you are thinking.
M: Now, you’re saying that we don’t die?
G: Aren’t you paying attention? Didn’t I just mention the dance of the universe? Didn’t I just tell you that you are either in a state of probability or the state of manifestation? I don’t see how I can say it any clearer than that.
M: If everything is in my head and its snowing out and I want it to be sunny, why can’t I just….well, change my mind so to speak and give myself a hot, summer day?
G: Nature is what it is.
M: But if it is only in my mind…
G: I never said that.
M: You implied it.
G: I did not.
M: You said that everything I’m seeing right now is in here. (I pointed to my head).
G: I said, what is in your head is out there and what is out there is in your head.
M: Okay, whatever.
G: Don’t be depressed. You’ll get it.
M: Can we talk about something else?
G: Of course, this is your interview.
M: What about judgment day?
G: About what?
M: Judgment day.
G: Oh yes, the heaven and hell concept.
M: What is heaven like?
G: Look around.
M: What is hell like?
G: Look around.
M: That’s going to upset a lot of theologians.
G: Remember what we said about concepts?
M: I guess.
G: Sentient beings never cease to amaze me.
M: I was asking about judgment day.
G: Have you ever felt pride?
G: That’s good, but have you ever felt guilt or regret?
M: Yes, yes, of course I have. Many times!
G: That is enough so leave the past by the wayside.
G: Have you never heard the phrase, go and sin no more?
M: Yes, I have!
G: And you are still asking me about a judgment day?
M: Oh, I get it.
G: Are you sure?
M: I get it, okay?
G: People judge you…I love you!
M: You…you love me?
G: Yes. Unconditionally!
M: Wow…that’s…that’s nice.
G: Well, actually to the extent that you love you.
M: Now you’re getting confusing again.
G: A person, a sentient being, can only love others and the world to the extent that he or she loves him or herself and, accordingly, he or she can only be loved to that same extent.
M: Hmmm, as I think about it, I could love myself more. I really could! I mean sometimes I don’t even like myself very much.
G: Well, it is important that you have lots of love for you.
M: And the reason is..?
G: You cannot give what you do not have!
M: You can’t draw water from an empty well.
G: Very good.
M: Thank you.
G: Look out yonder to those big peaks and the sky above and say to them, I love you to them.
M: You’re kidding.
G: Go on. It’s okay to say it to yourself but say it…and mean it.
M: (I say it silently) Wow, I feel…I don’t know lighter or something. It’s a good feeling!
G: What do you think would happen to your life if you walked in love every day?
M: I’d run into a lot of people who wouldn’t love me back!
G: Real love never seeks reciprocation.
M: East for you to say.
G: Have you ever heard life is what you make it?
M: Yes, everyone has heard that.
G: What you project into the world, the world becomes. Deem the rose bush a thorn bush and see what happens; project your love into the universe and you have changed your world.
M: Are you saying that I can manifest the world I live in?
G: You do! Everything you sense is a product of your consciousness. Without you all that forest of trees that you are seeing right now would no longer be there…well, at least in the state that you are now seeing them.
M: You really lost me on that one!
G: Yes, the workings of the world is quite complex. All you need to know about what I said is that the world really is what you make it. You will have to figure out what that means for yourself.
M: I have to admit it. It’s too much for my little brain to comprehend.
G: Look into your heart.
M: Consciousness is a very big word.
G: Call it mind.
M: Yes, I can grasp mind a lot easier.
G: Good. Mind did not evolve out of the universe. The universe arose out of mind.
M: But I read some scientist who said that our minds are a component of our brains.
G: Yes, the big word that they scientists love for that is epiphenomenon; the mind they say is an epiphenomenon of the brain.
M: You don’t agree with the scientists?
G: Seldom. They have become reductionists in such large numbers that I am frustrated by them.
M: What’s a reductionist?
G: Well, without going into that very far, I will just say that they are people who believe that you are merely the totality of your parts; that you can be likened to a sophisticated machine like an advanced robot. In fact, a favorite buzz line they love using is to say that, there is no ghost in the machine.
M: No soul?
G: No self!
M: So what happens to God in that case?
G: God, as you call it, is placed in the archives of mythology and superstition.
M: So what is God?
G: God is mind, mind permeates all phenomenon; all matter, if you will.
M: I don’t get it.
G: Didn’t I already tell you to split wood and you will find me there?
M: Yes, you did…I forgot!!
G: Well where did mind come from then?
M: It simply is and always has been. Stop thinking in terms of time and space!
G: That’s difficult to do.
M: Perhaps the easiest way to comprehend all that I am sharing with you is to lean on the Eastern observation: One is All, All is One.
G: The ant and the elephant have their connectedness?
M: Now you’re getting it. Imagine your mind being in a sea of other minds. That is, your consciousness being in a sea of consciousness. As I have said many times, our differences are only apparent.
G: In other words, I am one with God today?
M: Yes, you can say that.
G: And being one with God I should…
M: Walk in love for all things and all others. Your purpose is kindness, your objective is service. I love you and I want you to be happy.
I have thought about the questions and answers in the above for a great many years. I am well
aware that they do not reflect conventional thinking but the intent is not to convince anyone of anything. The intent is to simply present food for thought. As for me, I am fully convinced that science and spirituality will become compatible within the next fifty years if not sooner. Quantum physics have certainly opened the pathways to spiritual views based on scientific observations. Those pathways are widening every day.
If I should be right, organized religion will have to leave the old warrior god and all the dogmas and doctrine behind while grounding itself in a new metaphysics of understanding; cultures will have to deconstruct their old concepts of separateness and construct new views of unity and cooperation. The world, I believe, would at long last, become at peace with itself.
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References and suggested, further reading
Davies, Paul * God and the New Physics * Simon & Schuster
Goswami, Amit with Richard E. Reed and Maggie Goswami * The Self-Aware Universe* Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putman
Lanza, Robert with Bob Berman * Biocentrism *Benbella Books
Schroeder, Gerald L. * The Hidden Face of God * Simon & Schuster