God, our baggage, and the word is not the thing

"God and Our Baggage" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“God and Our Baggage” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

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One of my favorite thinkers of all time is Krishnamurti. In fact, if I could take only one book to a deserted island, I would choose his The Urgency of Change,. One of the things he said was,

“The word is not the thing.”

This one simple sentence shattered my mind. It began a process that led into my deconstruction, a radical transformation of theology, and eventually the peace I’d been searching for.

The word is not the thing. Our words about “That-Which-We-Call-God”, and even our thoughts, are not the object thought or talked about. These are all symbols, forms, signs, that attempt to point to that object. When these forms control us, the bible calls these idols.

There is a peace beyond where words no longer serve.

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4 Responses

  1. Sabio Lantz says:

    Your drawing brought three other baggage images to mind:

    (1) Parade: A parade of gods (with Yahweh just one of them), carrying tons of baggage.

    (2) All those gods, burdened with bullshit, on a chessboard with believers moving them around.

    (3) Those same gods, now dogs with baggage duck-taped to them, in a dog-fight pit ripping each other apart while betting believers raising fists, cheering on their animal. Yet in the distance non-believers relax on the beach. They don’t wonder, “Why the baggage?” but instead wonder, “Why the gods?”

  2. Caryn LeMur says:

    Great cartoon! It made me smile this morning. Sabio’s ‘images’ were also good on many levels.

    The real world is frightening and/or changing ‘too fast’ to many people. Perhaps, instead of having a big god, they add on baggage hoping to control him, stay in his favor, and have his protection. I am ok with that. In a way, the frightened need assurance.

    Where I get lost is when they need to confirm their own beliefs by excluding others, denying others, or attacking others. Do the frightened really need to control others at the same time? Isn’t enough to just limit God?

  3. Sabio Lantz says:

    Not only do people imagine gods in order to get a sense of identity, security or hope, people may imagine their race or their country similarly. They try to conjure up some abstraction that really loves them, holds them and will fight for them — they close their eyes tight to try and make it real. And throwing on baggage helps their fictional creation.

    We so badly want to be bigger, stronger, more permanent, and more loved that we create imaginary things to provide that.
    THEN, we set them at war with each other.
    People are weird.

  4. Oh wow. This is so good. Love the cartoon! haha

    But this is so good…”The word is not the thing. Our words about “That-Which-We-Call-God”, and even our thoughts, are not the object thought or talked about. These are all symbols, forms, signs, that attempt to point to that object. When these forms control us, the bible calls these idols.” – So I guess I need to read that book.

    Thanks for this!

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