It’s at this point you could become alarmed, upset, let down and/or generally disappointed. I was when I built this new God … and when I realised any alternative is little more than personifying that which is beyond human imagination or creativity; like giving clothes and a name to something like faith, hope or charity.
You see, I had this fond affection for a loving Father watching, guiding and supporting my every move. My own father was both angry and distant and the God I built mirrored the father I wish I’d had – loving, accepting, communicating, guiding and always there. I felt safer in an unsafe world with this bigger Father watching my every move, looking out for me and clearing confusion whenever it enveloped me.
I’d heard of other gods – harsh ones, judgemental ones, dispassionate ones, fickle ones – and mine was better than any of them: accessible, able and artful. Never absent, avenging or arsehole.
Mine was special and he was mine … and he was definitely a He, echoing my need, I realised many years later, for a nicer substitute father. Someone in my corner.
So I plodded through life in the glow of God’s ever-present kindness, falling back on him whenever pain or indecision cut in. This God got me through many scrapes – suicide attempts, physical and emotional attacks, abandonment, guilt fear and loneliness. I have so much to thank him for and, even today, I can call him up when the munchies chew at my soul.
Then somewhere, sometime, something went click. A dawning at the speed of thought over the softening landscape of my life. I noticed that I’d built the god I wanted, the god that filled the biggest hole in my soul … and that we all do this.
Some people like being slapped round the chops so they build a vengeful, punishing god.
Some people like being cuddled and caressed so they build a gooey, sweet god.
Some people want – and therefore see – a complicated world and so build a complicated god … or a whole congregation of complicated gods.
In fact, our gods tell us nothing about God and everything about us – the perfect analyst’s tool!
So, having peeled back the worst of the layers of anger at my father – do we ever peel them all back? – I realised that, as Forrest Gump might say, God is as God does.
In other words, having become my best friend, I was in no need for a friend substitute. I was, however, in need of understanding about Life, the Universe and Everything. I wanted to know how it all worked. I was in mechanical mode – practical, objective and process-focussed.
So I built a Process God.
And, yes, there was grief. Sadness. Mourning. My old God was dead; a lifelong friend was gone. I missed him but knew he didn’t fit the new me that now walked this earth.
I hear you asking and the answer is, “Yes, I still miss my old God, like an old friend I’ve lost touch with and feel little connection with, now. When we meet up it’s nice but it’s neither deep nor enduring any more.
My new God now suits me perfectly – as do all our Gods. Faceless, emotionless, impersonal and unerringly reliable; the Rolls Royce of gods who never breaks down, never has a bad moment and purrs in constant comfort. He never smiles nor grimaces. He just does the job he’s assigned to do and is content to do my bidding … as I am to do his.