A God Made in the Likeness of the Ego
Continued from yesterday…
The third lesson we learn from the story about the tree of knowledge of good and evil is how the formation of the ego resulted in a distorted view of God, where God is made in the likeness and image of the false self.
The ego, taking its cues from the five senses, is obviously not able to discern the spiritual embodiment of the divine in the universe. So it projects its own limited knowledge and inferior wisdom on that which transcends all, and imagines a God that is an object among an endless number of objects—all separated by time and space. Of course, this God is the most powerful of all beings—and a male, too, because the man is stronger than the woman (must have been a male ego). He is resting in his heavenly home, seated on his throne, far removed from the ungodly Earth. Superior to all other beings, this god is the ultimate judge of what is good and evil.
I admit that I’m generalizing a bit here, but think about it: the way that most religions speak about God is quite primitive, especially in light of what we now know about the universe. While God may no longer be portrayed as some alien going for early morning walks in the forest, God is often referred to with male pronouns as sitting far away upstairs on his throne (I assume in some galactic palace beyond the universe).
He, like Santa Claus, is watching carefully to see whether we have been good or bad. Beyond the slight hint of sarcasm here, the reality is that we see a version of this perception of God played out every week in many churches across the United States (and in many other parts of the world).
As long as the ego continues to serve as the unconscious perception of people, we cannot help but project our need for significance and power onto God. Unaware of that dimension within us that is one with love, we want a strong, powerful, judgmental God that is for me and against others. To quiet the nagging feeling that we are not enough for love, I need a God that’s on my side and opposes my enemies.
To be continued tomorrow…
Adapted from Section 2 of Awakening To I Am Love by David Youngren
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