What kind of God were you raised with?
Was it a distant, judging, somewhat vindictive God.
Was it a kind of Santa God? That’s the God with the long white beard, sitting high up on a cloud, looking down on humanity, giving us wonderful gifts on the one hand (when he feels like it) and smiting us with thunder with the other hand (again, when he feels like it).
It’s a somewhat creepy, if not terrifying God.
You know how the Santa song goes:
They do not come from God. They were invented by people (mostly men), for whatever reason, and at the core of the world’s religious traditions, including the Judeo-Christian traditions, there is a readily available truth about God that is not only positive and full of love and compassion; it makes more sense.
So, let’s go back to the basics of what we in New Thought believe about God and what we teach.
We believe New Thought is an intelligent, effective, proven path to health, happiness and success in life. We also believe at the heart of every world religion, there are universal spiritual principles, which we refer to as “the golden thread of truth.” We teach these principles and practice them to the best of our ability.
We do not believe there is only one “right way” to worship, or experience God. All spiritual paths, practices, beliefs and behaviors entered into with a sincere heart, that do not harm anyone are deserving of respect.
We believe that we are all unfailingly governed by invisible mechanisms of consciousness, which we call spiritual principles, or laws. Just as with physical laws, spiritual laws always enforce themselves. We are not punished for our sins; we are “punished” by our sins, for sins are simply the consequences of impersonal spiritual principles we have not respected. If you do not respect gravity (a physical principle), you will experience a consequence, and it could be serious, even deadly. Same with spiritual principles.
We do not believe that God judges us, based on our behaviors, or even on our thoughts and feelings, then rewards or punishes us accordingly - sometimes.
We believe God is good, and only good. God is good in the absolute, meaning God’s qualities are only qualities of good. God is only light; there is no darkness in God, so God cannot harm or judge us. It’s impossible.
We do not believe God commands us to follow many rules that specify or condemn particular behaviors, or that blame and shame are tools of God, even when used in God’s name.
We believe that the Supreme Consciousness we call “God” is nameless and genderless. For convenience you can use whatever name feels appropriate to you. In the western culture, we generally use God, but there are numerous other names, all of which are valid. Some simply use “Spirit” or “the divine,” but use whatever works best for you.
We do not believe that any one religion holds the “correct” name of God, and that others do not, or that any name is forbidden.
We believe that God is everywhere, including within us. This is called “Omnipresence” and it’s a cornerstone of the divine truth inside the religions of the world. Because God – and all that God is - is everywhere, God is within us. Has to be. So we can commune with the divine whenever we want, just by using our very own consciousness.
We do not believe God is “out there” somewhere, and you need a special mediator to communicate with God. So many people are searching for God. But searching for that which is everywhere is like a fish swimming in the ocean searching for water. We don’t search for God, we recognize God.
We believe in practicing non-judgment. Since this is a spiritual principle, it is impossible to judge another being without ourselves being judged. According to physical law, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” In spiritual law, what thoughts beliefs and expectations you put out, come back to you in equal measure.
We do not believe any religion, including New Thought religions, have a special waiver over this immutable spiritual principle and can judge other religions without ramification. Any group who judges others, will be judged themselves.
We believe that heaven and hell are states of mind (or consciousness), which lead directly to our experience of life. What we think and feel work to create all of our experiences. Healthy, constructive use of spiritual principles creates a “heaven” – a life of fulfillment and satisfaction - while unhealthy, destructive use of spiritual principles creates an experience of “hell.”
We do not believe in God’s judgement after we die, where we are sent to hell if God judges us bad, or to heaven if God judges good. Since consciousness cannot be destroyed, and we are ultimately consciousness, we are eternal beings. For humans there is no death, except in our physical experience. Therefore, there is no “after” for which to wait. Heaven and hell are states of consciousness we create right now, and so we can create a new state of consciousness anytime we choose. This is where the term “New Thought” originates.
We believe that evil is the result of embracing the inaccurate belief that we are separate from God or separate from each other. Since there is no opposing power to God, there is no evil as a conscious entity, such as Satan or the Devil.
But let’s be clear about this:
We believe that evil unquestionably exists. While people do engage in destructive, counterproductive and harmful behaviors, this is more reasonably considered evil behavior, not a thing (or a being) in and of itself. And, again, it is always the result of an erroneous thought - a belief in separation.
According to a good many historical scholars, these scriptures were written at a time and by a culture long past, and have since been translated, re-translated, copied, rewritten and infused with the bias of many scribes over time. We believe much of what appears in the Bible requires spiritual interpretation rather than just a more historical approach. The Bible, as with all sacred scriptures, is not as important for what it said as for what it says.
We do not believe in the Bible as a text to be taken strictly literally, or the “inerrant word of God”, but as a deeply mystical and allegorical guide to the operation of spiritual principles throughout history, and in our daily lives. We provide a good deal of experienced education and guidance in this area.
This is but a summary of our basic beliefs about God, religion and spirituality.