God has Disappeared
Written By: Robert Brinsmead from Discussion Notes
Much of humanity has been stuck in the old imagination of, “What does God think of me”? Sheehan swept all that thinking away when he said, “God has disappeared.” so there is no point in searching, discussing or imaging what God thinks of me. The search for God is over. Centuries of searching for God has been futile as Karen Armstrong’s book, “A History of God” so aptly demonstrates.
So where do we get a concept of what this God who has disappeared in humanity is like? We take the highest attribute in the human arena and by observing this attribute we can know the nature of this incarnated God. Love in its ultimate expression keeps no scores of wrongs and is not self-centered. Love unconditionally accepts the other. There was never a time when God ceased to love us. Love is eternal without beginning and without end. In the beginning love’s eternal purpose meant that before the world was, there was the glory I had with the father. This thought by-passes all the exclusiveness of the Christian religion. What Jesus said in this statement of the glory he had with the father was a statement that was applicable to all humanity. Sheehan came to this great insight and this understanding swept away the notion of Christianity that God was in a single location. God was not found in a book or ritual but he was manifested in human flesh. This is not navel gazing, as we find in much religion but is an objective thing because it relates to the other. We see God’s attributes in the neighbor, especially in the great arena of humanity. No exclusivity here. The old kings claimed to be the incarnation of God which was a distorted truth, they made it exclusive.
Those relating a “Near Death Experience” may be discounted by some as an apoptotic brain suffering oxygen deprivation. However this can’t explain the lucidness where the person in this experience is observing and knowing minute details of what is occurring, in an out of the body experience. I’ve had a similar revelation without a dying experience. In the course of life there has been this same confirmation of our ultimate destiny and existence in love. This is an experience in divine love that enables a person to say, live and act within the framework, “It is going to turn out alright in the end. ”Some would say if it is going to turn out alright in the end then why the need to know these things? There is great value in living life with such an assurance. In this world of suffering, it is a much more enjoyable ride, in the knowledge of eternal love that has no beginning and no end. One lives with no worry of what God thinks of me. It also enables a person to live in freedom without judgment on the other. To love and be loved is the conclusion of the whole matter;
A new grand narrative will be based on reality not myth. It will grab the human imagination bringing hope and universal unconditional love. It will not be new wine in old bottles. Religion of any form cannot hold the new narrative. All religion puts conditions on love and acceptance.
Our first discussion needs to be why we need a new narrative. We need to discuss the negatives of the old narrative in order to appreciate and understand the grandness of the New Narrative. The New Narrative will excite the human imagination and humanize human existence. It will bring in a new human order. It will take away all fear of death while delivering content to live life to it’s fullest while serving in this physical state of existence. Like those who have had NDE human society will have an experience of everything being alright in the end. It has been well documented how the fear of death holds humanity captive. The new narrative will free people from this fear of death. What is a new grand narrative and is God part of this narrative? Has this grand narrative ever been told before?
Yes this narrative was told in a local sense by the OT prophets. It was based on the exodus. The prophet’s story was a vision of hope not because of what was but because of the potential of what could be. They told their narrative against the backdrop of oppression and discouragement. Their story was of the God who acted on behalf of the oppressed. The land this oppressed people were given was a stony desert like country with the Jordon running through it like a miserable creek compared to the mighty Tigris or Euphrates of the other prosperous nations. This vision of the prophets for a better future eventually spread to the other nations, the Greeks had their vision etc. Socrates died because he tried to dispel the Greek myths in order to have a more realistic narrative.
Now another illustration of a narrative is my father coming to Queensland years ago. You know to be human is to live in story. Humanity to progress to a more human future must live in story in a Grand New Narrative as Wendell said. I see even in the papers this end of year there is comment that this Government doesn’t have a narrative to catch the vision of the people. Well back to us coming to Queensland. Pop came back to us in Victoria from his visit to Queensland with a grand story of a land flowing with tropical fruit and mighty potential. He packed us all up and in a hired truck sitting on a mattress with us boys in the back and Mum in the front beside the driver we drove for two weeks to come to the bush farm in Numinbah. The road got rougher and rougher and we eventually arrived to find rugged, stoney hills and a bush shack with two rooms. Mum shook her fist at Pop and said, “You old brut what have you brought us too.” He told her of the Grand story, it was a story of potential, of hope, of what could be. The Grand Story of human potential is a story against what seems hopeless. This is a story against the dark backdrop of evolution. It is the negative that makes the Grand Narrative shine so brightly and grab the imagination. This is a story of the God who disappeared in the human arena to bring human society to its grand potential against all odds.
The Jewish history then became a history of discouragement that the Narrative of the prophets was not happening. So apocalyptic was born to explain the disappointment and redefine the narrative as only having potential at the end of the age. This movement was born based on a story of a fall, a separation from God that destroyed the vision of the prophets. Jesus rejected this apocalyptic and re-ignited the prophet’s narrative of human potential and rejected the notion of humanity separated from the Divine.
The world is waiting for the emergence of a new story. Religion has been shown not to produce any better behavior than non religion. Love and discipline is seen in the non religious who don’t have the Christian narrative. You remember when we were running institutes in USA a Baptist guy was the care taker and asked me did I believe in Hell. When I said no, he was wild and responded that if what I believed was true then he might as well have all the fun he wanted. His narrative controlled his behavior through fear of not pleasing a vengeful God. This coercion can’t humanize for a future of human potential and freedom.
Notes from a New Years conversation in answer to the question “What is the conclusion of the spiritual journey?”