I consider what I have as a relationship; father and daughter, mentor and apostle, teacher and student, Master Po and Grasshopper. I am not afraid to voice doubts, question motives, have arguments, voice disapproval, and proffer opinion.
I'm going to make a confession here. I am in the habit of having long, deep conversations with myself. I talk to me and me talks back. Often I disagree with myself. Your description above of your talks with God would be a good one for these discussions myself and I engage in; we "voice doubts, question motives, have arguments, voice disapproval, and proffer opinion." These discussions can be fascinating (if I do say so myself,
), and at the end of them I often have valuable insights into whatever the subject was. (Since I'm in confessional mode here, I guess I also have to admit that occasionally the talk is mostly inane drivel.) In these conversations, sometimes myself and I sound like two friends, sometimes like mother/daughter, sometimes like teacher/student.
I need a real relationship—founded on respect, openness, approachability... You see I don't need a perfect God, I just need an approachable God. I don't care if you love me perfectly, I just care if you love me unconditionally. I can't relate to perfect. And, I'm not convinced that God is perfect. But then, I don't need him to be.
I can also relate to what you say here, again completely outside of a religious context. I find this to be an excellent description of what I strive for in my relationship with myself. As I have gotten older (ok, one more confession: I'm 37), I have gotten better at accepting and respecting myself, and at being open to all aspects of my personality, even those that are less than perfect. I've gotten pretty good at loving myself unconditionally. (I know I'm teetering on the brink of sounding like an 80's self-help book, sorry.) The improvement in my relationship with myself has made a big difference in my level of happiness and in my relationship with others.
So you probably see what I'm getting at here. It seems very plausible to me that this God you have a relationship with is inside of you. That's what I think was going on when I was a Christian. I don't think it makes the relationship any less valid or transformative or important. And I think it's fine if you want to call the wise, kind, loving (add or subtract adjectives here as you like) part of yourself that you talk to God
. But I found that allowing the something more
out of the God box makes it free to be whatever it truly is, without the restrictions that a definition requires.
I hope that all makes sense. And just let me know if you'd rather not hear any more of my confessions.
People are very open-minded about new things--as long as they're exactly like the old ones.
God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought.