Well, that’s really cool, you believe in a higher power! What kind of a higher power? I suppose it does not matter what your higher power looks like, but since it cannot be described, it could in theory be disguised as a nuclear blast or maybe an extraordinary magical gerbil. Or maybe like the mystical gods it resides in the sun, or deep in the earth? Maybe is does not live at all, it could be something unknown, supernatural. Notice I call it an “It.” A higher power is never portrayed as a him or a her. It must be something beyond us. Beyond all thought, beyond all comprehension – The Great Something.
But what does this great something do? You say it has power, but what kind of power? Is it an all powerful power or just slightly more powerful than mankind? Some think a higher power needs only to be “an adequate” power. So what can your higher power do? Does it have limitations? Can it make you fly? If you don’t know neither do I.
Many of the people who believe in this higher power believe it exists, but they don’t revere it, for obvious reasons. They have never heard a word it has spoken. It has no standards, no thoughts, no requirements. Maybe it just is, depending on what is is of course! Unwittingly some believe it looks after them, somehow, in some way? Yet for some The Great Something, the It, the higher power, does play some role in their lives; it commonly heals addictions, so they believe. Most of It’s believer’s believe it is a good power, why should they believe in a bad power?
But if it is a good power, where does it get it’s goodness? And who determines what is good? The believer? Yes, in all cases! That’s where this whole thing goes haywire. The all powerful “Higher Power” gets it’s power from the believer who believes the “Great Something” is doing good things that he or she wants it to do. That’s crazy! how can there be a higher power that has no ordinary, customary, stated standard or communiqué; to do good things for people for no other reason than they think the thing they wish it to do is adequately good? Who’s in charge here? Is it the thing that is powerful or the thing that wishes the Good Thing to be all powerful?
I read on the Richard Dawkins foundation website a thread where a young lady was questioning the concept of a higher power and it’s use by AA, Alcoholics Anonymous. An atheist responded to her question, “..one does not have to think of a higher power as a god, it could be an oak tree if you want it to be.” To many a higher power is simply something bigger than one’s self literally or figuratively, and they are right if they have the muscle to decide what that power is.
It is an important rule of the Greater Power believers not to put any name on their religion, like other religions. They say, “all religions cannot be right! And it would be fanatical to believe that one religion has all the answers.” They cannot taper their broadminded thinking to believe in one true God. So the notion of a higher power is fashioned like leftover scraps of meat squeezed through a grinder to make sausage suitable for consumption, into a creation of their own mind.
So am I saying there is no higher power? No! There is one higher power. God is his name! I know this offends some, get over it! God is much different, it’s not just semantics. Like the your Higher Power His ways are unfathomable, but unlike your higher power he is knowable. Not because we can know him, or create him in our own minds, but because he has revealed himself to us. In creation, in nature, in ourselves, in love, and in his word. For example we know what is right and wrong, good and bad, through the natural laws of nature. There is not a good and bad gene as some claim. The idea of decent behavior is basic to every human being. This idea does not apply to vegetables, rocks, or even my favorite animal, dogs. Right and wrong in its basic form does not have to be taught. You may find an outlier here or there, as you might find a few people who are born with six toes or cannot sing worth beans. C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity thinks the same way. He believes there are differences, but there is not a “total difference” between humans. He illustrates this by asking his readers to think of a country “where people were admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him.” A ridiculous thought. He also thinks while some people differ on what people ought to be unselfish about, the world has always believed that selfishness has never been admired. And he thinks, while some have disagreed about how many wives we may have, “we have always agreed that man must not have any woman he likes.”
So what does having such natural standards mean? It means that some things are not a matter of opinion. God has created us in a certain way, in his image. We, by choice, violate His rules. And while you may think it unfair to have rules established by God, your taste or opinions don’t really matter. But I should not be arrogant. The problem arises that none of us find ourselves capable of keeping His rules. We do our best, and more often than not practice ourselves the kind of behavior we abhor in other people. If we make our own higher power we relieve ourselves of this dilemma, so I can see why many choose to create for themselves a theology of tolerance. They say, “Why should I suffer the shame of selfishness, I’m being authentic, true to myself?” But the guilt remains because God made the rules.
For some of you, you might say, “since we all break the rules, we are all the same so nobody is at fault.” We are all equal then, right? In one sense that is true. We are all guilty of breaking these laws of nature, Gods laws. But because we are all guilty, we are not all free from the consequences. Even mankind has consequences for breaking its laws. Speed through a school zone and you will get a fine. If something is not perfect it already has consequences, imperfection. We are therefore under natural law, a moral law, not made by us and, although troublesome, one we ought to obey. At least it appears that something or some holy power wants us to obey these natural laws or why else would they exist? If you will look honestly at the universe, and this Being behind it, you will find he is more than just a higher power. He is as Lewis says, ” intensely interested in right conduct – in fair play, unselfishness, courage, good faith, honesty and truthfulness.” This is why we can say God is good and He requires us to be so as well.
So God has standards – already that is a huge departure from a simple higher power. And we have not even touched upon the specifics of Christianity, or even those rules of other religions that claim God is good. So the true God has power, ultimate power, but he also is behind morality. If God is behind morality, and God is good, then it should be a terrible thing to fall into the hands of God. For we have broken the rules already by our selfishness, our pride, lust, idolatry, greed etc…
So this is the bottom line. Belief in a higher power is wishful thinking, belief in the truth brings comfort and freedom. I know I came about it in a round about way. Your higher power is impotent if it requires nothing of you. Christianity asks much and tells people to repent of their failures with the promise of forgiveness. If you feel like there is nothing to be forgiven for you have put yourself ahead of your higher power. When you recognize you are sick, you will know you need a physician. Christ came to heal your sickness. It (Christianity) begins when you realize you are sick, and in the long run you will realize being a Christian is the only source of undeniable comfort.