“Of all the creeds be taught or lands be trod,
Man’s conscience is the oracle of God.”
~ Lord Byron
Of all the gods who have ruled the minds and hearts of human beings since they first appeared on this earth, however fervently worshipped and highly-acclaimed, none has, thus far, been able to lift humanity above the mean, selfish, violent, cruel part of its nature. However hallowed be their names, they have all failed in fulfilling our greatest need for a God, which is to deliver us from evil.
And yet, contrary to the beliefs of those who see this failure as proof that there is none, I believe that there is one God, albeit only one, that is capable of succeeding. Separate and apart from the mainstream and even not-so-mainstream religions, it lives within us, is well-known to us and is always available for consultation. And however many times we defy its will, it has never forsaken us.
The God of which I speak is the conscience, the one and only place inside us where reason and compassion harmoniously live side by side. Its purpose, as should be that of any God figure, is to guide us to our better nature. With no need for a hierarchy of interpreters, buildings of worship, rituals, hymns, prayers or ceremonies, it speaks to us, individually and directly, in whatever language we understand. Without heeding its voice, we will remain as we are… mistrustful of and estranged from one another… unable to create solutions for our many problems. With it, we will become masters at solving them.
In this 21st century, as we face the escalation of present and potential calamities that only Divine Intervention could possibly prevent, it is becoming clear that the human race is in dire need of a new and credible God; one whose goal is not personal power, but the empowering of all that is good and righteous in human nature. We need a God who does not separate us into believers and non-believers, fighting to the death to prove his prowess, but that peacefully unifies us through our one shared voice of agreement. We need a God that is not beyond our understanding, but can be known intimately by anyone who wishes to, as its words make sense to every mind, just as they soften every heart. Most important, we need a truly unconditionally loving God that has no enemies, and therefore, no will to punish or harm anyone in any way.
The conscience is the only guide I know of that has all these qualifications, as it constantly and consistently reminds us, lest we forget, that justice is better than injustice, honesty better than dishonesty, kindness better than cruelty, and love better than hate. Unlike the gods who have been fashioned in the image of human beings, this one seeks to fashion us in its own image, which is that of perfect virtue. By encouraging us to live in the empathetic part of our nature, and then rewarding us with ineffable joy when we do, this mystical, yet very real voice reveals to us nothing less than the meaning of life itself and our purpose in it.
Over the centuries, we have evolved many facets of our lives; forms of government, societal mores, scientific and technical knowledge; even the number of years we can expect to live. And yet spiritually, our concept of God, along with the ludicrous, too often harmful practices that go with it, remains very much in the dark ages.
When we come into the light of the simple yet profound truth that our salvation lies in heeding the only absolutely infallible voice we know, as though it was the voice of God, we will no longer have need for religions, governments or weapons of any kind. We will look back at these primitive times and wonder how anyone could ever have believed that the barbaric, insane custom we call war could ever bring about the victory of peace. The blight on the collective conscience of humanity that is the animal industry will disappear from the face of the earth. Lying, cheating, stealing, raping, torturing, murdering, or doing anything unto anyone that we would not want done unto us will no longer be an option for anyone. Like ice after a long, cold winter, our unnatural fear of one another will melt into an eternal spring of mutual trust never before possible.
But, the most amazing, although not so surprising outcome will be that when we let our conscience be our God, we will discover that the Divine Intervention we so desperately seek is us… if we but will!