A friend sent me a link to an NPR story about the steady rise of "Nones" in the American populace, i.e., citizens who are either atheist, agnostic, or "spiritual but not religious." I've always been a none of the latter type, I guess, ever since I decided not to throw the baby out with the bathwater of my Christian upbringing many decades ago. These categories are trying to get at something, but it's still out of reach. Nevertheless, here's how I fit with each.
1. I'm not an atheist, because why should I be? I believe it's entirely possible that there is an amalgam of consciousness that is so awesome as to be nearly "god-like" in its relation to us. But it doesn't make sense to think about it as the Boss of Us. And there isn't a man up there with a white beard, unless that's how you want to imagine it.
2. I guess I'm agnostic, though I spend no time at all wondering if God is or isn't. Again, I do suspect there might be something more than we know to life. I would say that this hunch provides an undertone to my life, resonating and radiating up, helping me to not take a tiny or overly-selfish perspective. But I'm not going to do something and then said God wanted me to do it.
3. Spiritual not religious. I've studied all the world religions, and don't think they are simply a matter of superstition. Something happened, something broke through, time and again, to open our eyes and to propose new ways of living. I told my friend that I spend a lot of time with Buddhists, and that in terms of Christianity, I like the Beatitudes. I believe in our interconnection, and our inherent Buddha nature. And I suspect that the "last will be first, and the first will be last." And it's good to act with the humility inherent to that notion. I don't mean that one shouldn't be forceful or ambitious. Just don't think you're better than other people because of your success.
4. Later yesterday I thought, No, this isn't right, is it. Just another instance of Eliot's "raid on the inarticulate." But I guess I'm more comfortable with such things being less-than-perfectly articulated than over-dictated by religious texts or authority figures.
5. It doesn't usually help to think about such things in terms of God. It's more helpful to wonder about such things as dreams, hallucinations, the mystery of art, the placebo effect, and even channeling, which produces material that ranges from the absurd to the profound. Why, Jung himself produced channeled writings, in which he acted as the medium for another consciousness, perhaps his own, but nevertheless not the consciousness of everyday business.
6. God is a reflection of yourself. Which is not to say there is no God.