Who Is Your Favorite God?

As a philosopher, reflection is an occupational hazard, too much of it is akin to black lung disease in coalminers. If you read too deeply into something, you might end up of projecting too much of yourself into the narrative. Thinking things through is essential for understanding something, but thinking overkill distorts things. It’s like deciding to clean a stain off your jacket with a steel wool. What’s left is shredded.

Over the past few days, I have decided I’d like go to an ashram and do a few days of silence, something my students would heartily recommend. I am reading over this intriguing midnight meditation during the full moon on November 25th. I’m reading through this ashram website and kind of look at some suggestions for meditating and it says to pray to your favorite god.

In one way, that sounds pretty good. You’re not coerced into worshipping a single deity. What bothers me is that “pray to your favorite god” sounds like “get what you want from the buffet,” or “root for your favorite football team,” or “select your color from paint swatches.” It sounds so arbitrary and reduces worship to pure taste and nothing more. That doesn’t inspire me to search for a divinity, and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It seems to undermine the search for the real thing. Pluralism has its benefits, especially in light of orthodoxy. Nobody’s right and nobody’s wrong. But for the biggest question of our lives, that is not good enough for me, I guess.

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