Our conception, our idea of God and how he works has a huge influence on our politics. The innate, God-given rights of humans vary from one political view to another. God might be highly engaged in the world, or he might not. He might value private property a lot, somewhat, or not at all. God might be deeply concerned with conception, punishing drug abuse, individual freedom, the permanence of marriage, and so on. All of these ideals stem from somewhere, even in the secular humanist mind. Where one sources their best ideas is, for all intents and purposes, a person’s God. For a religious person, that is not a shocking truth, where for an atheist it is difficult to imagine that one’s ideas are not created in an individuals mind by the individual.
The conception of God, whoever or whatever that may be, is a real thing. There is a God, there is a source of ideals in who we can find reality. The conception a person has of God is everything. It influences how we relate to others, as we ascribe to God the ways that we think are good and the ways that we are unwilling to justify (the things that aren’t good). The things we justify to ourselves, we keep doing. The things we aspire to do, our positive goals or ideals, those are what we believe are godly (as in the sense of “our own conception of God”). Everyone has ways that they relate, and within that, everyone has ways they are unwilling to justify (what the religious would call “sin”) and way that they continue to do (what the religious, or moralists would call “good”).
To see into the spiritual realm is to see who God actually is, as he is, in reality, and then we see clearly the difference between ourselves and him. This is how people change – we see the difference between ourselves and God, and we change. What we can no longer justify becomes clearer, and the things we aspire to change crystallize – so then we change. To connect with God in this way, and to connect with ourselves that way (ie. self-awareness) is to allow this kind of change.
Finding God is possible. Not only is he real, but we can find him. What happens when we establish a direct relationship with him? We get to see who God is really like, how he knows us, and we change because we see to what and to who we are to aspire to — it is no longer our own creation of who we are to be. The default, the norm, is to create our own idea of who we are to be, to what we are to aspire to. Christians are guilty of this at times, their God sounds a lot like them. Their ideals come from their observation and communion with the world, not from their connection to the divine, the other. It is not informed from their experience or intimacy with God, and so the problems cascade into their life: Their ideals constantly change. Their imperfections are exacerbated and compounded by their spiritual blindness. Corruption, evil increases, with no “check” against them. People who conceive of their own God cannot create an idea of God that is as good as the real God.
People can get “close” to who God wants them to be by being in good Christian community, their ideals can change that way, too. But the ideal is to source who we are to be, precisely, which can only come from our intimacy with God, our connection to the image of how he knows us. Who we have been created to be, is this image.