Do Words Make Religious Experience Real?
So I was looking at some beautiful pictures of Laguna Beach at sunset, remembering what it is like to be there at that time of day and feeling that wordless connectedness to All that is so essential to my religious experience. And I was wondering about the debates over defining religion and theologies. We feel compelled to create artificial parameters and declare someone’s religious experience as invalid if it does not fit into those boundaries. Doesn’t our relationship with nature or the Divine exist when we are too young to grasp such things. Did this relationship not exist before the invention of words? Before we had the words to describe our religious experiences, did they not exist? Is it the words that make them real? In our society we generally need to see things in print to know they are real. But human culture existed long before the written language, and even as we first developed any language at all did we not feel our relationship to the universe? Did we not have awe and wonder? In silence and in rhythm you can experience that connection to the divine. Words are a wonderful human creation, but they are limited and they cannot contain all that it is to be human or to have religious experience.