TED Conversations

Julie Harbin

Spiritual Activist, Unity Church

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

GOD FOR GROWNUPS: An Adult Relationship with God?

We’ve thought of ourselves as God's 'minor' children for over 2,000 years...small, vulnerable, weak, in need of guidance. 2,000 years! Does anybody think this is weird besides me? Physical childhood doesn’t last forever. What about spiritual childhood? What would it mean if we identified ourselves as ADULT children of God?

progress indicator
  • thumb
    Apr 9 2012: Hi Julie.
    I am 61, I have been a Christian for 25 years. If I am lucky (spared), I will be 45 years old when my body dies. Do I think 45 years is long enough to understand anything about an eternal God ? Nope......I'm just as much a child as I ever was.
    I know it's different for women; they are very grown-up. :)

    • thumb
      Apr 9 2012: Hi Peter! Thanks for your comment! I like the child concept as far as wonder, amazement, and joy goes. When I talk about being an adult child of God, I'm wanting to keep that childlike wonder, etc. and add 1) an adult acknowledgment and understanding that we are both physical and spiritual beings, that God is not someone or something outside of ourselves, and that our essential nature, our essential essence is God's Love.

      I also believe that any form of belief in God that brings you a sense of inner peace is a good one.

      There is much appreciation for you here,
  • thumb
    Apr 9 2012: An interesting question.

    From a past believers perspective, this is clashing with a lot of assumptions about our relationship with god. We are the sinners. We can not control our basic nature without gods help , and fail anyway.We needed a human/god sacrifice because we are burdened with sin and can not save ourselves. He is the Father. We are taught blind faith not to think for ourselves to challenge gods words, authority or those who speak for him. We are taught to be humble and grateful.

    Of course within this unequal relationship we can be more adult about the responsibility and behaviours we take on as gods children. This aligns with our natural maturity an d deepening understanding of life and death and god. I'm sure you can come up with actions, or behaviours, or attitudes that reflect a more adult child of god. We can stop whinging and get on with being the best child of god we can be.

    As an atheist, I do think it is weird adults still believe in religion. I prefer to take responsibility for my life and helping those around me, how I behave, relying on my self discipline and determination, trying to balance being the best I can with accepting what I am and all of lifes conflicting areas - work, family, self, health, friends, chores, fun, love. I accept that I have one life. This is not a trial run for a future life of incarnation. I suggest life is of more value to me as an atheist than many believers. I abhor the death penalty. I abhor religious dogma an eye for an eye, kill those who commit adultry, homosexuality, work on the sabbath, or even disrepectful children.

    I don't have life all figured out, but am reasonably content, and still enjoy learning and growing.Its a journey. I'm grateful, to no one in particular, to have my life and consciousness, and to be alive now, to be born in a modern mostly secular democracy.

    Perhaps atheism is the ultimate example of being a spiritual adult?
    • thumb
      Apr 9 2012: Obey No1kinobe, thank you for your comment! I am disagreeing with traditional assumptions about our relationship with our Source. I, for one, don't think it matters whether one believes in God or not. The only thing that matters to me is the love in your heart.

      I do think traditional religion is having a hard time defending the concept of an external God or even the viability of the Bible. Many are choosing their own concepts of and experience of whatever they call God. I know I am.

      I am clear my essential essence is beautiful and loving.

      There is much appreciation for you here,
      • thumb
        Apr 15 2012: Thank you for the positive feedback Julie.

        I agree that love in heart, and I would add in actions, helps makes the world, and our lives on this planet better.

        Perhaps a little bit of knowledge, experience, courage, tolerance, openness, and self awareness helps steer this love and reach our potential even if we disagree in some aspects of world view

        We may also share the same joy exploring and developing our world view.
  • thumb
    Apr 11 2012: Adriaan, LOVED and appreciated your thoughts! We are of one mind on this conversation! I've taken a quick look at your profile and can't wait to cruise through slowly and enjoy the resources you've gathered. There are many, many people in the world today maturing their views of themselves and their relationship with whatever they call God.

    I feel impelled at this time to keep reexamining my understanding of who and what I am, and to use that insight to reshape my relationship with myself and with all others...and to have that insight inform and shape my actions.ing:

    As a maturing spiritual and human being, here's what I see so far:

    I am a physical and spiritual being.
    Physically, my body will cease to exist at some point.
    Spiritually, I am eternal.
    I am thrilled to understand that I am the one creating my life! At least I can do something about me and my opinions and my actions!

    • thumb
      Apr 15 2012: Hi Julie, Finally have some time and express my appreciation for your very kind comment. Some of the stuff on my two websites are complete books, which will take time to read if you so choose. Please take your time and I'd love to help, so if at any point a question comes up just let me know.
      By the way, the first website (of which our daughter that passed away in 2001 is the theme) I did not use for some time because we switched ISP. So my email address there is not right.

      What you list to "see so far:" I really like. We are indeed creating our life and thus our eternity. If you have any interests, this link might help you find a book, http://www.swedenborgdigitallibrary.org/

      Thanks again and wishing you the very best,

      As an aside, just for your information (and maybe you already know!) but when you answer someone's post by clicking on "reply", that person gets an email note that someone replied to his/her comment.
  • thumb
    Apr 11 2012: Julie,
    I believe that the difficulty in your question is that we are still motivated by false notions of God promoted by those who wanted to control the masses. We are still weak (fragile) in a world that can create deadly forces (both natural and man made), so we still need to know what the rules are. But we are able to integrate with the forces of creation in a way that was unheard of a century ago. Religion is still old fashioned in many ways.

    The Catholic church took God out of reality after its attack on Galileo to allow science to develop without infringing on the doctrines of the church. But such a move has created a false notion of God that no longer fits reality. As a result, the more we understand through science, the less real God becomes. And yet, that was definitely not the notion of ancient cultures that gave us the words that lead us to God. They saw God in everything. Today, we see everything in science as the product of quantum fields. To me, they are one and the same.

    Today, I see religion as knowing less about God than science, but they can't see eye to eye, so they are not able to integrate their ideas. Religion sees everything in associations, whereas science sees things in logical expressions. They are using different brain hemispheres to compute reality so they see it entirely different. Once you weed through the misconceptions on both sides of the fence, they become very compatible and enlightening.
    • thumb
      Apr 18 2012: Roy, thanks for your comments. I am heartened to see science finding evidence of our interconnectedness. I am more and more convinced every day that whatever one's view of God is...it's appropriate for you...and I give a wide berth to those who try to impose their views on me thru law. :(
  • Apr 9 2012: Hello Julie,
    I don't think of the concept of being children of God as weird. If you believe in angels, then what about them? May we reasonably assume they know more, have greater and different capabilities, and can communicate longer distances with many different orders? Are they not closer to God?

    I think the reason we are referred to as children is because human mortals are the lowest level of intelligent will beings that can know God. We are in the weakness of flesh, as material human beings. Lower than other types of Sons of God.

    Growing up I understand to mean is growing in desire to know more of origin, the Cosmos, God, and living truthfully according to one's beliefs and spiritual achievements. While we are yet here on earth we have opportunities to learn and if true to ourselves we are desiring more, then we are apt to learn more and to be blessed with new thoughts and insights to help us live better. This includes science and material understandings.

    Adult children of God, in the growth and maturation concept, means we have achieved or are achieving new levels of understanding and greater levels of relationship quality with fellow mortals. Love is a major "food source" for growth and I think it is the most powerful force in all the Cosmos. We are becoming more adult when we see this in our thoughts and adopt this great force in our daily living.

    We should identify our selves as adults; we are valuable and supremely loved. Go forth in continuing maturation and love and serve fellows for the betterment of society and the world.

    Your conversation idea is worth spreading!
    • thumb
      Apr 9 2012: Hello Mark! Thank you so much for your comment! When I speak of being an adult child of God, I'm thinking in terms of recognizing and living up to my spiritual heritage. My best understanding of my spiritual heritage (to date) is that God is Divine Love, and Divine Love created me in its own image; therefore, my spiritual essence is Divine Love.

      This is very far from what traditional Christian theology teaches and far from what I was taught as a young child in the Southern Baptist faith.

      There is much appreciation for you here,
  • thumb
    Apr 9 2012: Hi Julie, what might make a difference is the concept about what we're doing here. Personally, at some point He said He calls us "friends". At another He says we can only enter heaven as children.

    I do think that we are here to learn and decide which direction we'll be going, natural or spiritual. At some point in our life, if we've made the right decision, I think, He'll call us friends. Adult friends? :)

    On the other hand, as soon as we think we know it all, do we stop being child-like? The big advantage of having a child-like attitude is to posses a willingness to be led (not to loose all we know). That to me is the whole point of regarding ourselves as being on the road of learning. Always ready to be led and learn more.

    How would you define a spiritual adult?
    • thumb
      Apr 10 2012: Hi Adriaan! Thanks for your comment! I agree on the value a child-like awe in our relationship with whatever we call our Divine Source! Wonderful.

      As to what I think an adult child of God would be, I haven't got that all figured out yet. That's why I'm having this conversation on TED.

      As Christians we've related to God as young, dependent children with no real personal responsibility or power of our own...and in need of external guidance. Hence, the need for religion and religious authorities to teach us.

      I think it's time to update our understanding of who and what we believe ourselves to be. I think God created us and then gave us the same creative ability to use in our own lives. As an adult child of God, we would understand and own our spiritual heritage and our innate creative power. We would understand the Law of Cause and Effect at a spiritual level.

      We would remember that we are the ones doing the creating...and we would stop blaming others for our experiences in our lives! :) Yahoo!

      What do you think?

      There is great appreciation for you here,

      We would honor our spiritual heritage by assuming the responsibility
      • thumb
        Apr 11 2012: Julie, you are absolutely right in saying: "I think it's time to update our understanding of who and what we believe ourselves to be."

        By believing God is doing all the work for us and we can't do anything from ourselves, has been devastating to the Christian belief system and its people.
        We are here to make (and BE) a difference whatever belief system we support. You can find some links on my profile that may appeal to you.
        I gave your question (or option :) some more thought and yes, before a certain age and development there are things we cannot know, or issues we cannot decide about. We do believe that when in that stage, if our body dies, we go straight to heaven.

        However, when we are in a mature state, heaving a rationality and knowledge and the freedom to decide one way or the other, the ball is in our court. WE decide whether we want to be basically selfish or loving others.

        No one is ever perfect, but we do not have to make it worse :) We have the human (spiritual) freedom to go one way or the other.
        If we could not, then why even have a Bible or Koran or any other Revelation?? Why on almost every page it says 'Do what I ask of you' (with the emphasis on DO). That is what I love about your "Caring Bridge" work. Great Work indeed!!
        'We will be known by our fruits', not by the pews we keep warm.

        God created us so He could love us in heaven and make us most happy and joyful, but only if we want to. No one, especially not God, is going to force us to go somewhere we do not want to go. He created us with free will for a reason. That is what being human is all about. The devil is pulling our rope one way, but God is holding the rope steady. Now we only need the slightest pull to make the rope go one way or the other. Let's make sure it's going the One way :)