I have found an awful lot of wisdom over the years in the novels of Dion Fortune. As a “for instance,” this from The Winged Bull, pages 155-157. It reminds me of an old Sufi saying, “Words are prisons; God is free.”
“The words struck Murchison like a knife-thrust. Here was the key for which he had always been searching! The key to the mystery of faith. The faith that would persist in believing, despite all disillusionment, that around the next corner it would find the Real and the Good. The gods of man’s worship were not things in themselves, but the creations of the created — the forms under which man represented to himself his ineffable Creator and Sustainer, the form changing as man’s power of understanding increased. The forms did not matter; peppery old Jehovah with his long white beard and golden crown could go into the discard without anybody being damned; and, equally, those who liked him could go on worshiping him still, without being damned either. You could help yourself to the kind of god that suited you, as long as you realized that he was only a dramatization. The real thing was behind all the gods, and no man had ever dramatized It. On your head be it if you made yourself a nasty god that liked blood-sacrifices; or a silly god, who wanted to make a pink sugar confectioner’s heaven of this tough old earth. The nearer you got to the facts in your condescension of God, the better for you, but no man’s concept had ever been the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, nor ever would be. When he reached that stage he would just quietly pass out and go free. God was the Absolute, whatever that might mean. Murchison shrewdly suspected it meant nothing. Anyway, it was no use to the average human brain, which needed bulk to work on, same as the intestines. It had to have images and a story. God and the gods. That was it. God was many-sided, you couldn’t see every side it once; and the gods were the facets of the One. Christianity was a facet. Voodoo was a facet. The Tao was a facet. God was as many-sided as the soul of man.
“And the trouble with Christianity was that it was so darned lop-sided. Good, and jolly good, as far as it went, but you couldn’t stretch it clean around the circle of experience because it just wouldn’t go. What it was originally, nobody knew, save that it must have been something mighty potent. All we knew of it was what was left of it after those two crusty old bachelors, Paul and Augustine, had finished with it.
“And then came the heresy-hunters and gave it a final curry-combing, taking infinite pains to get rid of everything that it had inherited from older faiths. And they had been like the modern miller, who refines all the vitamins out of the bread and gives half of the population rickets. That was what was the matter with civilization, it had spiritual rickets because its spiritual food was too refined. Men can’t get on without a dash of paganism; and, for the most part, he doesn’t try to. He leaves that to women and parsons.”