In an advanced religion (yes, not all religions are the same) the idea of God is superseded. This is not because the idea, in particular, lacks scientific proof or is impractical, but because the idea of God is realized to be a serious case of misapprehension.
What prophets called “God” or religions of the past worshiped as the “supreme deity” was the animative principle that enlivened the physical body. Upon catching a glimpse of it, in their human-all-too-human ways, prophets attributed human characteristics and values to this animative principle that were not part of its nature. As a result of this misapprehension, the animative principle turned into the metaphor, God, that is, something said for an other—the other being completely transcendent.
This metaphor, which is language based, then grew and extended itself branching off into numberless subaltern metaphors so that the idea of God, essentially, became a grand empty metaphor in which the religionist supplied his or her own context, making their experiences the referent. This is precisely the inversion of true religion (saddharma) in which we attempt to find the absolute in our human experiences (keep in mind that language is characterized by absence and must be filled by us) . As a result, religion eventually becomes anthropomorphic and irrational—it’s a great scandal.
The Buddha was one of the first sages to witness the animative principle, naturally, letting it unfold itself on its own terms in which it, alone, became the referent. This discovery by the Buddha went beyond all previous religion. Indeed, what can one say about this animative principle that animates even language? As a result of his discovery, the Buddha realized why we suffer. We suffer because we crave other than the animative principle, itself. The only way to live a good and righteous life is to live in accordance with the animative principle (dharma)—or at least learn to live in a way so as to make its apprehension possible in this very life. All else, to be sure, is error and folly.
Needless to say, even when confronted with the truth of the Buddha’s awakening, many who follow other religions are hardened against fundamental change. They will insist that there is a God despite the fact that ‘God’ is an autonomous and empty metaphor. Rather than give in they will even argue that the Buddha’s absolute is really God To be sure, there is a huge amount of resistance going on. Beneath the surface, true believers have poured all of their human experiences into the empty metaphor of God—their vanity will not permit them to give it up. Even some sects of Buddhism are resistant, refusing to acknowledge that our bodies are animated by a higher animative body (manomayakaya) despite the Buddha discussing it in the oldest parts of the Buddhist canon (M.ii.17).
But for those who have directly intuited the animative principle, there is no doubt that God is irrelevant. The true referent is the animative spiritual light that animates this bag of bones. It alone decides what is truth and what is patent nonsense. And how can this be wrong? Every word, every thought, including our mental images, is made of this luminous medium—it cannot be the subject of human evaluation. No prophet can escape it or hear it; no amount of preaching from the pulpit can affect it or summon it forth. It is immune to the sting of change and death. It is the ultimate refuge there being no higher. But what is most amazing, it intimately abides with us. It is our craving for the physical which is our problem. Such craving blinds us so that we cannot find the light; and in this blindness we suffer countless rebirths.