Thursday 10 April 2008

What Kind of God Do You Believe In?

So he sticks Adam and Eve in a garden.

With a big obvious tree, bang in the middle of it?
It's got bright, rosy fruit, not cunningly hidden.

And he says 'Have all you can eat. Just not this tree. Not this big obvious tree that I've stuck right in the middle of the garden.'

And he wonders why this scheme failed.

God. The almighty.

Come on!

For fundamentalist Christians, yes.
Yes it is.

They may not believe Eden to be true, but they believe the logic.

God made rules, and he made them for all time.

Because God never meant man to change, to use the brain had given him, to change his world, to change his life.

What he told Moses would remain true for all time.

Well, I don't believe that.

It has to be a stupid way of believing in God.
I just can't beleive in a deity that is firstly, stupid, and secondly didn't create a mankind to go anywhere itself.
That he wanted us forever children, never growing up.

He gave us rules to guide us, to help us through stages in our development. He didn't TELL them to us. We worked them out. And if we saw something didn't work, we stopped people doing it.
And invented a story about a man and some stone tablets to make them frightened what would happen if they broke the rules.

We're a bit beyond that now.

We know a lot more about how the universe works.

We can protect ourselves from harm and life with comforts and amazing methods of providing for ourselves, our needs and desires, that are way outside the possible comprehension of the mind of crazy old prophets shrieking on mountainsides, to the Iron Age inhabitants of near-eastern monarchies.

Believing in God, means believing that the minds he gave us, are geared to find truth, can grow to understand reality, to have faith that the science of the human race, is correct, because God means us to understand and use his universe, for us.

To know when we can change rules, because we have changed life.
When we know our desires cause no harm, to let them be free. Because we know those desires are safe, because we have made them so.

We're ready for the forbidden knowledge now.

I beleive in that God.
Not the God who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

The God who is pure consciousness. The inner consciousness of the universe as a whole.

And THAT, really doesn't care who is sleeping with who. As long as they both enjoy it.


Anonymous said...

Finally admitted you aren't a Christian... good on you :)


Anonymous said...

Lord N- I regard the OT as equal to, in terms of cultural significance, as the Eddas, the Epic of Gilgamesh, the works of Hesiod, etc.

I regard the NT, as being as more important in terms of our growth as a species, as Das Kapital, The Genealogy of Morals, and The Origin of Species.

I've stated who I believe was humanity's gteatest philospher.

But don't expect me to believe the fairy stories that make up the OT.

Might as well believe hobbits were real.

And LOTR gives us a MUCH better set of moral values than the OT.

Anonymous said...

I don't really know what kind of God I believe in. It has changed so much over the years and goes back and forth. It's probably closer to your idea than the patriarchal one many were brought up to believe in.

The ones who have great faith though are probably happier in the long run than wafflers like me who are still trying to figure it out but retreating to the more conventional in times of trouble.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to say that your Warholized photo turned out very well, but where are the curls in the middle of your forehead?

Anonymous said...

I disagree ;-)
Cos they may enjoy it now, but regret later :-)

Had been thinking lately, though, that the fruit of temptation offered in today's knowledge-filled world would not be knowledge; but the fruit of innocence. Of not knowing; of erasing the knowledge, even. The first time I saw porn, I wished I hadn't, but realized I'd never forget it. Forbidden knowledge comes easy now; it's innocence that it prized higher, because of its rarity value...

Anonymous said...

This post reminds me of a book I read once in which a group of lawyers compared Biblical law to current, international standards of law. The chapter on Genesis, which of course focuses on the story of Adam and Eve, was written by Alan Dershowitz.

Dershowitz contended that God's decree concerning the Garden of Eden, eating the fruits off the tree of Knowledge (of Good and Evil) would be unethical today. First of all, it would violate the concept of guilt by association. Just because my parents committed a crime before I was born doesn't give the state the right to prosecute and punish me, for example. And in contradiction to the notion of Original Sin, I'm not presumed guilty of acts committe by others.

The story of Eden is really the story of born wickedness (once again, Original Sin) that can only be redeemed through salvation. Modern Christian churches aver that this salvation comes in the form of Christ. I think one of the reasons why Marx, Engels and other theorists tried to distance themselves away from transendence is because they saw Original Sin as the basis for control--the notion that mankind is naturall evil, and must be reigned in by those God annoints, a thought that dovetails very well with the belief in divine right rule.

Interesting post.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe in any of the religions but am mindful of those who do.:-)

Anonymous said...

jmb- There comes a point when one has to accept that some parts of religion as practised in the past, are a hindrance to us now.

It has to be a logical belief system based on reason, not just a set of unquestioned supersititions.
Can't beliebe that a God who gave us minds like ours, wants them to bw wasted so.

Look close, you can see them, but they're 'up', in the image, the way I usually have them. I spray my hair quite rigid, it feels almost like touching springy wire. I can pull them down, in fact I frequently play with them.

Eve- As allegories go, it's not a helpful one. It suggests man has fakllen from what he was, rather than is rising to what he will be.

But surely wondering round a garden in a state of childlike innocence, was not the plan of a God who gave us brains capable of splitting atoms?

X-dell- Well stated, yes I think that's the fundamental point. It's ascribing the words of a divinity to to the moral authority of a power structure.

I think the whole concept of original sin, is ultimately contradictory and yes, hard to justify logically. It suggests that human nature as a whole got perverted, it IS a story of ancient myth and Iron age beliefs, not a morally instructive theory today.

And yes, the whole attitude helps to unquestiongly freze a series of values and free those values from modern cultural dissection.

It encourages sloppy thinking- and bigoted thinking.

Anonymous said...

Nunyaa- I count myself a practising Catholic.
Faith can be hekpful.

But not BLIND faith.
That cause planes to head towards tall buildings.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe in any god, buddah, allah, or any higher force.

Anonymous said...

> But surely wondering round a garden in a state of childlike innocence, was not the plan of a God who gave us brains capable of splitting atoms?
I think man would have progressed there anyway, in or outside the garden :-) Cos remember; he had the brains to name all the plants and animals, and care for them. It just might have been more comfortable in the garden. The fruit wasn't 'knowledge', but 'knowledge of good and evil' - guilt. without it, the brains were still there, i'd think ;-)

Anonymous said...

Well, the God I believe in is the one who allowed, for a very good reason, no doubt known only to himself, the earth to nearly destroy itself, and humanity to put its own through efficient factories of death. I've been reading a lot of John Polkinghorne lately and he says this is all just fine because our freedom to do all this shows how much our creator loves us (ie he "lets us go" to do it) but I just feel about as confused and as weird as ever. Hey, I saw a flying saucer the other day. No, not really, I just wish I had.

Anonymous said...

In brief, none of them.


Anonymous said...

CBI: I don't really give a flip what god you believe in, I just give a flip about you claiming time and again to be a Christian when you don't believe in Christ or G-d.

Anonymous said...

Ms S- It's a matter of interpretation, I think. My own speculation lead to me to see the universe as being conscious, because it is a process. Of course, Lord N would see that isn't a theist position, I disagree.

Eve- The sory doesn't make much sense at all, however you slice it. We've got a better one now. The history of eukaryote life.

TD- Polkinghorne is a good thelogian, in some ways. His view on evolution, is very RC, a world where God gave creatures the freedom to make themselves.

Personally, that accords with my definition of free will.

Grendel- Succint, but to the point.

Lord N- I claim to be CATHOLIC. I don't like the term Christian, because I don't like what it implies. I believe in a deity who is NOT personal, but IS the conscious universe, so if you describe that as theism or pantheism, is up to you.

I believe Jesus Christ existed, and that his philosophy was a good on.

So I believe in both. But I reserve the right to decide which bits were made up for the benefit of Iron peoples and disaffected mobs in Roman Judaea.

Anonymous said...

You have many times claimed to be CHRISTIAN CBI; and by default if you claim Catholic then you are also claiming Christianity, but I can let that pass as I'm not Catholic anyway.