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God forgives you

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 Jon Stewart 07 Jan 2022

After a really interesting discussion about free will and what not on here, this popped up on youtube (7mins):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRaxXL021ME&ab_channel=MeaningofLife.tv

Bob's a good bloke.

1
 freeflyer 08 Jan 2022
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Absolutely excellent, thankyou. He hopped nimbly over an abyss or two there; I have subscribed! I was a bit surprised he didn't go on to hint at what might be the source of love and forgiveness, if God didn't exist.

This morning I was looking at the phrase 'That Thou Art' and trying to understand it, a similar exercise.

Happy New Year.

ff

OP Jon Stewart 08 Jan 2022
In reply to freeflyer:

I haven't read his book "why Buddhism is right" or something, but I should do. He expresses the exact viewpoint I hold on consciousness, covered well in the mini lectures - similar to John Searle.

In reply to freeflyer:

Self love and forgiveness seems to be the source of it for others, from what I've absorbed by osmosis, from a few Buddhism and psychology related things on my facebook feed and books and internet browsing, with a peaceful inner place being where that best stems from, though it isn't a one-time thing, we need to cultivate it. If one looks at how judgemental and things narcissistic people or narcissists can be, there's a correlation between their own lack of self love, and what they think and feel about other people, it being an outward projection of what is going on internally.

Edit: This coincidentally ties in with the book 'Why Buddhism is right' I guess.

Post edited at 12:17
 freeflyer 08 Jan 2022
In reply to Timmd:

Seems to me you have absorbed quite a lot! 👍

OP Jon Stewart 08 Jan 2022
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I haven't read his book "why Buddhism is right" 

Just seen that he wrote something called The Moral Animal, which sounds right up my street too. I'm really keen on scientific explanations of morality, as in Jon Haidt The Righteous Mind, and Stephen Pinker attacks it in Enlightenment Now.

I've changed my views a lot on morality from reading about it and watching youtube. First I was a moral nihilist; then I believed in Sam Harris' moral realism; then Sean Carroll persuaded me that constructivism is the way to go....

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In reply to freeflyer:

> Seems to me you have absorbed quite a lot! 👍

Maybe I have, I dunno really. I guess most of us err towards love and forgiveness because we understand it's the right/helpful thing to do, but it making being a human being a more agreeable experience doesn't do any harm too, it's an enlightened self interest thing. Clear eyed self interest.

nb: It's not always easy for sure, though...

Post edited at 13:09
In reply to Jon Stewart:

God offers forgiveness but you can't experience forgiveness if you don't think you have done anything wrong so first you have to realise your guilt.

This is what Bob did at the start of the video before his thoughts focused on the "trancendental vantage point that love was emanating from" (a partial description of God) and that was when he experienced forgiveness.

1
OP Jon Stewart 10 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> God offers forgiveness but you can't experience forgiveness if you don't think you have done anything wrong so first you have to realise your guilt.

Is this about voting for Keir Starmer?

Joking

In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Is this about voting for Keir Starmer?

Don't be silly; Corbyn is God...

In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Is this about voting for Keir Starmer?

> Joking

Ha! Don't lose hope, we're all sinners and even Starmerites can repent and be forgiven.

 squarepeg 11 Jan 2022
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Boris Johnson can't, according to this place. 

1
In reply to squarepeg:

> Boris Johnson can't, according to this place. 

What...?

OP Jon Stewart 11 Jan 2022
In reply to squarepeg:

> Boris Johnson can't, according to this place. 

Jimmy Saville lost his popularity too, poor guy.

2
 Stichtplate 12 Jan 2022
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Jimmy Saville lost his popularity too, poor guy.

Jimmy was a devout catholic (of course) honoured by John Paul II no less. Hope nobody's judging Big G by the company he keeps. If they are, they could be forgiven for assuming he's a proper wrong un....on top of all that murder, mayhem, genocide, demanding child sacrifice, forcibly impregnating innocent virgins, etc, etc, ad nauseam.

Jesus! Come to think of it, God's definitely a wrong un!

5
In reply to Stichtplate:

Nah, she just published the wrong rule book for a giggle .

1
 Phil1919 12 Jan 2022
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I've just read a book by Alain de Boton, 'Religion for Atheists' which I found very convincing. That there are many good bits about religion even if you don't believe in a God, that our secular society has failed to cover.

1
In reply to Stichtplate:

I don't think he ever claimed to be "devout". Whenever he was interviewed he was always very cagy about his beliefs and practice. It suited the Church to accept his "rough diamond " persona, demonstrating the all encompassing character of the Catholic God ie nobody is excluded. 

Saville fooled most of the people most of the time. If only he'd been found out before he died.

Post edited at 11:02
 Duncan Bourne 12 Jan 2022
In reply to Pete Pozman:

> Saville fooled most of the people most of the time. If only he'd been found out before he died.

Then he could have been made a priest

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 John Ww 12 Jan 2022
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> Then he could have been made a priest

Chapeau 🙏😂

1
 Stichtplate 12 Jan 2022
In reply to Pete Pozman:

> I don't think he ever claimed to be "devout". Whenever he was interviewed he was always very cagy about his beliefs and practice. It suited the Church to accept his "rough diamond " persona, demonstrating the all encompassing character of the Catholic God ie nobody is excluded. 

The Catholic News Agency claimed him as a devout Catholic before it all came out.

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/23734/sir-jimmy-savile-and-the-saint-in-the-making

Channel 4 news reckoned he described himself as such also 

"Savile, who described himself as a devout Catholic, was made a Knight Commander of St Gregory the Great by Pope John Paul II in 1990 for his charity work."

https://www.channel4.com/news/jimmy-savile-could-be-stripped-of-papal-knighthood

>Saville fooled most of the people most of the time. If only he'd been found out before he died

I'm well aware that both Jimmy Saville and the Catholic Church have a long, long history of telling enormous whoppers, but Channel 4 news? surely not.

Post edited at 11:56
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Jimmy was a devout catholic (of course) honoured by John Paul II no less. Hope nobody's judging Big G by the company he keeps. If they are, they could be forgiven for assuming he's a proper wrong un....on top of all that murder, mayhem, genocide, demanding child sacrifice, forcibly impregnating innocent virgins, etc, etc, ad nauseam.

> Jesus! Come to think of it, God's definitely a wrong un!

Big G keeps company with everyone. I think of it as all is one, god is the universe, omnipresent.

Jimmy Saville may well have claimed to be a devout follower of Christianity but his disgusting actions aren't compatible with a sincere attempt to follow Jesus. Anyone can put on a front for evil purposes.

And we all do put on a front where we try to show the world what we want people to see but people can't see our corrupt hearts where we swell with pride over the slightest ability that God has given us while hiding our vices, yet judging ourselves better than others. Nobody is righteous in God's sight. We all need to have that dark night of the soul, like Bob did at the start of the video, then our thoughts can be directed to God and we can experience forgiveness.

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 Cobra_Head 12 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Jimmy Saville may well have claimed to be a devout follower of Christianity but his disgusting actions aren't compatible with a sincere attempt to follow Jesus. Anyone can put on a front for evil purposes.

What about the crusades, the mass killings in gods name, does that go in the "Evil" or "Gods Work", column?

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 Sir Chasm 12 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

But surely god made Savile in his own image? And, being omniscient, knew what Savile was going to do; being omnipresent, knew he was doing it; being omnipotent, could have stopped it if he could be arsed. 

2
In reply to Sir Chasm:

He didn't want a Savile row.

Post edited at 01:57
 Stichtplate 13 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Big G keeps company with everyone. I think of it as all is one, god is the universe, omnipresent.

Religions trot this stuff out a lot. Great big fluffy totally empty claims with no basis in anything.

> Jimmy Saville may well have claimed to be a devout follower of Christianity but his disgusting actions aren't compatible with a sincere attempt to follow Jesus.

As a Catholic, can't he genuinely say he's sorry and be instantly absolved?

>Anyone can put on a front for evil purposes.

Including God, presumably.

> And we all do put on a front where we try to show the world what we want people to see but people can't see our corrupt hearts where we swell with pride over the slightest ability that God has given us while hiding our vices, yet judging ourselves better than others.

Yeah, no. If you're going to get all judgey and blamey, and christ knows, the religious have got a shit ton of form in those areas, you've got to take the rough with the smooth. You don't get to say "those things you're good at, all your nice qualities...God gave you them. All your vices, corruption and sin, that's you that is"

>Nobody is righteous in God's sight.

So he's everything, in everything, created everything and he's still pissed off at everything? Maybe he should organise another of those flood things and wipe out every living creature bar a brace of each and start again (except the dinosaurs, he must have really hated the dinosaurs)

>We all need to have that dark night of the soul, like Bob did at the start of the video, then our thoughts can be directed to God and we can experience forgiveness.

Most people will have a "dark night of the soul" at some point. In fact, if you've reached middle age without experiencing several, you're either not doing enough, not feeling enough or not thinking enough. In response I suppose you could turn to god and have a good pray about it, hand over agency to some invisible deity and hope for the best, or you could just take a good look at yourself and sort your shit out.

cb294 13 Jan 2022
In reply to Jon Stewart:

God forgives. Possibly.

I don't, or at least not everyone.

CB

 GrahamD 13 Jan 2022
In reply to cb294:

> God forgives. Possibly.

Who ?

2
In reply to Stichtplate:

> Religions trot this stuff out a lot. Great big fluffy totally empty claims with no basis in anything.

> As a Catholic, can't he genuinely say he's sorry and be instantly absolved?

> >Anyone can put on a front for evil purposes.

> Including God, presumably.

> Yeah, no. If you're going to get all judgey and blamey, and christ knows, the religious have got a shit ton of form in those areas, you've got to take the rough with the smooth. You don't get to say "those things you're good at, all your nice qualities...God gave you them. All your vices, corruption and sin, that's you that is"

> >Nobody is righteous in God's sight.

> So he's everything, in everything, created everything and he's still pissed off at everything? Maybe he should organise another of those flood things and wipe out every living creature bar a brace of each and start again (except the dinosaurs, he must have really hated the dinosaurs)

> >We all need to have that dark night of the soul, like Bob did at the start of the video, then our thoughts can be directed to God and we can experience forgiveness.

> Most people will have a "dark night of the soul" at some point. In fact, if you've reached middle age without experiencing several, you're either not doing enough, not feeling enough or not thinking enough. In response I suppose you could turn to god and have a good pray about it, hand over agency to some invisible deity and hope for the best, or you could just take a good look at yourself and sort your shit out.

You can have that dark night of the soul and it's horrible and can go on for much more than a night. There are a number of coping mechanisms to get through it - read a book, turn to drink, get prescribed anti depressants, exercise. These are distractions (some more worthwhile than others) but I believe that at some point we will all come face to face with the perfection of God and we will judge ourselves, at that point we won't be able to turn to distractions.

God is giving people forgiveness, he's not pissed off at everything, he's not judgey, people just need to try to understand who and what God is and that is what can give rest to the soul.

At the end of the video there it seemed to me that Bob had come to an understanding about the nature of god and had some experience of forgiveness. As a result he had sorted his shit out, in particular with the realisation that "the same logic that suggests that you deserve forgiveness suggest that everyone else deserves forgiveness which in turn suggests that you should forgive everyone you're mad at".

That's the message of religion, don't judge others, love your neighbour as yourself. You've heard it all before but you can add love the lord your God when you understand the lord your God as the universe rather than your self.

Holding the ego dear leads to evil actions and a background feeling of guilt. Letting go of the ego leads to a good life and a background feeling of joy.

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In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> God is giving people forgiveness, he's not pissed off at everything, he's not judgey, people just need to try to understand who and what God is and that is what can give rest to the soul.

You seem extraordinarily enlightened about the reality of your 'God'. But I have a problem. Can you please explain to me why you give this alleged all-powerful being a gender, particularly since most of the earliest primitive religions regarded a 'Mother Goddess' as reigning supreme. Why on earth (or heaven, or wherever) do you refer to 'he'? If your answer is based on some kind of sexual theory, I'd be most interested to hear at least the rudiments of the theory. Do you perhaps envisage some kind of female goddess/wife lurking in the background? And surely they would then progenitate? In which case we'd be faced with the absurd possibility of a 'son' or 'sons of God'? That would be really daft, wouldn't it? ––

– Oh, gosh, what am I saying? Have just realised that a lot of folks have claimed exactly that. ... OOPS!!!

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 Stichtplate 14 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Holding the ego dear leads to evil actions and a background feeling of guilt. Letting go of the ego leads to a good life and a background feeling of joy.

For somebody so concerned with letting go the ego, you certainly seem very sure that you're right and the 95% of the population that don't believe in your particular definition of God are all wrong.

Just saying

1
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

It's just an anthropomorphism. As the supreme and almighty being, God transcends gender but can also be related to so is referred to in a relatable way. The choice of he rather than she is because that's how you usually hear God described. In times gone by power and authority has usually been held by men so culturally it would have seemed disrespectful to call God she. That's no longer the case in our modern culture so I don't have a problem with someone using she but it does stick out when you hear it that way and I'm not trying to make a political point so I'm just sticking with tradition.

4
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> There are a number of coping mechanisms to get through it -

Believe in god? Or a secular messiah:...?

 mk one 15 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

Nothing better than religion to divide the Human race, from each other and the rest of nature, to cause untold grief and misery, fear and anxiety.

You say God is not Judgy, that one should not judge another, yet also say that one should seek forgiveness, implying judgement. Is that not a part of your religious views, that a person will be judged and punished if they do not seek forgiveness? that they will be punished for their sins, with oh, i don't know, an eternity chained in the depths of hell, where there is but pain.

In past times Mother Earth was considered the giver of life. Just saying 

 Ciro 15 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> It's just an anthropomorphism. As the supreme and almighty being, God transcends gender but can also be related to so is referred to in a relatable way. The choice of he rather than she is because that's how you usually hear God described. In times gone by power and authority has usually been held by men so culturally it would have seemed disrespectful to call God she. That's no longer the case in our modern culture so I don't have a problem with someone using she but it does stick out when you hear it that way and I'm not trying to make a political point so I'm just sticking with tradition.

A tradition (much like male only priests in the catholic church) that helps perpetuate feelings of gender inequality and gender roles amongst those who believe in the abrahamic god.

Giving your god the they/them pronouns would surely be a small progressive step that you could make?

Perhaps you could have "parent, child and holy spirit" too?

1
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> But surely god made Savile in his own image? And, being omniscient, knew what Savile was going to do; being omnipresent, knew he was doing it; being omnipotent, could have stopped it if he could be arsed. 

The same logic strikes me with the whole 'Suffering exists because God gave humanity freewill' narrative, so god knew Eve was going to be tempted in the Garden of Eden and suffering would happen for evermore, and was okay with that, while being a kind and loving god as well. 

Since god knew it was going to happen (because of in depth knowledge of his own creation, and being omnipresent and all powerful), doesn't that potentially call into question the concept of freewill, too? 

Post edited at 17:18
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 Rob Exile Ward 15 Jan 2022
In reply to Timmd:

There is a poster here known to me personally who I apologise to in advance BUT...

To me, the only sensible way to resolve all the issues around religion are ... it's all baloney.

I can understand how it  evolved, as we did, and how it made sense when we couldn't even explain why the sun rose every morning. But now? Nah.

I don't know how everything began, maybe that was a god ... but taking an interest in the affairs of one species, on one planet, out of an almost infinite selection of other possible planets? Not to mention positing the existence of an other world, only accessible to us once entropy starts its' inexorable grip? No. Occams razor, methinks

1
 Stichtplate 15 Jan 2022
In reply to Timmd:

> The same logic strikes me with the whole 'Suffering exists because God gave humanity freewill' narrative, so god knew Eve was going to be tempted in the Garden of Eden and suffering would happen for evermore, and was okay with that, while being a kind and loving god as well. 

God may be okay with inflicting suffering on the innocent for evermore, but I'm not. If I'm wrong and there is a God, I'd still tell them to go f*ck themselves.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-59995296

One example amongst a million, year in year out.

1
 Stichtplate 15 Jan 2022
In reply to captain paranoia:

Spot on Captain, and I'll hold your coat

 mondite 15 Jan 2022
In reply to cb294:

> God forgives. Possibly.

Maybe although condemning people to burn in hell for eternity (granted some variations are its just not being in gods presence and a few even more refined until the sinner acknowledges the sin) is a tad beyond even what I would consider reasonable levels of not forgiving. I can think of several people who deserve repeated kicks in the nuts but even then I think after a few thousand years....

 GrahamD 16 Jan 2022
In reply to mondite:

The converse doesn't sound that great, either.  An eternity sitting on a damp cloud listening to harp music.

To be fair, I'm sure that many people who seek solace in an imaginary god imagine something a bit more personal and benign.

1
In reply to Ciro:

> A tradition (much like male only priests in the catholic church) that helps perpetuate feelings of gender inequality and gender roles amongst those who believe in the abrahamic god.

> Giving your god the they/them pronouns would surely be a small progressive step that you could make?

> Perhaps you could have "parent, child and holy spirit" too?

Sorry. It would be a big deal for me. I relate to God as the father. It's a personal relationship and neutral pronouns just aren't personal. If someone else relates to God as the divine mother then that's ok.

I've had a little Google about this anyway and there are a few instances in the bible where God is presented as a mother but something that I hadn't thought of the other night, which may or may not be important, is that Jesus gives us the Lord's prayer where we are taught to address God as "Our father...".

4
In reply to mk one:

> Nothing better than religion to divide the Human race, from each other and the rest of nature, to cause untold grief and misery, fear and anxiety.

> You say God is not Judgy, that one should not judge another, yet also say that one should seek forgiveness, implying judgement. Is that not a part of your religious views, that a person will be judged and punished if they do not seek forgiveness? that they will be punished for their sins, with oh, i don't know, an eternity chained in the depths of hell, where there is but pain.

> In past times Mother Earth was considered the giver of life. Just saying 

I agree, the ego is strong in people and organised religion is used to divide more often than to unite. This is the opposite of the message that is shared by all true religion which is a variation on "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength and Love your neighbour as yourself."

This seems to me a clear instruction to try to live without ego. The omnipresent Lord your God who you should try to love with all your heart is present everywhere in the universe - you are being asked to love the rest of nature with everything that you have. You should try to love your neighbour as yourself - how much effort do we put in to staying fed, healthy, comfortable, and trying to give ourselves the best experiences in life - you are being asked to put in at least the same effort for the lives of those who you can affect as you do for yourself.

None of us meet this standard, we all have an ego that brings us to prioritise our own wants and needs in front of those of others and when we follow this course we are choosing to separate ourselves from God. This creates in us a sense of unease or guilt that we are usually able to ignore but is always present in the background and can sometimes come to the fore and cause us serious anxiety or depression.

When we're unable to sleep full of self reproach thinking about bad things that we've done as is the example in the video, who is doing the judging? We're judging ourselves and it can seem to be the worst feeling there is. God wants us to turn to him which will inevitably result in a reduction in our ego which is what will give peace to our turbulent souls.

1
 Stichtplate 18 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> I agree, the ego is strong in people and organised religion is used to divide more often than to unite. This is the opposite of the message that is shared by all true religion which is a variation on "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength and Love your neighbour as yourself."

Hmmm, and yet we've got a few thousand years of religious people using their religious differences to justify hurting each other. I've never heard of an atheist hurting another atheist because they'd strayed from the path of true atheism.

> This seems to me a clear instruction to try to live without ego. The omnipresent Lord your God who you should try to love with all your heart is present everywhere in the universe - you are being asked to love the rest of nature with everything that you have. You should try to love your neighbour as yourself - how much effort do we put in to staying fed, healthy, comfortable, and trying to give ourselves the best experiences in life - you are being asked to put in at least the same effort for the lives of those who you can affect as you do for yourself.

You do seem enormously wedded to this idea of God omnipresent, everywhere and in everyone. If you don't mind, I'll use the same source you do to justify believing in a male God, The Lord's Prayer. You quoted "Our Father..." but you missed out the rest "who art in heaven". So Jesus was pretty clear where his Dad was and it wasn't "everywhere".

I'm not simply being facetious (though you could be forgiven for thinking so), I'm demonstrating one of the logical fallacies constantly employed by the devout. They'll cite religious text to "prove" their particular beliefs are correct but conveniently ignore anything in the same text that contradicts them.

> None of us meet this standard, we all have an ego that brings us to prioritise our own wants and needs in front of those of others and when we follow this course we are choosing to separate ourselves from God. This creates in us a sense of unease or guilt that we are usually able to ignore but is always present in the background and can sometimes come to the fore and cause us serious anxiety or depression.

Nah. I can honestly say I've never felt any unease or guilt at not caring about my neighbour as much as I care about myself and it'd be insane if I strove to love next door's kids as much as my own. If, God forbid*, I tried to love next door's wife as much as my own, I can well imagine feeling a lot of unease and guilt. Funny that

*come to think of it, I think God does forbid.

> When we're unable to sleep full of self reproach thinking about bad things that we've done as is the example in the video, who is doing the judging? We're judging ourselves and it can seem to be the worst feeling there is. God wants us to turn to him which will inevitably result in a reduction in our ego which is what will give peace to our turbulent souls.

Nah. If I reflect on the shitty stuff I've done in life, I don't turn to an imaginary parent figure and start murmuring platitudes, sotto voce, in the hope of forgiveness. I use those shitty deeds and the bad feelings they cause as a guide to help me do better. The best way of easing psychological discomfort arising from past misdeeds, is to bury them in newer good deeds. No supernatural being required and the resultant positive actions have palpable, real life impacts immeasurably more potent than a night of mumbling into your pillow.

Post edited at 02:58
3
 Ciro 18 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Sorry. It would be a big deal for me. I relate to God as the father. It's a personal relationship and neutral pronouns just aren't personal. If someone else relates to God as the divine mother then that's ok.

You're not sorry - if you were sorry you would try to change.

6
 john arran 18 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Sorry. It would be a big deal for me. I relate to God as the father. It's a personal relationship and neutral pronouns just aren't personal. If someone else relates to God as the divine mother then that's ok.

> I've had a little Google about this anyway and there are a few instances in the bible where God is presented as a mother but something that I hadn't thought of the other night, which may or may not be important, is that Jesus gives us the Lord's prayer where we are taught to address God as "Our father...".

... which really just reflects the paternalistic society that was prevalent in those societies in which people devised Christianity. I haven't studied comparative religion but I would be amazed if the gender of the gods in, say, Hinduism, didn't also reflect the relatively maternalist society in which people created that religion.

 freeflyer 18 Jan 2022
In reply to john arran:

You don't need to go as far as Asia - for example, worship of the Virgin Mary and the Black Madonna.

Male and female elements are a common theme in religious belief, inevitably, as these systems are attempting to describe something you can believe in, which represents something identifiable in your life and gives you emotional guidance in how best to live it.

Some people need a Mummy, and some people need a Daddy.

 mk one 19 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

I agree with some of your statements. To love the rest of nature, as you say, is sound reasoning. As we are all part of nature, all created from the earth and its elements, all return there and go on to continue the cycle of life.

I do not deny the existence of  a God, or Gods, nor can i verify that existence. But to say to others that it was a God that created them, created the plants that grew in their gardens last spring, created the new born creatures too, and that the entity, which you imply, is also present in them all, to then lay down rules, above the natural laws, and to menace others into abiding by them, by creating fear and anxiety, is in my eyes wrong.

The concept of what you preach is sound, and should be followed, but you should have faith in man, help them be true and grow naturally, as nature intended.

1
In reply to Stichtplate:

I meant to come back to this sooner, sorry for the delay.

> Hmmm, and yet we've got a few thousand years of religious people using their religious differences to justify hurting each other. I've never heard of an atheist hurting another atheist because they'd strayed from the path of true atheism.

I've not heard of it either but atheists are more than capable of finding reasons for division and violence.

> You do seem enormously wedded to this idea of God omnipresent, everywhere and in everyone. If you don't mind, I'll use the same source you do to justify believing in a male God, The Lord's Prayer. You quoted "Our Father..." but you missed out the rest "who art in heaven". So Jesus was pretty clear where his Dad was and it wasn't "everywhere".

> I'm not simply being facetious (though you could be forgiven for thinking so), I'm demonstrating one of the logical fallacies constantly employed by the devout. They'll cite religious text to "prove" their particular beliefs are correct but conveniently ignore anything in the same text that contradicts them.

First off, I'm not trying to prove my views are correct because that would be pointless. People come to God through faith.

When I came to properly understand the implications of God as omnipresent, everywhere, and in everyone, it explained a lot of questions, it was an actual revelation to me. 

I hope this doesn't sound facetious but where is heaven? Maybe it's here, maybe it's somewhere else but if so God is everywhere so this does include heaven.

The urgent message in the bible is the condition of our souls and how to make that right. I think that the phrase "... Who art in heaven" is intended to direct our thoughts temporarily onto the transcendent nature of God rather than our immediate earthly concerns.

> Nah. I can honestly say I've never felt any unease or guilt at not caring about my neighbour as much as I care about myself and it'd be insane if I strove to love next door's kids as much as my own. If, God forbid*, I tried to love next door's wife as much as my own, I can well imagine feeling a lot of unease and guilt. Funny that

> *come to think of it, I think God does forbid.

Ha, well, sex and love are not the same thing of course.

The thing is I think we are meant to love the neighbours kids, the neighbours wife, and the neighbour as much as our own and our selves. There should be no division, we are all one, the universe is one, why do we favour one over another?

Nobody does live up to this but then we all have those feelings of self reproach don't we and we often can't put our finger on it. This is the answer I think, living without ego as best as you can is the way to resolve those feelings.

> Nah. If I reflect on the shitty stuff I've done in life, I don't turn to an imaginary parent figure and start murmuring platitudes, sotto voce, in the hope of forgiveness. I use those shitty deeds and the bad feelings they cause as a guide to help me do better. The best way of easing psychological discomfort arising from past misdeeds, is to bury them in newer good deeds. No supernatural being required and the resultant positive actions have palpable, real life impacts immeasurably more potent than a night of mumbling into your pillow.

Yes, well the phrases you've used "mumbling into your pillow" doesn't suggest to me the sort of realisation that changes your life. The newer good deeds and positive actions does suggest a change so to that extent I agree. What I'd say though is that people do tend towards the ego so the life of good deeds without having first turned to God is built on a shaky foundation(and I need to keep repeating that God is present throughout all the universe so turning to God means trying as far as you can to put everything else before self).

Post edited at 23:15
3
In reply to Ciro:

> You're not sorry - if you were sorry you would try to change.

I tried to respectfully explain why I don't feel I can comply with your wishes and it's polite to say sorry in those circumstances.

To expand, God is not merely a woman/man in the sky but neither is God an unconscious impersonal force of nature. God calls us to know him personally in fellowship.

I tried to write that without personal language or with neutral pronouns but it's not right and couldn't be sustained. God is he to me. God may be she to someone else. It won't be right to describe God using neutral pronouns until the day that society is comfortable to routinely use neutral pronouns to describe each other.

4
In reply to mk one:

> I agree with some of your statements. To love the rest of nature, as you say, is sound reasoning. As we are all part of nature, all created from the earth and its elements, all return there and go on to continue the cycle of life.

> I do not deny the existence of  a God, or Gods, nor can i verify that existence. But to say to others that it was a God that created them, created the plants that grew in their gardens last spring, created the new born creatures too, and that the entity, which you imply, is also present in them all, to then lay down rules, above the natural laws, and to menace others into abiding by them, by creating fear and anxiety, is in my eyes wrong.

> The concept of what you preach is sound, and should be followed, but you should have faith in man, help them be true and grow naturally, as nature intended.

This is an interesting one and I've been mulling it over all week.

We are definitely part of nature but do we naturally live selfless lives in harmony with nature or do we naturally live selfish, individualistic, lives divorced from and destroying nature and turning our world into a hell?

I think you're right, it is the former but society has gone wrong and we all get drawn into a path of living unnatural lives which gives us that unsettling feeling. When we truly connect with God and understand that God is present throughout the universe, in all of nature, that's what is needed to draw us closer to the natural life that God intended and settle our troubled souls.

You cannot worship the majesty of God while treating his creation with contempt

3
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Sorry. It would be a big deal for me. I relate to God as the father. It's a personal relationship and neutral pronouns just aren't personal. If someone else relates to God as the divine mother then that's ok.

> I've had a little Google about this anyway and there are a few instances in the bible where God is presented as a mother but something that I hadn't thought of the other night, which may or may not be important, is that Jesus gives us the Lord's prayer where we are taught to address God as "Our father...".

What do you think of Hinduism and other religions which don't follow along Abrahamic lines, do you consider those to be equally valid, or as faiths which aren't true? Do other faiths existing ever make you question whether those are the correct ones, rather than your own? As an ex Catholic (since my teens), I find it interesting to discuss things like this with adults who are religious.

The start of my turning away was probably teenage discussions with friends, and then my wondering why I'd never experienced any dramatic miracles like in the Bible (seemed odd that they happened 2000 years ago, then apparently stopped), but I personally find now that too many questions are raised by religion, and that it doesn't 'mesh' with anything which makes sense to me.

nb: Don't you see any sexism in it being a woman who is responsible for the downfall of humanity, when combined with Lot being seduced by his daughters, and texts about menstruating women being unclean for 7 days, and any man who touches them being unclean until the end of the day (and passages about women looking up to and respecting men, the way men look up to and respect god)? Can't certain things no longer being taken seriously or literally in the Bible, call into question other more pivotal aspects as well?

Post edited at 23:41
 Sir Chasm 22 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> When I came to properly understand the implications of God as omnipresent, everywhere, and in everyone, it explained a lot of questions, it was an actual revelation to me. 

Is "he" also omniscient and omnipotent? And do you properly understand the implication of that? 

 mondite 22 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

 

> You cannot worship the majesty of God while treating his creation with contempt

Why not? After all we have dominion over everything else,Genesis 1:26-28, and given you think she is omnipresent how could she have not spotted the problem?

1
 Ciro 23 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> I tried to respectfully explain why I don't feel I can comply with your wishes and it's polite to say sorry in those circumstances.

I don't find that polite, I find it disingenuous - like the political "sorry for any offence" non- apology. Besides, as a heterosexual cis-male, it's not me that suffers for the outdated sex and gender messages your faith promotes.

> To expand, God is not merely a woman/man in the sky but neither is God an unconscious impersonal force of nature. God calls us to know him personally in fellowship.

Unless you take it literally that "he" made "man" in his image and then made "woman" from a spare rib (a nuttier end of the christian spectrum which I assume you don't inhabit), the argument would be that "man" is short for "human", and god made all human beings in their image. Therefore, they have to be beyond gender, and surely deserve to be seen as such?

I think, if I was an omnipotent being who created humankind and wanted them to know me, I'd want them to recognise me in my full glory, not reduce me to a genderised status that didn't apply to me.

> I tried to write that without personal language or with neutral pronouns but it's not right and couldn't be sustained. God is he to me. God may be she to someone else. It won't be right to describe God using neutral pronouns until the day that society is comfortable to routinely use neutral pronouns to describe each other.

It's just practice - I use neutral pronouns quite a lot now. It's still a conscious effort, but the more we do it the easier it'll get. If you want to see a more equal society (and from your postings on here I don't doubt that you do), you have to be the change you want to see.

2
 deepsoup 23 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> We are definitely part of nature but do we naturally live selfless lives in harmony with nature or do we naturally live selfish, individualistic, lives divorced from and destroying nature and turning our world into a hell?

Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation's final law
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek'd against his creed

 - Alfred Lord Tennyson

What other part of nature, what creature besides ourselves lives "selfless lives in harmony with nature"?  Not an animal, not a plant, not so much as a bacterium.  The nature of nature is that it's a struggle for survival and there is easily as much horror as there is beauty.  There is more cruelty and suffering in nature than the human mind can comprehend.  If that's just how an indifferent universe works fine, but if it's the best an omnipotent creator who claims to be all benevolence can do he ought to be begging for our forgiveness not generously offering to bestow his own.

Stephen Fry puts it better than I ever could:
youtube.com/watch?v=-suvkwNYSQo&

2
 freeflyer 23 Jan 2022
In reply to Ciro:

>  I use neutral pronouns quite a lot now. It's still a conscious effort, but the more we do it the easier it'll get. If you want to see a more equal society (and from your postings on here I don't doubt that you do), you have to be the change you want to see.

It's a constructive suggestion, however I don't think many Christians will be happy to refer to to God as 'they'; it would appear to create more problems than it solves.

In reply to deepsoup:

> Stephen Fry puts it better than I ever could:

There's a huge amount of religious philosophy out there, but I've not read any of it (barring most of the bible, and some of the koran). The first time I saw that clip, I was quite pleased to see Stephen had come to the same conclusions I had, quite independently (see the 2006 thread above)...

 Ciro 23 Jan 2022
In reply to freeflyer:

> >  I use neutral pronouns quite a lot now. It's still a conscious effort, but the more we do it the easier it'll get. If you want to see a more equal society (and from your postings on here I don't doubt that you do), you have to be the change you want to see.

> It's a constructive suggestion, however I don't think many Christians will be happy to refer to to God as 'they';

There's a lot of devout christians (lay and clergy) in my family, so I'm well aware of how reluctant they can be to embrace progressive change.

> it would appear to create more problems than it solves.

Disagree with this bit. It takes time, but changes in attitude can happen - I mean, they're no longer justifying crusades, and the church now agrees Hitler was bad 😉

 Tringa 24 Jan 2022
In reply to Ciro:

What might be the three best comments about religion and God I have heard are -

1. From the Dalai Lama - You don't have to be Buddhist to be a good person you don't even have to be religious.

2. From a Rabbi on Radio 4 one morning - You don't have to believe in God, just do what he says.

3. From somewhere online - Going to church doesn't make you religious anymore than going into a garage makes you into a car.  

Dave

 Offwidth 24 Jan 2022
In reply to deepsoup:

There sure is plenty of suffering in nature but cruelty takes intelligent life doing bad things.

In reply to deepsoup:

If you substitute the words "reality" or "life" for "God" does that make Life any the less worth living? Celebrating?

"There's night and day, brother, both sweet things; sun, moon, and stars, brother, all sweet things; there's likewise a wind on the heath. Life is very sweet, brother; who would wish to die?"

George Borrow, Wild Wales 

God can't design a world where evolutionary forces don't work, because it wouldn't be real. The only possible reality is the one we've got. If Steven Fry can curse God because of pain, then he has to curse Life because of pain. He doesn't,  though. He makes the choice to celebrate the life he's got. 

The God who is only responsible for nice things, the God he rejects, is an impossible God.

 deepsoup 24 Jan 2022
In reply to Offwidth:

Semantics.  I would say malice requires intelligence, cruelty does not.

Diseases are not 'intelligent life doing bad things' but it's perfectly common to speak of a "cruel disease".  What we mean by that is a disease that inflicts a lot of suffering and possibly a cruel death on somebody - the kind of death that is quite common in nature, paralysed and eaten alive.

But if we say for the sake of argument that you're right that reinforces my point.  If nature is a designed thing, the creation of an intelligent creator, then there is your cruelty.  As Stephen Fry says, such a creator would have to be a maniac, absolutely monstrous.  George Carlin put it more mildly: "This is not the work of a supreme being, at best it's an office temp with a bad attitude."

 artif 24 Jan 2022
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I doubt free will has much to do with anything, there are just too many external influences that make decisions for us.

I don't need a sky fairy  to appreciate the beauty or blame the horrors on though. Trying to give reason to something that is a sum of multiple events is pointless. 

2
 deepsoup 24 Jan 2022
In reply to Pete Pozman:

> If you substitute the words "reality" or "life" for "God" does that make Life any the less worth living? Celebrating?

I could substitute the words "banana hammock" for "frying pan", but I wouldn't necessarily be making any sense.

People, priests especially, are very keen to tell us what God wants.  Pass on his orders, collect the money.  (He always seems to want money.)  I have never met anyone who was trying to tell me how "reality" or "life" wants me to live my life.

> God can't design a world where evolutionary forces don't work, because it wouldn't be real.

Is he omnipotent or is he not?  It's a funny sort of omnipotence if he can be bound by a rule that you just arbitrarily pull out of your hat like that.

> The only possible reality is the one we've got.

Eh?  It generally tends to be the religious who say precisely the opposite - there is another reality, an afterlife, which is eternal and perfect and without suffering.

> If Steven Fry can curse God because of pain, then he has to curse Life because of pain. He doesn't,  though.

Not only does he not curse life, he doesn't even curse those other gods - Zeus, Hera etc.

He doesn't curse God because of pain, he curses God because he claims to be omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, all knowing, all wise and infinitely compassionate - while simultaneously claiming to be the designer and creator of the world we live in.

1
 Offwidth 24 Jan 2022
In reply to deepsoup:

There is plenty of religious philosophy that deals with such arguments (albeit I should say I have little sympathy for such). Irrespective, on definitions of cruelty, I'm sticking with mine....Id add this is a fun read:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruelty

 freeflyer 24 Jan 2022
In reply to Ciro:

> it would appear to create more problems than it solves.

> Disagree with this bit. It takes time, but changes in attitude can happen - I mean, they're no longer justifying crusades, and the church now agrees Hitler was bad 😉

The issue here is with their definition of God. I am not an expert, but there is a lot of theology around the interesting idea of the Trinity - three parts to one God etc. Referring to this as 'they' would be a bit like taking the trident and inserting it in the wrong place!

I guess you are right that change does happen, but it's taken quite a while for them to get this far, as they managed to get the Nicene Creed together in the 4th century AD ("I believe in one God", etc) so I won't be holding my breath

ff

 GrahamD 24 Jan 2022
In reply to Tringa:

> 2. From a Rabbi on Radio 4 one morning - You don't have to believe in God, just do what he says.

Well intentioned, I'm sure but to me its a big problem.  Because "what he says" is invariably what a person says he says.

In reply to deepsoup:

> I could substitute the words "banana hammock" for "frying pan", but I wouldn't necessarily be making any sense.

> People, priests especially, are very keen to tell us what God wants.  Pass on his orders, collect the money.  (He always seems to want money.)  I have never met anyone who was trying to tell me how "reality" or "life" wants me to live my life.

> Is he omnipotent or is he not?  It's a funny sort of omnipotence if he can be bound by a rule that you just arbitrarily pull out of your hat like that.

> Eh?  It generally tends to be the religious who say precisely the opposite - there is another reality, an afterlife, which is eternal and perfect and without suffering.

> Not only does he not curse life, he doesn't even curse those other gods - Zeus, Hera etc.

> He doesn't curse God because of pain, he curses God because he claims to be omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, all knowing, all wise and infinitely compassionate - while simultaneously claiming to be the designer and creator of the world we live in.

Maybe in limiting what people are allowed to think about God you are being more dogmatic than I am. I find that atheists are very sure about what religious people think and believe. 

3
 deepsoup 24 Jan 2022
In reply to Pete Pozman:

> Maybe in limiting what people are allowed to think about God you are being more dogmatic than I am.

What a strange argument.  I'm not limiting what anyone is allowed to think, I'm just talking about the kind of God that I'm talking about.  Broadly speaking the one that followers of the three big Abrahamic faiths usually say they believe in - a compassionate God that loves us, is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent and gets involved in our affairs.  (Performs miracles, answers prayers, smites heathens, that kind of thing.)

If you want to talk about something else entirely that is absolutely fine with me, and of course you can think whatever you like.

In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> I agree, the ego is strong in people and organised religion is used to divide more often than to unite. This is the opposite of the message that is shared by all true religion which is a variation on "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength and Love your neighbour as yourself."

I've got a stack of Yr 7 textbooks at the back of my class and one of the first units is on the golden rule. It is interesting how from many different religious traditions they have quotes that basically say that. I've never looked into the individual quotes in too much detail just in case it doesn't bear the scrutiny, but it's a nice clear idea and definitely easier to get your head around as an 11 year old than, say, the Kantian categorical imperative! 

In reply to Pete Pozman:

> I find that atheists are very sure about what religious people think and believe. 

I guess most atheists assume the published religious tracts to be 'gospel'. But they're well aware that those tracts are often internally inconsistent, and obscure, and that interpretation of that 'gospel' is very variable, and essentially comes down to someone religious doing what they think is right.

Just like atheists do what they think is right, but without claiming they're doing 'what God told them to do'.

In reply to Tringa:

> 3. From somewhere online - Going to church doesn't make you religious anymore than going into a garage makes you into a car.  

That's an interesting one as to be true it relies on there being a correct religion and an incorrect religion, as well as a "no religion". If you in God as omnibenevolent along with the other omni- words, then yes, the sinner sitting every Sunday in church isn't religious. But if you are an atheist, and you don't believe there is any God, then how else can you judge someone else's religiosity besides seeing if they do "religious stuff" like pray and go to church? 

Have a read of https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/23/christ-and-cocaine-rios-gangs-of-god-blend-faith-and-violence (it's just fascinating besides anything!) but as an atheist (even one who teaches RS and the Sociology of religion) who am I to say the young men with the AKs and the AR15s strapped to them aren't sincere in their faith?

If I had faith, like that which Cumbria Mammoth is eloquently representing above, then I could say "they're wrong - that's not what God wants", but as it is, at best, I can say something like "the majority of other Christians" would say they are wrong in their interpretation of the faith.

In reply to Timmd:

> What do you think of Hinduism and other religions which don't follow along Abrahamic lines, do you consider those to be equally valid, or as faiths which aren't true? Do other faiths existing ever make you question whether those are the correct ones, rather than your own? As an ex Catholic (since my teens), I find it interesting to discuss things like this with adults who are religious.

> The start of my turning away was probably teenage discussions with friends, and then my wondering why I'd never experienced any dramatic miracles like in the Bible (seemed odd that they happened 2000 years ago, then apparently stopped), but I personally find now that too many questions are raised by religion, and that it doesn't 'mesh' with anything which makes sense to me.

> nb: Don't you see any sexism in it being a woman who is responsible for the downfall of humanity, when combined with Lot being seduced by his daughters, and texts about menstruating women being unclean for 7 days, and any man who touches them being unclean until the end of the day (and passages about women looking up to and respecting men, the way men look up to and respect god)? Can't certain things no longer being taken seriously or literally in the Bible, call into question other more pivotal aspects as well?

I think that all religions are based around a variation of the fundamental message to "Love the Lord your God [the God who is present throughout all the universe] with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength and Love your neighbour as yourself." So, the foundation of all true religion is a teaching that we should try to live our lives as free from ego as we can possibly manage. There is only one God after all and the way I see it is that all of the religions that are based on this truth are based on a partial revelation of God but the full revelation comes through Jesus Christ.

A very important message that Jesus says is "to those whom much has been given much will be required", so not as much will be required from people who have only been given a partial revelation. So, it won't matter if we have made an error in our understanding of God as long as we are making the best of what we have been given.

I think very few people in history have taken every word of the bible to be literally true, that unsophisticated interpretation of the bible is largely a modern phenomenon. My take on it is that you should "judge a good tree by its fruit" and when in doubt then check to make sure that the interpretation you favour is consistent with the words of Jesus.

2
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Is "he" also omniscient and omnipotent? And do you properly understand the implication of that? 

Yes, it means that God is suffering along with us.

It also means that our pleasure is not the reason for creation. Our freedom to sin and the existence of suffering must be an important part of our existence.

1
In reply to Ciro:

> I don't find that polite, I find it disingenuous - like the political "sorry for any offence" non- apology. Besides, as a heterosexual cis-male, it's not me that suffers for the outdated sex and gender messages your faith promotes.

> Unless you take it literally that "he" made "man" in his image and then made "woman" from a spare rib (a nuttier end of the christian spectrum which I assume you don't inhabit), the argument would be that "man" is short for "human", and god made all human beings in their image. Therefore, they have to be beyond gender, and surely deserve to be seen as such?

> I think, if I was an omnipotent being who created humankind and wanted them to know me, I'd want them to recognise me in my full glory, not reduce me to a genderised status that didn't apply to me.

> It's just practice - I use neutral pronouns quite a lot now. It's still a conscious effort, but the more we do it the easier it'll get. If you want to see a more equal society (and from your postings on here I don't doubt that you do), you have to be the change you want to see.

The urgent thing is for people come to God, a personal God that loves and cares for each of us and wants to walk in fellowship with us, giving peace to our troubled souls.

There's plenty of threads where I've got stuck in trying to argue to make a better society. The number one thing that would make a better society would be if people would turn to and understand God and try to live without ego.

One day there might come a time that he and she are replaced in society by they and it will not sound odd and impersonal. At the moment though, it stands out a mile and is a distraction.

As an aside, I think if we want to see a more equal society for disadvantaged groups then we have to concentrate on economic justice so that social justice will naturally follow. In an unequal society people are hardened to seeing inequality.

1
In reply to deepsoup:

> Who trusted God was love indeed

> And love Creation's final law

> Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw

> With ravine, shriek'd against his creed

>  - Alfred Lord Tennyson

> What other part of nature, what creature besides ourselves lives "selfless lives in harmony with nature"?  Not an animal, not a plant, not so much as a bacterium.  The nature of nature is that it's a struggle for survival and there is easily as much horror as there is beauty.  There is more cruelty and suffering in nature than the human mind can comprehend.  If that's just how an indifferent universe works fine, but if it's the best an omnipotent creator who claims to be all benevolence can do he ought to be begging for our forgiveness not generously offering to bestow his own.

> Stephen Fry puts it better than I ever could:https://youtu.be/-suvkwNYSQo

I think you're absolutely wrong about this.

Animals enjoy life, they play, they think, and they love. Yes, life can be a struggle but everyone on this site should be able to recognise that the most worthwhile of life's pleasures are those that come after, and indeed during, struggle.

Yes, there is suffering and pain but animals don't spend their lives in fear of it, there are far more prey than predators, animals live far more in the moment than we do.

The life that God has given us is good and worth living but it is not our playground. Suffering must be an important part of our existence or else it wouldn't exist and it is important to note that the omnipresent and omniscient God is suffering with us when we suffer.

2
 Sir Chasm 24 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Yes, it means that God is suffering along with us.

> It also means that our pleasure is not the reason for creation. Our freedom to sin and the existence of suffering must be an important part of our existence.

But god created sin and suffering. And, being omniscient, knew that we would sin and suffer, that we would rape and murder and chop people's arms off and herd them into gas chambers. Bit of a shit really. 

2
In reply to TobyA:

> That's an interesting one as to be true it relies on there being a correct religion and an incorrect religion, as well as a "no religion". If you in God as omnibenevolent along with the other omni- words, then yes, the sinner sitting every Sunday in church isn't religious. But if you are an atheist, and you don't believe there is any God, then how else can you judge someone else's religiosity besides seeing if they do "religious stuff" like pray and go to church? 

> Have a read of https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/23/christ-and-cocaine-rios-gangs-of-god-blend-faith-and-violence (it's just fascinating besides anything!) but as an atheist (even one who teaches RS and the Sociology of religion) who am I to say the young men with the AKs and the AR15s strapped to them aren't sincere in their faith?

> If I had faith, like that which Cumbria Mammoth is eloquently representing above, then I could say "they're wrong - that's not what God wants", but as it is, at best, I can say something like "the majority of other Christians" would say they are wrong in their interpretation of the faith.

Thanks for the compliment. I think my reply to Timmd is also relevant to your other post to me.

This one gets back to the video from the OP which ends with "the same logic that suggests that you deserve forgiveness suggest that everyone else deserves forgiveness which in turn suggests that you should forgive everyone you're mad at".

I'm sure they are sinners but so are we all. Jesus spent his time with society's outcasts and it can only be a good thing if these people, who are stuck in a world of the most terrible crimes, are hearing the word of God. Turning to God may start as a dramatic event or it may be a long process starting with a small footstep, but however it begins the journey is long.

If they truly come to know God then they will change and the lives of their neighbours will also be enriched.

2
 freeflyer 25 Jan 2022
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> But god created sin and suffering. And, being omniscient, knew that we would sin and suffer, that we would rape and murder and chop people's arms off and herd them into gas chambers. Bit of a shit really. 

One of the exercises for Zen (buddhist) initiates is as follows: they are told to look at a painting and then say what they see. Usually the painting is something simple with people in it. The second part of the exercise is to change what they said from "I see a happy man" etc to "I am a happy man". The third part of the exercise, which does tend to take a few years longer, is to understand fully the relationship between what is out there, and what is in me.

Whatever God is, it is not out there; God is a personal experience. If your experience is of something that creates rapists and murderers and gas chamber herders, then like Primo Levi, you will be most probably be deeply troubled by it. I'm hoping that you've come up with those examples in order to create an omniscient God strawman so you can burn it down; and I see your point, I would want to burn it down as well.

Pain, torture and death are part of human existence. If you have direct experience of those things, that is outside the scope of this discussion. If as I hope, they are things that you see which make you suffer, that is inside the scope, and brings me right back to the exercise above.

If you wanted to make CM squirm a bit, I would ask him why as a Christian he must suffer when God is supposed to have done all his suffering for him...

 deepsoup 25 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> I think you're absolutely wrong about this.

Well of course you do!

> Animals enjoy life, they play, they think, and they love...
> Yes, there is suffering and pain but animals don't spend their lives in fear of it..

You're trying to have it both ways here.  You can't anthropomorphise on the one hand to say they enjoy life and experience love while simultaneously saying they don't live in fear, not really, because they're not like us.

Prey animals almost literally have eyes in the back of their heads, a rabbit that doesn't spend a good deal of it's life jumping every time it sees a shadow in case it's a fox is going to get eaten by a fox.  I'm not really talking rabbits and foxes so much though, I'm thinking more of the real horror shows, the zombie ant fungus maybe.  Or parasitic wasps - the ones that gave Darwin so much trouble with his religious faith, here's a quote for you:

"With respect to the theological view of the question: This is always painful to me. I am bewildered. I had no intention to write atheistically, but I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars …"

The Emerald Cockroach Wasp isn't good or evil, it simply is.  But an intelligent, omnipotent, omniscient, blah-di-blah creator who, with literally infinite alternatives to choose from would deliberately design that life-cycle?  Nah.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emerald_cockroach_wasp

> Suffering must be an important part of our existence or else it wouldn't exist and it is important to note that the omnipresent and omniscient God is suffering with us when we suffer.

This seems quite close to what Pete Pozman was saying to me above - the world can only be the way it is.  But that seems like the exact opposite of an omnipotent god to me, an entirely impotent god, capable of creating an entire universe but only one that works exactly the same way it would if he didn't even exist.

I'll ramble on a bit more in reply to another of your posts I think..

 deepsoup 25 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> The urgent thing is for people come to God, a personal God that loves and cares for each of us and wants to walk in fellowship with us, giving peace to our troubled souls.

<some snippage>

> The number one thing that would make a better society would be if people would turn to and understand God and try to live without ego.

Is your Jesus the same one that speaks to all those American Republican types?  They certainly seem to think so, they absolutely insist that what they are doing is 'turning to God' and they talk about Jesus a lot.  And while their claims to be interested in social justice ring pretty hollow their claims to experience a personal relationship with Jesus are quite frankly no less convincing than yours.

So, if individual people forming a personal relationship with Jesus is the way to bring about social justice, how are we to make sense of Alabama say?  A state in which the overwhelming majority are Christians and a state in which type-1 diabetics who are unfortunate enough not to be relatively wealthy suffer horribly because they can't afford the insulin they need.  As compared in terms of 'social justice' to a state full of atheists like, say, Sweden.

Is it necessary to resort to a "no true Scotsman" type argument to square this circle?  Are they not doing Christianity properly?

If all the priests were like Desmond Tutu, you could sign me up as a Christian tomorrow.  I don't suppose your god would reveal himself to me any more than he already has (there was a time in my life when I tried pretty hard to get in touch btw, and he didn't pick up the phone), but there was a man I could believe was in touch with a supplier of superhuman quantities of courage and compassion. 

They're not though are they.  Priests, like everything and everyone else, seem to be exactly the same way on the whole that they would be if god did not even exist.  There are other bishops in the Anglican church who would argue, no less convincingly from a purely theological point of view, that god wants to punish the likes of me (for apostasy) and the OP (on account of his sexuality), and a fair few of them are even cool with the idea that homosexuality should be a capital offence; put them to death so God can get on with punishing them asap.

1
 deepsoup 25 Jan 2022
In reply to freeflyer:

> Whatever God is, it is not out there

It seems to be that you're talking about something quite different to the God of the Abrahamic faiths.  At least as far as the less mystically-minded believers are concerned God is very much 'out there'.  You can choose to have a relationship with God, or not to.  (And for some reason God will talk directly to some people, but not others.  Apparently you have believe in him first and only then will he confirm for you that he does in fact exist.  It all seems rather shifty to me, like creating our universe was some kind of cosmic tax dodge and he needs plausible deniability.)

From a Zen point of view your relationship with God just is what it is, whether you believe it or not.  Just like your relationship with everything else.  You can't choose to have a certain kind of relationship with God, or the universe or whatever, you can merely fool yourself or realise the truth of what your relationship already is.  (And which can't be put into words, which makes arguing about it on here a bit pointless to say the least - you may as well just give us a koan to chew on and leave it at that.)

> If you wanted to make CM squirm a bit, I would ask him why as a Christian he must suffer when God is supposed to have done all his suffering for him...

That's an easy one! CM already answered this, escaped in a single bound with no squirming required: God doesn't suffer for us, he suffers with us.

Oh - that reminds me.  Here's another youtube clip (in which exactly that, which I just said quite flippantly, is explained honestly and sincerely).  I've been a bit disparaging about American Christians, so I'll offer this one to show I don't think they're all reprehensible lunatics.  (Not quite anyway.)  If you haven't already seen it, check out this extraordinary conversation between Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper: youtube.com/watch?v=YB46h1koicQ&

Post edited at 07:32
 Stichtplate 25 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

>Turning to God may start as a dramatic event or it may be a long process starting with a small footstep, but however it begins the journey is long.

There's a whole nation currently endeavouring to turn to God (admittedly, a fair few are turning at gun point). 

> If they truly come to know God then they will change and the lives of their neighbours will also be enriched.

Well, let's see how that pans out for Afghanistan shall we? 

Post edited at 07:57
1
 freeflyer 25 Jan 2022
In reply to deepsoup:

> this extraordinary conversation between Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper:  youtube.com/watch?v=YB46h1koicQ&

That is a lovely discussion, which reminds me a lot of the Mitch Albom book Tuesdays with Morrie. I particularly like Colbert's observation: "There is no other timeline; this is it! The bravest thing you can do is to accept with gratitude the world exactly as it is."

My point about the Christian God is that Jesus moved the goalposts with respect to suffering. During his life, he made the astonishing assertion that if you forget about your doubts and believe in him, your life will be better. After his death, the church expanded this to include the idea that he took on the sins of the world while suffering on the cross. Suffering is not required in order to be a Christian. It's a weakness of the Christian message that many people feel that if they haven't carried a big heavy cross up a mountain or two, they're not doing it properly.

From a Zen perspective, suffering is an illusion. While Zen doesn't have goals, as such, it's nevertheless a key insight into how humans live their lives. Zen is a lot weirder than Christianity

 Ciro 25 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> The urgent thing is for people come to God, a personal God that loves and cares for each of us and wants to walk in fellowship with us,

If such a being existed, it would surely work harder at revealing itself to us.

When I want to walk in fellowship with someone, I generally find it quite easy to let them know that I exist - and I'm a long way short of omnipotent. 

If god lit up a bush and talked to me out of it, instead of presenting itself as a voice in my head - a voice that sounds suspiciously like a voice I made up in my formative years out of bits of the voices of my folks, my grandparents, some teachers and some old Irish priests, I might pay some attention to it. 

As it stands, it sounds like a figment of my fertile imagination.

> giving peace to our troubled souls.

Some of the most tortured souls I know are extremely devout abrahamic theists. I'd feel cheated if I was putting all that effort into appeasing an omnipotent deity and they were providing such little help in return.

> The number one thing that would make a better society would be if people would turn to and understand God and try to live without ego.

That's your opinion.

In my opinion, abrahamic religion has outlived it's usefulness to mankind, is offering too much of an excuse for division, homophobia, misogyny, and interference with women's bodily autonomy. Society would be better if we got rid of it.

> One day there might come a time that he and she are replaced in society by they and it will not sound odd and impersonal. At the moment though, it stands out a mile and is a distraction.

You can change the connotations of gender neutral pronouns for you, you don't need to wait for society. 

> As an aside, I think if we want to see a more equal society for disadvantaged groups then we have to concentrate on economic justice so that social justice will naturally follow. In an unequal society people are hardened to seeing inequality.

I think we need to work on it from all angles.

1
 deepsoup 25 Jan 2022
In reply to freeflyer:

> Zen is a lot weirder than Christianity

A colleague at work gave me a memory stick a few years ago containing mp3s of hours and hours of Alan Watts lectures, and since then I've listened to the lot several times over whilst driving. 

Based on that, I really don't think it is you know.  I think Christianity is just much more familiar to us on the whole so we don't really notice how bonkers it is.

 Sir Chasm 25 Jan 2022
In reply to freeflyer:

> One of the exercises for Zen (buddhist) initiates is as follows: they are told to look at a painting and then say what they see. Usually the painting is something simple with people in it. The second part of the exercise is to change what they said from "I see a happy man" etc to "I am a happy man". The third part of the exercise, which does tend to take a few years longer, is to understand fully the relationship between what is out there, and what is in me.

That's nice, just another bunch of religionists though. 

> Whatever God is, it is not out there; God is a personal experience. If your experience is of something that creates rapists and murderers and gas chamber herders, then like Primo Levi, you will be most probably be deeply troubled by it. I'm hoping that you've come up with those examples in order to create an omniscient God strawman so you can burn it down; and I see your point, I would want to burn it down as well.

I have no belief in any gods, it's mammoth asserting that god is omniscient, omnipotent and omniscient (and thus created all the rapists, murderers etc.). There's no burning anything down, merely trying to see what people's beliefs are. 

> Pain, torture and death are part of human existence. If you have direct experience of those things, that is outside the scope of this discussion. If as I hope, they are things that you see which make you suffer, that is inside the scope, and brings me right back to the exercise above.

Lots of people experience those things (you might even find out we all experience one of them), they're well within scope. 

> If you wanted to make CM squirm a bit, I would ask him why as a Christian he must suffer when God is supposed to have done all his suffering for him...

Ask him whatever you like. 

1
 Rob Exile Ward 25 Jan 2022
In reply to Sir Chasm:

'Yes, there is suffering and pain but animals don't spend their lives in fear of it, '

HTF do you think you know that? And you're wrong. Have you ever seen a deer; or mouse; or a finch? Their only strategy for survival is to live in terror of anything that moves.

Nice one, god.

1
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> HTF do you think you know that?

Just to be clear, it was the mammoth who suggested what you quoted... 

 Sir Chasm 25 Jan 2022
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

As the cap'n points out, that wasn't my claim. But I think it might be partly correct. Most animals' fear seems to be reactive, they're frightened of things that move because they might be about to be eaten. I suspect (but don't claim to know) that most animals don't have an anticipatory fear because they don't have the concept of tomorrow, so they don't go to bed and worry about getting eaten, but will react to hearing footsteps in the night. 

 deepsoup 25 Jan 2022
In reply to Sir Chasm:

"Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie".

Appropriate for Burns night. 

The mouse is terrified, but only touched by the present and not worried about the future like the farmer.

In reply to Sir Chasm:

> most animals don't have an anticipatory fear because they don't have the concept of tomorrow

Do we know that...? Plenty of animals plan for 'tomorrow' by hoarding food.

Animals dream. I think dreaming and imagination are related. Imagination allows us to 'predict the future'. Predicting the future is a good evolutionary survival mechanism. 

 Sir Chasm 26 Jan 2022
In reply to captain paranoia:

> > most animals don't have an anticipatory fear because they don't have the concept of tomorrow

> Do we know that...? Plenty of animals plan for 'tomorrow' by hoarding food.

> Animals dream. I think dreaming and imagination are related. Imagination allows us to 'predict the future'. Predicting the future is a good evolutionary survival mechanism. 

Oh do behave, you've snipped off  "I suspect (but don't claim to know) that...".

But your claim that animals dream? Well, your dog's leg twitching might mean he's dreaming and it might not, either way I hope if you can hear your dog telling you what he dreamt about that it's more interesting than people recounting dreams. 

In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Oh do behave, you've snipped off 

Yeah, but I'm discussing stuff, not arguing. And quoting your post just one above, that can be read in full by clicking 'in reply to'... Hardly distorting your words, is it?

> But your claim that animals dream?

Pretty well universally accepted:

https://www.google.com/search?q=do+animals+dream

 freeflyer 26 Jan 2022
In reply to deepsoup:

>  I think Christianity is just much more familiar to us on the whole so we don't really notice how bonkers it is.

Christianity has some really good stuff, but you do have to clear away all the bonkers bits to find it. It's not hard to see why in a modern world, most people can't be bothered.

I've pretty much given up attempting to talk about Zen / Buddhist / Taoist beliefs as it's so rare that Europeans have any interest in it, although the Dalai Lama has certainly done a lot to change that, and the mindfulness brigade may lead people to look into it. That is where my rather dismissive "Zen is weird" line originates; I apologise if it was misleading!

For me, Zen and the Tao make a very solid philosophical basis for living, and I agree with you that it's certainly anything but bonkers, but it also requires quite an effort to get a basic understanding of it. So rather than pound some eastern religious drum, I try to find ways of expressing its ideas in a western vocabulary with spiritually-minded people around me in the UK, including a few atheists, and a fair few Christians.

In reply to deepsoup:

> People, priests especially, are very keen to tell us what God wants. 

God wants voodoo
God wants shrines
God wants law
God wants organised crime
God wants crusade
God wants jihad
God wants good
God wants bad

1
 john arran 26 Jan 2022
In reply to Ridge:

God wants God.

 Andy Hardy 26 Jan 2022
In reply to Ridge:

> God wants voodoo

> God wants shrines

> God wants law

> God wants organised crime

> God wants crusade

> God wants jihad

> God wants good

> God wants bad

And he takes every major credit card 😉

It's been ages since the last popcorn worthy religious thread, I wonder if Messrs Chapel and Hellier are lurking?

1
 Sir Chasm 26 Jan 2022
In reply to captain paranoia:

Fair enough, I can accept they might dream. But I think it's a bit more of a stretch to suggest they're dreaming about the future.

In reply to Sir Chasm:

Assuming only humans think about the future is just anthropocentric exceptionalism.

Predators need to think about the future to plan attacks. Prey animals need to think about the future to avoid such attacks. They aren't purely reactive. Those abilities provide evolutionary benefit. It's how we got here. I very much doubt we are completely unique among mammals in that respect.

The ability to dream shows the brain is capable of visualising things other than reality. That ability to visualise can be used to imagine future events.

In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> The urgent thing is for people come to God, a personal God that loves and cares for each of us and wants to walk in fellowship with us

I think you have that backwards.  What you are looking for is a dog.

1
 JimR 26 Jan 2022

My understanding is that Christianity was originally based on Gnosticism. There are some very interesting ideas there, wick and dirty summary is that there was a big goddess called Sophie and lots of little gods, one of these was a bit nasty and called Jehovah who created the world and all in it. He was a bit of a bad sort and his world reflected his nature, eye for an eye, blood sacrifices to please him etc etc, so the big god felt a bit sorry for the world and all that was in it and attempted to save it by sending her son to save it by educating its inhabitants and fooling Jehovah by during as an ultimate sacrifice, however being divine his mum Sophie resuscitated him. This story got distorted early on and the early church tried to eliminate traces of it, quite early on the church cherished the power it was gaining and worked hard to buttress their position..    as I said this is very quick and dirty summary of Gnosticism, the origin of Christianity

In reply to deepsoup:

This post doesn't do justice to your well put together postings but it's getting late and I want to reply to some of the key points.

> You're trying to have it both ways here.  You can't anthropomorphise on the one hand to say they enjoy life and experience love while simultaneously saying they don't live in fear, not really, because they're not like us.

It's not that they're not like us, it's because they are like how we should be. Animals live more in the moment than we do and show us how we can lead a more rewarding life.

Similarly, small children also live more in the moment and Jesus points this out when he says that "anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

>Prey animals almost literally have eyes in the back of their heads, a rabbit that doesn't spend a good deal of it's life jumping every time it sees a shadow in case it's a fox is going to get eaten by a fox.  I'm not really talking rabbits and foxes so much though, I'm thinking more of the real horror shows, the zombie ant fungus maybe.  Or parasitic wasps - the ones that gave Darwin so much trouble with his religious faith, here's a quote for you:

>> Suffering must be an important part of our existence or else it wouldn't exist and it is important to note that the omnipresent and omniscient God is suffering with us when we suffer.

>This seems quite close to what Pete Pozman was saying to me above - the world can only be the way it is.  But that seems like the exact opposite of an omnipotent god to me, an entirely impotent god, capable of creating an entire universe but only one that works exactly the same way it would if he didn't even exist.

There's no argument that suffering exists in nature. You can pile on examples but I don't accept that life is mostly misery for animals living their natural lives. They manage their risk either instinctively or by conscious thought, but that doesn't necessarily mean their existence is dominated by fear. The insect world is alien to us and one mitigating factor may be that there is probably a hierarchy of how aware different types of animals are.

An animals experience of life is different to ours but when their natural needs are available and they are able to live in the way that they have evolved to live why shouldn't they be content? They can show all the signs of being content.

So life is worth living and the existence of suffering means that there must be a point to suffering.

>I'll ramble on a bit more in reply to another of your posts I think..

>Is your Jesus the same one that speaks to all those American Republican types?  They certainly seem to think so, they absolutely insist that what they are doing is 'turning to God' and they talk about Jesus a lot.  And while their claims to be interested in social justice ring pretty hollow their claims to experience a personal relationship with Jesus are quite frankly no less convincing than yours.

>So, if individual people forming a personal relationship with Jesus is the way to bring about social justice, how are we to make sense of Alabama say?  A state in which the overwhelming majority are Christians and a state in which type-1 diabetics who are unfortunate enough not to be relatively wealthy suffer horribly because they can't afford the insulin they need.  As compared in terms of 'social justice' to a state full of atheists like, say, Sweden.

>Is it necessary to resort to a "no true Scotsman" type argument to square this circle?  Are they not doing Christianity properly?

Jesus tells us unequivocally that there are no greater commandments than "love the lord your God and love your neighbour as yourself". Is there a way that this commandment could be followed without social justice spreading from neighbour to neighbour to neighbour..? So yes, the people you describe are people that like to follow the rituals but have not paid attention to the message.

Even though there is a tendency for the message to be misapplied, it would still seem to be the case that the societies that have given a nod to Christianity for 1600 years are the ones which have ended up the most tolerant.

The UK now has as high a prevalence of atheists than Sweden as well but we're not doing as well as Sweden on social justice so maybe there are other factors at play.

>If all the priests were like Desmond Tutu, you could sign me up as a Christian tomorrow.  I don't suppose your god would reveal himself to me any more than he already has (there was a time in my life when I tried pretty hard to get in touch btw, and he didn't pick up the phone), but there was a man I could believe was in touch with a supplier of superhuman quantities of courage and compassion. 

God is not hard to find, if you want to find God you just have to direct your thoughts towards God and tune in. There'll be all sorts of thoughts in your head so judge a good tree by its fruit. It's a journey and the more you learn about God the more you will be able to discern what comes from God. That's all there is to it, don't expect a dramatic miracle, it's up to you and if you want to find God you will.

Desmond Tutu won't have been speaking on the phone to God any more than you were, he will have been thinking about God, reading about God, talking about God, and judging a good tree by its fruit.

>They're not though are they.  Priests, like everything and everyone else, seem to be exactly the same way on the whole that they would be if god did not even exist.  There are other bishops in the Anglican church who would argue, no less convincingly from a purely theological point of view, that god wants to punish the likes of me (for apostasy) and the OP (on account of his sexuality), and a fair few of them are even cool with the idea that homosexuality should be a capital offence; put them to death so God can get on with punishing them asap.

>That's an easy one! CM already answered this, escaped in a single bound with no squirming required: God doesn't suffer for us, he suffers with us.

Yes, but why do put it like that as if it's a cheat and of no great importance. The omniscient and omnipotent God has chosen to suffer.

>Oh - that reminds me.  Here's another youtube clip (in which exactly that, which I just said quite flippantly, is explained honestly and sincerely).  I've been a bit disparaging about American Christians, so I'll offer this one to show I don't think they're all reprehensible lunatics.  (Not quite anyway.)  If you haven't already seen it, check out this extraordinary conversation between Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper:  youtube.com/watch?v=YB46h1koicQ&

Interesting video, thanks for posting. I thought "you can't have happiness without having loss - God does it too" may be a useful insight.

Post edited at 00:54
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

>> 'Yes, there is suffering and pain but animals don't spend their lives in fear of it, '

> HTF do you think you know that? And you're wrong. Have you ever seen a deer; or mouse; or a finch? Their only strategy for survival is to live in terror of anything that moves.

> Nice one, god.

Have you ever seen a deer watching the sunset, content mice curled up with each other in their nest, a mixed flock of chattering and singing finches moving along a hedge?

They're usually scared of people but when you can spot them living naturally they usually seem to be reasonably content. Terror is part of existence but no way do they spend most of their lives in terror.

Post edited at 00:30
 Andy Hardy 27 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:. 

> God is not hard to find, if you want to find God you just have to direct your thoughts towards God and tune in. There'll be all sorts of thoughts in your head so judge a good tree by its fruit. It's a journey and the more you learn about God the more you will be able to discern what comes from God. That's all there is to it, don't expect a dramatic miracle, it's up to you and if you want to find God you will.

So, in essence, to quote Chicken Run: "it's all in your head, Mr Tweedy: it's all in your head"?

 deepsoup 27 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> It's not that they're not like us, it's because they are like how we should be. Animals live more in the moment than we do and show us how we can lead a more rewarding life.

Maybe you should be the one having a conversation with freeflyer about Zen, honestly it seems much more your speed than Christianity.  Ha.  (Only one "ha", because I'm only half joking.)

> Desmond Tutu won't have been speaking on the phone to God any more than you were, he will have been thinking about God, reading about God, talking about God, and judging a good tree by its fruit.

Well obviously I don't think Tutu was speaking to god on the phone, because I'm pretty sure god doesn't exist.  I think he was simply an extraordinarily brave and compassionate human as some humans are, even priests.

On the subject of trees and fruit (and religion in America) did you catch the story last month about a homeless man setting fire to the Fox News Christmas tree?  Several of their presenters (Tucker Carlson chiefly among them) lost their minds about the sacrilege of it, it was nothing short of a blasphemous attack on Christianity itself apparently.

There's no mention of Christmas trees in the Bible of course, but as they say "What Would Jesus Do"? (tm)

Well - according to Mark chapter 11 and Matthew chapter 21, one thing Jesus might very well have done is just randomly destroy a tree out of spite and frustration because he fancied a bit of fruit and there wasn't any.  (Too early in the year, perfectly good fig tree just wasn't fruiting yet.)

> Yes, but why do put it like that as if it's a cheat and of no great importance. The omniscient and omnipotent God has chosen to suffer.

Well it is of no great importance really.

A friend of mine broke a leg a few years ago.  I used my imperfect knowledge and insight into the situation and my far-from-omnipotent power to give him a lift home from the hospital, move some furniture around and walk the dog.  Because that's a person that I love (kinda sorta, conditionally and imperfectly, certainly couldn't forgive just anything).

Its a funny sort of supreme being that loves a person more deeply and more unconditionally than another human ever could, can do anything, knows and understands everything, and does less.  Nothing at all, in fact, that is actually measurable in any way.

Fat lot of good it would have done my friend if I'd stayed at home and broken my own leg as a gesture of solidarity.

> Interesting video, thanks for posting. I thought "you can't have happiness without having loss - God does it too" may be a useful insight.

Well you also can't be truly miserable if you've never experienced happiness.  There's no logical argument you can make for a benevolent god who has to allow suffering in the world even though he loves us that can't be flipped upside down and argue just as convincingly for the exact opposite.  (Omnipotent evil anti-god hates us and wants us all to suffer, but has to allow some good in the world or the suffering would have no meaning.  It's a nonsensical idea of course, which is precisely the point.)

I really like Stephen Colbert, and I like the way he talks about his religion.  Of course it's all the more appealing to me that his personal version of Christianity seems to be based on the works of Tolkien as much as it is that other book.  (What would Gandalf do?)  I don't begrudge him his faith (especially if it helps in his grief) and I don't begrudge you yours, for all that I think it's nonsense.

It's been a bit of a blast from the past getting involved in an old-fashioned UKC religious debate, but I think I'm done now.  Look after yourself.  Tough crowd here for the ideas you've been expressing, if it starts to feel a bit personal, like a bit of a pile-on, you should probably walk away from the thread & try again some other time.

In reply to deepsoup:

> Maybe you should be the one having a conversation with freeflyer about Zen, honestly it seems much more your speed than Christianity.  Ha.  (Only one "ha", because I'm only half joking.)

Yes, I think freeflyer does share some of my views about the spiritual truth.

It was when it came to my attention how closely the teachings of Jesus resemble the teachings of the Buddha that a lot of understanding fell into place for me.

God is in everything, everything is one. 

> Its a funny sort of supreme being that loves a person more deeply and more unconditionally than another human ever could, can do anything, knows and understands everything, and does less.  Nothing at all, in fact, that is actually measurable in any way.

> Fat lot of good it would have done my friend if I'd stayed at home and broken my own leg as a gesture of solidarity.

Love is not the same thing as being nice and constantly providing pleasures. We will sometimes allow our children to fight their own battles and to find things out for themselves, even though we worry and feel their pain, because they need to experience life in order to grow.

If you can only focus on our temporal existence then suffering in this life may seem to trump all else in the rich gift of life that we have been given. If you see our everyday existence as a shadow of a truer reality you may be able to admit that suffering could have a higher purpose.

God is the divine teacher. The ultimate good is not our pleasure, nor our freedom from pain. Our ultimate good is knowing God.

> It's been a bit of a blast from the past getting involved in an old-fashioned UKC religious debate, but I think I'm done now.  Look after yourself.  Tough crowd here for the ideas you've been expressing, if it starts to feel a bit personal, like a bit of a pile-on, you should probably walk away from the thread & try again some other time.

Don't worry about me. I usually get stuck into the threads where my view is unrepresented. Pretty much guarantees a pile on. Cheers!

4
 freeflyer 30 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Yes, I think freeflyer does share some of my views about the spiritual truth.

It's all good

Thanks for being a brave witness. Everyone has their own path; however Christians do tend to think it should be *their* path, which sometimes makes me smile.

 john arran 30 Jan 2022
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> If you can only focus on our temporal existence then suffering in this life may seem to trump all else in the rich gift of life that we have been given. If you see our everyday existence as a shadow of a truer reality you may be able to admit that suffering could have a higher purpose.

What you say is, of course, perfectly plausible. Nobody is ever going to 'prove' you wrong. But a great many things are plausible, given enough mental gymnastics to avoid any contradictions with observable reality. And despite the strength of conviction you no doubt hold, there remains precisely zero actual evidence for any such "truer reality".

1
In reply to Timmd:

> The same logic strikes me with the whole 'Suffering exists because God gave humanity freewill' narrative, so god knew Eve was going to be tempted in the Garden of Eden and suffering would happen for evermore, and was okay with that, while being a kind and loving god as well. 

> Since god knew it was going to happen (because of in depth knowledge of his own creation, and being omnipresent and all powerful), doesn't that potentially call into question the concept of freewill, too? 

There’s a brief exchange here, between philosophers Galen Strawson (1st paragraph) & Thomas Nagel (last para.), on whether suffering / evil counts as proof against the existence of an all-powerful & all-good deity:

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2012/12/06/what-can-be-proved-about-god/
 

 Dominic Green 07 Feb 2022

Wow, I can’t help but note the greatest irony of the thread (at the risks of poking my head above the parapet), that of all gathering round and lambasting CM - in the name of tolerance! 

 Rob Exile Ward 07 Feb 2022
In reply to Dominic Green:

That's f*cking nonsense. You're just criticising what you would like to see, that would fit your preconceptions. 

Nobody has lambasted CM; many, like me, have tried to understand his pov but frankly failed, because (I would argue) it makes no sense. It is yet another reprise of the flying spaghetti monster.

1

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