What has God actually done wrong ?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Greta
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Re: What has God actually done wrong ?

Post by Greta » January 4th, 2017, 2:50 am

Dark Matter wrote:
Greta wrote: The problem is that sophisticated theism is weak and pointless compared with fundamentalism and literalism for many people, the latter providing provides placebo effects and much more visceral emotional import. Fundamentalism's promises are alluring while sophisticated theism doesn't make any promises and, in that sense, is becoming more philosophy-like.
I agree. Both atheists and theists generally prefer the concrete, but what you call "sophisticated theism" is, for the lack of a better description, relational; philosophy is the conceptual interpretation This makes religion seem vague and arbitrary when viewed from the outside, but it's reasonable when viewed from within.
Just to clarify, this "relational" aspect would be more or less the same as, say, Ormond in a bliss state as he traipses as mindlessly as possible through his local bushland?

By contrast, philosophy and "sophisticated theism" (might as well run with the term for now) would perhaps be closer to the scientific approach, eg. observing the various species, plant genus and their relationships, although it's not uncommon for scientists and philosophers to experience feelings during their studies that in other cultural situations might have been interpreted as spiritual or mystical experiences.

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Re: What has God actually done wrong ?

Post by Dark Matter » January 4th, 2017, 3:28 am

Greta wrote: Just to clarify, this "relational" aspect would be more or less the same as, say, Ormond in a bliss state as he traipses as mindlessly as possible through his local bushland?
Heavens, I certainly hope not! U. G. Krishnamurti was right -- that would be hell.
By contrast, philosophy and "sophisticated theism" (might as well run with the term for now) would perhaps be closer to the scientific approach, eg. observing the various species, plant genus and their relationships, although it's not uncommon for scientists and philosophers to experience feelings during their studies that in other cultural situations might have been interpreted as spiritual or mystical experiences.
I'm not sure "scientific" is the right word because it reaches beyond the concreteness of ideas, but it is systematic.

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Re: What has God actually done wrong ?

Post by Renee » January 4th, 2017, 3:36 am

Belindi wrote: Renee, I don;t understand the expressions you use in the following.
renee wrote:Your experience with these two writers may be the effect of Don Cupitt's success at beating himself at his own argument, while Paul Tillich lost against himself.
This post by me was an absurdist joke. If you win an argument against yourself, or you lose one, there is no difference: you both lose and win the argument at the same time and in the same respect.

However, I jokingly made out as if winning or losing the argument against yourself were different.

This was a joke. My old friend Paul S. would have been mildly proud of me for creating it.

The joke was supposed to happen when you considered that the form of the two instances are different, but the outcome is the same, and one has to delude himself to ignore the perfect reciprocity of winning/losing an argument against one's own self.
Ignorance is power.

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Re: What has God actually done wrong ?

Post by Belindi » January 4th, 2017, 5:54 am

Gertie wrote:
I think that many clergy who've been through the theological education process think this way, for example the last Archbishop of Canterbury speaks in terms of God as 'pure being' - while concurrently arbitrating on whether gay clergy are too sinful to be allowed into the club. And there you have the quandary for contemporary 'sophisticated theism', they can only grow the church by spreading to 'unsophisticated' communities and pitching themselves in an appropriate way to attract converts, but then get bitten in the bum by those tactics when 'less sophisticated' developing world bishops want to indulge their homophobia and point to the Bible.

As long as they pitch their linguistic and conceptual framing at what they consider to be appropriate for the congregation, talking to us plebs one way on Sundays, and each other in a much more - well call it sophisticated or vague and obfuscatory depending on whether it resonates with you, they can be all things to all people - a bit like their god of choice. Hence Jesus is both real and symbolic.
Very well said! Is there anything to be done apart from the slow process of evolution of ideas in those societies where there is free at point of delivery education preferably tertiary education? Democracy can and as we have seen, sometimes does via charismatic politicians , inhibit the delivery of education to the plebs.

I imagine that honest clergy who have had a good education in the history and philosophy of religion will preach to the plebs on Sundays according to what the congregations can understand. One aspect of religious observance which both plebs and the more educated can appreciate together is the practice of pure ritual in the broadest sense which may be praying, dancing, singing, colourful processions, etc. It's when clergymen explain holy myths as historically true that religious observance is potentially dangerous.

-- Updated January 4th, 2017, 7:04 am to add the following --

Dark Matter wrote:
"God does not exist, but is existence itself."

If that is what Paul Tillich says, then I agree . I like pantheism . However I do also look for god in the sense of man's aspiring to the Form of good, however inaccessible this Form may be to us Cave dwellers.

(Post was delayed because for some reason the system didn't permit it.)

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Re: What has God actually done wrong ?

Post by Dark Matter » January 4th, 2017, 2:37 pm

Panentheism, actually.

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Re: What has God actually done wrong ?

Post by Apex_Predator » January 4th, 2017, 3:25 pm

Whitedragon wrote:So many debates gravitate around the degrading of the Lord. In our attempts to disprove him or discredit him, we find some satisfaction. These questions and accusations bring us to a new question, what has he actually done wrong?

When we look at an imperfect world and all the pain and sorrow that goes along with it; we often say then he cannot exist. Looking at the story of Adam and Eve, we find why our world is broken. If we go from that story, we find that things were perfect, but that we were not satisfied enough with it. Somehow, we managed to not only doom that perfection, but also put continuity in it. In a world that is doomed, should it not be strange when something goes right, rather when something goes wrong?

Mainly, the Bible tells us how to live our lives right. It is concerned with our safety and protection and seemingly, that is what the crux of the book is. Despite this good intention, (of a book that is looking out for us), we are so unsatisfied with the Lord and the book, that we find it necessary to degrade and attack both. Why do we reward good intentions with anger and disbelief?

Reading the Word correctly is what is important. History is not instruction, but rather like drama, which we can choose not to adopt in our lives; yet people see everything in it as instruction, rather than life lessons to learn. They take the worse things out of context, rather choosing to focus on the story and so losing the message.

So the question in this thread is, what has the Lord actually done wrong, since his main goal was always to keep us safe. He is practical in all things, there does not seem to be anything abstract when it comes to sin, but we can always rather find some logical explanation why any sin is “wrong.” “Sin” and “wrong,” seem to be outdated words, which need reforming in order to demonstrate its practical value. So again, what has the Lord actually done wrong?

God created Satan knowing what it would lead to, the introduction of death to the newly created humanity, the temptations leading to millions if not billions of souls being judged unworthy and sent to eternal damnation.

This is more destruction than dropping a nuclear bomb on innocent people.

Even Einstein, who didn't directly create the nuclear bomb but assisted with its creation, regretted his actions. God never expressed one iota of regret for creating Lucifer, knowing the end game.

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Re: What has God actually done wrong ?

Post by Belindi » January 4th, 2017, 3:45 pm

Dark Matter wrote:Panentheism, actually.

Yes, well does it all holds together somehow ? The centre does hold, or does it? It depends whether you are an optimistic believer or a pessimist through and through.

I vote we start from pessimism and use that so that we must invent ways to make the centre hold, on behalf of God.

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Re: What has God actually done wrong ?

Post by Dclements » January 4th, 2017, 4:10 pm

Ormond wrote:
Dclements wrote:So your just a atheist or agnostic playing the devil's advocate all this time since even you don't believe in 'God'. :?
Try this: http://onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/ ... 15#p281825
Ok, so is the person I'm talking to now a theist or a atheist and/or do you support in any way the statements that was made in previous posts in your absence if this is another person then then one that hijacked the account?

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Re: What has God actually done wrong ?

Post by Dark Matter » January 4th, 2017, 4:31 pm

Belindi wrote:
Dark Matter wrote:Panentheism, actually.

Yes, well does it all holds together somehow ? The centre does hold, or does it? It depends whether you are an optimistic believer or a pessimist through and through.

I vote we start from pessimism and use that so that we must invent ways to make the centre hold, on behalf of God.
We find what we're looking for. :wink:

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Re: What has God actually done wrong ?

Post by Fooloso4 » January 4th, 2017, 4:39 pm

Gertie:
As long as they pitch their linguistic and conceptual framing at what they consider to be appropriate for the congregation, talking to us plebs one way on Sundays, and each other in a much more - well call it sophisticated or vague and obfuscatory depending on whether it resonates with you, they can be all things to all people - a bit like their god of choice. Hence Jesus is both real and symbolic.
Tillich says the following:
The New Being is manifest in the Christ because in Him the separation never overcame the unity between Him and mankind, between Him and Himself. This gives His picture in the Gospels its overwhelming and inexhaustible power. In Him we look at a human life that maintained the union in spite of everything that drove Him into separation. He represents and mediates the power of the New Being because He represents and mediates the power of an undisrupted union. Where the New Reality appears, one feels united with God, the ground and meaning of one’s existence. http://www.thewords.com/articles/tillich1.htm
This is his take on Paul’s promise of the Kingdom of Heaven/God on Earth. It reinterprets that promise so that the problem Paul and his followers faced of why it has not happened yet, and after his death the postponement of that promise from one generation to the next to some indeterminate future is resolved, because he claims that it has already occurred and can be experienced by all. It is what Tillich calls a “ the New Creation, the New Being, the New Reality:”

Greta:
The problem is that sophisticated theism is weak and pointless compared with fundamentalism and literalism for many people, the latter providing provides placebo effects and much more visceral emotional import.
This is where Christ comes in for Tillich and others. He acts as the intermediary between the transcendent inscrutable unchangeable God and man. In response to skepticism Tillich gives a standard response: you have to be open to it. You have to believe in order to believe:
To enter the New Being we do not need to show anything. We must only be open to be grasped by it, although we have nothing to show.
One problem is that however Tillich may have felt about any personal transformation that may have taken place, it seems clear from his wife’s account (Hannah Tillich, From Time to Time) is that the life he lived is not one of which Paul would have approved. He had not undergone the transformation, the death to sin, of Paul’s “new man”.

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Re: What has God actually done wrong ?

Post by Dclements » January 4th, 2017, 5:34 pm

Ormond wrote: Which of the following do members disagree with?

1) Atheism is derived from reference to human reason.
Agnosticism can sort of be derived from human reasoning because it is 'ok' for one to realize that they (and pretty much anyone else) DO NOT have the ability to determine the nature of ANYTHING when the subject matter is about gods, God like beings, and/or 'God'. Atheism is a position that some agnostics take when they get frustrated with the fact that some theists try to make unwelcome influences on their lives (and society) based on beliefs that they disagree with. Agnosticism is more or less based on logic, but atheism is more sort of a political position than on based on pure logic; both are more or less as reasonable as any other position and perhaps a little more rational than others.

Ormond wrote: 2) Human reason has not been proven a qualified methodology for addressing the very largest questions (ie. scope of God claims).
Yes and no, human reason is good enough (or more accurately the best we have due to the human condition) to inquire/ask, speculate, and make best guesses to very large questions, HOWEVER with pretty much any non-trivial problems (such as what is 'good', how top get an 'ought' from an is, is there a 'God' and if so what is he like and what is his will, how should we deal with the human condition,etc.) we do not have enough knowledge/resources for any of us to be an real authority on such matters.

In a nutshell any of us can speculate on the very large questions (we are allowed to at least due that) but even common sense should tell us that we are very, very far from coming to any truth at really understanding the answers to any and all of the non-trivial problems that face us.
Ormond wrote: 3) Therefore atheists are people of faith in the same way theists are people of faith, each base their perspective on a chosen authority which has not been proven qualified to deliver credible answers on the topics being discussed.
Depends on what someone means that they have 'faith'. Part of the human condition requires that all of us subscribe to some system of beliefs in order to make some sense in our lives so it (the system of beliefs and the 'faith required to sustain it) is about as nature as breathing, BUT this is not the exactly the same thing as 'religious faith'.

I think real 'religious faith' and/or one of Søren Kierkegaard's knights of faith is not that far different from the story of Don Quixote (who was an older gentleman who thought he was a knight when her really wasn't) which requires something else than just regular everyday 'faith' that we need to sustain us as we go about our day. At any rate, there is more to the issue than just whether one has just 'regular day-to-day faith' or 'religious faith' as to whether there is justification to the arguments and position.
Ormond wrote: 4) Most atheists could care less about any of this, ideological atheists tend to find such reasoning a threat to their personal identities (as being fundamentally different from and superior to theists).
I think it may be more accurate to say 'some' atheist (or any group of people you lay an accusation on) are guilty of whatever it is your accusing them of than to say 'most' if you want to avoid making a hasty generalization fallacy; but that might be just splitting hairs at this point. You may be right that many atheist have certain beliefs that make them feel superior or be narcissistic in their own way, but this may be true of people in general and NOT just because they are atheist; making such an argument a non sequitur fallacy. This may just be my personal opinion/rule of thumb (and/or one that I picked up while studying comparative religions) is that it is a very bad idea to judge a person just on what religion or system of beliefs they believe in. People can be 'good' or 'bad' no matter what religion/system of beliefs they believe in and it is only specific beliefs that someone may or may not have could be a problem.

However even after saying all of this you are correct in saying that if a atheist, or anyone else for that matter, doesn't believe that their system of beliefs is based in part on opinions and personal beliefs then it is a fallacy for them to think that way. But all it takes is for someone to accept that THEIR POSITION IS BASED ON OPINIONS (or more accurately, in large part is based on opinions) to not fall to this fallacy. Also I don't think that either atheist of theist are more susceptible to this problem than the other as I see people on both sides fall into this way of thinking.
Ormond wrote: 5) I'm a total idiot for thinking or typing about any of this.
I often wonder if I'm an idiot for trying to answer questions such as yours or replying to other posts, and since I'm not sure about that I'm unqualified to say whether your also a idiot for wasting your time on this forum. I know Socrates said the unexamined life isn't worth living, but I often think it may not be better (or perhaps even worse) than just being oblivious to some of the problems we face when dealing with the human condition;although living an examined life might be useful in the fact that it may help with avoiding being just a chump.

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Re: What has God actually done wrong ?

Post by Gertie » January 4th, 2017, 8:23 pm

Greta wrote:
Gertie wrote:I think that many clergy who've been through the theological education process think this way, for example the last Archbishop of Canterbury speaks in terms of God as 'pure being' - while concurrently arbitrating on whether gay clergy are too sinful to be allowed into the club. And there you have the quandary for contemporary 'sophisticated theism', they can only grow the church by spreading to 'unsophisticated' communities and pitching themselves in an appropriate way to attract converts, but then get bitten in the bum by those tactics when 'less sophisticated' developing world bishops want to indulge their homophobia and point to the Bible.

As long as they pitch their linguistic and conceptual framing at what they consider to be appropriate for the congregation, talking to us plebs one way on Sundays, and each other in a much more - well call it sophisticated or vague and obfuscatory depending on whether it resonates with you, they can be all things to all people - a bit like their god of choice. Hence Jesus is both real and symbolic.
Really well articulated. Thank you.

The problem is that sophisticated theism is weak and pointless compared with fundamentalism and literalism for many people, the latter providing provides placebo effects and much more visceral emotional import. Fundamentalism's promises are alluring while sophisticated theism doesn't make any promises and, in that sense, is becoming more philosophy-like.
Right. But different strokes for different folks.
Jewish theology had the good fortune to bump into Greek philosophy early on, and created the makings of a flexible synthesis which can work on different levels, visceral and intellectual. I think that if it wasn't a good psychological fit at some important level, it wouldn't have had the staying power, people wouldn't have been so motivated to make it work on all levels.

Nowadays it offers an enticing platter of meaningfulnesses, which you can pick from and trim into your perfect god, just right for you. That was my experience anyway - which doesn't mean that's the way everyone sees it of course, and it doesn't mean it isn't true.

Some people would say any and all ways of imperfect critters like us talking about a perfect god must fail, can't encompass the full perfection of god, only be crude inadequate pointers, so all you can do is treat the imperfect map as if it's the actual territory, accept with faith and live it. 'Let Jesus into your heart and let your life be transformed by its truth'. And if Jesus transforming your life results in for example validation of homophobia... well White Dragon can explain that away somehow.

-- Updated January 5th, 2017, 1:40 am to add the following --

Belindi
Very well said! Is there anything to be done apart from the slow process of evolution of ideas in those societies where there is free at point of delivery education preferably tertiary education? Democracy can and as we have seen, sometimes does via charismatic politicians , inhibit the delivery of education to the plebs.
Thanks :). Yeah I think you have to pin your hopes on progressivism through education, which is why one of my gripes with revelatory religion is that it's hard to question God-Given Truths. Luckily nice people mainly find ways to rationalise away the worst of it, but when it becomes ingrained in a society it's difficult.
I imagine that honest clergy who have had a good education in the history and philosophy of religion will preach to the plebs on Sundays according to what the congregations can understand. One aspect of religious observance which both plebs and the more educated can appreciate together is the practice of pure ritual in the broadest sense which may be praying, dancing, singing, colourful processions, etc. It's when clergymen explain holy myths as historically true that religious observance is potentially dangerous.
My last visit to church was for a C of E funeral, and it was a really impressive
service, sensitively walking the fine line between offering comfort from the
texts, and essentially saying this offers a way of handling these awful crises
in our lives, rather than don't worry, she's in heaven now type stuff. I was
moved by it as an act of shared humanity.

-- Updated January 5th, 2017, 1:47 am to add the following --

fooloso
Tillich says the following:

The New Being is manifest in the Christ because in Him the separation never overcame the unity between Him and mankind, between Him and Himself. This gives His picture in the Gospels its overwhelming and inexhaustible power. In Him we look at a human life that maintained the union in spite of everything that drove Him into separation. He represents and mediates the power of the New Being because He represents and mediates the power of an undisrupted union. Where the New Reality appears, one feels united with God, the ground and meaning of one’s existence. http://www.thewords.com/articles/tillich1.htm


This is his take on Paul’s promise of the Kingdom of Heaven/God on Earth. It reinterprets that promise so that the problem Paul and his followers faced of why it has not happened yet, and after his death the postponement of that promise from one generation to the next to some indeterminate future is resolved, because he claims that it has already occurred and can be experienced by all. It is what Tillich calls a “ the New Creation, the New Being, the New Reality:”
well there you go - sorted!

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Re: What has God actually done wrong ?

Post by Ormond » January 5th, 2017, 8:24 pm

Renee, thanks for the review! Although it's not really on topic I'll type this reply and let the mods decide what to do with it.
Renee wrote:... this member's position is that you, Ormond, have a horribly low underestimation of other members, (which lot includes me), and you therefore seem to be elitist.
Well, let's keep in mind this is an environment which accepts pretty much anybody. That's very democratic and inclusive, but it also means lots of very different people are tossed in to together in a random manner, and then presumed to be more or less the same with generic labels like "members". Some on the forum have been considering these issues for 50 years, while others are encountering them for the first time, and everything in between. If you wish to label me elitist I don't object, but it might just be that I'm a lot older than many here, which I can take no credit for obviously.
You cling desperately to being different. You try so desperately to being original.
Yes, that's my goal as a typist, to at least try to say something that hasn't already been said 10,000 times. My thinking philosophy is, "if the things we want to hear could take us where we want to go, we'd already be there." Thus, I look for the things readers haven't heard, and don't want to hear, and explore in that direction.
But you don't have the bang-power behind it, and therefore you seem at best odd.
I assure you I am indeed odd, and I seek no higher title, so no problem here.
Which is not to say you are not worthy of the forum. You are a smart man, no denying it; on the other hand, you have some aspirations that force you to think in a weather-vane fashion, pointing always against the wind, so to speak, and it is actually very, very tiresome. To some others. Which lot also includes me.
I do have a point of view which does not depend on anybody else's perspective, and I've shared it all over the forum in too many posts to count. My own assertions are there if you want them, though perhaps you will not find them worth the digging.

I remind you that this is a philosophy forum, and philosophy depends to a great extent on a back and forth challenge process, which I am hardly alone in pursuing.

One of my assertions is that if this challenge process is followed faithfully all sides of the God topic can be ripped to shreds, leaving us with nothing, which I propose to be a huge step forward. It's true that those clinging to one side or the other of the God debate eventually come to experience the systematic dismantling of their world view as tiresome. I've been banned from more forums than most people have ever considered visiting, so I'm aware of this reaction.
You'd sell your soul, so to speak, for shock value.
Forums are a form of show business. You're writing an extensive review of my antics because I've succeeded in engaging your attention. Sometimes I'm the Donald Trump of philosophy forums, I can agree to that.
I can't say you're unkind.
I often am unkind actually, but thank you for not noticing. Honestly, I'm not overwhelmingly interested in protecting the self images of anonymous strangers I meet on the net. It seems wiser and more rational for each of us to manage our own brains and not depend on strangers to do it for us.
and this is my own private opinion, your posts lack substance and they are tiresome.
Ok, fair enough. Thanks for your opinion, appreciated.
I felt compelled to write this only in order for you to see your own refection on how you affect others. Maybe you'll find some usefulness in my post here. Maybe you won't. But I feel better, because I gave an honest account of the ongoing impression you give, and I am not sure if what I see of you has been your original or evolving goal to appear as. If the impression you read here covers fairly well the impression you've been attempting to give, fine, well done. If the two are different, the two being the attempted and the actual impressions, then you know there is room for improvement.
Thank you again for the review. Salman Rushdie once said that when writers are young they measure themselves against other writers and try to evolve but once they mature they just do whatever it is they do, write whatever it is they write, and let the chips fall where they may. If I were to change my writing style to satisfy one reader, I'd just be creating another reader somewhere who would then become dissatisfied. Given that there's nothing I can do that would make everyone happy, and that's not really my goal anyway, I just do what it is I do.
If the things we want to hear could take us where we want to go, we'd already be there.

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Re: What has God actually done wrong ?

Post by Greta » January 5th, 2017, 11:50 pm

Gertie wrote:
Greta wrote: (Nested quote removed.)

Really well articulated. Thank you.

The problem is that sophisticated theism is weak and pointless compared with fundamentalism and literalism for many people, the latter providing provides placebo effects and much more visceral emotional import. Fundamentalism's promises are alluring while sophisticated theism doesn't make any promises and, in that sense, is becoming more philosophy-like.
Right. But different strokes for different folks.
Jewish theology had the good fortune to bump into Greek philosophy early on, and created the makings of a flexible synthesis which can work on different levels, visceral and intellectual. I think that if it wasn't a good psychological fit at some important level, it wouldn't have had the staying power, people wouldn't have been so motivated to make it work on all levels.

Nowadays it offers an enticing platter of meaningfulnesses, which you can pick from and trim into your perfect god, just right for you. That was my experience anyway - which doesn't mean that's the way everyone sees it of course, and it doesn't mean it isn't true.

Some people would say any and all ways of imperfect critters like us talking about a perfect god must fail, can't encompass the full perfection of god, only be crude inadequate pointers, so all you can do is treat the imperfect map as if it's the actual territory, accept with faith and live it. 'Let Jesus into your heart and let your life be transformed by its truth'. And if Jesus transforming your life results in for example validation of homophobia... well White Dragon can explain that away somehow.
I think Judaism suffers from the same PR problems as those of other religions, ergo, the behaviour of adherents is a poor advertisement. Simply, if we see someone who seems less calm, dignified and respectful than ourselves, and they are claiming that theirs is a "religion of love" and that it provides wisdom, then that does not seem credible of attractive.

If theists regularly behaved in a way that suggested that they were above the fray, able to admit being wrong, showing high levels of patience, gentleness and wisdom, then I might figure they are on to something. Instead, when I have suggested this to theists they say they won't lie down and be victims (ie. won't turn the other cheek). Seemingly patience, gentleness and wisdom are thought to be weaknesses.

"Turning the other cheek" never really caught on. A few insane passages in Leviticus and Jesus whipping people in the temple seem more popular. (Note that the story of the temple was, like many others, may have been taken from the Egyptian legend of Horus, who, as the heir of his father's temple, whipped his father's enemies).

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Re: What has God actually done wrong ?

Post by Belindi » January 6th, 2017, 7:59 am

Greta, I too am more attracted to a religious sect when adherents whom I meet are nice. The Roman Catholics I have met have been kind, calm, and liberal, which makes me wonder what it is about that theology or practice which is so good. I cannot find out because no clergymen teach, they all preach.

Gertie, your happy experience with the C of E funeral does not surprise me although it does cheer me, as I have gathered that the C of E is on the liberal side of the religion spectrum. In America perhaps even more so than in England, and certainly more than in West Africa, as it was in the USA that a homosexual man became a bishop.

Dark Matter wrote:
We find what we're looking for. :wink:
I am not so sure that we ever attain such a holy grail. Maybe what we seek is the search itself. Is that an existentialist's thing to say?

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