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Author Topic:   Do Christians Worship Different Gods?
GDR
Member
Posts: 4819
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 1 of 286 (629620)
08-18-2011 11:25 PM


Recently in a discussion with Straggler, (Subjective Evidence for God), he made the observation that we have many false god(s). I countered that we assign false attributes to our god(s) for a variety of reasons, however that is really semantics. For the sake of this discussion I’d just like to go along with Straggler and say that a god with different attributes is a different god.

I am a Christian, but it seems to me that I worship a very different God than a Christian who reads the Bible as a book, (or books if you like), that is essentially ghost written by God. I read the Bible as a metanarrative that tells the story of God gradually infusing knowledge of himself into the minds and hearts of His people so that over time we gradually gain a more accurate picture of His character and His desires for our lives. I see it as being written by people, who were inspired to write their stories in their own words. These stories would of course be both culturally and personally conditioned.

I see Jesus as being the man through whom God revisited His creation, and the man who fulfilled and clarified the Hebrew scriptures. It is my contention that the Hebrew scriptures, or essentially our Old Testament, can only be understood through the lens of the New Testament. With that in mind I believe that much of the Old Testament was strictly men attributing to God that which they dreamed up or which suited their purposes.

For example this is from Deuteronomy 21 vs 18-21:

quote:
18 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." 21 Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.

However Jesus says in Matthew 6 vs 14:

quote:
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

In the OT story we have a god who is not only unforgiving, but a god who wants to involve everyone in town in a violent execution of a kid who is struggling with adulthood. In the NT Jesus calls us to be a people who are spring loaded to forgive.

Again, this is from Numbers 31

quote:
1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 "Take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites. After that, you will be gathered to your people." 3 So Moses said to the people, "Arm some of your men to go to war against the Midianites and to carry out the LORD's vengeance on them. 4 Send into battle a thousand men from each of the tribes of Israel." 5 So twelve thousand men armed for battle, a thousand from each tribe, were supplied from the clans of Israel. 6 Moses sent them into battle, a thousand from each tribe, along with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, who took with him articles from the sanctuary and the trumpets for signaling. 7 They fought against Midian, as the LORD commanded Moses, and killed every man.8 Among their victims were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba--the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword.9 The Israelites captured the Midianite women and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks and goods as plunder.10 They burned all the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps.11 They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals,12 and brought the captives, spoils and plunder to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the Israelite assembly at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho.13 Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. 14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army--the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds--who returned from the battle. 15 "Have you allowed all the women to live?" he asked them. 16 "They were the ones who followed Balaam's advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the LORD in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the LORD's people. 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man,18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

And what does Jesus say in Matthew 5:

quote:
43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

When you really boil it down, in the OT story God hates the enemies of Israel but in the NT lesson God loves all of His creation and wants the followers of Jesus to reflect that love. Are we as Christians supposed to accept the idea that we worship a God who at one point in time advocated genocide?

There are many other cases in the OT that are in contradiction to the teachings of Jesus, such as the destruction of the Canaanites. In the OT God supposedly wanted those who broke the Sabbath laws to be put to death but Jesus essentially says that the Sabbath laws may be ignored.

However this does not mean that the Hebrew scriptures are to be ignored, as it is from those same scriptures through which Jesus was revealed, and from where Jesus understood his role as Messiah. I would go further and say that through those scriptures Jesus gained His understanding of how Yahweh was, through Him, visiting and revealing Himself to His people. Jesus says that the greatest law is that of love which is right from Leviticus 19:18: “'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD.”

I also believe that the prophet Micah got it exactly right when he said:

quote:
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

In order to accept the OT as factually true the argument usually made is that it is the difference between the old covenant and the new, and that God did what was necessary to keep the Jewish nation pure. I don’t buy it. I believe in a God who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The fundamentalist, (I’ll use that term for someone who believes that God essentially dictated the Bible to the authors), is in my view forced to believe in a God who subscribes to situational ethics.

I believe that reading the Bible as if it had been dictated by God does a disservice to the Bible, and to the Christian faith. The question then of course is what do we believe from the Bible. Well it is faith, but we are also to use our wisdom and the wisdom of godly men over the centuries. Frankly, IMHO, if we properly understand Christ’s gospel message of hope, love, truth, forgiveness, justice, mercy etc it isn’t all that hard to sort out the truth.

As a Christian I believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus and use that as a starting point. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the “word” of God and I believe that the writers of the NT accurately recorded the teachings of Jesus. I believe that Paul and other NT writers comprehended and accurately portrayed what Jesus said did and what it all meant. (This does not mean that every small detail happened exactly as written.)

I have two questions for discussion.

1/ Am I as a Christian worshiping a different God than the God as worshipped by a fundamentalist Christian?

We concentrate a great deal on this forum on the perceived, (I use perceived as I don’t believe there is any contradiction), difference between the scientific view of the world and the Christian view. In my view this is relatively inconsequential, but I contend that these two views cause profound differences in the world view held by Christians which is much more problematic. So my second question is:

2/ What effect do these two different views of the Christian God have on our world view as individuals today?

If this passes inspection I think “Bible Study” is appropriate.

Edited by GDR, : No reason given.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)

Replies to this message:
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 Message 7 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-19-2011 11:24 AM GDR has responded
 Message 10 by Granny Magda, posted 08-19-2011 12:06 PM GDR has responded
 Message 18 by Buzsaw, posted 08-19-2011 8:18 PM GDR has responded
 Message 53 by iano, posted 08-27-2011 11:42 AM GDR has responded
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Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3883
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 2 of 286 (629622)
08-18-2011 11:59 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Do Christians Worship Different Gods? thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Chuck77
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 286 (629666)
08-19-2011 7:19 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by GDR
08-18-2011 11:25 PM


Saved or Not?
GDR writes:

1/ Am I as a Christian worshiping a different God than the God as worshipped by a fundamentalist Christian?

Well, you tell us. Are you? If you're worshipping the God of the Bible and have met Him personally just tell us, and we will know.
We all have the same Father who are born again, that is what binds us together. Do you feel you are a brother with all the believers who claim Jesus as Lord? The spirit testifys in us when we meet other believers. Same spirit dwells in us.

Do you know Him personally? Have you truly been saved? Have you been born again? Did you recieve Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Did you repent of your sins and place then all at the foot of the cross? Did the Holy spirit seal you as a child of God?

The God of the OT is the exact same God as the NT. Same God, different covenant. The same holy spirit that inspired the NT writers inspired the OT writers. There is no seperating the OT and the NT. They all work together leading to Jesus's fullfilment of the law.

2/ What effect do these two different views of the Christian God have on our world view as individuals today?

No one really cares about the Chriatian God in this world. "We" Chritians are a minority. Who in the world in truly born again? Less than half of 1% IMO.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:13,14 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."

Thw world could care less about God.

Edited by Chuck77, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by GDR, posted 08-18-2011 11:25 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
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jar
Member
Posts: 30994
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 4.3


(2)
Message 4 of 286 (629681)
08-19-2011 9:40 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Chuck77
08-19-2011 7:19 AM


Re: Saved or Not?
The "Are you Saved" and "Born Again" products are the two greatest and most successful con jobs ever. It's an easy sell with no product liability attached, a marvelous marketing invention.

Sure Christians worship different Gods just as there are many different gods in the books of the Bible.

Far too many Christians worship the marketed bling-bling pimp daddy described in your post.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Chuck77, posted 08-19-2011 7:19 AM Chuck77 has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 22 by Thugpreacha, posted 08-20-2011 8:44 AM jar has responded

  
Bailey
Member (Idle past 2540 days)
Posts: 574
From: Earth
Joined: 08-24-2003


Message 5 of 286 (629687)
08-19-2011 10:12 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by GDR
08-18-2011 11:25 PM


Regarding the Shaping of Ideologies ..
Hi GDR - hope things are well with you & yours, thank you for the enjoyable & well written op ..

GDR writes:

1/ Am I as a Christian worshiping a different God than the God as worshipped by a fundamentalist Christian?

Does the sacrificial, and so oppressive, framework of what passes for Pauline Christendom produce different fruit than the contrarily liberating framework presented through Joshua’s discourse concerning his offering as a ransom?

Rather than disagree you’re worshiping a different god than a fundamental Christian, a strict monotheist may quicker agree you’re worshipping God differently. Do the Latter testaments portray Joshua, as a devout Yuhdean, worshiping a different God than that of his acting high priest and fellow Yuhdean, Yosef Bar Kayafa?

2/ What effect do these two different views of the Christian God have on our world view as individuals today?

If we consider whether the ultimate disconnect of Joshua’s early heterodox Yuhdean tradition from that of his peer’s was solidified as the destruction of the 2nd Yirusalem Temple occurred, as his students fled to the hills while the Romans transformed Yirusalem into a Gehinnom of fire, perhaps we can ask ..

What effect did the worldview adopted by Joshua’s Yuhdean followers have on their political, and overall, decision making and their respective consequences?

One Love


I'm not here to mock or condemn what you believe, tho my intentions are no less than to tickle your thinker.
If those in first century CE had known what these words mean ... 'I want and desire mercy, not sacrifice'
They surely would not have murdered the innocent; why trust what I say, when you can learn for yourself?
Think for yourself.

Mercy Trumps Judgement,
Love Weary


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by GDR, posted 08-18-2011 11:25 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by GDR, posted 08-19-2011 11:41 AM Bailey has responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 4819
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


(1)
Message 6 of 286 (629702)
08-19-2011 10:57 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Chuck77
08-19-2011 7:19 AM


Re: Saved or Not?
Chuck77 writes:

Well, you tell us. Are you? If you're worshipping the God of the Bible and have met Him personally just tell us, and we will know.
We all have the same Father who are born again, that is what binds us together. Do you feel you are a brother with all the believers who claim Jesus as Lord? The spirit testifys in us when we meet other believers. Same spirit dwells in us.

Do you know Him personally? Have you truly been saved? Have you been born again? Did you recieve Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Did you repent of your sins and place then all at the foot of the cross? Did the Holy spirit seal you as a child of God?

This is a view of Christianity that troubles me. IMHO you have twisted the message of Jesus 180 degrees away from what He preached. You make it all about "me". Have I been saved - have I been born again etc. It then all becomes all about me and my salvation. The message of Jesus is that we are to take the focus off of ourselves and put it on others. It is to forsake selfish love and embrace unselfish love.

Read the "sermon on the mount" including the beatitudes. Read Matthew 25 and the separating the sheep from the goats. It isn't about believing the right doctrine so that you can recite the right buzz words to get into the club. It is about having a changed heart that has been impacted by the Holy Spirit, as there is a job to do which is to reflect God's love, justice, mercy etc into the world.

Chuck77 writes:

The God of the OT is the exact same God as the NT. Same God, different covenant. The same holy spirit that inspired the NT writers inspired the OT writers. There is no seperating the OT and the NT. They all work together leading to Jesus's fullfilment of the law.

I'm fine with that but it depends on what you mean by inspired. Go back to the OP. Do you believe in a God that would ever demand genocide. Do you believe in a God that would ever want us to have all the good townsfolk stone my rebellious son to death.

Chuck77 writes:

No one really cares about the Chriatian God in this world. "We" Chritians are a minority. Who in the world in truly born again? Less than half of 1% IMO.

That is dead wrong. The western world has been largely formed by its Judeo-Christian roots. Our moral code has been largely formed from that heritage. If I believe in the God that as portrayed in parts of the OT, the one who is in favour of genocide, then I as private citizen or as the leader of a country will have a very different approach to things like Iraq and Afghanistan than I will if I believe in God as portrayed by Jesus. The God as portrayed by Jesus tells us that we are to love our enemies, that we are to turn the other cheek and go the extra mile.

Chuck77 writes:

Jesus said in Matthew 7:13,14 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."

That can fit any theology you want it to

Chuck77 writes:

Thw world could care less about God.

Actually the vast majority of the world cares very much about God, but not necessarily your particular view of who He is.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Chuck77, posted 08-19-2011 7:19 AM Chuck77 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by Chuck77, posted 08-22-2011 4:40 AM GDR has responded
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16097
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 7 of 286 (629707)
08-19-2011 11:24 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by GDR
08-18-2011 11:25 PM


1/ Am I as a Christian worshiping a different God than the God as worshipped by a fundamentalist Christian?

Well, that depends on what the defining characteristics of God are. If (for example) we define God as the creator of the universe (something that you presumably believe) then you and the fundies, and indeed Jews and Muslims, are thinking of the same person, you just have different opinions of him.

By analogy, if one person responds to this post under the impression that I'm a moron, and another under the impression that I'm a genius, they are nonetheless replying to the same person, having the defining characteristic of posting on this board under the name "Dr Adequate". They just have different opinions about this entity.

Of course, there is the question of whether you do have the same definition of God. Fundies often talk as though they think the definition is: "The being literally described by the Bible". But do they really think that? Suppose one of them found himself before the heavenly throne and a Being perfectly wise, just, powerful, et cetera, and he says: "Jolly well done for having faith in Jesus, but I gotta tell you, Genesis was actually a metaphor rather than a science textbook" --- would our fundie then exclaim: "Damnit, the atheists were right all along, there is no God"? I think not.

But arguably most of them haven't thought it through like that, thinking things through not being among their predominant traits, poor things. Their overt definition may well be different from the one that they would, if push came to shove, actually use. This confuses the issue.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by GDR, posted 08-18-2011 11:25 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by GDR, posted 08-19-2011 12:00 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 4819
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 8 of 286 (629711)
08-19-2011 11:41 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Bailey
08-19-2011 10:12 AM


Re: Regarding the Shaping of Ideologies ..
Bailey writes:

What effect did the worldview adopted by Joshua’s Yuhdean followers have on their political, and overall, decision making and their respective consequences?

Let's put it this way. Did God actually tell Joshua to commit genocide? Sure they won the battle but in the end the early Israelites still kept following pagan gods.

Jesus lived in Israel under Roman rule. He preached a message of revolution alright but it was a very different revolution than what Joshua would have aspired to. Jesus taught essentially that the way to win the revolution was to shun militant revolution and embrace peaceful revolution that would be won by, once again, by loving your enemy, turning the other cheek and going the extra mile. It was about turning the hearts of the enemy.

Then as now people want quick solutions. We want things resolved now. Politicians want to change the world in their tenure in office. To God a day is like a thousand years. The type of revolution that Jesus espoused was not going to win the world over in His too short life time. Jesus' solution is a revolution that will win the battle that will take many generations, but in the end it will be decisive.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Bailey, posted 08-19-2011 10:12 AM Bailey has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by Bailey, posted 08-19-2011 7:47 PM GDR has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4819
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


(1)
Message 9 of 286 (629714)
08-19-2011 12:00 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Dr Adequate
08-19-2011 11:24 AM


Dr Adequate writes:

Well, that depends on what the defining characteristics of God are. If (for example) we define God as the creator of the universe (something that you presumably believe) then you and the fundies, and indeed Jews and Muslims, are thinking of the same person, you just have different opinions of him.

I agree but as I stated in the OP I was going to go along with Straggler and call it worshipping a different god.

Dr Adequate writes:

Of course, there is the question of whether you do have the same definition of God. Fundies often talk as though they think the definition is: "The being literally described by the Bible". But do they really think that? Suppose one of them found himself before the heavenly throne and a Being perfectly wise, just, powerful, et cetera, and he says: "Jolly well done for having faith in Jesus, but I gotta tell you, Genesis was actually a metaphor rather than a science textbook" --- would our fundie then exclaim: "Damnit, the atheists were right all along, there is no God"? I think not.

Amen. (If you'll pardon the expression. ) That is another problem with the fundamentalist position. IMHO they make it all about the Bible instead of about God. Does it make any sense at all to think it matters whether or not God created the world 6000 years ago in 6 days as opposed to creating it 4.5 billion years ago? It is a matter of interest but what on earth can it possibly have to do with what God wants us to do with our lives?

With the fundamentalist point of view, if the Bible isn't all factual then none of it can be relied on. It is the equivalent of the atheistic view sometimes expressed that if God is real then why doesn't he make himself clear. They want definite answers. They want to be able to point to something in the Bible that will give them clear answers.

The clearest answer that we can get is that we are to love kindness, act justly and to live humbly. I agree that when we worship the living God we can have our hearts changed by the Holy Spirit so that we are better enabled to carry out the task of reflecting God’s love to the world. (I’m not saying that will make me more loving than my atheistic neighbour but it should make me more loving than I had been before.) However, that doesn't seem to be clear enough for many and there is a desire for absolute clarity and so we wind up worshipping the Bible and demanding that it give us clear answers that we desire.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-19-2011 11:24 AM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-19-2011 7:03 PM GDR has responded

    
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 61 days)
Posts: 2380
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 10 of 286 (629715)
08-19-2011 12:06 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by GDR
08-18-2011 11:25 PM


Gods and God Concepts
HI GDR,

1/ Am I as a Christian worshiping a different God than the God as worshipped by a fundamentalist Christian?

It's an unanswerable question. Certainly you have a different concept of god to a fundie Christian and that fundie has a different god concept to the next Christian. But to say whether they are actually different gods or not, we would have to know whether or not these gods were real.

Certainly there are multiple god concepts within modern Christianity. There are multiple god concepts within the Bible itself. The modern Christian has a completely disparate concept of God from the early Jews who wrote the OT and in most cases, a different god concept from the early Christians who wrote the NT. But are they different gods? Who knows. Until someone provides evidence that any of these god concepts are valid, there is no meaningful way to address the question.

2/ What effect do these two different views of the Christian God have on our world view as individuals today?

I think you have this exactly backwards. You should be looking at how our individual worldviews shape our concept of god.

God is good. God is always good. But exactly how that goodness manifests is due entirely to the moral values of the culture in which the god is worshipped. An slave owner will think that God approves of slavery. A modern Christian will likely think that God reviles slavery. The author of Deuteronomy was a horrible, horrible bastard, so his god was a bastard too. You are a reasonable, moderate modern person, so your god is moderate and reasonable as well. Believers shape their personal concept of god to match their own worldview. There are studies that support this notion.

"If triangles had a god, he would have three sides."

Mutate and Survive


On two occasions I have been asked, – "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" ... I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. - Charles Babbage

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by GDR, posted 08-18-2011 11:25 PM GDR has responded

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GDR
Member
Posts: 4819
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 11 of 286 (629731)
08-19-2011 1:45 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Granny Magda
08-19-2011 12:06 PM


Re: Gods and God Concepts
Granny Magda writes:

It's an unanswerable question. Certainly you have a different concept of god to a fundie Christian and that fundie has a different god concept to the next Christian. But to say whether they are actually different gods or not, we would have to know whether or not these gods were real.

Certainly there are multiple god concepts within modern Christianity. There are multiple god concepts within the Bible itself. The modern Christian has a completely disparate concept of God from the early Jews who wrote the OT and in most cases, a different god concept from the early Christians who wrote the NT. But are they different gods? Who knows. Until someone provides evidence that any of these god concepts are valid, there is no meaningful way to address the question.

I agree with all of that but as I said in the opening paragraph of the OP I want to assume for the sake of the discussion that a god with a different attribute is a different god.

To restate my point differently it is my view that the god that is portrayed by taking all of the Bible as being transcribed by God essentially word for word accepts the fact that they worship a god that under some circumstances desires genocide and capital punishment by mass stoning for minor offences. The God as revealed through Jesus Christ is a very different God. The God as revealed through Jesus Christ has filtered the OT in a way that enables us to understand what in the OT was of God and what wasn’t.

Granny Magda writes:

I think you have this exactly backwards. You should be looking at how our individual worldviews shape our concept of god.

I think that there is a lot to be said for that. I recommend a book by Robert Wright, (Straggler's a big fan) called "The Evolution of God". (Wright calls himself an agnostic materialist.) He would agree with you. It is however a lot like the debate on evolution between an atheist and someone like me who is theist who accepts evolution. Did it all happen naturally or was it designed?

I believe that primarily through human imagination God has over the centuries continued to focus our understanding of Him and what He desires of us. So yes, as our world view changes so does our concept of God except that I believe that it is God that is causing our world view to evolve. I suggest that just as we have evolved physically we are evolving spiritually in our understanding of God.

Granny Magda writes:

God is good. God is always good. But exactly how that goodness manifests is due entirely to the moral values of the culture in which the god is worshipped. An slave owner will think that God approves of slavery. A modern Christian will likely think that God reviles slavery. The author of Deuteronomy was a horrible, horrible bastard, so his god was a bastard too. You are a reasonable, moderate modern person, so your god is moderate and reasonable as well. Believers shape their personal concept of god to match their own worldview. There are studies that support this notion.

As I said our understanding of God is evolving and along with that of course so are our moral values. There is no doubt that humans are inclined to create god(s) in their own image. However as God continues to work in our hearts to change us we are gradually drawn closer to a truer understanding of Him.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)

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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 12 of 286 (629738)
08-19-2011 2:47 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by GDR
08-19-2011 1:45 PM


Re: Gods and God Concepts
GM writes:

You should be looking at how our individual worldviews shape our concept of god.

GDR writes:

I think that there is a lot to be said for that. I recommend a book by Robert Wright, (Straggler's a big fan) called "The Evolution of God". (Wright calls himself an agnostic materialist.) He would agree with you.

I would indeed recommend Robert Wright's book The Evolution of God

As I see it (and I think you would agree GDR) Wright would advocate, if he advocates any form of god at all, a rather ambiguous and generic presence that is not really compatible with a specifically Christian (or indeed any other particular faith) notion of god. Rather it is something that is ultimately responsible for the apparent existence of objective moral inclinations (truths?) that are exhibited by intelligent beings.

A sort of deistic "why" to the question of morality and altruism.

I don't agree with everything Wright says at all. But his less than dismissive views of the ultimate source of morality as a proponent of evolutionary psychology are interesting and worth any skeptic at least looking at IMHO.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by GDR, posted 08-19-2011 1:45 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by GDR, posted 08-19-2011 3:11 PM Straggler has not yet responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 4819
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 13 of 286 (629739)
08-19-2011 3:11 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Straggler
08-19-2011 2:47 PM


Re: Gods and God Concepts
Straggler writes:

As I see it (and I think you would agree GDR) Wright would advocate, if he advocates any form of god at all, a rather ambiguous and generic presence that is not really compatible with a specifically Christian (or indeed any other particular faith) notion of god. Rather it is something that is ultimately responsible for the apparent existence of objective moral inclinations (truths?) that are exhibited by intelligent beings.

A sort of deistic "why" to the question of morality and altruism.

I don't agree with everything Wright says at all. But his less than dismissive views of the ultimate source of morality as a proponent of evolutionary psychology are interesting and worth any skeptic at least looking at IMHO.

I do agree with all of that. Thanks


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Straggler, posted 08-19-2011 2:47 PM Straggler has not yet responded

    
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 61 days)
Posts: 2380
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 14 of 286 (629742)
08-19-2011 4:18 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by GDR
08-19-2011 1:45 PM


Re: Gods and God Concepts
GDR writes:

I agree with all of that but as I said in the opening paragraph of the OP I want to assume for the sake of the discussion that a god with a different attribute is a different god.

Fair enough.

GDR writes:

The God as revealed through Jesus Christ has filtered the OT in a way that enables us to understand what in the OT was of God and what wasn’t.

GDR writes:

As I said our understanding of God is evolving and along with that of course so are our moral values. There is no doubt that humans are inclined to create god(s) in their own image. However as God continues to work in our hearts to change us we are gradually drawn closer to a truer understanding of Him.

Or, to put this another way, you search the scriptures and disregard anything that disagrees with your own personal morality. Anything that you personally approve of is labelled "godly". Anything that you personally disapprove of is labelled "human error". You find the NT useful in this regard because it has far less in the way of obviously abhorrent material.

Your model, where we gradually home in on God's true message is indistinguishable from a model where Christian believers simply modify their gods over time to accommodate their own individual moral codes and the current moral Zeitgeist.

To me this is just too... fishy. It looks too much like rationalisation. No-one ever seems to believe in a god that differs from their own personal morality. For example, no-one seems to believe both that God exists and that he is evil. To my mind, that is not a co-incidence.

GDR writes:

I recommend a book by Robert Wright, (Straggler's a big fan) called "The Evolution of God".

Thanks for the recommendation. I have a passing familiarity with Wright and his views. Like Straggler, I do see his position as being largely incompatible with anything that can usefully be described as Christianity, but it's interesting stuff nonetheless. I tend to pick up books randomly, at charity shops and the like, but if I come across a copy, I'll give it a try.

Mutate and Survive

Edited by Granny Magda, : Found a stupid. Removed stupid.


On two occasions I have been asked, – "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" ... I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. - Charles Babbage

This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by GDR, posted 08-19-2011 1:45 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by GDR, posted 08-19-2011 6:30 PM Granny Magda has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4819
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 15 of 286 (629754)
08-19-2011 6:30 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Granny Magda
08-19-2011 4:18 PM


Re: Gods and God Concepts
Granny Magda writes:

Or, to put this another way, you search the scriptures and disregard anything that disagrees with your own personal morality. Anything that you personally disapprove of is labelled "godly". Anything that you personally disapprove of is labelled "human error". You find the NT useful in this regard because it has far less in the way of obviously abhorrent material.

None of us have a lock on truth. I know I have changed my mind in the past on things theological and I no doubt will again in the future. It is a search for truth and I have concluded, (rightly or wrongly but surprisingly still with very little doubt) that Jesus represents ultimate truth. There is no quotation of Jesus in the Gospels that I have issue with, which is not to say I have a perfect understanding of everything that He is quoted as saying. Again, it is through the lens of that teaching that we can find value in all of the scriptures.

Granny Magda writes:

Your model, where we gradually home in on God's true message is indistinguishable from a model where Christian believers simply modify their gods over time to accommodate their own individual moral codes and the current moral Zeitgeist.

Absolutely. Again it's like evolution. It looks the same whether it all occurred naturally or if it was designed.

Granny Magda writes:

To me this is just too... fishy. It looks too much like rationalisation. No-one ever seems to believe in a god that differs from their own personal morality. For example, no-one seems to believe both that God exists and that he is evil. To my mind, that is not a co-incidence.

I think when you look at the attributes of some of the ancient gods you might think they were evil. The fact that there is a personal morality and that we recognize evil is pretty indicative that there is a moral code that exists as fundamental through all societies and exists apart from human constructs.

Granny Magda writes:

I have a passing familiarity with Wright and his views. Like Straggler, I do see his position as being largely incompatible with anything that can usefully be described as Christianity, but it's interesting stuff nonetheless.

As I said he calls himself a materialistic agnostic. However I don't see his views as being Christian or atheistic, but I also don't see them as being incompatible with either.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by Granny Magda, posted 08-19-2011 4:18 PM Granny Magda has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by Granny Magda, posted 08-21-2011 5:57 AM GDR has responded

    
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