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Rayy's Avatar Jump to comment 146 by Rayy

Thank you brainsys for your last comments.

I rather think cavemen and woman where rather astute, as we would not be here otherwise.

I cringe with embarrassment that I live in the same camp as those who claim creation science. I share your concern about the corruption of the scientific process. I agree with you that science is our best bet at understanding our surroundings. I have great difficulty discussing the subject with my fundamentalist friends.

The origin of Christian Fundamentalism started with the genuine desire to protect the integrity of the Faith. Unfortunately they do this by insisting on reading it literally; as do some Atheists. Literalism curiously is a relatively modern phenomenon; 19th Century, I think. Driving this approach, I think is a deep sense of insecurity. This is kept at bay by holding tight to a closed ideology that is quite fragile.

I have an Atheist friend who believes firmly in the afterlife. He also complains bitterly at the loss of Christian values in our society. I do agree that we can only pass our quest for knowledge and truth through our kids. And I would add through our social structures too.

I also reject the concept of a God who fills the gaps when we do not know how something works. You make a very interesting point when you introduce the idea that God might be discovered with something rather new and remarkable that works. I shall not forget that.

I'll look now at the other points you have made; the maleness of God and the issue of war. You say 'Gone is the white haired bearded guy of the great Renaissance paintings'. Do Atheists really believe that Christians ever though of God in that way? Way back in the Old Testament God was likened to the wind; unseen, everywhere, uncontrollable but having effect. Images of God are imperfect symbols. The scientific formulae, is the way we make sense of things we can't see. The words we read are symbols that contain meaning. The problem with the picture is that you need to know what the original audience thought it meant before passing judgement. Images of God have changed because the culture has changed around them.

I agree about the OT bloke and your other comments in that paragraph; I'll try and make some sense of them. The Jews are well aware they use anthropomorphic symbols for God. For instance they see the Creation story as myth. Gen. 3. 'And they heard the voice of God walking in the garden'. This is a clear indication not to take it literally. If you ask a Jew what God's character is like he will include male and female characteristics. As humans we have no option other than to be anthropomorphic in our thinking. Which is why religious people say he is beyond our knowing. Any attempt to define God places limits upon it. And here appears a limitation of language, as we have no respectful version of it.

Your comment about the fundamental paradox of the universal God also being the Jewish war God is revealing. You say. 'That takes some pretty sophisticated theology to solve.' Religion does not have its roots in theology; those roots are in events. There is a long and a short way to dig into this. Briefly there has been what might be seen as an evolution of religion. Strangely progress has been made when a society is being wrecked by violence. Quite independently Buddha, Confucius and the OT prophets by fits and starts all came to the same conclusion. 'Love your neighbour as yourself', show compassion, have empathy for others, and abandon egotism. I would add this involves opening yourself to being hurt. Try it and you will find yourself very vulnerable. People who do this are sometimes rather surprised when God comes along and finds them.

So a rather crude answer to you paradox comment is that as the Jewish God came to be seen as more ethical, so he also came to be seen as universal. The OT is littered with demands for social justice; with dire threats of punishment if they did not mend their ways.

Fri, 19 Oct 2007 08:14:00 UTC | #76252