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rjunker

Contradictions When Using The Word "god" And "non-Theism&#

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Burl's easy-peasy church reform program:

1) Eliminate the corporate church and give divide the assets between the congregations.

2) Eliminate appointments and have each congregation select their own leadership.

3) Leave everything else up to God.

 

Burl you gave us three steps ... without any reference to our concept of God. My question still stands why not leave everything up to God? Your statement like I said was without reference to any concept of God, I presumed you were referring to your concept of God, and you are on record as saying any concept we will have will be wrong. So for the moment your concept of God will do for your explanation.

 

I don't see the problem.

rom

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Burl you gave us three steps ... without any reference to our concept of God. My question still stands why not leave everything up to God? Your statement like I said was without reference to any concept of God, I presumed you were referring to your concept of God, and you are on record as saying any concept we will have will be wrong. So for the moment your concept of God will do for your explanation.

 

I don't see the problem.

rom

Troll away, my friend.

 

God is not recognized by any church or government as a legally authorized fiduciary agent. He cannot be a corporate officer nor can he authorize the legal transfer of assets. So he cannot accomplish steps 1 and 2.

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I have read Job.

 

What I am saying is that the story of Job is somebody's opinion and thoughts. I understand that it is fiction but I don't at all agree that it is also true.

 

But whatever the case, what I meant by the comment is that if the Book of Job makes it clear that we will never think of God correctly, then what confidence from the Book of Job can we have that the author of Job was thinking of God correctly.

The authors of Job describe God as beyond human understanding, and give an extensive and persuasive argument as to why. I do not think any reasonable person would not be convinced. Indeed, it has persuaded billions of people for millinea.

 

If you can find fault with the book I would be interested in hearing which section you are reading.

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I agree with your take on Job. However I do find fault - or to put it more mildly- I disagree with the author(s) in the understanding of why there is evil in the world and thus their understanding of God.

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I agree with your take on Job. However I do find fault - or to put it more mildly- I disagree with the author(s) in the understanding of why there is evil in the world and thus their understanding of God.

That statement is worth it's own thread.

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The authors of Job describe God as beyond human understanding, and give an extensive and persuasive argument as to why. I do not think any reasonable person would not be convinced. Indeed, it has persuaded billions of people for millinea.

If you can find fault with the book I would be interested in hearing which section you are reading.

I have no issue with the primary take away from Job that bad s#%t happens to good people, but I do not agree with connecting it to some sort of God who is present and taking some sort of notice. I consider myself a reasonable person but am not convinced that a 'God' plays any part in our lives.

 

Indeed, a minority of the earth's population have been persuaded by Job, but times are changing.

 

I don't find 'fault' in Job but regard it as somebody's view of God that I don't agree with.

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Well back in time I delved into the subject of Theodicy. At one time I even thought I had the subject taped. But I think now that having suffering "taped" is a form of anesthetic that can prevent us opening to the world - much as any "answer" will do whatever the circumstance. Remembering back I was once walking along for an evening out and ruminating on the very latest thick tome I had read on the subject of evil/suffering, satisfied that both God and Evil could co-exist without threat to my "faith" - when a car hit a dog and the dog ran to the side of the road, squealing and rolling in awful pain. The sheer shocking reality tore my "answers" away.

 

That was "only" a dog. Other images often haunt my mind, photos from War Zones, refugees, stories of the latest atrocities. To look "with faith" is not for me to look with an image of God in mind, one that can remain in spite of all, but rather to drop all images and open to the point of making the suffering our "own". Then to respond in the moment, as appropriate to our time and place, there, then.

 

So Job. When at last he thinks "who am I to question God, did I make the heavens?" and succumbs to faith, I am with him. Who am I to have "answers". But I go the whole way. To think in such a way, yet to retain the image of a God transcendent to myself who "tests" me, who has written a book that must be the primary source about "Him", who has Chosen Ones........ No, not for me. Faith is a complete letting go of ALL pictures of God. A halfway house of certain theological positions mixed with "unknowing" is a strange mix.

 

And so to Buddhism.

Edited by tariki

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I agree that one can never fully tap the why of evil and suffering in the world but I disagree that such efforts prevent us from opening to the world and responding in the moment.

 

For many, even Christians, to look with faith is also not to look with an image of God but to respond with the action of God. One could argue that Jesus made suffering his own but his reality (as perhaps opposed to mere image?) was God as Abba.

 

I always thought it was absurd to suggest, reflecting on Job, that we cannot question God: we question everything, we make games and TV shows and play guessing games at parties. It is in our 'make up' to question every and anything. I doubt 'God' would have an issue with such questions. And the idea that God tests man is equally absurd. Many think that Job is merely one human attempt to tap into the question of suffering - but not the only one.

 

As for faith, it is not in things or supposed answers, it is the response.

 

And so to Buddhism, Christianity and all faiths that respond to Life.

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So Job. When at last he thinks "who am I to question God, did I make the heavens?" and succumbs to faith, I am with him. Who am I to have "answers". But I go the whole way. To think in such a way, yet to retain the image of a God transcendent to myself who "tests" me, who has written a book that must be the primary source about "Him", who has Chosen Ones........ No, not for me. Faith is a complete letting go of ALL pictures of God. A halfway house of certain theological positions mixed with "unknowing" is a strange mix.

 

That is roughly what I am trying to say Tariki - the author/s of Job try to say "we can't know God" but then proceed to give a picture of God's qualities and behaviors as though they do know.

 

If one can't know, one can't know, however I suspect that from an apologetics point of view some may say we 'can know' some things about God and so they may accept what they want out of Job as true of God.

 

I am sure that it is more than coincidental too that the Job story finishes with Job being rewarded over and over for having faith in God, whereas his mates Eliphaz & Temanite have the 'wrath of God' kindled against them for not speaking what is right of God!

Edited by PaulS

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Is the author of Job saying we can't know God or is he asking, who are we to question God? If the latter, then it seems the author can, at least, give an opinion.

 

Who knows if we can or can't 'know' God: some 'believe' we can, others 'believe' we can't. Both are statements of belief. Be that as it may, I for one am not crazy about the view of God in Job and don't have high regard for any of the biblical solutions or views of suffering/evil. Bart Ehrman's book, 'God's Problem' reviews all the biblical views.

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Is the author of Job saying we can't know God or is he asking, who are we to question God? If the latter, then it seems the author can, at least, give an opinion.

 

Who knows if we can or can't 'know' God: some 'believe' we can, others 'believe' we can't. Both are statements of belief. Be that as it may, I for one am not crazy about the view of God in Job and don't have high regard for any of the biblical solutions or views of suffering/evil. Bart Ehrman's book, 'God's Problem' reviews all the biblical views.

Job does both - i.e. Job questions knowing God and also who we may be to question God, but that's mainly phrased around who are we to question God because we cannot know him. But of course the author is entitled to their opinion, and they obviously seem to provide one.

 

I tend to agree with you concerning Job's 'morality tale' and the author's views concerning God in that I am not crazy for it either. At best, to me, the story tells us that bad stuff happens but that that's just the way it is. It happens to the good, the bad, and maybe even the ugly. To think that somehow God is pulling the strings, but to back that up by only saying we can't ever understand why God does these things, doesn't offer me very much at all. Of course the other side of Job seems to be suggesting that one would be rewarded by having faith in God, so there does seem to be a bit of a bias there rather than a completely open and questioning view.

Edited by PaulS

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I agree that one can never fully tap the why of evil and suffering in the world but I disagree that such efforts prevent us from opening to the world and responding in the moment.

 

 

Maybe I was unclear. It is not the effort of seeking to understand that prevents an appropriate response, but thinking one "has the answers". It is the "answer" that is the anasthetic.

 

Moving on, Martin Luther, when his young daughter died, said "how strange, to know that she is safe in paradise and yet to feel such sadness".

 

The contradiction ( or paradox? ) in Luther's testimony is worth a thought or two.

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from an apologetics point of view

 

Possibly we all engage in the noble art of apologetics at times. To begin with a conclusion and then seek out only that which substantiates it.

 

Having said that, reading the attempts of those who accept that God has for all intents,and purposes ordered genocide and who seek to justify it, even to equate such with the word "love", is for me to witness the corruption of the intellect.

  • Upvote 1

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Possibly we all engage in the noble art of apologetics at times. To begin with a conclusion and then seek out only that which substantiates it.

 

Having said that, reading the attempts of those who accept that God has for all intents,and purposes ordered genocide and who seek to justify it, even to equate such with the word "love", is for me to witness the corruption of the intellect.

 

On this 2nd sentence, I pretty much agree with you, although I find it more understandable (forgivable?) in times when, for centuries, believers took the OT literally and had a more 'ancient' world view, less so when we have the tools of biblical and historical scholarship and a modern world view.

 

There are those who 'begin with a conclusion' insofar as they have a basic faith (for example, God is Love), shared with others, and then try to weight the 'witness' or explanations of the Bible with a modern understanding and arrive at an explanation that resonates for modern man. I do not accept any of the answers of the OT that are presented as reasons for suffering in the world. It is always interesting to me that even though we acknowledge a 'new covenant' that many look for explanation within the writings of the 'old covenant.' I don't think there are 'reasons' for evil given by Jesus - he just 'responds in the moment.' Of course, there is the shared ancient idea of possession by the evil one(s) but his response is (God's) Love and Forgiveness.

 

As for Luther, for me not a contradiction and perhaps not even a paradox - rather completely human.

Edited by thormas

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As for Luther, for me not a contradiction and perhaps not even a paradox - rather completely human.

Yes, completely human. As I said, worth a thought or two.

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I tend to agree with you concerning Job's 'morality tale' and the author's views concerning God in that I am not crazy for it either. At best, to me, the story tells us that bad stuff happens but that that's just the way it is. It happens to the good, the bad, and maybe even the ugly. To think that somehow God is pulling the strings, but to back that up by only saying we can't ever understand why God does these things, doesn't offer me very much at all. Of course the other side of Job seems to be suggesting that one would be rewarded by having faith in God, so there does seem to be a bit of a bias there rather than a completely open and questioning view.

I read Job as, at least, suggesting that evil/suffering can be used by God to test us and/or that God lets evil happen (perhaps by taking a back seat to Satan) but in either case we don't have the right to question God. Doesn't offer me much either. The reward comes eventually in Job but even the faithful are not spared.

 

I do think there is something to the idea of suffering or evil as happenstance. If the tree falls in the forest and you're under it..................! If you get on plane A rather than plane B because it was delayed and one crashes while the other arrives safely.......................!

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Troll away, my friend.

 

God is not recognized by any church or government as a legally authorized fiduciary agent. He cannot be a corporate officer nor can he authorize the legal transfer of assets. So he cannot accomplish steps 1 and 2.

 

God is also not recognized by as an accredited or legally authorized agent for many things ... medicine immediately comes to mind. So what? Why should I not take the health sector also up in to my hands ... just simply because god is not accredited appropriately?

 

If trolling be questioning advice you give, then so be it.

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Would anyone like to shed light on the confusion around the definition of theism? When Spong defines non-theism, I understand that he is defining a God that is not "a being" or "supernatural" something within the realm of time and space. How can one continue to use the word "God" and "non-theistic" in the same thought pattern? When the definition of the wore theo is 'of or pertaining to God'!!! It seems like Spong is totally contradicting his own argument by using the two terms interchangeably. Please shed some light or join my confusion. Thanks!

 

As to the original question ... for me

 

Theism takes on two broad aspects ... one is a general belief in a god or gods. The other is a belief in a God normally a personal revealed God. The non-theism that Spong refers to is the latter meaning. Deism (and many of the other godisms) refer to my first more general lower case god.

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As a clarification I can safely say ... I don't believe in god or God.

 

Also I can safely say I actively disbelieve in many forms of God ... and as Burl rightly portrays these are forms are likely false anyway.

 

There are two gods I do not actively disbelieve in ... a pantheistic god ... ie god is synonymous with existence. Seems sort of pointless to disbelieve in existence. And the other would fall into the category of gods I have not thought of yet.

 

I live my life as though existence is real.

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But that is the problem...existence is neither real nor true...from a Buddhist perspective! :) "God" or gods is actually not relevant.

 

Steve

Edited by SteveS55

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But that is the problem...existence is neither real nor true...from a Buddhist perspective! :) "God" or gods is actually not relevant.

 

Steve

 

Oh I suspect Buddhists would by and large disagree with you. They certainly could agree that existence might not be what it seems.

 

Be careful, Burl might be asking you what you mean by God or gods and then carefully explaining they are not accredited.

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Guess I should ask a card carrying Buddhist! Does a believer have to prove God's existence, or do I have to disprove it? Whatever, I still say it is not relevant to our predicament.

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...... our predicament.

"That there is suffering, this I know"

 

So proclaimed the Buddha, this after rejecting all attempts to put the reality of it, or its cause, into words, as either this or that.

 

One zen worthy asserted that what are desire and aversion prior to realization are enlightened wisdom afterwards, "only ones course of action is different from before".

 

But then, I'm not sure if he was a card carrying Buddhist.

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Troll away, my friend.

God is not recognized by any church or government as a legally authorized fiduciary agent. He cannot be a corporate officer nor can he authorize the legal transfer of assets. So he cannot accomplish steps 1 and 2.

Hmmm. I would have to disagree. I know quite a few churches that believe God works through his agents, his people. They also believe God owns all assets and there is nothing he can't accomplish through his people which in a sense are acting on God's behalf. Since they believe God is in and through all things I would say they recognize God as the real fiduciary agent in control of all assets. ?

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