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The Concept Of The Deity Or God Is A Choice

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5 hours ago, PaulS said:

Community is not just about 'people'. 

But once one starts seeing the bible for what it is -  human thoughts and writings striving to capture the essence and ideas of how they view things at that time.  For me, it's quite alright for bible authors to be wrong, mistaken, taking a different path or whatever.  I still sometimes enjoy their thoughts and sometimes they are useful.

Exactly. Community is about connectedness. Certainly it is about people being connected to one another (we are, whether we admit it or not). Despite the Protestant claim of having a "personal relationship with God", I doubt it is possible to experience God deeply without being with others. Many of the great and enduring religions, Christianity included, know that all things are connected, that there is a Unity to all things.

The bible itself speaks of God as being experienced in a number of ways -- wind, fire, breath, silence, a door, a warrior, a king, a shepherd, a lover, a way, a light. On and on. None of these are to be taken literally, IMO. They are all metaphors, not of God's essence or substance (which spirit does not have), but of how we humans experience God. It is our human experiences of God that we describe.

For the ancient Hebrews, they experienced God as a covenantal warrior/king who would help them conquer their enemies and bring them into their own land. Though the bible insists on it, I can't bring myself to believe that the Sacred (that I experience as bringing us together and fostering community) would tell the Israelites to kill their neighbors. I think they sanctioned their very immoral (but very human) actions by declaring them a "commandment from God." Some Christians (very few today) to much the same when they believe that homosexuals should be killed because, supposedly, the bible says that they are abominations. I think the majority of Christians today, either consciously or unconsciously due to our Judeo-Christian culture, view God as an eye-in-the-sky who, like Santa Claus, watches to see who is naughty or nice in order to decided who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, a fate far worse than not getting presents. Certainly the bible presents this concept of God in some places. But we've had 2000 years of that kind of thinking now. I think it's time for a re-think. :)

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10 hours ago, Burl said:

Yes, God created magnetism, the earth, moon and sun.  All physics and biology and natural laws long before there were people to even have a community so God = community seems to be a non-starter.

In Exodus there is a phrase translated as "God filled the tabernacle".  In other places, the bible uses the same verb to describe a soldier enlisting as "filling a shield" and another use which escapes me right now (see notes on the Shöcken Bible, an interesting translation of the Pentateuch which concentrates on retaining the poetic aspects of the Hebrew).

Instead of reading this as container language, the phrase may be better translated as God taking up the Israelites for His purpose.  God taking up community as a functioning tool to effect salvation.

Not sure how we even got here, but I'm totally comfortable saying God is not community. Although community is not possible without God/Love (which results in connectedness) and also, if God is Love, in some way he 'needs' (once there is creation) or at least desires community. 

As for creation, although I agree that God is Creator, I don't thing he is the immediate cause for magnetism, earth, moon and sun. But always thought, given the story of Genesis, that God was in relation with creation long before man came to be.

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I was going to comment on the value of precise speech, but the house across from me is getting a new shingle job after Irma.  The roofers are listening to Norteño music, and have started playing percussion with their nail guns and I'm smiling so hard I can't think.

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