GOD IS LOVING AND MERCIFUL
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30-08-2015, 01:29 PM
RE: GOD IS LOVING AND MERCIFUL
(30-08-2015 10:38 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I’m not trying to clip out the Bible or the OT, I’m trying to clip your interpretation of the Bible, to combat any sort of fundie evangelical inclinations they might be derived from, and the frequent tendency to try and associate those with my own. Or in other words, I’m trying to avoid, a long irritating defense as to why I’m not a fundie evangelical, or explaining my own views, which are consistent with Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Mainline protestant views and perspectives. The question being clipped out here, is how do I reconcile the God of OT, and the God of the Gospels, because for sake of this discussion it’s entirely irrelevant (think of it along the lines of your hesitancy to use the word "believe" among theist.).

A typical atheists perspective involves seeing a distinction between the OT God and the God of the Gospels, hence why Dawkins can say all that regarding the OT God, yet hold some esteem for Jesus. It breaks down to some sort of Godless Marcionism, no point that I’ve made requires resolving this heresy, or the relationship between the OT and NT.

I’m not speaking of the God of the Bible according to Rocketsurgeon, but the God of Christianity. The God who revealed himself in Christ.

Fine. I'll give you a shot at explaining your version, though I'm plenty aware of most liberal Christian theologies. And I don't see a distinction between the OT god and the God of the Gospels; I see humans writing about fictional characters, yes, but I think that Jesus makes it plain that he still agreed with the OT in most respects. Indeed, he seems harsher than some aspects of the OT... see, for instance, his comment on the nature of divorce, which he forbade despite it being allowed under Mosaic law. Jesus was a bad copy of some ideas related to the Golden Rule that was found in most cultures other than the region of Judea, at that point in history. Everyone from the Buddhists and Confucians to the pre-Roman Britons had come up with concepts akin to the Golden Rule by the time Jesus enumerated it. He did say some nice stuff about not judging and about treating others well, but in every way I can detect he was basically a standard Judean rabbi of his day.

(30-08-2015 10:38 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  No I’m not very fond of them. Just like I don’t think you’re very fond of Q or COWT, or even myself for that matter. Sometimes I’m fond of them, sometimes I’m not, and sometimes they may be extremely difficult, that it would hard to describe me as fond of them at all. People are messy, siblings are messy, so are fathers and mothers. Perhaps you imagine the world as occupied by Q and COWT on one end, and KC’s on the other. When in reality people are some combination of both, sometimes to be fond of, sometimes to detest.

Wasn't trying to poke my nose into your family life. I was pointing out that when we talk about love to others, it's not really an existential "other thing", but rooted in our animal instincts and overlaid with cultural programming. Much of it is instinct and neurochemistry. None of it is magical.

(30-08-2015 10:38 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Maybe you occupy a space in which those whom you love, are easy to be fond of, like puppies, and stuffed dolls. For me, those that I love the most, are the one’s most difficult to love, both serving as one’s joy and one’s noose.

You clearly have not read the threads about the complicated relationship almost every atheist here has with their family, where we struggle to love our families despite rabid fundamentalism and hostility toward our atheistic beliefs. My family in particular was so bad I didn't talk to them for a decade (split in the middle by a couple of years of trying and failing to re-establish a relationship after the first half of that decade). It still remains that family/kin/community ties are an evolved thing, and love is a set of instincts related to a long-evolved mating and community-building "social animal" strategy.

(30-08-2015 10:38 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  If a man were to abandon his children, to pursue his own selfish desires and carnal interest, perhaps because he didn’t feel as fond of them any longer. Those children that he left deserved to be loved by him. If he were to tell me “hey man, they didn’t deserve to be loved, my neurochemistry just stopped me from being fond of them, and that you're just mistaking your feeling for a reality”. It wouldn’t be who distorted reality, but him. It would be him, attempting to replace a truth that he well knows, with a lie.

No, we FEEL they deserve it. Like we feel the kids starving to death in Africa right now deserve to eat. But the universe doesn't give a shit. Unless humans go out of their way to give a shit, they will starve. Just the way it is.

As far as the father leaving his family, it happens all the time! These fathers choose to go with the "pollinate many flowers" reproductive strategy rather than the "build a nest with a mate" strategy. There are quite a few books written on the neurochemistry related to human reproductive strategies, and the evolutionary heritage from which it springs. We have found that there's a particular set of genes that relate to the male ability to be monogamous pair-bonded; I am unaware if the genes for parental instincts are there, but I have a sneaking suspicion there's at least an epigenetic component to a drive to stay and be Dad. But again, none of this is a magical or supernatural thing... so your statements about "distorted reality" and "a truth he well knows with a lie" are actually the distortion. We might like to imagine a world with better lovers and truer relationships, but here in the real world we'll just go on obeying our instincts: those with X set of instincts will have X behavior, and those with Y instincts will behave like Y. It is only our imagination that says everyone is or should be X.

(30-08-2015 10:38 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  No, that’s not what I mean. I’m speaking of that sense of something being aimed for. Like a man who desires to be a good basketball player, that he has some directional sense of what it means to be a good basketball player, some sense of an ideal, and end goal that he’s striving to obtain. That when see himself as flawed, or not playing well enough, it is in light of this ideal, this thing which he is aiming for.

I’m not even talking about ability here, just a desire, even if a man does not achieve the thing in which he desires. My wife’s younger cousin, whose in his 30s, is a total fuck up, a loser, unable to be anything other than selfish and self-centered, whose life will end in either jail or being killed. But even he desires not to be this way, but cannot find it in him to not be this way. He wants to be a good son, a good brother to his younger sister, and not hurt them the way he’s always done his entire life. And perhaps he’ll be buried never even remotely achieving that thing which he so longed for.

That’s what I mean directional, that a man sees something that he should be, but he’s not, a road paved in front of him, which he knows he should walk, even if he can’t bring himself to walk it.

Ah, I understand. But do you understand that a great many of our "ideals" are based in fantasy rather than reality, and that it harms people psychologically when they are told to meet a false ideal, then find they cannot? A good example is the "pray the gay away" camps, where the kids are more likely to commit suicide after they return home than they are to turn straight.

But I think you have inadvertently provided a good definition of why I don't mind a person who is religious, including my fiancee. If it makes them "walk a road toward an ideal", fine. Excellent! A person who studies Bushido to become an "ideal warrior" is awesome by me; I even admire their devotion... right up to the instant they start calling me a "wuss" (or whatever) because I don't devote myself to Bushido. Then I'll argue with them.

(30-08-2015 10:38 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  What competes with the Good life, is a strong as any. In reality we often feel a variety of strong things at the same time. A man may have dropped his wallet, and my selfish desire to keep the money in it for myself may be strong. Perhaps I’m short on funds, and I really want a new iPhone, but I find myself competing with another desire at the same time, like empathy, a consideration for the man who lost his wallet. I can also be thinking of how it’s wrong to steal, that it wouldn’t be right for me to keep this man’s wallet.

Maybe I’ll keep it and feel guilty about it, maybe I can assuage my guilt by believing it to be merely a neurochemical reaction, that will subside eventually. The sense of wrongness, and rightness all just another set of culturally induced neurochemical reactions. That will subside eventually.

Or maybe I’ll just give it back to him. My empathy, my sense of right and wrong, winning over my selfishness and greed.

Okay at this point I'm pretty sure you're fucking with me, with this "just neurochemistry" argument. It looks like a poor version of the "all is permitted" argument, or the "if atheists are right we'll all turn hedonist" argument. It's just not the way humans are, any more than we're any of the things religion has idealized. As you point out, we're much more complex in our natural motivations.

Do you not get that it is "just neurochemistry" which gives you that ability to empathize with the guy who lost his money? Do you not grasp that your likelihood of actually giving it back is directly related to the degree of empathy your brain is wired to feel? I always give the money back, and I have been in that position before (I have found three wallets in my life), yet I'm well aware of the biological basis for empathy and altruism.

(30-08-2015 10:38 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
Quote:Jesus loved no one because he failed to understand the true nature of humanity

And what is true nature of humanity? I’d wager that a novelist like Dostoevsky, knows more about the true nature of humanity, than all the writings found in a science journal could provide. Take a man who lived his life among the breathe of humanity, among the poor and oppressed, among the privileged and content, amongst the shit of the earth, and the suburban malls. And a man who lived his life just reading science books. The man whose likely knows what the true nature of humanity is not the latter.

The poor widow next door knows a great deal more about the nature of humanity, than Richard Dawkins ever will.

But what is the true nature of humanity you speak? That it all breaks down to a series of neurochemical reactions governed by the laws of physics? That humanity is nothing more than an endless assembly line of moist robots? That your daughter is nothing more than just molecules in motion?

But perhaps you don’t actually believe in such a reality, maybe you just think it’s a compelling and viable explanation.

I want to start with this quote: "Take a man who lived his life among the breathe of humanity, among the poor and oppressed, among the privileged and content, amongst the shit of the earth, and the suburban malls. And a man who lived his life just reading science books. The man whose likely knows what the true nature of humanity is not the latter."
Why do you think there's a difference between the two? I am a scientist, yet I am also a volunteer with a charity organization, and I spent most of my 9 years in prison helping the helpless who were oppressed by the system. I'd wager I know more about the truth of the human nature than anyone other than a Dostoevsky.

Please stop speaking about Dawkins like he's a prophet of ours, or like we consider his words to be scriptures. Rolleyes

I have a son, not a daughter, but yes, he is a "moist robot", as am I, as are you. At least, in the sense that you mean it there. But that doesn't mean we're "just" robots. As I said, we are more than the sum of our parts, because many different instincts compete at the same time, different parts of the brain are activated by the same stimulus among many different stimuli, and we interact with our own past memories and present societies in complex ways. But again, there's no magic here.

When I say that Jesus failed to understand the nature of humanity, I mean he did not take our scientific understanding of the different systems operating in the brain, in the way human beings actually behave, compared to the way we presupposed they did, in his day (and today, to some degree) in society. Read a book on human psychology to see dozens of examples by the end of the first chapter about the ways in which the true nature of humanity is different than we imagine it to be based on our ideals and/or social programming.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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30-08-2015, 04:52 PM
RE: GOD IS LOVING AND MERCIFUL
(10-08-2015 10:23 AM)mgoering Wrote:  I noticed that those who read the OT with any sort of critical eye, make the observation, and rightly so, that God is a beast: slaughtering humans throughout for smallest infractions (collecting firewood on the Sabbath, trying to steady the GD Arc of the Covenant that is on the verge of tipping over, poking fun at a bald man -- all sentenced to death in the most inhumane way). But what I've also noticed is that nearly all these killings are a result of God's jealousy and anger as illustrated in the following verse:

for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. -- Deut. 6-15

Strange thing is, the envy and wrath displayed in the above verse are two of the SEVEN DEADLY SINS that us mere mortals are suppposed to guard ourselves against. So, not only has God created us to be "fallen" where we have no choice but to be sinful, but he also sets a really bad example of how a good and LOVING and MERCIFUL person should be.

I'm sorry. I get so irritated when I hear people say that God is LOVING and MERCIFUL! that I want to just choke them. How do people reconcile the evidence of such a vile being in the OT with what they believe is a being that is LOVING and MERCIFUL?

I guess I'm making two points here and challenge anyone to refute them:

1. God is anything but loving and merciful.

2. God is a sinner, and a DEADLY sinner at that!

This is precisely why the Marcionites, an early Christian sect that was slaughtered by the Trinitarians for heresy (i.e. wrong belief) believed that there were two gods: They demonstrated by contrasting the Old Testament with the New Testament that the god of the OT and the god of the NT cannot possibly be the same person. They believed that the god of the OT created the material world, which is evil. He's jealous, whimsical, spiteful, vengeful, and generally nasty, and condemned humankind because Adam and Eve broke his rule by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. All of which is documented in the OT. The god of the NT, according to Marcion, is a different god altogether. He is good and kind and loving and merciful, and by sending Jesus he tricked the god of the OT into releasing humankind from original sin. Jesus, according to Marcion, was pure spirit and only pretended to be crucified, and the god of the OT was fooled.

When making arguments from the Bible it is a common mistake to accept uncritically the Trinitarian reading of that book. The Marcionite reading makes a lot more sense regarding the inconsistencies between the two halves.

Of course, there were many Christianities in those early days. The Trinitarians won out by murdering all the others, but they really hold the most indefensible positions regarding its meaning.

Caveat: I don't believe in any gods. But just as I can critique any other book of fiction, I can read the Bible and see that it does not say what modern Christians claim it says.

"El mar se mide por olas,
el cielo por alas,
nosotros por lágrimas."
-- Jaime Sabines
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30-08-2015, 08:41 PM
GOD IS LOVING AND MERCIFUL
(30-08-2015 04:52 PM)daniel1948 Wrote:  When making arguments from the Bible it is a common mistake to accept uncritically the Trinitarian reading of that book. The Marcionite reading makes a lot more sense regarding the inconsistencies between the two halves.

Of course, there were many Christianities in those early days. The Trinitarians won out by murdering all the others, but they really hold the most indefensible positions regarding its meaning.

You don't need to adopt a Trinitarian view of the OT to dismiss Marcionism, you just need to adopt a Jewish view. Jesus views on the God weren't particularly heretical, and would
have been fairly consistent with some of his contemporaries like the the Elder Hillel, who served as the backbone for the reformed Judaism of today.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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