Sunday, July 17, 2011

America Still a Nation of Believers

Since the Reverend Billy Graham is slowly retreating from the scene, I nominate Rabbi Shmuley Boteach for America’s Pastor. Before Graham, Catholic Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen filled a similar role, so having a non-protestant occupy the position is not unprecedented.

The good rabbi observes...
“While 92 percent of Americans believe in God, in Britain only 35% do”

“From the piety of the Pilgrims to the faith-based values of the country’s founders, to the belief in manifest destiny and even the marketing of Coca-Cola as “the real thing,” Americans tamed the wilderness with the faith that their nation is a new promised land, destined to illuminate the Earth with the torch of freedom and the light of human dignity.”

“British influence in the world, in contrast, has gone off a cliff over the past century. I would argue that the new, militant atheism that is becoming characteristic of Britain is a key reason. Atheism is a philosophy of nihilism in which nothing is sacred and all is an accidental.”
The Atheist’s View of the Human Condition is Dark
There is no soul to illuminate and no spirit to enliven – just decadent flesh. Human love is a prank played by our genes to ensure the propagation of the species, and poetry and faith are shallow distractions masking the inevitability of death. Men are insemination machines incapable of ever being truly faithful, and women are genetically programmed to seek out billionaire hedge-fund managers, the better to support their offspring.
No God, No Soul, No Purpose
For while religion affirms the infinite dignity of the human person, its absence robs life of its sanctity. Universal exploitation and humiliation for fame and fortune are the inevitable outgrowth.
Plenty here for my God-skeptic friends to scoff at and attack, but Rabbi Shmuley makes a good point. We are more than biocomputer-directed ambulatory meatsacks. We laugh and we love and we are capable of incredible hatred and cruelty. Can all of existence really be finite?

Shmuley Boteach – Godlessness has doomed Britain


Fredd said...

I often wonder how the conversation goes between the atheist and St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, as St. Peter studies his clipboard on the atheist's life.

St. Peter: "Hmmm. Says here you don't believe in My Boss. What are we going to do with your immortal soul?"

Atheist: "Uh, I dunno. Something good, I hope...."

St. Peter: "Well don't get your hopes up, pal. I'll run it by the Big Guy, but in the meantime, you better start looking around for some asbestos underwear..."

Rob said...

Of course Fredd, ya hafta wonder (with props to Jim Gaffigan) why heaven would need to be a gated community...

I kid, I kid!!

MK said...

“While 92 percent of Americans believe in God, in Britain only 35% do”

Which explains why Britain is like the number one country on the planet.... no wait.

"I would argue that the new, militant atheism that is becoming characteristic of Britain is a key reason."

Make that leftist militant atheism, and they're desperately trying to do what they did in Europe to America.

Anonymous said...

It is indeed a dark outlook. I can't think of one possible way such thinking could benefit society or the individual. I think this view of us as biological preprogrammed robots, being propagandized through media outlets an academia, is the chief reason so many people need antidepressants to get through the day.

jez said...

I would argue that a more key reason for diminshed British influence is the near-bankruptcy following WW2. Which didn't have anything to do with atheism to my knowledge.

As a atheist myself, I would correct the Rabbi on the following points
1) I don't think that "all is accidental": the moon does not orbit the earth by accident for example, it obeys increasingly well understood scientific laws.
2) I don't believe that mere flesh is "decadent". Just because I withold any belief in soul or spirit, doesn't mean that I find a person any less noble than a rabbi does. If anything, I have a better opinion of my fellow man, being unburdened by a doctrine of total depravity. I ascribe any nobility I find in other people directly to the flesh. Therefore, it is not decadent.
3) Human love may be driven to some extent by genetics (would many theists deny the influence of genes on love?) but it is no more a prank than human hunger for food, or desire for general social fellowship, or even our arms an legs -- all these are driven by our genes, and they are none the less real or important for that fact.
4) Poetry and faith both have obvious parts to play in the preservation of memes -- heritable material which are not genes. I don't only inherit my father's genes, but also his money, his philosophy etc. Poetry and faith are excellent vectors for carrying useful memes like ethics, customs, knowledge (farming, fire etc.) as well as arguably useless ones like religion. (plenty of genes are arguably useless too). Especially before books, poetry (easy to remember) would have been even more essential than it is today.
5) Men *are* capable of being faithful, but many are unfaithful. Any decent theory should explain the facts, not the ideal. Anyway, you're tha one who thinks that men are totally depraved.
6) Well, lots of otherwise sensible women do throw themselves at the hedge-fund managers. Are you criticising the theory of evolution for adequately explaining the facts?

I can understand how a religious person, looking at atheism materialism, would miss the familiar ideas of universal morality, the afterlife, the soul and the sacred. You might miss those things so much, that you don't notice anything else. Human flesh, unfortified by some cartesian spirit, is rubbish, you might think. It's just a mechanical, thoughtless, pointless vessel for genetic material.
Well, take my word for it: it isn't. Clearly it isn't. You see much to marvel at in humanity and nature, and I agree. Many of those marvels, I find just as wonderful as you. I just don't need to believe in things I can't see to deal with those marvels.

I'm confused by the use of Coca-Cola's marketing as an example of human dignity.

Silverfiddle said...

Jez: I figured this would spark a thoughtful response from you.

If it was not planned and designed, it is by definition an accident, even if it follows certain rules.

The beer can that falls out of my hand is an accident, even though it is following the laws of gravity.

Why do you protest the idea that flesh is decadent? Flesh decays, and unmoored from any sense of fanciful gods and untermensch morality, it is indeed free to pursue pleasure. Indeed, absent these derided concepts, one would be foolish not to pursue every desire of the flesh.

If there is no God, no morality, then what does decadence matter anyway? No opprobrium is ascribed to it, since God's law is absent.

Without infinity and immortality, all is indeed rubbish. It lives, it dies, that's it.

You are marveling at an accident.

Anonymous said...


I offer the little essay in Part Two, written a couple of years ago, as oblique commentary on the subject at hand. If you find it relevant, that's all to the good. If you find it entertaining, so much the better.

Belief, itself, is one of many intangibles that govern our lives, whether we like to think so or not. What we choose to believe determines how we respond and deal with life's unceasing challenges.

I've never known a Cultural Marxists who was not an atheist, but I have known atheists who were not Cultural Marxists, so perhaps Marxism and not atheism per se is the villain in the piece. I'm not sure, but of one thing I am certain Attitude is the determining factor in all human endeavor, and Attitude cannot be weighed, measured, canned, bottled, filed away in a desk drawer, or stored in a cupboard. In short we are what we believe, so it well behooves us to "think positive."


~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...



Haven't you noticed how Cultural Marxists ask the same questions over and over again, but NEVER LISTEN to the answers anyone provides? Marxists are rather like an old-fashioned tabletop radio designed for home entertainment --- they broadcast, but never receive.

I've had more satisfactory dialogues with telephone poles, park benches, flagstone patios, brick walls, beach blankets and empty bird's nests than I've had with Cultural Marxists.

Whether they acknowledge it or not --- or even if they honestly doesn't know it --- Cultural Marxists are by definition superb practitioners of Cultural Marxism's Critical Theory

What that means is to be ALWAYS on the attack, and NEVER to give your opponent credit for ANYTHING, even if your opponent has managed with expert volunteer assistance and lovingly donated materials to build a wide, exquisitely beautiful Golden Stairway that ends right at the foot of Jehovah's Awful Throne. 

The Cultural Marxist will first call your achievement "A Stairway to Nowhere," then tell you that Jehovah doesn't exist. Then he'll say the superstructure of your stairway may be unsound, therefore unsafe, and not in compliance with environmental and safety regulations. He will then demand to know whether the stairway was built by union workers who were properly protected by the strictest adherence to the regulations set forth by OSHA, and were at least 50% of those doing the heavy lifting women? If not, the Cultural Marxist will demand an "impartial" building Inspector, employed, of course, by the government, to go over your stairway at taxpayer's expense in the earnest hope that it will be condemned and have to be "deconstructed" ( i.e. torn down).

Failing that, the Cultural Marxist will then tell you that "golden" is non-specific-therefore-potentially-deceptive term. He'll demand that you prove by chemical analysis [run and strictly supervised by a team of "experts" in a taxpayer-funded government laboratory, of course] whether it is made of either 14K, 18K or 24K gold. If the gold has been alloyed with any other metal to increase its strength and durability, the Cultural Marxist will tell the public that you LIED, because your "gold" isn't REALLY "gold" at ALL but merely an ALLOY.

If Jehovah, Himself, descends the stair to tell the Cultural Marxist how wrong he is on every count, the Cultural Marxist will simply thumb his nose at Jehovah, call Him an illusory mythological social construct designed to provide crowd control in ancient, outmoded societies guided by fear and superstition.

When Jehovah grabs the cultural Marxist by the scruff of his neck, and casts him straight into Hell, the Cultural Marxist will continue loudly to protest the injustice of his having been subjected "without due process" to an unreal, but nonetheless painful and humiliating fate. 

Hell, of course, is the place where one is forced to listen to Cultural Marxists carp, cavil, complain, castigate, chastise, counsel, and condemn without ceasing.

~ FreeThinke

Ducky's here said...

If it was not planned and designed, it is by definition an accident, even if it follows certain rules.
Okay it's a unction of probability. Why is necessary to posit intent?

"If there is no God, no morality"
Whoa, someone is trying to pull a fast one. Again, there is no necessity to link the two.

Ducky's here said...

.... but let's be honest. What we have here are a group of Calvinist Baggers who, as Joseph Campbell said, are unable to admit that the idea of a chosen people is just something primitive tribes used to give themselves a leg up in the days when the snake could talk.

And we see it in their desperate attempts to pimp "intelligent design" and other ideas that have been thoroughly trashed by science. In fact, evangelicals seem structurally unable to admit that when science disagrees with them that science doesn't have a problem they do.

Of course if you read the article you immediately recognize the writer's dig at Muslims in the first paragraph. They join agnostics, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, Unitarians and so many more as the extra people in his vulgar world.

Anonymous said...

God IS Jesus -- but Who and WHAT are THEY?

Here's a working definition not found in most Sunday Schools. Try it on for size, and see if it fits. I'm always searching for ways to ENCOURAGE and AFFIRM faith in God, but I believe it must be done using God's greatest Gift to us -- our underused capacity to REASON.

God IS Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ IS God.

God and Christ are ONE.

God IS Love.

God IS Truth.

God IS Principle.

God IS Mind.

God IS Soul.

God IS Spirit.

God IS Life.

God and Jesus Christ ARE all these things, therefore all these things are SYNONYMOUS and INSEPARABLE from one another -- just as rays of the sun are inseparable from their source.

So, when Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life," etc. He might just as well have said:

LOVE is the way, the truth and the life

PRINCIPLE is the way the truth and the life

INTELLIGENCE is the way the truth and the life, etc.

So, when a cleric emphasizes the beneficence and joy that comes from Love, there's absolutely nothing missing in his thought and nothing the least "heretical" about it.

By leaving any acknowledgment of the Creator out of their thinking the secularists omit the ONE thing that makes a joyful, grateful, fulfilled, God-centered life possible and that is God, Himself.

Even so, those who ARE truly loving, who love and abide by Truth, who use Intelligence creatively and altruistically, while revering Principle and eschewing expediency ARE worshipping God and loving His only begotten Son in FACT -- whether they realize it or not..

This may in Truth bring one much closer to God than merely giving lip service to Doctrine. Doctrine is like the blueprint to a magnificent building. It takes a lot of honest, dedicated, practical, well-informed WORK to REALIZE the plan and make it manifest.

HOW we live our lives has far more significance than what we SAY. And what we say about the way OTHERS live their lives may have no significance whatsoever, especially if we fail to practice what we preach.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

The Unity Underlying All Mythology

All Mythology arose from the finite perception of human beings trying to point toward the infinite.
"Wherever myths still are living symbols, the mythologies are teeming dream worlds of such images. But whenever systematizing theologians have appeared and gained the day, the figures have become petrified into propositions. Mythology is then misread as direct history or science, symbol becomes fact, metaphor (becomes) dogma, and the quarrels of the sects arise, each mistaking its own symbolic signs for ultimate reality –– the local vehicle (mistaken) for its timeless, ineffable tenor.
But he who is called Krishna - - - is also called Shiva, Shakti, Jesus and Allah as well - the one Rama with a thousand names . . .  The substance is one, under different names, and everyone is seeking the same substance; nothing but climate, [acculturated] temperament, and terminology vary."
cf. Joseph Campbell: The Flight of The Wild Gander, page 73. 

Submitted by FreeThinke 

Jersey McJones said...

It's funny to read what people think other people think.

If you want to know what an atheist thinks, try asking an atheist.

Only a moron would ask a religious person what an atheist thinks.


Silverfiddle said...

Wow Ducky, we're you reading the same article? Are you off your meds?

Who mentioned creationism? BTW, Darwin does not explain how the species originated; the science is definitely not settled. Adaptation is about the only principle idea we see in the real world.

Anyway, the good rabbi posits that atheism is nihilism, and I agree.

jez said...

SF: Thanks, I hope you can find more to my responses than a scoff or an attack. :)

I think an accident, as well as being unplanned, must also either be unusual (so a daily event like sunrise is not accidental, even though no-one plans it [unless God personally oversees all events]), or directly contravening a plan which, because of the accidnet, has failed (so dropping a beer is an accident, because you planned to hold on to it).

I protest the idea that flesh is decadent, because I observe that in general people do show some degree of restraint. Since (imo) evolutionary psychology is able to explain this phenomenon, and decadence is defined as unrestrained self-indulgence, therefore (imo) the flesh is not decadent.

Religions offer the individual some incentive for restraint. They do not have a monopoly on this -- I put it to you that rational self-interest can do it too, and furthermore restraint confers a straight-forward biological advantage, so it is reasonable to hypothesise that it is embedded in the subconscious through evolution. For example, I would enjoy eating bacon, sausages and black pudding for breakfast every morning, but I'd also like to not get fat and develop diabetes. Therefore, I restrain my diet.

"It lives, it dies, that's it."

Hang on, did you say "it lives"? That's pretty amazing, isn't it? It's certainly better than nothing. Much better than nothing, in fact.

But I do understand: when you've come to expect eternity, the temporary doesn't seem good enough.

Believe me, the temporary is quite awesome enough. Religion undersells it.

jez said...

Whether something is nihilist or not depends on what you think is important. Religion self-asserts its own importance, so of course to a religious person a philosophy that removes it cannot help but be nihilistic.
A minute point: maybe the rabbi would not consider buddhism, often considered an atheist religion, nihilistic; and possibly he would ascribe nihilism to some types of deist beliefs. I think maybe the rabbi is complaining about irreligion, not atheism.

Silverfiddle said...

Decadence does not exist without some moral stricture, so really, if there is no god there is no decadence, only the morality of self-preservation and self-interest, which is one of Ayn Rand's cardinal points.

Anonymous said...

Matter can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be altered or transformed.

Ergo, everything is eternal; nothing is temporary, EXCEPT our superficial, transient characteristics. In a very real sense neither we nor anyone who has ever come before us has altogether ceased to exist.

~ FreeThinke

Ducky's here said...

So the universe just expand until it finally contracts into itself and we do this all over.

Anonymous said...

I remember when Ayn Rand first came on the scene. She struck me then as a dour, markedly unappealing figure -- cold-hearted, arrogant, hypocritical, bossy and belligerent. In short she was hideous. Nothing I've learned about her subsequently has changed that opinion formed instinctively in childhood.

Without love, without compassion, without self-sacrifice, without altruism, without a strong sense of duty and responsibility to others, life is merely a dog-eat-dog proposition where the strong survive by exploiting, subjugating and devouring the weak.

Ayn Rand may have been mostly right about economics, but she was dead wrong about nearly everything else.

And her prose was dreadful -- wooden, didactic, tedious, blatantly tendentious stuff. PHOOEY!

~ FreeThinke

Z said...

I highly recommend Ravi Zacharias's book CAN MAN LIVE WITHOUT GOD?

jez said...

SF: Not just self-, but also group-preservation and interest. Evolution works to the benefit of not just the individual, but also the family or tribe or species.

Are we agreeing that "decadent" is a problematic adjective? Maybe what the rabbi is getting at is this: if all there is to us is flesh, then the only relavant metric would be the amount of pleasure registered by flesh alone. He clearly believes that this measure ignores something valuable.

In other words, he is convinced that even if I act in such a way that the total pleasure and happiness of all current and future humans is increased, that it's still possible that my behaviour is morally wrong.

I am not convinced that this is true. I believe that if I act so as to maximise the sum of human happiness, then it must be reasonable to describe my behaviour as "good".

Bunkerviller said...

The more support of an amoral society, the more easily to desensitze and control the population. I am plum wore out reading all the comments, so I will sign off here. Thanks for the post.

Ducky's here said...

Well Freethinker, let's take a look at Rand. Labor theory of value, strict materialist ... her aesthetics were strict Soviet realism. She was a Stalinist with a slightly altered politburo.

My question is why the fringe right in America expects us to be taken by their concoction of Calvin grafted to Rand. It's like some sick experiment from the Island of Doctor Moreau but they expect thoughtful people to buy into this perversion.

Anonymous said...

As a Catholic I place a lot of importance on this life and the flesh. Yes, the flesh is temporal, but it is a great gift.

If God only care about the existence of our souls, then why did he give us physical existence?

The only reasonable explanation is that we have this physical existence because there is something about it that God wants us to experience.

Love and hate; pain and pleasure; joy and sadness; all things that God wants us to experience in this human existence. The flesh is not decadent, it's beautiful.

Unlike many of my protestant counter-parts, I'm not constantly looking to heaven. I'm looking at the life I have, and living it to its fullest, as I think that's what God ultimately wants for his creation: to be happy.

Most Rev. Gregori said...

If there is no God,then there is right or wrong, good or evil. One should then be free to do whatever they want when they want and there should be no consequences legal or otherwise.

How can anyone deny the existence of an Almighty Creator, God if you will, when you see a human being write a beautiful symphony, or when a human being creates a beautiful of art?

How can anyone deny the existence of God when you they have seen a beautiful sun rise or sun set? Or when they have beheld the miracle of birth?

Why is it that mankind is capable of reaching such lofty heights and showing infinite love and tenderness if there is no God. True mankind is also capable of of some of the most debased and depraved acts, but that is what happens when God is denied.

Anonymous said...

A few other things to consider:

Interesting and highly ironic that today's post with its implicit condemnation of the way Britain is going should come from a rabbi when, apparently, 85% of the Jews in Israel consider themselves atheists.

Of course we're not supposed to notice, much less comment on that, but it's interesting the rabbi should pick on Great Britain's 65% of non-believers when his own people are so much more deserving of admonishment in that department.

Also there are a lot of assumptions in Boteach's words that lump all atheists together as selfish, hedonistic nihilists without moral fiber or any capacity for joy.

While I am a person of faith, and cultivate and encourage my own belief in God every day, because I don't think I could get along very well without it, I am also aware of many good, kind, highly principled, moral, constructive, high-achieving, merry, charming individuals who do a lot of good in the world but cannot say with sincerity that they believe in anything "supernatural."

Who am I -- and who are you -- that we should dare to condemn them?

I doubt very much if God wants us to be a unified bunch of simpering, sycophants giving lip service to doctrines that may make no sense to us just because some cleric or fiery-eyed zealot points his finger at us and says we will be condemned to Hell for all eternity if we don't toe the orthodox line.

I gave some thoughts above on who and what God really is. If I didn't have those firm, but not-strictly-biblical convictions to bolster my faith, bring it to life, and make it work, I doubt if I could believe either.

There's been much talk above about decadence as unlimited self-indulgence. Well yes, but decadence is also present in cynicism, sarcasm, mocking, jeering, and hyper-critical behavior perhaps even more than it is in self-indulgence, by which we too often mean sexual gratification, drunkenness, gluttony and such. Venality is rarely mentioned though I happen to think it's worse than any of the others on that list.

As I see it, self-righteousness, condescension, captiousness, and sneering cynicism should be listed high among the Deadly Sins.

Can Man Live Without God? Interesting and provocative book title, but I would say we can live without certain traditional, formulaic, doctrinal views and interpretations of God very nicely. We cannot hope to thrive, however, without allegiance to Truth and Principle, without reverence for Love, without Intelligence, without Spirit, which is the essence of meaning in all things, or without Soul which defines and expresses our uniqueness in all of Creation. Most obvious of all we cannot live without Life.

The one true God is the embodiment and perfect expression of all those attributes, and He belongs to ALL people. I think it was great mistake to honor the claim that He revealed himself ONLY to the Jews. He, as Creator and Sovereign Lord of ALL that is or ever has been, has been glimpsed -- in part -- by wise men in all cultures.

He may be called by different names, and imperfectly understood, which has always been the case since the dawn of consciousness, but He is no one but Himself. I AM THAT I AM, and He lives within each one of us, and in all Creation. We have only to reach out to Him with prayer, supplication and thanksgiving, and He will give us peace within our hearts.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Way back in the early fifties, when singer Jane Froman had a show of her own, she used I Believe as her theme song. It may seem corny and unsophisticated to our Rock 'n Roll world today, and it certainly is not on the exalted level of an aria by Bach or Handel, but it has a simple dignity, carries a good message and has the power of Truth behind it. I know I've never forgotten it, since I first heard sixty years ago.

I believe for every drop of rain that falls
_____ a flower grows
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night
_____a candle glows

I believe for everyone who goes astray
Someone will come to show the way,

I believe, I believe

I believe above the storm the smallest prayer
_____ will still be heard
I believe that Someone in the great somewhere
_____ hears every word

Every time I hear a newborn baby cry
_____or touch a leaf or see the sky
Then I know why I believe.

I'm sorry, but I have no idea who wrote the song. I wasn't I.

~ FreeThinke

Finntann said...

It is a strange position that you posit, that without belief in God or religion a man cannot be moral or ethical, and one that I must dispute.

Since the majority supporting the position are arguing from a Christian point of view...

If you believe that in order for morals and ethics to exist there needs to be a higher power... what makes God moral or ethical?

If God, independent of any higher power can be moral and ethical, and you are created in God's image, what makes you think that this innate nature is not created into you?

Do you not believe than man is born with conscience?

John 8:9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one...

From the Catholic perspective moral conscience, present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. It also judges particular choices, approving those that are good and denouncing those that are evil. It bears witness to the authority of truth in reference to the supreme Good to which the human person is drawn, and it welcomes the commandments. When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking.

You can't have it both ways, if man created by God is gifted with conscience, then believer or not, he still has that gift. He may choose to ignore it and act in an immoral and unethical way, or equally, he may chose to follow it.

Luke 10:30-37

A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Dia Dhuit

Shane Atwell said...

Just because laughter, love, admiration, achievement, righteousness are wonderful, why does that mean the have to be created by something non-human (i.e. god)? Can you accept their goodness without denigrating man, this earth and reason?

jez said...

SF: by the way, been meaning to ask: why untermensch morality?

Silverfiddle said...

Finn: Given a world where God does not exist, morality would be man-made. That's my only point.

Jez: Nietzsche denigrated believers as having as underling slave mentality.

No reference to the mustachioed mass murderer intended!

Silverfiddle said...

Shane: I stated previously that this all could indeed be possible if it sprung from an unplanned accident.

Anonymous said...

Please consider this:

Morality, itself, is an attribute of God. If there were no God (i.e. Guiding Principle intertwined and inseparable from Truth, Love and Life, itself), the concept of morality would never have surfaced in our consciousness, and we would never have begun to rise from our primitive, animal, dog-eat-dog existence.

Once we begin to understand who and what God really is, His existence becomes undeniable. But then we must eventually understand that the terms "God," "Lord," "Holy Ghost," "The Almighty," "Jesus Christ," "Yaweh," "Jehovah," "Elohim," "Allah," "Buddha" "Siva," "Krishna," -- and all the rest of them known and unknowable from every culture -- are merely a convenient way of labeling something too large, too mysterious, too magnificent, too infinitely complex and "advanced" for human understanding to express adequately.

Contemplating the Infinite, the Eternal, and the Immutable should humble us without ever humiliating us, and fill us with wonder, delight, joy, and boundless hope.

~ FreeThinke

jez said...

FT: is all cooperation among animal species inspired by God too? Evolutionary psychology seems convincing: I expect that even if our morality derives from God, that without Him something much like morality would arise from natural processes.

I wonder how much is gained really by lumping everything we don't know into one single entity and calling it God? I'm would never try to kid you or myself that there isn't a vast, unbounded depth to our ignorance, but it seems pretentious to name it, and maybe dangerous to attribute to it various comforting or otherwise characteristics.

What's wrong with just admitting "I don't know"?

Silverfiddle said...

Jez: But we do know. People throughout history have encountered God and written it down.

The other part of your argument I understand and others have stated it. Without God, man would still find what works best and call that a morality.

jez said...

SF: Sorry, it's hard to direct a question towards eg. FreeThinke without going over what for you is a rehash. Certainly he thinks that without god, humans couldn't cooperate.

Rebecca said...

It is impossible to reflect on the founding of this country without recognizing its founding fathers and their faith. They knew there was a Heavenly Father who guided their efforts. This country was founded on faith and a belief in God. How else could a group of men and women break free from the most powerful monarchy in the world at the time? Not without God.

Anonymous said...

No, Jez. If my understanding of God is correct, the very impulse that causes men -- and other living creatures -- to cooperate and to show affection and loyalty to one another IS God.

I'm not overly fond of the term "God," because it's too charged with cultural assumptions and prejudice, but we have to call It something, so God it is.

Life, itself, IS God.

Anything and everything that's positive, constructive uplifting, beautiful, brilliant, salubrious, virtuous, honest, etc. IS God.

God lives in you, though you seem averse to recognizing it. You're a good fellow. I can tell, so even though you don't want to believe in God, you in fat exhibit some godly qualities.

It's not over which we should get the least bit angry.

I readily admit to you that far too many of those who purported to represent God, and categorized themselves among his greatest servants, were in fact some of the ugliest, most venal, corrupt, hypocritical bastards that ever drew breath.

That, however, reflects poorly only on THEM -- not on Almighty God.

~ FreeThinke