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The God Concept/ Impersonal God Problem

RoderickSpode
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7/13/2016 8:29:04 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
The God concept:

Difficult to get away from. Probably will never happen in a relatively free-of-thought society. The concept existed as far as we can historically count backwards, and no less significant today. Even, as we all know, the most noted militant atheists concede to the possibility of a God/god/gods (or creator), even if relegated to an extraterrestrial/panspermia format. Keeping in mind, the general attitude among strident atheists (and agnostics) is not that God/god/gods does/do not exist, but that there doesn't seem to be any evidence to make any significant proclamation concerning.

Impersonal God Problem:

This problem reaches far back in the history books as well, and no less existent today. We often hear how the ancients had primitive views of God/god/gods, and that primitive view perpetually crossed the barriers of time to modern day. I would concede that some, or many of the ancients did have primitive views. I actually prefer to say they had inaccurate views in that I don't think a lot of the views today are any less inaccurate. Many of the ancients believed that their impersonal (the problem) national symbolic deity got mad at times, evidenced by dying crops, natural disasters, etc.. And when this impersonal deity got mad, he/she/it had to be appeased somehow, which at times lead to sacrificing, including human lives.

Today, we have what is considered progressive views of God (i'll use "God" now to encompass the 3 previous references). The idea of one God seems a bit too primitive for some, so a more alleged progressive view is often employed suggesting God to be one-with-all (or the universe), including humans, animals, any other form of life, or just more pluralistic (God being many gods, including the various deities in world religions). The idea of a personal God appears to some as primitive, and such a God would be petty. For instance, the idea of God requiring worship would appear petty. After all, when we go to a national park, we don't expect animals, lower life forms (on the evolutionary latter) to worship us as we're driving in, setting up camp, etc. We just want them to do what they normally do, and we can just observe and enjoy watching them as they carry on in their natural affairs. We (humans) are not so petty as to require worship from lower life forms. So therefore, such a God would Himself have to be petty to require such a thing.

My position is that there really is not much of a difference between the ancients and modern day humanists. Today is merely a page or chapter in the history of inaccurate depictions of God. We do seem to have more humanism today than in the past (particularly, or supposedly, in first world countries). But humanism is merely the decorated living room section of someone's house. There's still the dirty laundry that has to be dealt with, usually not in view of incoming guests. And just as the modern washing machine is the required tool (or soap, water, scrub brush) to wash/clean dirty clothing, the personal God is what is required in dealing with individual and collective dirty laundry that we're subject to in our personal lives, media news outlets, etc. Just as necessary (really even more) as the need to wash clothing. Not dealing with the symbolic dirty laundry of sin is akin to not washing one's clothing. If you don't wash your clothing you're going to have serious problems. You'll offend many, or you'll run up a huge bill having to constantly buy new clothes, having dirty clothes continually piling up. And I think this depiction speaks accurately of human history including our modern humanistic era.
SpiritandTruth
Posts: 2,315
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7/14/2016 2:54:27 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
I think "The Ultimate Reality" is pretty solid.

It's very "other" and impersonal to some people, but that's only because they don't see their experience as being their personal relationship with God.

Sincerity of faith, charity, and a struggle for righteousness leads to a healthy relationship with God. The fruits of this are obvious. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. An unhealthy relationship with God bears the fruit of adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,
RoderickSpode
Posts: 2,372
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7/14/2016 4:23:49 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/14/2016 2:54:27 AM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
I think "The Ultimate Reality" is pretty solid.

It's very "other" and impersonal to some people, but that's only because they don't see their experience as being their personal relationship with God.

Sincerity of faith, charity, and a struggle for righteousness leads to a healthy relationship with God. The fruits of this are obvious. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. An unhealthy relationship with God bears the fruit of adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.

Good point!
Willows
Posts: 2,053
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7/14/2016 8:58:38 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/13/2016 8:29:04 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
The God concept:

Difficult to get away from. Probably will never happen in a relatively free-of-thought society. The concept existed as far as we can historically count backwards, and no less significant today. Even, as we all know, the most noted militant atheists concede to the possibility of a God/god/gods (or creator), even if relegated to an extraterrestrial/panspermia format. Keeping in mind, the general attitude among strident atheists (and agnostics) is not that God/god/gods does/do not exist, but that there doesn't seem to be any evidence to make any significant proclamation concerning.

Impersonal God Problem:

This problem reaches far back in the history books as well, and no less existent today. We often hear how the ancients had primitive views of God/god/gods, and that primitive view perpetually crossed the barriers of time to modern day. I would concede that some, or many of the ancients did have primitive views. I actually prefer to say they had inaccurate views in that I don't think a lot of the views today are any less inaccurate. Many of the ancients believed that their impersonal (the problem) national symbolic deity got mad at times, evidenced by dying crops, natural disasters, etc.. And when this impersonal deity got mad, he/she/it had to be appeased somehow, which at times lead to sacrificing, including human lives.

Today, we have what is considered progressive views of God (i'll use "God" now to encompass the 3 previous references). The idea of one God seems a bit too primitive for some, so a more alleged progressive view is often employed suggesting God to be one-with-all (or the universe), including humans, animals, any other form of life, or just more pluralistic (God being many gods, including the various deities in world religions). The idea of a personal God appears to some as primitive, and such a God would be petty. For instance, the idea of God requiring worship would appear petty. After all, when we go to a national park, we don't expect animals, lower life forms (on the evolutionary latter) to worship us as we're driving in, setting up camp, etc. We just want them to do what they normally do, and we can just observe and enjoy watching them as they carry on in their natural affairs. We (humans) are not so petty as to require worship from lower life forms. So therefore, such a God would Himself have to be petty to require such a thing.

My position is that there really is not much of a difference between the ancients and modern day humanists. Today is merely a page or chapter in the history of inaccurate depictions of God. We do seem to have more humanism today than in the past (particularly, or supposedly, in first world countries). But humanism is merely the decorated living room section of someone's house. There's still the dirty laundry that has to be dealt with, usually not in view of incoming guests. And just as the modern washing machine is the required tool (or soap, water, scrub brush) to wash/clean dirty clothing, the personal God is what is required in dealing with individual and collective dirty laundry that we're subject to in our personal lives, media news outlets, etc. Just as necessary (really even more) as the need to wash clothing. Not dealing with the symbolic dirty laundry of sin is akin to not washing one's clothing. If you don't wash your clothing you're going to have serious problems. You'll offend many, or you'll run up a huge bill having to constantly buy new clothes, having dirty clothes continually piling up. And I think this depiction speaks accurately of human history including our modern humanistic era.

I like the analogy. But don't you think that having a personal God is going to eventually lead one to be more self-centred?
bulproof
Posts: 25,225
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7/14/2016 11:20:08 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/13/2016 8:29:04 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
This problem reaches far back in the history books as well, and no less existent today. We often hear how the ancients had primitive views of God/god/gods, and that primitive view perpetually crossed the barriers of time to modern day. I would concede that some, or many of the ancients did have primitive views. I actually prefer to say they had inaccurate views in that I don't think a lot of the views today are any less inaccurate. Many of the ancients believed that their impersonal (the problem) national symbolic deity got mad at times, evidenced by dying crops, natural disasters, etc.. And when this impersonal deity got mad, he/she/it had to be appeased somehow, which at times lead to sacrificing, including human lives.
In this you are describing a personal god, a god who responds to and reacts to his creations, the god of the bible is a perfect example of the god you claim.
Religion is just mind control. George Carlin
RoderickSpode
Posts: 2,372
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7/14/2016 1:21:18 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/14/2016 8:58:38 AM, Willows wrote:
At 7/13/2016 8:29:04 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
The God concept:

Difficult to get away from. Probably will never happen in a relatively free-of-thought society. The concept existed as far as we can historically count backwards, and no less significant today. Even, as we all know, the most noted militant atheists concede to the possibility of a God/god/gods (or creator), even if relegated to an extraterrestrial/panspermia format. Keeping in mind, the general attitude among strident atheists (and agnostics) is not that God/god/gods does/do not exist, but that there doesn't seem to be any evidence to make any significant proclamation concerning.

Impersonal God Problem:

This problem reaches far back in the history books as well, and no less existent today. We often hear how the ancients had primitive views of God/god/gods, and that primitive view perpetually crossed the barriers of time to modern day. I would concede that some, or many of the ancients did have primitive views. I actually prefer to say they had inaccurate views in that I don't think a lot of the views today are any less inaccurate. Many of the ancients believed that their impersonal (the problem) national symbolic deity got mad at times, evidenced by dying crops, natural disasters, etc.. And when this impersonal deity got mad, he/she/it had to be appeased somehow, which at times lead to sacrificing, including human lives.

Today, we have what is considered progressive views of God (i'll use "God" now to encompass the 3 previous references). The idea of one God seems a bit too primitive for some, so a more alleged progressive view is often employed suggesting God to be one-with-all (or the universe), including humans, animals, any other form of life, or just more pluralistic (God being many gods, including the various deities in world religions). The idea of a personal God appears to some as primitive, and such a God would be petty. For instance, the idea of God requiring worship would appear petty. After all, when we go to a national park, we don't expect animals, lower life forms (on the evolutionary latter) to worship us as we're driving in, setting up camp, etc. We just want them to do what they normally do, and we can just observe and enjoy watching them as they carry on in their natural affairs. We (humans) are not so petty as to require worship from lower life forms. So therefore, such a God would Himself have to be petty to require such a thing.

My position is that there really is not much of a difference between the ancients and modern day humanists. Today is merely a page or chapter in the history of inaccurate depictions of God. We do seem to have more humanism today than in the past (particularly, or supposedly, in first world countries). But humanism is merely the decorated living room section of someone's house. There's still the dirty laundry that has to be dealt with, usually not in view of incoming guests. And just as the modern washing machine is the required tool (or soap, water, scrub brush) to wash/clean dirty clothing, the personal God is what is required in dealing with individual and collective dirty laundry that we're subject to in our personal lives, media news outlets, etc. Just as necessary (really even more) as the need to wash clothing. Not dealing with the symbolic dirty laundry of sin is akin to not washing one's clothing. If you don't wash your clothing you're going to have serious problems. You'll offend many, or you'll run up a huge bill having to constantly buy new clothes, having dirty clothes continually piling up. And I think this depiction speaks accurately of human history including our modern humanistic era.

I like the analogy. But don't you think that having a personal God is going to eventually lead one to be more self-centred?
To be honest, no. I think if someone has a self-centeredness problem, it's not really going to matter what their view of God is. From a Christian perspective, being self-centered is a negative. But it might depend on what you mean by personal God. Out of curiosity, why do you feel that a personal god will lead one to self-centeredness?
RoderickSpode
Posts: 2,372
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7/14/2016 1:22:57 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/14/2016 11:20:08 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 7/13/2016 8:29:04 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
This problem reaches far back in the history books as well, and no less existent today. We often hear how the ancients had primitive views of God/god/gods, and that primitive view perpetually crossed the barriers of time to modern day. I would concede that some, or many of the ancients did have primitive views. I actually prefer to say they had inaccurate views in that I don't think a lot of the views today are any less inaccurate. Many of the ancients believed that their impersonal (the problem) national symbolic deity got mad at times, evidenced by dying crops, natural disasters, etc.. And when this impersonal deity got mad, he/she/it had to be appeased somehow, which at times lead to sacrificing, including human lives.
In this you are describing a personal god, a god who responds to and reacts to his creations, the god of the bible is a perfect example of the god you claim.
That is correct.
Willows
Posts: 2,053
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7/15/2016 8:27:40 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/14/2016 1:21:18 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
At 7/14/2016 8:58:38 AM, Willows wrote:
At 7/13/2016 8:29:04 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
The God concept:

Difficult to get away from. Probably will never happen in a relatively free-of-thought society. The concept existed as far as we can historically count backwards, and no less significant today. Even, as we all know, the most noted militant atheists concede to the possibility of a God/god/gods (or creator), even if relegated to an extraterrestrial/panspermia format. Keeping in mind, the general attitude among strident atheists (and agnostics) is not that God/god/gods does/do not exist, but that there doesn't seem to be any evidence to make any significant proclamation concerning.

Impersonal God Problem:

This problem reaches far back in the history books as well, and no less existent today. We often hear how the ancients had primitive views of God/god/gods, and that primitive view perpetually crossed the barriers of time to modern day. I would concede that some, or many of the ancients did have primitive views. I actually prefer to say they had inaccurate views in that I don't think a lot of the views today are any less inaccurate. Many of the ancients believed that their impersonal (the problem) national symbolic deity got mad at times, evidenced by dying crops, natural disasters, etc.. And when this impersonal deity got mad, he/she/it had to be appeased somehow, which at times lead to sacrificing, including human lives.

Today, we have what is considered progressive views of God (i'll use "God" now to encompass the 3 previous references). The idea of one God seems a bit too primitive for some, so a more alleged progressive view is often employed suggesting God to be one-with-all (or the universe), including humans, animals, any other form of life, or just more pluralistic (God being many gods, including the various deities in world religions). The idea of a personal God appears to some as primitive, and such a God would be petty. For instance, the idea of God requiring worship would appear petty. After all, when we go to a national park, we don't expect animals, lower life forms (on the evolutionary latter) to worship us as we're driving in, setting up camp, etc. We just want them to do what they normally do, and we can just observe and enjoy watching them as they carry on in their natural affairs. We (humans) are not so petty as to require worship from lower life forms. So therefore, such a God would Himself have to be petty to require such a thing.

My position is that there really is not much of a difference between the ancients and modern day humanists. Today is merely a page or chapter in the history of inaccurate depictions of God. We do seem to have more humanism today than in the past (particularly, or supposedly, in first world countries). But humanism is merely the decorated living room section of someone's house. There's still the dirty laundry that has to be dealt with, usually not in view of incoming guests. And just as the modern washing machine is the required tool (or soap, water, scrub brush) to wash/clean dirty clothing, the personal God is what is required in dealing with individual and collective dirty laundry that we're subject to in our personal lives, media news outlets, etc. Just as necessary (really even more) as the need to wash clothing. Not dealing with the symbolic dirty laundry of sin is akin to not washing one's clothing. If you don't wash your clothing you're going to have serious problems. You'll offend many, or you'll run up a huge bill having to constantly buy new clothes, having dirty clothes continually piling up. And I think this depiction speaks accurately of human history including our modern humanistic era.

I like the analogy. But don't you think that having a personal God is going to eventually lead one to be more self-centred?
To be honest, no. I think if someone has a self-centeredness problem, it's not really going to matter what their view of God is. From a Christian perspective, being self-centered is a negative. But it might depend on what you mean by personal God. Out of curiosity, why do you feel that a personal god will lead one to self-centeredness?

I guess it is from experience at being told in church that I am special, that greater things await me and that God has a plan for me.
RoderickSpode
Posts: 2,372
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7/15/2016 2:07:57 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 7/15/2016 8:27:40 AM, Willows wrote:
At 7/14/2016 1:21:18 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
At 7/14/2016 8:58:38 AM, Willows wrote:
At 7/13/2016 8:29:04 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
The God concept:

Difficult to get away from. Probably will never happen in a relatively free-of-thought society. The concept existed as far as we can historically count backwards, and no less significant today. Even, as we all know, the most noted militant atheists concede to the possibility of a God/god/gods (or creator), even if relegated to an extraterrestrial/panspermia format. Keeping in mind, the general attitude among strident atheists (and agnostics) is not that God/god/gods does/do not exist, but that there doesn't seem to be any evidence to make any significant proclamation concerning.

Impersonal God Problem:

This problem reaches far back in the history books as well, and no less existent today. We often hear how the ancients had primitive views of God/god/gods, and that primitive view perpetually crossed the barriers of time to modern day. I would concede that some, or many of the ancients did have primitive views. I actually prefer to say they had inaccurate views in that I don't think a lot of the views today are any less inaccurate. Many of the ancients believed that their impersonal (the problem) national symbolic deity got mad at times, evidenced by dying crops, natural disasters, etc.. And when this impersonal deity got mad, he/she/it had to be appeased somehow, which at times lead to sacrificing, including human lives.

Today, we have what is considered progressive views of God (i'll use "God" now to encompass the 3 previous references). The idea of one God seems a bit too primitive for some, so a more alleged progressive view is often employed suggesting God to be one-with-all (or the universe), including humans, animals, any other form of life, or just more pluralistic (God being many gods, including the various deities in world religions). The idea of a personal God appears to some as primitive, and such a God would be petty. For instance, the idea of God requiring worship would appear petty. After all, when we go to a national park, we don't expect animals, lower life forms (on the evolutionary latter) to worship us as we're driving in, setting up camp, etc. We just want them to do what they normally do, and we can just observe and enjoy watching them as they carry on in their natural affairs. We (humans) are not so petty as to require worship from lower life forms. So therefore, such a God would Himself have to be petty to require such a thing.

My position is that there really is not much of a difference between the ancients and modern day humanists. Today is merely a page or chapter in the history of inaccurate depictions of God. We do seem to have more humanism today than in the past (particularly, or supposedly, in first world countries). But humanism is merely the decorated living room section of someone's house. There's still the dirty laundry that has to be dealt with, usually not in view of incoming guests. And just as the modern washing machine is the required tool (or soap, water, scrub brush) to wash/clean dirty clothing, the personal God is what is required in dealing with individual and collective dirty laundry that we're subject to in our personal lives, media news outlets, etc. Just as necessary (really even more) as the need to wash clothing. Not dealing with the symbolic dirty laundry of sin is akin to not washing one's clothing. If you don't wash your clothing you're going to have serious problems. You'll offend many, or you'll run up a huge bill having to constantly buy new clothes, having dirty clothes continually piling up. And I think this depiction speaks accurately of human history including our modern humanistic era.

I like the analogy. But don't you think that having a personal God is going to eventually lead one to be more self-centred?
To be honest, no. I think if someone has a self-centeredness problem, it's not really going to matter what their view of God is. From a Christian perspective, being self-centered is a negative. But it might depend on what you mean by personal God. Out of curiosity, why do you feel that a personal god will lead one to self-centeredness?

I guess it is from experience at being told in church that I am special, that greater things await me and that God has a plan for me.
Yes, I've seen that reference to someone being special quite a bit. But certainly not relegated to Christians. I think in most cases whether it's in a church, or just a parent telling their child with no religious affiliation, it's aimed at producing self-confidence and high self-esteem, but not to produce an ego-maniac. And quite frankly, it's not inaccurate statement. You, and every single individual is special. And I think that's the common theme/understanding in most arenas where someone is told this. It's not to single them out, but to let them know they're of high value.