QUOTE(Hey Hey @ Jan 16, 2010, 01:10 AM)
It's strange how god was designed to resemble a politician - all talk and no action.
Excellent point, HH.
Most of you are aware by now, that I lived out my childhood during the Great Depression--1930-1939. I also saw WW 2, close-up--1939-1945. For me it was a time of poverty and danger. I experienced seeing the death of four members of my family, including a brother, a sister, her entire family, and my parents. War, also, brought death and destruction to my home town (69 young merchant-seamen died in action). I lived under no illusion that there was a god up there answering yes to all our prayers, looking after all our needs and filling all his creation with sweetness and light, all the time.
At 15/16 I was a strong skeptic and almost became and atheist. Instead, as a university student I decided, with the help of the arts and sciences to search for a definition of 'god' that made sense to me.
Looking back I now realize what theists and atheists have in common: They both think of 'god' as a supernatural being. On page 31 of, The GOD Delusion, Richard Dawkins defines what he calls the God Hypothesis. He writes : there exists a superhuman, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us.
With the same definition in mind his book advocates an alternative view: Any creative intelligence of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into existence only as the end product of an extended process of gradual evolution.
Having given this definition, he goes on to say: "Creative intelligences [I presume he means us] being evolved, necessarily arrive late in the universe, and therefore cannot be responsible for designing it. God, in the sense defined, is an illusion; and as later chapters will show, a pernicious [destructive, false, deadly] delusion."
If I understand what he writes, Richard Dawkins is saying that, theists and atheists both have the same definition of 'god' as a "superhuman and supernatural being". However, here is how they differ: Theists, without any concrete evidence whatsoever, simply believe in and live out their lives based on what they think of as a great truth: God will reward all good and faithful believers and give them eternal and glorious lives in the hereafter. Some theists teach that non believers will simply die. More conservative theists threaten--again with no evidence--that non believers, who refuse to repent, will go to a pain-filled hell. If the theists are right: Believers will be rewarded with eternal life in a beautiful heaven. Not a bad deal. And it has lots of incentive.
On the other hand, according to RD, atheism offers very little, or no, reward. Like theists--again without any evidence--atheists are expected to be content to spend the rest of their short lives trying to convince anyone willing to listen to them that they are right and that theists are wrong. The only prize atheism offers is: If you are lucky, you will have a good life and die peacefully. For the many millions who will live miserably and die the same way, the rewards is simply death. Compared with theism, not much of a reward, or incentive here.
Are these the only two choices we have, the choice between theism and atheism? IMO, of course not. There is another choice: We can choose to evolve physically, mentally and spiritually to be at one with all that is--at one with GOD--forever. Again no evidence, but it certainly sounds good and rewarding.
With this in mind, here is a revision of my last post:
SIN HAPPENS WHEN WE CONSCIOUSLY CHOOSE TO DO EVIL TO SELF AND OTHERS. BUT WE ARE FREE TO CHOOSE THE GOOD LIFE
Up spoke the spirit-filled--i.e., morally self-aware pneumatologists, philosophers and prophets:
"We are not talking about a god as a dimensional being, one who can be designed. Such a god is an idol. We speak of G0
d as the spark of moral spirituality, which dwells in each of us and inspires us to take action. We speak of GO
D--an acronym, not a noun--as that spark in all creation which draws us take action as we eternally evolve, or unfold into life. This spirit will help us understand what created all this chaos:
"It happened when we abused our free will. Foolishly, we used it to choose evil, not the good. For selfish and evil reasons, some of us became greedy for wealth and power. Instead of choosing to serve one another and create a commonwealth, some of us chose the way of power and dictatorship. Foolishly, we thought that there is a shortage of wealth and power and that for us to have any we had to force others to give us theirs and serve us. If we are among those who chose the foolish way of power and greed it is always a good idea to change our minds--to repent.
"Most of us, because we lost our power and wealth, also, foolishly assumed that there is a shortage. Because of this we became slothful, blind to the possibilities and apathetic about our opportunities. We buried our talents. And we allowed corrupt politicians, put in power by the equally corrupt business leaders, especially the corrupt bankers--to control us and keep in debt and bondage. If we are in this group now is our opportunity to be aware, to wake up and repent: They did it before and, unless we stay awake, they will do it, again!"
BTW, there is a difference between good and bad religions, between good and wise philosophers and prophets and those who are not. Of course there have always been great and self-sacrificing moral leaders like Socrates, Aristotle, the Hebrew and Gentile prophets of the Old and New Testaments, the many sages from the east, the great reformers from the Middle Ages onwards, even to this day. Such have risked, and still risk, their very lives in standing up to the hirelings, clergy and lay, in control of bad, highly organized and non-democratic religions. Strongly desiring to maintain their own position of privilege and power, such corrupt leaders, even now, often remain silent, or openly cooperate with the powers that be.
In the face of this, I am sure all good people agree that, "The price of freedom is constant vigilance?" Knowing this then, are we willing to choose to be at one with all that good, orderly and desirable--to support good leaders and have the wisdom and courage to pay the price?