Well, ‘my God’, the one envisioned in my head from childhood through the present, doesn’t know everything there is to know all at once. But can find out without too much hassle.
All powerful (meaning capable of doing anything but not necessarily using it most or even much of the time) – would include the capability of finding out things.
All good – well, no – I think God is a combination of the best and the worst of all humanity is ever capable of. If we are created in God’s image, then God was in Hitler’s soul as much as Mother Teresa’s soul. It is all a matter of whether or not we ignore it or push it away, or how much we do so.
Do I believe in evil? No. I believe that there is a scale of things we understand, and things that are beyond us to understand. And when something happens that we don’t understand that displeases us, or makes us violently ill to even think about it, we call it bad or even evil, as catagorizing is how most people deal with things, because it allows us to have somewhat of a grasp as to what’s going on.
You see only what you are looking for.
Why? To a dog, we probably seem to know everything. But we don’t.
What we might call omniscent, God says, “Oh no – I just know how to take care of your needs. But there are forces that I can’t control that are beyond me, and beyond your understanding – so I won’t bother to explain them.” I don’t know everything, and I don’t want to, frankly. Three hundred years from now, schoolchildren will know things that are far beyond our comprehension. But, you see, these aren’t just 5 year old boys and girls that know more than we will know. These are 5 year olds that have the benefit of an extra 300 years of human development than we have had.
If this child came back three hundred years and told us about some truths about ourselves that we can’t even comprehend, we were either string him up by his… toenails… disregard him, or bow down.
Relativity is a human concept. Who says God pays attention (or even cares) about everything? God set the universe in motion, and lets things take their course. Perhaps we are part of God’s host of computer systems that keep track of the goings on.
And if I am talking to myself when I pray, or when I can’t take life anymore and say, “PLEASE PLEASE Help Me!!!”, and I get the help that I need – does it really matter? If it brings me a larger slice of inner peace than I had before, and if I “really” am only fooling myself, does it matter?
I gave up on the search for absolute truth because it is a futile search for me. Others with more intelligence and drive will be able to carry out that search, and perhaps a few generations down the road, we’ll be a step or two closer to a universal understanding.
Again, we’re placing human limitations here. Besides, you know that the universe (as far as we know) has at least five dimensions:
Breadth \ The four we can perceive or at least visualize easily
Space —> The one we can “see” through theory and observation of the planets and solar bodies
Now, you don’t care for the idea of omniscience (sp?).
Let’s say we’re two dimensional creatures on a three dimensional universe, living on planets that we consider to be two dimensional, just like us.
We happily travel left and right on our planets, and see a number of planets “out there”, which also share our characteristics – but they travel in strange paths.
If you are in the center of this spherical universe, you will be able to see *everything* that goes on. Your method of gathering information will be a little esoteric – wouldn’t be sound – perhaps light – perhaps using mind, and having a mind capable of filtering out (or putting into storage) all of the mundane common things. When the two-dimensional people need your assistance, through ritual, they contact you. When you “hear” them, you are able to recall what they have done, what has happened, and provide them with advice that they need to hear.
One step further – you aren’t just INSIDE this spherical universe. You *ARE* this spherical universe. How else can something be omniscent unless the being are actually part of your ‘body’, connected to your consciousness?
The Islamic God (my mother was married to an Egyption back in the early 1980’s, which was neat :-> ) is not much different than the God of the Hebrews or the “God of the Old Testement”, plus the ideas of Jesus (which Muslims recognizes as a great prophet).
As long as you are a theist of some sort, you have my utmost respect.
Whether you feel that God is a number of separate beings, or God is a collective consciousness, as long as your beliefs bring you peace, then that is all that matters.
What’s wrong with an omni-all-that-stuff God? If you’re going to ask someone’s help, ask someone who knows more about what’s going on than you do.
Well, yes – they’re trying to explain something that can only be explained through metaphors, parables, similies, and all that jazz.
If words could explain it, then it would be a human concept.
If words can’t explain it – then whose concept is it?
Universal agreement is a goal that we perhaps will never acheive.
But we can try. Unitarian Universalism is trying it their own way, just as mystics try it in their own way, just as scientists are trying it in their own way
Really? Knowing about one’s place in the universe is an unexplainable thing. The best of mystics can explain it just as badly as I can (who is not a mystic). When there is shared ritual, or shared language with a common religious background, explaining these things becomes easier – but only for those bent in the same way.
Helping people on the “outside” to understand is an infinately more difficult task, and one I hope that UU will help with.
ou can view it as that. And part of me does.
But there is a balance there as well. Anything we do is the most insignificant thing we can do, but at the same time, there is nothing we can do that is more important. You seem to understand this, which is good.
They came up with this but in different words. How much difference is there in being in awe of the probable size of the Universe and our place in it, versus being in awe of the awesome power of God?
Switch Universe for God, and its surprising how much more sense the Bible can make. If you stop thinking of God as a really really smart person, and start thinking of God as a force which combines the collective consciousness of all of its parts – it makes more sense.
Possibly. But as a helping force in the world, is it better to think of oneself as:
“I am basically nothing special”
or to think of oneself as:
“I am someone important, with the capacity for greatness”
[assuming you manage to humble yourself once in a while]
The place of the mystics is to subtly influence people, not to attain greatness by their own doing.
Was Jesus a mystic?
Part of the keys of mysticism, thought, seems to be this: [and I may or may not agree with this]
“Without sufficient knowledge, you need to have faith” “With sufficient knowledge, you don’t need faith”
Or, Douglas Adams in his “Hitchiker’s Guide” series (which it seems you’ve read, heard the radio series, or seen the TV series :-> ) had something to say about man facing God.
If man faces God, God cannot exist, because God can only be known through faith – or known only by *not* knowing. The only way to know the unknown is by not knowing it.
I think John said a couple of things to this effect in his writings in the Bible, as well.
I’m still plugging away at “The History of God”, but it’s quite fastinating. Yes – she says that God evolves as human need evolves and changes. But God doesn’t really change all that much. The words used may change, but the basic concepts are very similar.
One place that I disagreed with her immediately (in a book that I otherwise *have* to agree in because she knows more than I do in the specifics :-> ) is where she says that we are in a unique period of history, regarding our beliefs in God, the period of time where it was popular to *not* believe in God, etc. This is nothing new. But I guess every generation wants to believe that their generation is completely unique, that the generation before them didn’t know what they were talking about, and the generation coming up is doomed.
I wouldn’t be surprised. Even if a belief in something greater is a holdout from childhood, where everything is mysterious and unknown, but slowly comes into focus, a piece at a time… or a belief in something greater is a need for protection – a need for a surrogate guardian when there is no human one… or a belief in something greater is hard wired into the brain, a human function based on: peculiar synapse firings, hormonal balance, tricks on the optic nerve, whichever… I will still believe.
I’m not always looking for absolute truth. I’m looking for enlightenment and peace. Besides, I hold a very skeptical eye to certain kinds of scientific achievements, especially those which try to explain the nonexistance of God. I listen to them, I try to see where they fit, and sometimes I even accept them as possibilities.
But I was never one who was big on destroying another person’s ‘illusions’. So if mine are, in fact, illusions, then I still refuse to destroy them, because they help, they give me focus, they move me forward in this life, where otherwise I would have been more apathetic.
God is only good if God is useful.
How do we know if we *are* or *were* right, or wrong? Past ideas are refuted, facts are only theories that are repeatable – but a single exception removes them from the realm of pure fact, and into “true for most occasions, but in these instancances, something else holds true instead”.
Perhaps. But I think we have plenty more illusions that we’re actively involved with, you and I both, that we’re simply not aware of yet.
I’d hesistate calling anything “the last of the great…” because a couple of generations ahead of us, they’ll laugh at the illusions that *we* held so dearly as “truth”.
The universe may not be designed to be kind, but its not the universe that is being cruel – it is the person with their dearly held “truth” that they simply *must* share with this greiving widow. “My truth is better than your truth”. Bunk.
It’s a matter of semantics, but yes. I’m not a mystic, though. I never studied mystics, have any prior knowledge of mystics – I’m only going on the description of mystics that you and others presented in this forum. Speaking for myself, internal peace is important. A drive for something greater doesn’t have to be driven by ANGER, which is the way many people use to move ahead and make changes.
But respect and kindness will get you further, Larry. Using words like delusional will not win other over.
ut is that TRUTH? How do you know? If all there is, is all that we see, Larry – then we are painting ourselves as Gods.
There is *more* than what we can SEE, Larry. Even you must acknowledge that.
I’m partially blind and partially deaf, Larry. My left ear is mostly useless except for the lowest pipe organ tones. My right ear only hears up to 5000 hertz (most people hear up to 20,000 hertz). I was shocked once when I was at a pipe organ recital, and the performer moved up the scale, didn’t play a few notes, and then went back down. Like a bolt of lightening it hit me! I turned to my friend “Did he just play notes there???” “You didn’t hear them?”
My right eye is mostly useless, except for perhipheral vision, and my left eye isn’t too great either, although glasses correct the left eye to 20/20.
Is all there is based in all that we can see?
If, indeed, there is more to the world than I can see, or that I can hear, then simple LOGIC states that there is more to the world than I can comprehend.
In the land of blind men, the one eyed man rules the kingdom.
No. I’m not stating that you not challenge. But there is a way to be kind about it. Someone won’t acknowledge your ideas as correct if you don’t extend the possibility that they might be correct.
It is a risk. I’m starting to realize that I’m at fault as much as I claimed that you were, Larry. *bonking myself upside the head for not seeing it sooner* I guess I do side with the mystic over the rationalist, all the while ‘assuming’ that I was even-handed. Blech – I was trying to debunk rationalist arguments as much as you were trying to debunk mystic arguments.
I think so. I’m actually enjoying this – this is the first debate I allowed myself to get into in quite a long time
You don’t have to. You’ve perfectly free to continue to hold onto your beliefs.
It’s a symbol. We need and use symbols to represent concepts often impossible to grasp otherwise.
Perhaps heaven was once thought up as 20 miles above the earth because God was really history’s greatest con-man. A glowing cloud above Mt. Siani (sp?) – it rumbled fiercely – a glowing cloud above the manger during the day and a bright shining “star” at night… Elijah (or was it the other “E” guy) taken up in a chariot of fire? Jesus ascending into heaven after 20 days? I hold these out as actual *possibilities* because my science-fiction mind concocted these ideas and they make UFO-sense.
Does this lessen my belief in God? No.
I’ve always gotten a kick out of that as well The more deeply we try to imagine infinity, it ends up turning into a feeling – a feeling of being part of something amazingly more complex and deep than we can rationalize.
We manipulate Pi. We will never manipulate it accurately. But we can make a “working assumption” about it, and use it up to only a certain level of precision. This is one of my qualms about those seeking a rational basis for everything. (which I don’t think you do – it seems that you have a certain level of respect for the mystic’s way, otherwise you wouldn’t be fighting it)
I think it was the choice of words that some were having trouble with. Calling it “comfort” seemed to lessen its power, and some don’t like that. To some, it even appeared demeaning, as it was attacking just by the use of the word, some core beliefs. And no one likes their core beliefs attacked.
I took part in arguing with you in calling it an illusion, because it was a challenge – and its the first one in a while that’s gotten me into an enjoyable debate. Did it offend me? Nah – but the words did pop in my head, “That ain’t right!” :->
I don’t care for that kind of arrogance in mystics, or anyone else. But I am a culprit to participating in the game of arrogance, and for that, I am sorry.
I agree with the mystics in theory, though – if local fables help some get a greater understanding of greater concepts, then so be it – if it works for you, use it. As long as it doesn’t hurt anybody.
I disagree. I know people who adopt rationalism as a stance to avoid answering the unanswerable, by calling it bunk. Anyone can rationalize anything. They can’t prove anything, except that, “if you follow this line of logic from the beginning to the end, you will come to the same conclusion that I did”. It’s repeatable. Great. Doesn’t make it any righter.