Recently I have been participating in a thread here
regarding the nature
of God, Jesus (presuming he existed), the idea of the Trinity, and various interpretations of such over the ages.
A member stated to me "God is a person", after I had said: "God is not a person".
So, I thought to myself I will google "God is not a person" and see what comes up.
I found this very interesting essay regarding the struggles of modern society to reconcile the idea of "GOD" (a universal force and the cause of
everything, IMO) with what we now know and are increasingly discovering about the universe. We must assume the universe is perfect as it is, and that
it works, in ways we are not entirely aware of (and perhaps may never be).
First, I looked up Thomas Paine's brilliant American-Revolution-Era essay The Age of Reason (wiki
. The text is available in full online, and I urge everyone who enjoys this forum to READ IT. This man wrote at the time of the Founding
of the USA.
The ideas he presented were shared by many, and even then were not "new". His message is particularly applicable to our times, and in presenting them
I hope to open some honest dialogue into the history of this country's "religiosity", the faiths of antiquity, and science AS A RELIGION.
Paine's book followed in the tradition of early eighteenth-century British deism. These deists, while maintaining individual positions, still
shared several sets of assumptions and arguments that Paine articulated in The Age of Reason.
The most important position that united the early deists was their call for "free rational inquiry" into all subjects, especially religion. Saying
that early Christianity was founded on freedom of conscience, they demanded religious toleration and an end to religious persecution.
They also demanded that debate rest on reason and rationality. Deists embraced a Newtonian worldview, and they believed all things in the universe,
even God, must obey the laws of nature. Without a concept of natural law, the deists argued, explanations of the workings of nature would descend into
irrationality. This belief in natural law drove their skepticism of miracles.
Because miracles had to be observed to be validated, deists rejected the accounts laid out in the Bible of God's miracles and argued that such
evidence was neither sufficient nor necessary to prove the existence of God. Along these lines, deistic writings insisted that God, as the first cause
or prime mover, had created and designed the universe with natural laws as part of his plan.
They hold that God does not repeatedly alter his plan by suspending natural laws to (miraculously) intervene in human affairs. Deists also rejected
the claim that there was only one revealed religious Truth or "one true faith"; religion could only be "simple, apparent, ordinary, and universal" if
it was to be the logical product of a benevolent God. They therefore distinguished between "revealed religions" (which they rejected), such as
Christianity, and "natural religion", a set of universal beliefs derived from the natural world that demonstrated God's existence (they were, thus,
It is sad to me that nowadays every college student is not compelled to take courses in Western Civ, or indeed in ANY philosophy or history, but are
more fast-tracked into technical schools. Humanity is losing a lot
by ignoring the Humanities
(the classics of
literature) as necessary subjects of higher education.
Paine asserts that
It is only in the CREATION that all our ideas and conceptions of a word of God can unite. The Creation speaketh
an universal language, independently of human speech or human language, multiplied and various as they be. It is an ever existing original, which
every man can read.
It cannot be forged;
it cannot be counterfeited;
it cannot be lost;
it cannot be altered;
it cannot be suppressed.
It does not depend upon the will of man whether it shall be published or not; it publishes itself from one end of the earth to the other. It preaches
to all nations and to all worlds; and this word of God reveals to man all that is necessary for man to know of God.
I hold this to be self-evident.
Now, to continue with the next online source I found:
God is Reality Personified, Not a Person
God is not a person; God is a mythic personification of reality. If we miss this we miss everything.
ALL images and concepts of God are more or less meaningful interpretations and personifications. And it didn't take a genius to figure out that if
you trust, or have faith, in what is ultimately inescapable, your life works better than if you judge or resist what is real. This is not theological
Religion Is About Right Relationship to Reality, Not the Supernatural
All religions offer maps of what's real and what's important. So contends philosopher-of-religion Loyal Rue in his 2006 book, Religion Is Not About
God (Youtube clip here). Religions offer practices, too, that help adherents live in right relationship with each other, their society, and with
reality as a whole—regardless of how that "reality" is mythically personified.
Darwin didn't kill God. To the contrary, he and Alfred Russel Wallace offered the first glimpse of the real Creator behind and beyond the world's
myriad mythic portrayals of reality.
The author (and this one is current, not 200+years old) makes a good analogy between mankind's ideas about "GOD", and the movie Castaway:
...scholars of comparative religion and/or evolutionary psychology and neurobiology remind us that we cannot understand religion and religious
differences if we don't understand how the human mind instinctually relationalizes, or personifies, reality. (Shermer refers to this deep-seated
tendency as "agenticity".)
Think of the movie "Castaway" with Tom Hanks. The personified volleyball, Wilson, was the only thing that kept Hank's character sane (sort of).
[color=prange]Evidence from a wide range of disciplines, from cognitive neuroscience to anthropology to cross-cultural studies of the world's myths
and religions, all support the claim that God is (and always has been) an interpretation, a personification. Furthermore, there is no counter-evidence
supporting the claim that God is a person! This fact alone makes sense of the hundreds of competing stories around the world as to what God supposedly
said or did.
ATS, as we head into the secular holiday season, perhaps thoughts are turning to the meaning of the winter holidays, to be succeeded by the spring
holidays. It is well established these holidays were attached to pagan festivals in order to make the pagans more comfortable.
Unfortunately, too many nowadays take the Bible as a literal history and fact book. Those of you on ATS with strong faith should find no "offense" in
this thread; those of you with agnostic or atheist beliefs/leanings should find some reason and sanity in them.
I wish for everyone here a pleasant season, replete with all its greetings and well wishes.
In the spirit of the site's motto: Let us deny ignorance. I extend to you my hand and heart, in good faith.
edit on 30-11-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)