I was reading an article about a study on nonbelieving pastors, and was somewhat intrigued by a rather tricky way of defining the word "god". Here's a short quote from one pastor.
“...I still think the word has some value in some contexts. So I think the word God can be used very expressively in some of my more meditative modes. I’ve thought of God as a kind of poetry that’s written by human beings. As a way of dealing with the fact that we’re finite; we’re vulnerable.”
when talking to him when I was little I told him , look , I dont really know what your name is , so I'm just going to call you God cause that is what I was taught, I dont get into the whole religious scene , I mean gee if there is one thing religons can agree on is that there is a God or Spriitual presence , they just like to argue who that presence is ,
The word "God" to me is a synonym. Just as we call our earthly parents by different names such as Mom, Mommy, Mother, etc; so do we call our heavenly father by different names. To me, he is God. To others, he is Jehovah. And so on....
Good Morning everyone.. Gotta go to work in a few . But had to have my forum fix. This is a good question that every believer and non believer should contemplate before settling for a simple answer. This requires some thought. I'm starting by borrowing bible concepts.
When asked who he was, he answered "I Am" He is in everything. He is everywhere. We can not see him yet he sees us and feels us. This is when we feel him. He is not just some Santa Clause type fellow that sits over there watching us saying NO NO NO. He is IN everything that we do. He IS ..you ..and ..ME . He is US but we are not HIM.
Now I'm gettig confused.
I think that the short answer would have to simply be; "HE IS" He IS what we are.. and "everything" that we are not.
I think that there is a higher inteligent life source/form that interveins for our human race. I don't know, something like a baby in the womb having its mom as its higher power, Being conciousely aware of it's little universe. Not knowing its place in the outside universe out side of where it is. The baby does not know if it will be born into an existence of Love or dispaire. Unless it is connected in some way to its mothers consciousness. Something kinda like this if that makes any scence???
Your latest edit "..the UNKNOWABLE..in the flesh" indicates something I just wish to clarify. I had thought you were describing a creative, intelligent life force, but the last line you added indicates something more. Not only a sentient being, but a corporeal one as well.
Not arguing, just seeking to understand what you're saying.
It just doesn't always make sense, even when it should.
But thanks for being willing to share your perspective with me on this. I know your instinct for me must be one of mistrust, given our past encounters, and maybe that's why you speak so vaguely and unclearly, as a way to avoid being pinned down by people you feel would argue your viewpoint.
But really, in this thread I don't personally want to argue about it. I just wondered how many different definitions might come up, and among them how many would resemble that of the anonymous pastor I quoted.
I know people define god in many, many different ways. I was unused to the term being used in the way the pastor did, wherein god is the term used to indicate a search for the unknowable. In his quote, god isn't the unknowable, god is the search for the unknowable.
Forgive me Deborah for asking more questions of you. Do you define god as a being people might have a personal relationship with in any way? Is there a "salvation" involved? Is the intelligent, creative, sentient and corporeal being you've described concerned with our lives, and with "righteousness" and "sin"?
You included the word unknowable in your last reply, but I want to be sure I understand correctly, if you feel like clarifying on these points.
It sounds like your non-believing pastors are sort of saying what Pessoa said, which was, roughly: "God exists. It's the adjectives that follow complicating and causing problems."
Standing alone like that, that works. It offends no one. Everyone has an understanding of God. Soon as you add anything, you'll start getting arguments. Whether as a fictitious idea, as just accepting it as a word used to describe the indescribable, a concept to embody the homeostatic whole of the universe,or as something more precise that defines it/Him/Her/Them very specifically and with a name and a complete mythology and set of rules. Just God works for all people. Add ONE adjective, even just an article, and you start the fight.
I never really got transcendentalism, but I gotta admit they make lovely, thought-provoking poetry.
Well, what I felt the pastor I quoted was saying was that god (the traditional) is a man-made concept, but that he personally has learned to use that concept as a focus in his own quest for personal meaning.
I don't think I mentioned that these pastors or preachers or ministers or priests were all part of a study of anonymous nonbelieving pastors who still pretend to believe their religion. They were all cases of people who studied too much, and so naturally lost their former beliefs.
What you suggest is interesting, but perhaps impossible given human nature. In effect though I think you're right, and that is what the pastor was saying, more or less. That "god" is the unknown, and perhaps the unknowable.
Considering the circumstances of these cases though, I have to wonder if the redefined god concept in this pastor's case isn't perhaps more a way of personally rationalizing or excusing his continued practice of his religion.
I read once that Mother Teresa stopped believing near or a bit before the halfway point of her life. It seems like as she grew older she may have come to a new understanding of her beliefs, but I don't want to pipe in what that was specifically because my memory might be all wet. Suffice to say, her original deep love for Jesus Christ, the one that drove her to want to be "married" to Him, was not the understanding she had when she died. The middle part of her life was sustained by doing the work of God while bearing the staggering disappointment of discovering her religion was a lie. At least that's what I got from it.
I have no knowledge of this either but I Think that the majority of preachers, pastore, etc are similar as most were 1500 years ago. It was a Job that family connections were able to supply for them. Too often it is just a Job that if they take it "The Lord" will provide. shame on me for saying that ... slap,, slap.. Don't get me wrong. sometimes they realy feel that it is real. And if they realy feel it, they know. And it is.
You know Shades, I think you're the only person who addressed that part of my question, which was -I think- the more interesting aspect of it.
I have never really looked at mother Teresa. That is very interesting, I'm gonna have to check that out.
You have to feel sorry for these people. I mean you don't have to, but I kinda do. You devote your whole life to something, the things you taught your children, the people you associate with, everything about your life could be built around this one single false concept. And then you realize it isn't true.
Some of the pastors in the study were trying to get out, trying to find a new career, realizing at the same time that doing so would cost them everything they know, their friends, even in most cases their spouses and families.
Some of them figure it's just too late. They have no plans to leave their profession, churches, congregations, they just pretend, and fully intend to go on pretending.
It isn't really surprising to me, because I've known pastors before who admitted to me that they didn't believe. They tried to justify themselves though, and maybe I was too young then to understand.
In looking at this study though, I kinda started thinking, why not? It's all a game anyway. People want to feel good, they don't really care about truth or facts and they have little to no appreciation for real honesty. They pay the man, he puts on a good show for them, they leave happy.
The pastors aren't really happy, though. Some of them are truly miserable in their loneliness. Most of their spouses don't even have a clue, and the pastors feel it necessary to keep up the charade at all times.
God means:.... pain, suffering, ignorance, starvation, squalor, murder, anger, ethnic cleansing, war, death, rage, jealousy, hate, superstition, frustration, bigotry.........and possibly the destruction of most life on this planet!
Just what point are you arguing now? I agree with you, I understand that some people's definition of God does not include salvation. So why, then, do I need to explain the definition of salvation? And just what does that last sentence have to do with anything, except to imply that you are an emotional thinker, rather than rational. In other words, you don't have to get snippy.
BTW, If this somehow helps you with the vagueness, then here it is: Salvation-n ~ Preservation or deliverance from destruction, difficulty, or evil.
"My explanation is that you used reason to point out the glitch in my assertion about salvation, but you refuse to use reason to see the glitches in your beliefs. Selective reasoning."
You mentioned your assertion about salvation as a glitch then you said there were glitches in MY beliefs..I wanted you to explain what assertions you made and what my glitches are. Why is every question thought of as an argument? And it was vague for me that's why I asked.
I'm aware that there are some religions that don't see salvation as a tenet of their beliefs. There are some religions that don't even have a devil, etc, but the culture, in which I was reared, salvation is the main aspect of the religion. But, after reading your opposition, I understand that I was looking at it from a micro, and not macro perspective. I concur.
Suffice it to say that the belief in a God makes no sense to me, because there is no real definition of this term then. Your definition does not change my perspective, for it is your opinion, or the opinions of a Dogma. There are just some things we don't know yet, and some things we may never know.
Deborah Sexton wrote:
"God=All that is, was, or will be.logic and reasoning.not an old man sitting on a throne."
Deborah, your definition is kinda tricky, because what you are describing, to me, is The Universe.
Actually, in the thinking you're using yes Qwark thinks is complete nonsense. How if you ask Qwark who is in control of his life? He would say that he is, therefore he is "GOD" of his own life and makes decisions accordingly.
Just my thought about Qwark. It could be completely off base, but I don't think so.
Spiritual beliefs are contrary to many structured religious teachings. If you find the word ‘God’ uncomfortable, please substitute this with ‘Life’ or ‘Love’ because truly they are all one and the same.
It can take time to understand what spirituality really is. Certainly our conditioning hasn’t encouraged the understanding of vital truths. And these truths are: we’ve always been creating our own reality. Our salvation has never been ‘something outside of ourselves’ – this responsibility and connection to life comes from within.
Fear: The Buddhist system of religion do not believe in the concept of a personal God. The theory of Buddhism rejects the notion of an abstract principle of God operating in the universe. They rather believe that the concept of God is a response to fear and frustration. According to the Buddhist ideology, when primitive humans found themselves in a dangerous and hostile world, the fear of wild animals and of natural phenomena like thunder and lightning, they created the idea of Gods to console themselves.
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