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Religion For discussion about different religions and belief structures - Please be respectful of other's beliefs


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Old October 5th, 2014, 05:32 PM   #1
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Mental Images of One God

What is God? According to our ancestors, who recorded their beliefs in the Bible, God is an all-powerful and all-knowing entity, living somewhere outside of our world, who created the world and controls what happens in it. My definition of God is slightly different; I tend to think that God is not an entity outside nature, but nature itself, as postulated by a 17th century Jewish theologian, Baruch Spinoza, in Holland.

Our very distant ancestors were polytheists; they invented the idea of multiple gods. Our less distant ancestors replaced this idea with the mental image of a personal--omnipotent and omniscient--ruler. Most people on earth still believe in a personal God, but some try to develop a more recent mental image of the ruler, formulated by Spinoza. All three descriptions refer to the same everlasting entity, no matter how it is called. It is not a sin to think that laws of Nature are equivalent to God's laws, while praying. Do you agree?

An interesting article about Spinoza appeared in The New York Times, written by a professor of philosophy, Steven Nadler:
SPAM blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/judging-spinoza/

It generated many interesting online comments. A reader, RMC, wrote: "I know many Christians and Jews who practice their religious traditions although their own beliefs are secular. They make no secret of their sentiments. Spinoza was excommunicated during a time of religious orthodoxy and in that respect his experience is much like Galileo's. When the Catholic Church repudiated its treatment of Galileo, it was not merely saying that the earth revolves around the sun. It was saying that punishing the members of its congregation for thinking for themselves, including about church dogma, was parochial and destructive." With regard to independent thinking, several readers emphasized that traditional religious ceremonies, and respect for legends, do help to keep social groups together, even when people know that biblical legends do not represent historical truth.

Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)

Last edited by tecoyah; October 6th, 2014 at 02:27 AM.
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Old October 6th, 2014, 03:50 PM   #2
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i think of energy as a useful metaphor for God.

anywhere and everywhere and never "dies", itself not visible, but the force behind things.
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Old October 7th, 2014, 06:49 PM   #3
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No one can define what God is, no one.

God is.

...'nuff said.
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Old October 7th, 2014, 08:48 PM   #4
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The idea that anything (deity or no) could exist before existence itself was a thing, is illogical in the extreme. I do not doubt the existence of the divine having personal experiences with a few but they like all else arouse from nature. They did not exist before nor are they nature itself though they have learned to command it.

I suppose you could claim nature to be of divine origin but my own theology holds that such gods are all but dead with nature now simply in a slow decay to nothingness.
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