Monday, February 13, 2012

Is God Gaming Me?

Charming Disarray, this one is for you.
It is a tongue-in-cheek post designed to kill two birds with one stone.

1. I feel rather playful today. (Grasshopper, I am wearing 'blue' today :-)

2. CD, I know you belong to the Faith beginning and ending with the letter 'C'.

I also know you detest with great intensity all things 'Game'.
This strangely amuses me.
But... my guilty pleasures aside, I thought to myself: how can I make this a bit more palatable to her?

The answer came to me bizzarely enough on a Sunday:
Just add 'God'.

:-)

So here we are. Game-food for the uninitiated, with a few sprinkles of  'God' as 'relish'.
Buon appetito.

I see God as a man. Masculine. Male.
Whether I am picturing the 'brimstone and fire' old dude with the long white beard in the Old Testament or the 'hippy' type fellow with the long hair and sandals in the New Testament.
Both are undeniably male. I have no other versions of God in my head, except of course the abstract versions like the roaring thunder in a fierce storm depicting 'the wrath of God' (again, Old Testament-like) or the 'still small voice' during a gentle breeze over the lake on a sunny day (?New Testament).
Both are still masculine, in my eyes.

To digress a bit, there is some music I 'see' and not hear. Some composers really know how to depict 'rage' or 'wrath' that I can 'see' - good examples are Beethoven's 'Rage over a lost penny' and Sibelius' sultry, moody violin concerto. Both seem to be innocuous on the surface, and then when you 'see' it, you feel there might be no escape, like I imagine the 'Great Wrath' to be.
On the other hand, Beethoven especially is the absolute master at creating that 'still small voice' too.
Practically all of his symphonies' second movements are so gentle, you could almost imagine hearing God speak.
Something to do with his deafness perhaps? He did afterall live in a silent world.


This masculinity of God was always the traditional view of God.
Until that is, the feminists tried to get a foothold in the Church.

There was a time when there was a drive to change 'The Lord's Prayer' into 'Our Mother, who art in heaven'...

It didn't catch on.
Not in the Catholic church, at least.

For all the Catholic Church's sins, deviation from the Patriarchy is not one of them, unless I am grossly mistaken.
Unlike many other churches in christendom, the Catholic church refused to and still refuses to ordain women as priests. It refused to accord women certain powers as demanded by secular society (read: feminists).

And yet the Catholic church, to me, is one of the most 'woman-friendly' churches there is.

Why is this?

The Catholic church, since 1970, has begun to accord some of its highest honours to women. There are now three female 'Doctors of the Church' (St Theresa of Avila, St Catherine of Siena, St Thérèse de Lisieux - this last one is referred to as a 'Doctor of love'!) and there are many more on the list, being considered by Pope Benedict.

The Catholic Church has always placed a high importance on Our Lady. To an extent that some people outside the Catholic Church believe that Catholics 'worship' Our Lady. They therefore have confused the Church with a 'Matriarchy'.
If indeed Our Lady is a Matriarch, then it is only in the sense that she is the type who defers to the Patriarch.
She, afterall, was very quick to say "Thy will be done" when she was given the task of becoming mother to Our Lord. No easy task considering she was a young, unmarried but betrothed Jewish girl, and she lived in a society where if a woman was found to be pregnant outside of marriage, she was stoned to death, no questions asked.

According to the Catholic Church, Our Lady is the 'highest' of all the saints.
It is no secret that some Popes, like John Paul II adored her till his dying day.

I am pretty sure there will never be a woman Pope in the modern era.
But I am sure there will be no need.

Again, I wonder: why?

Do I need God to be 'female' to feel better?
Do I need to have a woman Pope to feel any more validated in this life?

Strangely, I feel the answer is 'no'.

But, alas I will never know. Because I have not experienced the above scenarios before.
But that's OK. I can live with that.

A woman does not need to be a 'leader' to be 'powerful'.
Because feminine power is an entirely different animal from male power.
It is less 'out there', but it is there, nonetheless.
You might miss it if you blink. But if you are looking for it, you see it.

Interestingly, speaking of composers above, I note there aren't that many female composers, if at all.
Why?
Afterall, there were many women authors from time immemorial.
What is the difference between the written word and a musical note?



So, because I see God as 'male', I sometimes correlate his 'behaviour' to that of men in general. This is done in jest, a kind of intellectual joke I play with myself.

If I need a prayer answered and I don't get what I want, I wonder, "Is God gaming me?"

If I ask God to intervene in my daily life and it doesn't quite happen in the way I envision, I think "Is God GHOW where I am concerned?"

If I don't seem to get an answer from him, I think,  "Am I being negged?"

And then when he does do something nice for me, I secretly think, "Is he going all beta on me?"

And then he is back to alpha.


31 comments:

Andrew said...

That's pretty fucking funny actually...

Charming Disarray said...

Interesting. I like what you're saying about God but I don't think it quite lines up. The Church has always, always honored women, and I don't feel the need for a woman pope either, but ideally this shouldn't even be an issue to Catholics. What I mean is that there isn't nearly as much of a divide between men and women in Catholicism as there is in, say, "Game" theory. Isn't that all about not letting women get too much power? The Church doesn't have separate rules for men and women. "Game" does.

In my opinion there's nothing less manly than a man who worries constantly about women having too much power.

Our Lord certainly didn't worry about it, and don't saints like St. Alphonsus teach that He never says no to his mother? What guy worrying about "Game" is going to have a woman in his life that he listens to all the time? Nope, doesn't work.

I still say a need for "Game" is inherently insecure.

Bellita said...

@Charming Disarray
I still say a need for "Game" is inherently insecure.

Let me show you why we're not seeing eye to eye on this.

Your statement is a little like the cliche that a need for religion is also inherently insecure, inasmuch as religion is a crutch. I don't mind that metaphor because I happen to know that I need a crutch. And I subscribe to the idea that the Church is a "hospital for sinners" rather than a club for the perfectly cured.

Well, there are many men out there who (apparently) didn't learn what it means to be a man from their fathers and immediate male role models. They need a crutch. That is what Game is for. It is teaching them how "to fake it until they make it" by emulating men who already have their act together and who can already be described as "secure." The syllabus of this course, so to speak, is simply the set of attitudes and behaviors that fall under the heading "Game".

So the problem with dismissing Game because it seems insecure is that you're taking a crutch away from someone who can't walk on his own yet.

spacetraveller said...

@ Andrew,

:-)

Actually, I have a question for you:

My first reaction to your comment was, 'This is not funny, this is SERIOUS. God is a guy who does what other guys do!'
But then I realised I had my 'female hat' on.
Now, in 'neutral' position, I can actually see the funny side.
So my question is, do you or any other man ever feel this way about God, whether or not you are religious?
Or is it a silly question because a man cannot be 'Gamed' by another man, unless he is gay?
If so, that would actually be the point of my question - because am I reacting to God's 'Game' as a woman here?
Could this be one reason why women on principle are more 'religious' than men, and by 'religious' in this sense I mean more 'church-going'?

Because if every woman is reacting to the masculinity of God in the way I do in my little mind-game, then it would probably be fair to say that religion, at least for women is one big 'Stockholm syndrome' or derivative thereof, no? :-)

Is this normal, or am I just one sick little outlier?
Somehow, this question is growing in importance in my mind by the second :-)

Bellita,
You have this knack for taking the thoughts out of my head and formulating them into a credible argument in a way I can't.

Slightly scary...but there we are...


@ CD,

"The Church doesn't have separate rules for men and women."

But it does, CD!
The Catholic Church is THE most sexist of all the churches in christendom!
And yet, paradoxically, the most woman-friendly. As you say, the Church has always honoured women.

"In my opinion there's nothing less manly than a man who worries constantly about women having too much power."

I agree with this, on principle.
But if you consider The Church as the Ultimate Patriarchy, I would argue that it is not The Church who is worried about women having too much power. It is those women who want this power, the problem being that they really wouldn't know what to do with this power once they have it, because this power was not designed for them. The perfect example is what is happening in the secular world. The women have all this power, now what? Women as a whole are the unhappiest they have been for decades. What did women do with all that power?
The Church, by sticking to its guns, is saving potentially wayward women from themselves.
Total 'alpha' behaviour of the Patriarchal Catholic Church, but somehow I like it this way. Seriously.
Have we not learned this lesson already from secular society??

I would argue that the real power of women is what you describe in your very next sentence.
"Our Lord certainly didn't worry about it, and don't saints like St. Alphonsus teach that He never says no to his mother?"

You are in fact making my point.

St Alphonsus was well aware of the 'power' of Our Lady over Jesus.
And yet, Our Lady was always in the 'background' of her son's life. She never pushed for 'power'.

Again, CD, it is a question of terminology/definition.
In this case, it very much depends on how one defines (feminine) power.

Consider this. (I heard this argument from a wise person - this is not my own 'gem' but I wish I had figured it out on my own):
Feminism's mantra is
'I am woman, hear me roar'.
Because Feminism perceives men as 'roaring lions'.
I would prefer this version of womanhood:
'I am woman, hear me whisper'.
Because there is something much more dignified about the whispering woman.

To the discerning man or woman, the whispering woman has more 'power' than the roaring one.

Yet another paradox to add to the growing list...

Bellita said...

@Spacetraveller
Is this normal, or am I just one sick little outlier?

For what it's worth, Christian mysticism has traditionally seen the soul--even the soul of a man--as feminine in relation to God.

You may be an outlier, ST, but you're not sick! ;)

You have this knack for taking the thoughts out of my head and formulating them into a credible argument in a way I can't.

I could seriously say the same thing about you!

A few months ago, you joked that you and I could be twins. It's less and less funny (and more and more uncanny) as the posts pile up on both our ends! (And just wait until you see my Masculine Women 2 post, which riffs off your Kim K post the way you riffed off my first MW post!)

spacetraveller said...

@ Bellita,

"For what it's worth, Christian mysticism has traditionally seen the soul--even the soul of a man--as feminine in relation to God."

I honestly did not know this. I obviously missed that particular catechism class, or I fell asleep or something :-)
Thank you for telling me!
Phew, what a relief.
I was beginning to think I was this twisted little freak...

But my question to the men still remains: do they see themselves as 'feminine' in relation to God?

Or is their answer to that a firm, 'Hell, no!'

For you and I, Bell, it is easy for us to be all submissive and feminine to God, because, well, it is kinda programmed into us at some level, at least.

And priests and monks and religious brothers, I guess, are trained to honour this as well.

But what about the average Christian guy?

Can he be truly religious without losing his masculinity to some degree? Is this even a fair question to ask? I dunno!


"I could seriously say the same thing about you!"

Hahaha, Bell.
You know what they say about women who flock together starting to 'synchronise'...

Hey, can't wait to see your new post!

Grasshopper said...

OK you’re wearing blue – it’s safe to post today! :-)

I see God as a man also – thanks mostly to growing up Catholic.

The whole idea of God as a father figure that is providing for you and protecting you from evil I think appeals a great deal particularly to children. It is as children we form our first impressions of God.

I never saw God as a woman because my mother was not a provider or a protector. She was a nurturer. God I do not think nurtures. To me he does not behave like mother – he behaves like father.

If you don’t mind my asking ST – is your father part of your life? Do you see God behaving more like your father or your mother?

I found it interesting that you playfully see God as the ultimate gamer. It’s funny to me because I think the influence of religion on my life is what really prevented me from being an effective gamer with women.

And most days I think that is a really good thing.

Grasshopper

spacetraveller said...

Grasshopper,

Yes, it is definitely safe to post today. Don't know about tomorrow, or the day after though. After today, you're on your own. Be warned :-)

Interesting, your perspective on God as male too. Somehow, I expected this answer, but then I remembered something which kinda grew into a post which I shall post shortly.

I only saw God as a 'Gamer' after I landed in the Manosphere.
And, important to note, he is the 'good' kind of Gamer.
Definitely not the seedy PUA type. I could never see God like that.
Can you imagine how many confessions I would have to go to if I did?
:-)

I lost my father 6 years ago. And yes, his death actually increased his God-like status in my eyes and confirmed therefore the masculinity of God, to me.

Weird, huh?

Bellita said...

@Spacetraveller
But my question to the men still remains: do they see themselves as 'feminine' in relation to God?

I think this is an interesting question to ask many of the Christian men of the Manosphere. You're right that it presupposes that other issue about men and religion: the charge that Christianity in particular has a feminizing effect on men.

It would take me too long to write a comment that properly refutes that, but I think there have been too many incredibly manly saints for us to say something like that about religion. And they had so much Game over other men that they were able to convert entire households at a time, to see the orders they founded grow to hundreds of members in their lifetimes, and to hold sway against thousands (if necessary) to create reform.

spacetraveller said...

@ Bellita,

I have also heard a lot about this feminising effect that Christianity has on men and which might explain why the Church is losing so many of its male members.

I don't think this is as grave a problem in the Catholic Church as it is in other Christian churches, though. (But I might be wrong on that).
Which is how my next post, Gods and Goddesses came about.

I wonder if the almost 'Deity' status of Our Lady has this effect of providing a different perspective for the men...
'Mr Raindrop' in that post enlightened me by confessing to me the real reason why he had joined the Catholic Church. I just wonder if there are many more of him than I realise or if he was just a true outlier...

You mention the manly saints...a great many of them were big fans of Our Lady.


She is the only 'mortal' not to actually die - she got 'assumed' into Heaven.
That's quite a privilege.
She is also said to be 'without sin' from her birth. Another rather big 'perk' for a non-Deity.

Our Lady is the closest thing to a Deity that any human being has ever reached.
So I see how people can get her confused with an actual Deity.

But could this explain why men are just not leaving the Catholic Chuch in the droves that they are leaving the other Christian churches?

Because there is a woman in the Catholic Church they can actually look up to?

Because of a 'Goddess'?

Lost said...

God..... the greatest player who never lived.

Note "lived" rather than "existed"

spacetraveller said...

Lost,

Hahaha,

you see God as a 'Gamer' too?

:-)

Hard to see him 'peacocking' but hey, invisibility is the ultimate in peacocking, perhaps...


Imagine...you have all the girls convinced that you exist...but they just can't see you...
Imagine what that
could do to their collective hamsters...

It's true what they say, huh?
God is the ultimate alpha...

But Lost, does God game you?

(You guys are really hard to pin down on this one :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm not a Christian, but I confess (ha!) my wife is one. I used to be amazed at the amount of time spent on placating God (capital G), worrying about this or that infraction of the Rules.

Then, I took a Comparative Religion class, at a major university. Islam, Buddhism, Shinto, Shamanism, and about a dozen Christian sects. My head was spinning by the time mid-term exams came around. I wondered on my essay, if people spent so much time trying to get BACK into the good graces of some Deity, why didn't they just spend all that time and energy not doing the things that got them in trouble ? Well, that was a mistake, I had to spend HOURS explaining Native American beliefs in front of 120 assholes who said things like:

"I'm not religious, I'm spiritual."

Yeah, and as I read the other day, I'm not honest, but that's interesting. I've become absolutely convinced that organized religion may not be an opiate, but it IS addictive and co-dependent behavior. People of many cultures seem to want to be told what to do. Where I grew up, that was the worst of ill-manners. If someone deviated from what was generally accepted as good, someone might gently remind them of what such behavior can cause, but no one would demand that they change to conformation of 'good'. As long as no one was hurt, each man, and each woman, was free to choose their life, even if it destroyed their own lives.

And now for the free advice...

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.

The Navy Corpsman

spacetraveller said...

@ The Navy Corpsman,

"When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice."

This is brilliant - did you coin it yourself? :-)

Some might say there are many people who exit the same way they entered the world...

Um, I didn't really get the point of the rest of your comment.
You are King of the abstract, Navy Corpsman!
Could I request a translation, please?

Bellita said...

@Navy Corpsman
I wondered on my essay, if people spent so much time trying to get BACK into the good graces of some Deity, why didn't they just spend all that time and energy not doing the things that got them in trouble?

This reminds me of a pamphlet someone left at my church a few weeks ago. I believe the title was, "How to Avoid Purgatory". I don't know about other religions, but avoidance of "near occasions of sin" is Catholic common sense, even if the majority of Catholics prefer the loophole of going to confession. (I had a priest scold me about this once, when he thought it was what I was doing. And maybe it was.)

I've become absolutely convinced that organized religion may not be an opiate, but it IS addictive and co-dependent behavior. People of many cultures seem to want to be told what to do.

And if I'm reading you correctly, you seem to be saying it's a bad thing to want to be told what to do?

I think it's a normal thing. And if it's present in all cultures and is true for the majority of people in the world, then why is it the reaction which gets pathologized? Surely it's the independent thinkers who are the oddballs.

(By the way, I consider myself religious but not spiritual. ;) And despite the wink, I'm serious!)

Bellita said...

@Spacetraveller
But could this explain why men are just not leaving the Catholic Chuch in the droves that they are leaving the other Christian churches?

Because there is a woman in the Catholic Church they can actually look up to?


I think you've hit the nail on the head!

Some Catholic men I know were discussing Marian devotion on one of their blogs. One man put it this way: "To a man, mercy wears a female face."

And I would say that the takeaway lesson for a woman Marian devotee is to make her own face a face of mercy.

spacetraveller said...

@ Bellita and Navy Corpsman,

"if people spent so much time trying to get BACK into the good graces of some Deity, why didn't they just spend all that time and energy not doing the things that got them in trouble ?"

Bellita, your analogy with confession reminds me of another situation that goes with Navy Corpsman's statement.

Many years ago, I was watching a programme called 'Fat Camp' or something to that effect, where overweight children were being re-trained to develop healthy eating habits, exercise more, and of course get them to lose their dangerously excessive weight.
I was watching this programme with an elderly relative of mine who is not exactly known for tact/subtlety and being PC (politically correct).

This was a typical comment, watching that programme:

'Sooooo, just to summarise here...I pay good money to feed a kid until they are too fat to move, and then I pay extra to get them to lose all that weight.
Why would I overfeed them in the first place?'

It's a common sense statement, of course, but well, there are other factors involved in childhood obesity too - not belittling that at all...
But the point you make is mirrored here - why not just avoid trouble in the first place?

But alas, we are human beings. Trouble is our middle name!


"And I would say that the takeaway lesson for a woman Marian devotee is to make her own face a face of mercy."

Hmm, never a better description of what any woman should be shall be found than this, Marian devotee or not.

Thanks for the little reminders, Bellita.

Anonymous said...

spacetraveller said...

"This is brilliant - did you coin it yourself? :-)"

Oh no. It's an old old Cherokee proverb, or at least, that's how I learned it. Some claim it was an ancient Muslim cleric, some say an ancient mystic from India, but I haven't really seen any real proof of its' origin.

"Could I request a translation, please?"

I was merely commenting on the confusion that many organized religions create within those people who were not raised in said religions. Particularly as to the effort paid to conform to rules created by man, but ascribed to a Deity. From my point of view, it seems to be easier to live by these Rules, rather than to confess to violating them, contrary to the old saying, "it's easier to ask forgiveness than seek permission".

I'm not much of a conformist, unless it serves my purposes. The comment about religion and spirituality was merely a rather sad observation of the commonality of humans being unable to examine themselves with any sort of critical rational thought.

Many people who do not follow an organized religion, especially an Abrahamic based belief system, do not easily understand the willingness to surrender, submit, if you will allow, to control by other men, disguised as submitting to a deity.

The Navy Corpsman

Anonymous said...

Bellita said...

"And if I'm reading you correctly, you seem to be saying it's a bad thing to want to be told what to do?"

It is anathema to my existence, to my understanding of the human condition.

"I think it's a normal thing. And if it's present in all cultures and is true for the majority of people in the world, then why is it the reaction which gets pathologized? Surely it's the independent thinkers who are the oddballs."

Oh indeed they are the oddballs, and also, quite frequently, the brilliant scientists and discoverers. Question authority :-) In the past, and not too far past, it was the oddballs which were pathologized. Galileo, Copernicus, Darwin, and many more, suffered as a result of their independent thought. As for normality, well, that's really an individual rationale, is it not? I cannot define what is normal for anyone other than myself, nor you for anyone other than yourself. Certainly, we can GUESS what is normal or run up a statistical guess by polling others, but psychology is full of examples of research error because people refuse to admit to having deviant thoughts, or admit to something viewed as a weakness.

There's an old saying:

Dare to be Different.

There's also an old saying:

Always Remember You Are Unique, Just Like Everyone Else.

Point is, if you want to be told how to behave, how to order your life, it's not a bad thing, but it isn't MY thing. I believe it is addictive and co-dependent because it allows for both the controlled and controller to express their basic inner being, without coming out and admitting that they like to control others or be controlled by others. If I believe in a Creator, why would I ask another person to define that Creator for me, or believe them when they say that they have spoken with the Creator? I don't NEED another human to tell me how to live my life, morally or immorally. I don't NEED a Creator to make me a good person, nor do I need an Adversary to that Creator to be responsible for all evil in the world... I can see the evil quite nicely, and it's all human caused.

The Navy Corpsman

Anonymous said...

spacetraveller said...

"But alas, we are human beings. Trouble is our middle name!"

Exactly so, and as I said above, all the evil is human caused. As is all the good.

It is said by those in the know, that there are almost seven billion humans on the planet Earth. I submit for your approval, the theory that there are almost seven billion belief systems, as regards human behavior, regardless of belief in a deity or not. Many, perhaps even a majority, do not need said deity to have a values system.

The Navy Corpsman

Anonymous said...

P.S.

Sorry about the abstract-ness of my commentary, I'm rather in love with the English language. I'll work on that, in future communications.

The Navy Corpsman

spacetraveller said...

@ The Navy Corpsman,

"Many people who do not follow an organized religion, especially an Abrahamic based belief system, do not easily understand the willingness to surrender, submit, if you will allow, to control by other men, disguised as submitting to a deity."

Yes, agreed. But here's the thing: And I am sure other people who see themselves as religious might agree, surely religion is not supposed to be about submitting to another human being (unless it is some sort of cult)...

To give an example, the Islamic suicide bombers are often shamed by other Muslims because they are in fact deviating from the teachings of Islam, even if it looks like their fundamentalism depicts religious fervour. They are not fooling anyone.
They are killing for political reasons, not religious ones, i.e. they are doing their own will and not God's or Allah's.

I was also surprised to learn that there is no requirement in the Koran for women to wear veils that cover their whole face, certainly nothing to say the whole body should be covered.
To cover the hair, yes.
In some old churches in some Catholic countries, women are still required to cover their hair as a sign of their modesty and therefor respect to God...that can be found in scripture.

But the whole total body covering is Man's rule.


Yes, sometimes religion can be used as a tool for the worst deeds by humankind...

Sad, huh?

spacetraveller said...

@ The Navy Corpsman,

"Sorry about the abstract-ness of my commentary, I'm rather in love with the English language. I'll work on that, in future communications."

Please keep the love going. Just don't mind me if I get a little lost now and then. If I need to, I shall ask for translations...

:-)

Anonymous said...

spacetraveller said...

"And I am sure other people who see themselves as religious might agree, surely religion is not supposed to be about submitting to another human being"

Not supposed to... but reality?

"I was also surprised to learn that there is no requirement in the Koran for women to wear veils that cover their whole face, certainly nothing to say the whole body should be covered."

In point of fact, it's not just man's rule, it's a Male Rule, couched in the belief that seeing too much of a woman's skin is somehow causing Lust. If I were King of the World, we'd have to forbid women to speak (at least to me) because I form attraction (and respect) far more by scintillating conversation, than percentage of skin exposure.

The Navy Corpsman

spacetraveller said...

@ Bellita,


"By the way, I consider myself religious but not spiritual."

Is this possible Bell?
Really?
Doesn't one need some degree of spirituality to indulge in the fullness of the meaning of one's religion?

I ask because I always used to think I was 'religious and not spiritual' too. Perhaps as a retort to the 'I am spiritual and not religious' crowd. Somehow they always managed to annoy me, as they always seemed to imply that religion was a form of zombie-ism.
Until I realised I was just as 'spiritual' as them.

Except my 'spirituality' was just not 'unique' because millions had the same 'spirituality' as me.

Is religion mutually exclusive with spirituality?

spacetraveller said...

@ The Navy Corpsman,

"If I were King of the World, we'd have to forbid women to speak (at least to me) because I form attraction (and respect) far more by scintillating conversation, than percentage of skin exposure."

This reminds me of a story I was told by a friend who went to one of the Middle Eastern countries to work for a while. I forget which country it was.
His job was to perform maternity ultrasound scans.
The waiting room of his ultrasound clinic was rather exposed and people would cut through that waiting room as a short-cut all the time.

The women were equally exposed. They would often be breastfeeding as they waited for their scans.
This is the weird part:
When a man walked by, they would cover their... faces with their veils.
?!

I guess it really does depend on what every culture (and individual) sees as the 'trigger' :-)

Bellita said...

@Navy Corpsman
If I believe in a Creator, why would I ask another person to define that Creator for me, or believe them when they say that they have spoken with the Creator?

Well, let's say that another person says he really has spoken with the Creator. (Or in the case of Christians, with the Redeemer.) You wouldn't be curious at all about what Someone much bigger than you might have to say, even if He chose to say it to someone else?

Here is how I see it (as I was taught by the Church): there's faith which comes from man and then there's revelation which comes from God. We really do believe that God has directly told us something about Himself. (Obviously, this has nothing to do with other religions, except Judaism and Islam. I'm just giving the perspective.) So the implication of revelation is that we actually do need certain people to help us define the Creator for ourselves. And it's not because we like being controlled (which is another issue) but because we don't want to risk ignoring valuable data.

Of course, if you are an atheist (as you seem to be hinting about yourself), then you already dismiss all revelation out of hand. By your reasoning, since God doesn't exist, then He could never have told us anything.

Anonymous said...

Bellita said...

"Well, let's say that another person says he really has spoken with the Creator. (Or in the case of Christians, with the Redeemer.) You wouldn't be curious at all about what Someone much bigger than you might have to say, even if He chose to say it to someone else?"

I'd be endlessly curious. I was, am, always will be endlessly curious. I'm a logical, rational scientist, and data is always data, to me. Empirical data is a bit difficult to come by, when it comes to prophet-hood, as it requires blind faith, so to speak, in two dimensions, that there is a Creator, and secondly, that this aspiring prophet spoke with this Creator. But, as I mentioned before, it IS interesting to those people not trained from birth to believe in God (capital G), that those that are so trained, so willingly submit. Imagine, if you will, the ancient Greeks, whose pantheon was filled with gods and Gods, who were more human than the Greeks themselves. And indeed, honoring those gods and Gods was based on fear of punishment, which, according to my reading of Greek mythology, was hugely human in its' inventiveness. Taking that to the Abrahamic beliefs, it is my understanding that if one does not honor God's wishes, one gets punished, for eternity. So again, fear rules the behavior.

While I agree that humans do need other humans to help them define many many things, I'm sure I'm unwilling to allow that much control over my thoughts and actions BY ANOTHER HUMAN.

"Of course, if you are an atheist (as you seem to be hinting about yourself), then you already dismiss all revelation out of hand. By your reasoning, since God doesn't exist, then He could never have told us anything."

I would advise caution here, because my belief system is mine, and whether or not I believe in something Greater than myself is not the point I was trying to make. My point was, why would I allow someone else to define the Creator FOR ME? I can certainly sympathize with your point about getting help with a definition, but from many many conversations with followers of Abraham and other Prophets, I've seen almost no evidence of attempting to define God by themselves. Indeed, it seems that many heresies of the Christian sort, over the past 2000 years have been because individuals attempted such definitions without the approval of the self proclaimed authorities on Christianity. Strangely enough, the punishment meted out was human judged, not God. Surely God may have had His own vengeance without involving an Inquisition?

To a scientist, the very greatest admission is that we do NOT know. It is both honest and revealing, although not a revelation per se. Scientists LOVE to know things. It is by questioning, that we learn, and grow, both as individuals and as a species. Ignoring data for a scientist is stupid, but granting data from someone who claims a special knowledge to have therefore greater worth, is immediately suspect. Not because of suspicion of attempts to control the discussion, but because of the claim of special knowledge. Empirical data means that it is the record of one's direct observations or experiences. This would mean, in the case of speaking with the Creator, a direct observation by at least one, and preferably three independent individuals.

(continued below)
The Navy Corpsman

Anonymous said...

(continued)

Obviously, that's not how God works. But do you now see the hopefully suspicious eyes that non-Abrahamic raised humans would turn upon someone who claimed prophet-hood? Special knowledge would require a suspension of disbelief of epic proportions.

And then, even if one does claim special knowledge, WHICH is the true Prophet, and which is the false? Were the Cathars false, heretical and therefore worthy of slaughter? What of the other thousand or so heresies declared by various princes and popes of the various churches? I'll retain my own beliefs, thank you, and as I live my life, I'll decide what, and who to believe, on every issue, every topic, and I'll live with the consequences.

If it is important to you, I would be happy to explain something of my beliefs, as regards theism, deism and other -isms.

The Navy Corpsman

Bellita said...

@Navy Corpsman
But, as I mentioned before, it IS interesting to those people not trained from birth to believe in God (capital G), that those that are so trained, so willingly submit.

I think the creators of South Park said something similar when they were being interviewed about their Broadway musical The Book of Mormon. To a non-believer, any religion is weird. :)

Having said that, I think what I find weird is what you find weird, which I'm basing on your choice of words. I don't think of what I'm doing as willingly submitting my mind, unless what people do in school is willingly submitting their minds. Then again, it is, isn't it? And many homeschoolers can't understand parents who willingly submit their children's minds to the government.

But I think school gives us a good analogy because it's something both you and I understand what it's like to take for granted (whether or not either of us do now). Someone who grew up in a community where there were no organized curricula of any sort would find institutionalized education--especially those systems that go on for twelve years or more--extremely odd. Again, why submit your mind?

Taking that to the Abrahamic beliefs, it is my understanding that if one does not honor God's wishes, one gets punished, for eternity. So again, fear rules the behavior.

There is only one impression of yours I feel compelled "to correct." There is indeed much of Christian doctrine that can be described as "fear based." But I don't think you give the other Christian motivation enough credit. People don't go above and beyond what is required just to avoid going to hell. There's an element of love for God, charity for other people, and a sense of family involved there, too.

I also think that you sell the Ancient Greeks shorter than they deserve. Fear of the gods' retribution was only one element of their piety. The Iliad could only have been written, read/heard and preserved by a deeply philosophical people.

Anonymous said...

Bellita said...


"I don't think of what I'm doing as willingly submitting my mind, unless what people do in school is willingly submitting their minds. Then again, it is, isn't it? And many homeschoolers can't understand parents who willingly submit their children's minds to the government. "

Exactly my point. There is absolutely nothing wrong with learning, as long as you are prepared to question that learning. Let's take religious cults into consideration... many Christians decry the cultish behavior where a person sets themselves up as Christ Risen, or something akin to that, and raise their children in the cult to believe exactly that. Who then, is the false Prophet? If Christians require critical thinking of adults, why not require it of children as well? I once heard Sanjay Gupta, an MD on television (CNN) discussing the state of education in America, and he mentioned that his education in America was far more concentrated on thinking for himself, rather than rote memorization required of doctors educated in other countries, that he had encountered in international travel. Why not encourage that same type of thinking in religious educations?

"But I don't think you give the other Christian motivation enough credit. People don't go above and beyond what is required just to avoid going to hell. There's an element of love for God, charity for other people, and a sense of family involved there, too."

Oh, I agree one hundred percent. Many people would tell you that love for God is taught at such a young age in many religious beliefs, therefor love for God is inevitable. I don't quite agree with that assessment, but you make a good point about motivation. It is my understanding that God is the whole point. I fully comprehend that there are benefits to having a scholar of priestly proportions as an adviser. But, I notice such advice seems to be given less as pronouncements from God, and more as definitions from man, priestly men, to be sure, but still (hu)men. Scholarly discussions on sins are valid in the belief system, but still come from men, not God, unless Prophet-hood is assumed, a priori.

My personal belief in a Thing Greater Than Myself is entirely mine. I incorporate other person's wisdom as I see fit, and I have my own, as I grow in knowledge and understanding. I suspect you do the same, as well as many practitioners of Abrahamic religions. The difference is that I recognize the independence of thought that goes into my beliefs, because I was never trained formally or informally in said religions. What I see, when discussing these things with you, and others like you, is that you do not see this as independent thought, but an acceptance of teachings with blind faith, which is very important to your beliefs. That is circular to people like me.

"We believe what we believe, because we were taught to believe this on blind faith, which is what we believe in."

It sounds like I am disrespecting your belief system, but I don't mean it that way. I'm trying to show you that it seems to me that your belief is circular, and that it also seems to be based on submitting your will more to holy men (or women) than to God. Admittedly, this is purely my opinion, but it's one that I can tell you is quite commonly held by non-Abrahamic trained individuals.

"I also think that you sell the Ancient Greeks shorter than they deserve. Fear of the gods' retribution was only one element of their piety."

I submit to you that it wasn't piety as much as it was a simple civilized morality. Greek mythology was full of examples of how their Gods were just like humans in their vanity and so on, including the Iliad. Perhaps especially the Iliad, as writers after Homer seemed to suggest that Zeus was intending to destroy humankind by using the Trojan War as a method to kill the heroes of the day.

The Navy Corpsman