Monday, November 28, 2005

THIS THING WE CALL GOD

THIS THING WE CALL GOD

I have often wondered how so many of the religious, extremists or moderates, can read parables and think they are factual or true. To me, the bible and it's wonderful stories are comparable to "Cinderella", "Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs", "Alice In Wonderland" and of course "The Wizard of Oz", fictional fairytales with a moral to them. Made up accounts created by human writers in the hope of making children and the naive, better adult people. The moral of these stories are meant to be tidbits of hope and love filling a reader's mind with wonderment and inspiration counteracting the despair and hatred that being born into this life of negativities and inequities can impose upon the innocent.

What is wrong with a fictional fabrication written in parables to illustrate moral lessons, why must these parables be true? What we get from these tales of heroes and heroines, who conquer good over evil is that being good is what makes us better social beings and being bad upsets the balance.

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Life is so strange, you suddenly exist for awhile and then, that thing you call YOU, that is the center of the universe for only you, ceases. While in existence, you look at this macrocosm, this extraordinary arena of time, space and matter, and cannot at all imagine that perhaps it was always there, HAD NO BEGINNING, AND NO END. Since you had a beginning and knowingly you will have an end, it just doesn't add up for you.


The infinitesimal sphere of intelligence, we human beings possess, can only fathom that the YOU and the MATERIALITY of this presence, had a beginning and had to be created by some ALL KNOWING BEING, WITH WISDOM SO TREMENDOUS THERE'S NOTHING THAT CAN TRANSCEND IT'S KNOWLEDGE. And that one "DAY" (what ever a day was suppose to be) PERCHANCE, FEELING A BIT BORED, DECIDED TO CREATE IT.

That is the grand flaw of being human, since we once did not exist, we must believe every thing around us did not exist until something or someone gave it tangibility. To me, this is sad and so narrow, it's like being in one dimension, if it doesn't fit our little space of recognition then it cannot be. Thank Goodness for SCIENCE, without this body of exploration we would forever remain, slightly above the apes in discovery.

Too many of us think of GOD as some Big Daddy in the sky and feel safe because the little book that Big Daddy told a handful of HIS PET, Homo sapiens to write, will answer all our small-minded, insubstantial, timorous questions about the Universe and about ourselves. AND, if we believe that these glorious illustrations, written so long ago, about fictional characters and events really did HAPPEN, we can go to bed believing we will never die and we will forever BE.

("BE" AS IN SOME STATE OF BEING, ONE WITHOUT BODY OR A SENSE OF ONE'S PERSONAL OR COLLECTIVE IDENTITY, ESPECIALLY WITHOUT THE COMPLEX ATTITUDES, BELIEFS, AND SENSITIVITIES CONSIDERED CHARACTERISTIC OF AN INDIVIDUAL. In other words, a state that doesn't remotely resemble the reality we were born into... So what good does it do?
Makes no sense to me!).

Below, is an article written by the former priest, James Carroll, which says volumes in only a few paragraphs about the topic "God". ThinkingBlue

parable n. A simple story illustrating a moral or religious lesson.

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All God, all the time
By James Carroll
October 17, 2005

WHEN THEY told us in Sunday School that God is everywhere, they could have been talking about the recent news cycle. With Harriet Miers, we see that God lives in the politics of the US Supreme Court nomination process. In a culture defined by the separation of church and state, President Bush and his allies have mastered the use of religious affirmation as a deflection not only of criticism, but of critical thought. God is thus a TRUMP CARD, a free pass. If the president, senators, and members of Congress can justify their decisions by appeals to God, why not judges?

''Acts of God" is the phrase applied to staggering natural disasters, from Katrina and the Pakistan earthquake to the coming avian flu. At the same time, survivors of such catastrophes credit God for having saved them, as if God callously let all those others die. Humans are perplexed when wanton suffering occurs, especially among children, and assumptions about God are overturned. The question becomes, How could God let this happen? Today, in Pakistan, where fatal disease, hunger, and thirst go unabated, the very ones who praised God last week for sparing them are pleading with God now, to no avail.

In the argument between creationists and scientists, those aiming to defend God make absolute claims about mysteries of the deep past as if they themselves were there. Air Force flyers have thought of God as their co-pilot in the past, but in today's Air Force, God sits atop the chain-of-command. At the US Air Force Academy, which was rocked by sex scandals not long ago, God is now the designated dean of discipline, but this jeopardizes infidel careers. Unit cohesion requires conversion. Indeed, displays of faith can be a prerequisite for promotion throughout a government where the White House itself is a House of God. In Iraq, meanwhile, someone will turn his body into a bomb today, killing others by blowing himself up while saying, ''God is great!"

Who is this ''God" in whose name so many diverse and troubling things take place? Why is it assumed to be good to affirm one's faith in such an entity? Why is it thought to be wicked to deny its existence? Most striking about so much talk of ''God," both to affirm and to deny, is the way in which many who use this language seem to know exactly to what and/or whom it refers. God is spoken of as if God is the Wizard of Oz or the great CEO in the sky or Grampa or the Grand Inquisitor. God is the clock-maker, the puppeteer, the author. God is the light, the mother, the wind across the sea, the breath in every set of lungs. God is the horizon. God is all of these things.

But what if God is none of them? What if every possible affirmation that can be made of God, even by the so-called religions of revelation, falls so far short of the truth of God as to be false? Who is the atheist then? The glib God-talk that infuses public discourse in contemporary America descends from an anthropomorphic habit of mind, dating to the Bible and beyond, that treats God like an intimate friend or well-known enemy, depending on the weather and the outcome of battles. But there is another strain in the Biblical tradition that insists on the radical otherness of God, an otherness so complete that even the use of the word ''God" as a name for this Other One is forbidden. According to this understanding, God is God precisely in escaping and transcending comprehension by human beings. This can seem to mean that God is simply unknowable. If so, humans are better off not bothering about it. Atheism, agnosticism, or childish anthropomorphism -- all the same.

But here is where it gets tricky. What if God's unknowability is the most illuminating profundity humans can know about God? That would mean that religious language, instead of opening into the absolute certitude on which all forms of triumphal superiority are based, would open into true modesty. The closed creation, in which every question has an answer, would be replaced by an infinite cosmos where every answer sparks a new question. If what we mean by ''God" is the living pulse of such open-endedness, then God is of no use in systems of dominance, censorship, power. God is everywhere, yes. But, also, God is nowhere. And that, too, shows in America, especially in its fake religiosity.

James Carroll's column appears regularly in the Globe.

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Fearless Bible Study

by Kyle Williams

The Bible is a valuable collection of ancient documents. It enhances
the annals of history, preserves literary genius, and inspires the
imagination with entertaining stories. It is a precious book, many people
having lived and died to place it into our hands. Of all books, the Bible
is among the most influential. It is also among the most misunderstood.


One basic misunderstanding concerns the origin of the Bible. Is it the
word of an inerrant god, or is it the product of fallible human minds?
This is an important question. If the Bible were Jehovah's word, it would
behoove all of us to worship him and order our lives according to the
Bible's teachings, thereby avoiding eternal torture at the hands of a
not-always-merciful god. If the Bible is a human fabrication, we can set
aside our groundless fears, futile hopes, and costly rituals, claiming the
freedom of a happier, more prosperous life. Is the Bible an essential
guide to eternal bliss? Or is it merely a collection of ancient legends
and parables, to be placed on a shelf with Homer's Odyssey, Aesop's
Fables, and Virgil's Aeneid?

What is the best approach to this important question? Some people
objectively and fearlessly examine the evidence and arrive at a logical,
reasonable conclusion. Others choose the most convenient default, and
disregard any evidence to the contrary. They may fear the loss of family
or friends, or they may fear an upheaval that could deprive them of their
emotional security blanket. Before deciding between the objective approach
and the convenient evasion, it is wise to weigh the benefits and count the
cost of each.

Believers may find it difficult to study the Bible objectively. Many
churches encourage Bible study, but only through the rose-colored glasses
of assumed inerrancy. Their members rarely feel free to question the
veracity of the Bible. Reason, disdainfully called intellectualism, is
discouraged. Faith, the acceptance of the Bible without requiring cogent
evidence, is regarded as a virtue, and given top priority as the first
principle of the gospel.

A Christian's reluctance to question the Bible is not unwarranted. His
relationships, social connections, philosophy, and lifestyle are
profoundly affected by Christianity. It is the foundation on which he
builds his entire life. The Christian religion is founded on the belief
that the Bible is God's word. Destroy the doctrine of a divine Bible, and
Christianity crumbles into a heap of ruins. Destroy a man's religion, and
his life is dramatically changed. This can put a tremendous strain on
relationships and result in the loss of family, friends, social standing,
and even employment.

Many believers consider the risk too great and recoil from the thought
of examining their foundations too closely. They study the Bible
selectively. They emphasize the passages that seem to defend their
religion, avoiding those that might prove embarrassing. They demand logic
and evidence in everyday life, but shift their minds into neutral when
religion is discussed. They maintain the status quo by sacrificing reason
on the altar of convenience.

Hans Christian Andersen wrote a delightful short story called "The
Emperor's New Suit." In the story, two charlatans pretend to weave a
fabric that is invisible to fools; only the wise can see it. From this
imaginary fabric they pretend to tailor a suit of clothes for the Emperor
to wear in a procession. Since nobody wants to be thought a fool,
everybody claims to see the "beautiful" robes as the Emperor parades down
the street in the nude. The pretense is shattered, however, when an
innocent child exclaims, "But he has nothing on at all." The Emperor
blushes because he knows that the child is right, but he thinks, "Now I
must bear up to the end," and he continues down the street, parading his
imaginary clothing.

This story illustrates the human tendency to ignore the facts and
follow the current of popular opinion, accepting as true whatever is
deemed most advantageous in gaining or maintaining the respect of family
and friends. Certainly, popularity is desirable, but at what cost?
Self-deception? The deception of others? Willful ignorance may enhance
one's reputation in some circles. It may temporarily provide a sense of
security. In the long run, however, it will prove to be an embarrassing
weakness. Those who claim to see the emperor's imaginary clothes will be
put to shame by the innocent child who proclaims the truth.

Those who dare to face the issue – whether the Bible is really God's
word – may experience some emotional discomfort. They may pay the high
price of strained or severed relationships. For their honesty, though,
they will gain the freedom and peace of mind that result from a knowledge
of the truth. They are heroes, standing up for the right and refusing to
deceive for the sake of their own convenience. They fearlessly take
responsibility for their own research, not relying on mere opinion, but
demanding accurate evidence.

Dear Christian reader: You alone can decide your own stance. If you
decide that your present relationships are more important than the truth,
you must stop reading at once and take up the slogan that "ignorance is
bliss." If you are determined to seek out the truth, regardless of
consequences, read on, my courageous friend.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John
8:32)
Copyright by Kyle Williams 1999

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Skeptical Views Of The Bible

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A BOOK OF LIFE

When the door of life opened for me.
How much of it did I really see?.
Is life a state, a place of being?
Are we encaged till this day of freeing?

What is the zone between birth and death?
This state of being after one’s first breath?
We live day by day creating events,
Days of honor and some of laments.

You live and make your own history
A book of sorts of a great mystery.
Then someday your being finally ends
Records gone of family and friends

Best write it all down while you exist
Pages and pages of life reminisced
A book of life, a one of a kind
A history of you to leave behind. - THINKINGBLUE

MORE THINKING BLUE LINKS


CAROLYNCONNECTION.COM

Warning very Graphic REAL PICTURES OF WAR

CAROLYNCONNETION - I've got a mind and I'm going to use
it!
ThinkingBlue blogspot
BlogRankings.com

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For whom the bell tolls a poem
(No man is an island) by John Donne

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
These famous words by John Donne were not originally written as a poem -
the passage is taken from the 1624 Meditation 17, from Devotions Upon
Emergent Occasions and is prose.
The words of the original passage Click Here

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