Thursday, January 15, 2009

Quote of the Day

From Thank God for Evolution:

So here's traditional religion's God problem in a nutshell: Religious people of all faiths know that none of this is true. God is not tribal and petty. God does not have multiple personality disorder. And God is not a cosmic terrorist. Yet as anyone who has carefully read their Bible or Koran can testify, some passages of Holy Writ undeniably portray God this way. That is traditional religion's God problem. That's the elephant in the living room that no one other than atheists are willing to talk about. It is why millions are embarrassed by scripture (though they'd never admit it), and why millions of others are leaving organized religion altogether.

A meaningful, science-based worldview solves this problem once and for all. A sacred evolutionary understanding of the universe, and of human consciousness and culture, evaporates this problem because it helps us see what an inevitable yet illusory view of 'the Creator' this is. ...

(h/t Tripp)


Kent H said...

As a conservative evangelical, I realize I have a somewhat "antiquated" view of this issue. I have no problem saying that "traditional" religion has a God-perception problem. People have a strong and unavoidable desire to make God in our own image and attach ourselves to the characteristics we want most in God.
However, I also say, while traditional religion may have a problem with a God-perception, Biblical Christianity does not. Scripture may paint a picture of God that many in our culture (and every other culture) do not appreciate. But it is not valid to say "because I don't like it, it can't be true."
What Scripture paints for us is a picture of God Who deals with mankind in a manner consistent with man's need, man's failures, and His ultimate purposes. If we have a problem with how He runs His business, that may just be our problem. As a child, I didn't always like the way my Mom/Dad ran the house - but that was their perogative.
God doesn't need our permission to be God. He has just related to us what that means.

Darren Staley said...

Perhaps the real issue here is a scripture-perception problem. I will take off my athiest hat for the moment and assume for the sake of argument some type of God exists.

God is incorporeal. That is not in dispute. So God could not have literally written the Bible.

Let's say that God was speaking through the scribes. Here are some problems with that:

1 - Man's own biases and prejudices may have bled onto the pages.

2 - God being God and man being man, there may have been some loss in translation.

3 - These scribes assumed that God was talking about events in their own lifetimes or a much nearer future.

4 - Speaking of translation and interpretation, parts of the original Bible have been removed or amended by church councils and translated into many languages, leaving is with an incomplete picture.

You must remember that when the Bible was written the world was flat, Earth revolved around the sun, and slavery and polygamy was acceptable.

We also have to look at the "ultimate purpose." This is a purpose we can never know. In scripture God was a "tester" of man as well (see Job, Adam and Eve, Lot, etc).

Perhaps God left the Bible a bit vague and inconsistent for a reason. He wanted us to sort through it and see whether we do the right thing.

By saying we are just going to hunker down and obey (a portion of) a set of rules laid down thousands of years ago with no adaptation or personal growth, then we are not men at all. We are just rats in a maze, and I don't think that's what God had in mind.

Kent H said...

Good post Darren,
But the biblicist response would be simple. If there is an omnipotent God (I believe there is), then He has a vested interest in making sure that what has been written in His name is accurate. He also has the resources to insure the writings He inspired (and assured) through the pen and personality of men is exactly what He has intended.
On a second note, there is little doubt that men's prejudices have bled to the pages of certain translations but we have around 5000 copies of the Greek New Testament with which to compare and contrast. That makes pointing out errors much easier.

Great Post,

P.S. I know what you meant, but the earth DOES revolve around the sun.

Darren Staley said...

Thanks for the comments and the correction!