homepage
  roll on christmas  
click here to find out more about ship of fools click here to sign up for the ship of fools newsletter click here to support ship of fools
community the mystery worshipper gadgets for god caption competition foolishness features ship stuff
discussion boards live chat cafe avatars frequently-asked questions the ten commandments gallery private boards register for the boards
 
Ship of Fools


Post new thread  Post a reply
My profile login | Register | Directory | Search | FAQs | Board home
   - Printer-friendly view Next oldest thread   Next newest thread
» Ship of Fools   » Ship's Locker   » Limbo   » 8D - Faithfree - Straws which broke the camel's back? (Page 1)

 - Email this page to a friend or enemy.  
Pages in this thread: 1  2 
 
Source: (consider it) Thread: 8D - Faithfree - Straws which broke the camel's back?
the famous rachel
Shipmate
# 1258

 - Posted      Profile for the famous rachel   Email the famous rachel   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
In stepping away from church or faith, can anyone identify decisive moments? Maybe not reverse road to Damascus experiences, but small things which made you realise that you could no longer keep going as you had been?

I left the evangelical church I had been attending a few years ago, and have yet to return to church. My faith is now so slight as to be virtually non-existent, and stepping away from church was a big part of the journey to where I am now. Three things which happened in my last year or so at church remain very clear in my mind as having set off a kind of cognitive dissonance - or at the very least a realisation that my thinking about God had strayed so far from the thinking of those around me, that we could no longer talk about our faith on the same frequency band.

The first was a chat with a friend after a semon in a series called "Samson for Grownups". I was really dissatisfied with the sermon, since I felt that if we were talking about the later part of the Samson story in a grown up way, we would have to address the fact that at the end of his life, he kills a large number of people by bringing their temple down on their heads, as a way of reconciling himself to God. What kind of God would be pleased with that, I asked myself! However, the sermon had ignored the issue and concentrated on the idea of turning back to God after a period of wrongdoing. My friend was telling me how wonderfully encouraged she was by the sermon, and indeed by this part of Samson's story, and I couldn't bring myself to tell her that I felt almost the opposite!

The second instance was on a similar theme - as part of a discussion of how the whole heaven, hell, salvation thing worked, I remarked that I didn't feel that a God who would create us weak, allow us to be inevitably tempted, and then punish us when we succumb in our weakness to that inevitable temptation met up with my picture of "goodness". I was told... "Ah, but God isn't good. He's Holy. That's much more important." I guess I should have asked what "Holy" meant and whether it was a synonym for "capricious" or "unkind"!

Whilst these moments stuck with me, the straw that really broke the camel's back was an evangelical Christmas sermon where the (rather well-known) preacher claimed that faith wasn't difficult. He suggested that we all have faith because when we buy (for example) a tin of baked beans from the supermarket, we have faith that it will indeed contain baked-beans not (say) boiled spiders. He likened faith in God to this. To someone struggling desperately with faith this was just so depressing and insulting that I felt that anyone accepting this view could not possibly understand where I was coming from. I went to a few more services, but somehow something inside me had snapped.

(I have bought several tins of beans since then - and have uniformly been able to check whether they actually contained beans by opening them with a can opener and having a look. I have yet to find the right tool to open the box labelled "God" and check that s/he is in there).

Can anyone else identify moments which set them on their current course? How did you react to the people involved (if there were any)? Would you want to change having experienced that particular moment? Would it make any difference in the long term?

Best wishes,

Rachel.

[ 14. March 2015, 23:51: Message edited by: RuthW ]

--------------------
A shrivelled appendix to the body of Christ.

Posts: 912 | From: In the lab. | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

 - Posted      Profile for Boogie     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
My Mum had severe dementia for six years. There was no reason - none whatever, that she needed to stay alive and suffer. But stay alive she did.

I realised then, once and for all, that God does not 'answer' prayer.

All those people saying 'God has reasons you can't know' didn't help either.

I now believe that our birth, life and death have very little to do with God - pretty sure that God doesn't deal with us as individuals at all.

But I do still think that there is a force for good/kindness/morality/comfort in the universe - and I still choose to call that force 'God' as it's as good a name/description as any.

--------------------
Garden. Room. Walk

Posts: 12541 | From: Boogie Wonderland | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged
Brenda Clough
Shipmate
# 18061

 - Posted      Profile for Brenda Clough   Author's homepage   Email Brenda Clough   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
There are huge forces that ensure that your can of beans have beans in them. Food safety laws, packaging and canning regulations -- the entire structure of our government, mostly, exists for this.

A can of spiders would, instantly, be photographed and show up on the Internet. Viral, before you can snap your fingers. Returned cans would pour back into the stores, waist deep. Frozen and dried bean sales would zoom. The manufacturer responsible would go down in flames and all its competitors would switch over in an eyeblink to clear glass jars for their beans.

In other words, it is in the interests of society to have certain systems and products be safe. Food, transport, water, health care -- the basics. There is no agreed safety standard for religions, and it is not clear that enforcement could be done. Even quite dodgy religious practices (polygamy, clitoridectomy, drinking poisoned KoolAde) are tough to uproot until some appalling calamity kicks up a shindy.

--------------------
Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

Posts: 5355 | From: Washington DC | Registered: Mar 2014  |  IP: Logged
Schroedinger's cat

Ship's cool cat
# 64

 - Posted      Profile for Schroedinger's cat   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I would actually agree that we all have faith. We trust that chairs will hold us, that food will be safe, that the laws of science will continue to hold. We believe these because we have tested them and found that they work. That is faith, based on previous experience.

In reality, that is not the same as faith in God (or faith in other people actually). This is because they don't obey scientific laws, meaning that they are not predictable.

As I am typing this, I am listening to "Into my Arms" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Appropriate opening lyrics, I think....

--------------------
Blog
Music for your enjoyment
Lord may all my hard times be healing times
take out this broken heart and renew my mind.

Posts: 18499 | From: At the bottom of a deep dark well. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Autenrieth Road

Shipmate
# 10509

 - Posted      Profile for Autenrieth Road   Email Autenrieth Road   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
[cross-posted with Schroedinger's Cat]

A former rector used to use the example of faith as having faith that his wife loves him, but no proof. And similarly to you with the spiders, I thought "baloney". There's tons of evidence we use to support our belief that someone loves us.

I'm generally not convinced by the evidence that people cite for the existence of God. "Look at the sunrise," they say. "How can you not believe that there's a God who created that?" And I think: "very easily."

[ 10. December 2014, 14:46: Message edited by: Autenrieth Road ]

--------------------
Truth

Posts: 9559 | From: starlight | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Jemima the 9th
Shipmate
# 15106

 - Posted      Profile for Jemima the 9th     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:

As I am typing this, I am listening to "Into my Arms" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Appropriate opening lyrics, I think....

That's my "is the piano working?" warm up in church, is that. [Big Grin]
Posts: 745 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

 - Posted      Profile for no prophet's flag is set so...   Author's homepage   Email no prophet's flag is set so...   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
The most specific incident for us was praying at the breakfast table with family and specifically praying for protection (I always liked the ones in the Compline service). One hour later, in the bright summer sun, one of our children was attacked and nearly murdered.

I distrust single events, camels and straws, and the Damascus story; I suspect Paul was not completely open about prior personal crises. The attempted murder event was one of a series of awful and horrid events, but the crowning one, like Paul's. I could not continue to say nonsense about God hearing prayers as I looked into my child's eyes in hospital, the police station and court, or dropped her off for therapy appointments. Frankly, to adopt any of the prior "God is personally involved in our lives" orientation would betray blunt experience that shows it just isn't true. This incident and all of the others. I was willful about not adopting what I hold true now 40 years ago. And now because it is more than me, I can't. So I won't, because this would betray my child. Argumentation about the ineffable nature of God works intellectually - this is the one put forth by well meaning people, but it doesn't work at all in the experiential mess of actually living it. Intellectual explanations are irrelevant in the context really living the disasters. In fact it makes it worse. Because, in addition to being brutally harmed, now God is at minimum a Bad Samaritan, who passes by and ignores. Better to see a God who withdraws from the world and watches, not violating the free will of all the good and evil people and all of the natural processes.

--------------------
Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

Posts: 10829 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
Jemima the 9th
Shipmate
# 15106

 - Posted      Profile for Jemima the 9th     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
My miscarriage was quite a big step along the way, I think. I'm very lucky, I've only had the one, and it was early on in pregnancy, but it was awful. It seemed thoroughly capricious of God to take my baby - that's how I saw it. It was very minor suffering, in comparison to what so many people go through. I had always struggled with the idea of suffering in a theoretical way, but that brought a little of it home to me.

Would I rather it hadn't happened? I don't know.

This was against the background of feeling, increasingly, "Hang on a second, this is all just a bit.......daft, isn't it?" which had been slowly developing over the previous couple of years. And sermons of the type rachel describes - it's easy to have faith, let's ignore this vast chunks of the Bible (sacrifice of Isaac, Jephthah's daughter always spring to mind) so that we can tell this nice tidy story. I felt patronised. And, arrogant so and so that I am, I don't like it.

Posts: 745 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged
Jemima the 9th
Shipmate
# 15106

 - Posted      Profile for Jemima the 9th     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
[XP with no prophet.]
Bloody hell, np.

Posts: 745 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged
Doublethink.
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

 - Posted      Profile for Doublethink.   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
It seems the problem of evil/suffering is both a way in and a way out of faith. Some people credit God for psychological or physical survival, others blame God for requiring it - or rather, God as they concieved him could not have permitted this therefore he could not be - or could not be as they conceived him to be.

It is a problem I have never seen a faith tradition answer convincingly.

--------------------
All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

Posts: 19150 | From: Erehwon | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Potoroo
Shipmate
# 13466

 - Posted      Profile for Potoroo     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
There were several straws which broke the camel's back, for me. Firstly there were quite a few years where my prayers weren't answered. Any prayers. This was a blow, as I had considered myself an intercessor.

Then there was me answering God's call to overseas mission, trusting God for my future and going to a residential Bible College for an MDiv. I worked my way, to pay for college, but it didn't cover the holidays when the college kitchen was closed, and I was hungry. Very hungry. For 3 years. I was practising faith; why didn't God or his people provide?

Then finally, I had a severe nervous breakdown. During this time I lost most of my Christian friends, and was struggling with my faith. Where was God? It seemed he had struck me down. I always believed in his omnipotence, but where was his love, and the support of his people?

And yes, I know the argument that I had got it all wrong and that God didn't want me in overseas missions. However, it was confirmed over many years in the tried-and-trusted way: the Word, inner conviction/prayer, and friends/church leaders. So what went wrong?

Now, of course, I can't understand why I was so crazy - of course I am not suitable for missions and never was, and I think of my previous plans with horror. I still believe God is there, but I don't want anything to do with him.

--------------------
Gilbert's Potoroo is Australia's most endangered animal.

Posts: 2537 | From: Australia | Registered: Feb 2008  |  IP: Logged
TallPoppy
Shipmate
# 16294

 - Posted      Profile for TallPoppy     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Your story is a very sad one Potoroo. The alienation from a God you still believe exists - that must be very painful.

There isn't a hug smilie, but if there was one, I'd post it now.

TallPoppy

--------------------
Papaver exaltatum

"Love comforteth like sunshine after rain"

Posts: 2386 | From: Southern England | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged
Potoroo
Shipmate
# 13466

 - Posted      Profile for Potoroo     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Thank you for your kind words, TallPoppy.

quote:
Originally posted by TallPoppy:
The alienation from a God you still believe exists - that must be very painful.

Actually, it is not painful, as I am still angry at God. Not as angry as I was. But to me, he is not a loving or kind God.

--------------------
Gilbert's Potoroo is Australia's most endangered animal.

Posts: 2537 | From: Australia | Registered: Feb 2008  |  IP: Logged
Mark Wuntoo
Shipmate
# 5673

 - Posted      Profile for Mark Wuntoo   Email Mark Wuntoo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I was a minister and so I believed in GOD. [Smile]

Slowly, I came to believe that the church, being in major decline 'n all, was sometimes a nasty place and an irrelevance in today's society (I could qualify that, of course). But I stayed and tried my little bit to bring about change, particularly in styles of worship.

Then I retired and began to ask questions that I dare not face whilst 'in the pulpit'. Coming from a fundamentalist background I believed in an omnipotent God, an intervening God, I believed in the flood and the death and resurrection as a means of salvation. The problem was that I had come to believe that 'the church' stood for evil things and thought evil thoughts. So I asked myself ..... why doesn't a God who intervenes, stop this nonsense? Why doesn't GOD come to the support of gay people and act against the church for what it does? Why doesn't God do something about the way that the church treats women? Why doesn't God stop the church keeping its wealth locked away? For me, it was no answer simply to say that God works through people - GOD clearly wasn't doing that in relation to those three things.

Then I radically broadened my reading. And that was that. And it came with real relief and, I dare to say it, joy and contentment.

--------------------
Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light.

Posts: 1916 | From: Somewhere else. | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Paul.
Shipmate
# 37

 - Posted      Profile for Paul.   Author's homepage   Email Paul.   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
For me there was no final straw. I got really tired - emotionally as well as physically. I went through a time when I was stressed and struggling with new challenges at both church and work. The difference was that at work I had people who were in it with me and empathetic. At church...? Well I'll be charitable and say that lots of people around me were struggling too. But I was "fired" from the fairly minor leadership role I'd taken on and I felt both relieved and hurt. After that it was easier to give up. The overwhelming feeling I had was one of needing to take a break, like a holiday, from it.

So none of it was about doubts or faith really. I just felt like I couldn't "keep it up".

So there was no "straw" leaving but there was one coming back. A relationship I'd relied on heavily ended.

The irony is that I'm back at church now and all the things that never bothered me before - problem of suffering, the trustworthiness of the bible, the usual dead horse issues - and which hadn't been a factor in me leaving, are very present with me now.

Posts: 3670 | From: UK | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Autenrieth Road

Shipmate
# 10509

 - Posted      Profile for Autenrieth Road   Email Autenrieth Road   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I've been in and out of faith twice now.

As a child, once we started going to church regularly, when I was 9, I believed everything. (Actually, earlier than that we would go very very sporadically, and the things I learned then remain incredibly important to me, even as much of the Christian superstructure on top has fallen apart for me. But that's a whole nother post.)

Then I went to college and it all fell apart. I was having serious questions and the traditional teachings didn't make sense to me. In the library studying one day, I found the book "Faith of a Heretic" by Walter Kaufmann, and what he said exactly described everything I was thinking.

I hung on going to church for about a year after that, but the final straw for me was that I lost my virginity and the next Sunday at church thought "there's absolutely no-one here I can talk to about this" and that was the end.

For a long time I didn't go to church, except sporadically in times of great stress -- yes, the church remained the place I turned to in times of stress (and it worked to help my stress!). I don't know quite what that means about my understanding of faith and church and stuff, that the church building and service remained so important to me in that way.

I felt like there were things I believed in very strongly about, in terms of the things that were important in life and why, and how to be a good person, so in some ways I would say I had a very strong faith (and I'd say the same now, too), but it wasn't the traditional say-the-Nicene-creeds faith of Christianity that I learned as a child.

Then I audited an introductory religion course, and learned about "myth as things that are truer than truth", and came to realize that the myths that formed me were the Christian myths, and also the next time I had a deep crisis I thought "I believe in some things very strongly, and I don't know quite what to call them, but it seems like 'God' is the best name I know of for them". So I went back to church, and this time instead of my sporadic attendance from my time away from faith, I found myself back in faith and became very involved at the church and stayed in for 15 years, going to church every week.

About 8 years ago all of a sudden a sense I'd had for a very very very long time, of being in touch with some sense of holiness in the world, vanished. I've been through stages of grief about it -- trying desperately to get it back, feeling deeply pained that it was gone, feeling deeply pained that it was gone but accepting that it wasn't coming back, accepting the new state that it was gone and not feeling bad about it -- each of those stages took about 2 years.

Through that time I was participating in the Christian study/discussion group I've mentioned elsewhere on this board; first as a participant and then as a facilitator. But the end result of all that study has been that the more I read and study and think about Christianity, the less sense its core doctrinal teachings make any sense at all to me.

And then one day I woke up and realized that I didn't need to call the things I believed in deeply 'God' -- that other words would do just fine. So that initial bargain that had brought me back to church "I don't know what else to call this, so I'll call it 'God' because that's the only word I know for it" fell completely apart. And that I think has turned out to be the final straw for me in this second time in my life of losing faith.

I still feel very tied to some aspects of the church and the church service -- I'm not angry at it, or disillusioned, or anything. But there seems to be a progressive process of... I don't know if it's falling away, or what.

I think I've gotten to a point where rather than be in shock or denial or grief about the changes that have been happening in the past year or so, since that "I don't need to call these things 'God'" change, and feeling bad that I can't accept the Christian faith as I've experienced it being taught, that I'm sort of ready to start accepting the changes, and re-finding the core of things that I think are really important -- and have always thought are really important, ever since those few very sporadic encounters in Sunday school that I mentioned at the very beginning.

--------------------
Truth

Posts: 9559 | From: starlight | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

 - Posted      Profile for no prophet's flag is set so...   Author's homepage   Email no prophet's flag is set so...   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mark Wuntoo:
I was a minister and so I believed in GOD. [Smile]

Slowly, I came to believe that the church, being in major decline 'n all, was sometimes a nasty place and an irrelevance in today's society (I could qualify that, of course). But I stayed and tried my little bit to bring about change, particularly in styles of worship.

Then I retired and began to ask questions that I dare not face whilst 'in the pulpit'. Coming from a fundamentalist background I believed in an omnipotent God, an intervening God, I believed in the flood and the death and resurrection as a means of salvation. The problem was that I had come to believe that 'the church' stood for evil things and thought evil thoughts. So I asked myself ..... why doesn't a God who intervenes, stop this nonsense? Why doesn't GOD come to the support of gay people and act against the church for what it does? Why doesn't God do something about the way that the church treats women? Why doesn't God stop the church keeping its wealth locked away? For me, it was no answer simply to say that God works through people - GOD clearly wasn't doing that in relation to those three things.

Then I radically broadened my reading. And that was that. And it came with real relief and, I dare to say it, joy and contentment.

This is a story I've heard before. What exactly prevents people from saying the hard things to themselves and sorting it out while they're employed as church leaders? Does the pay cheque cause it and the responsibilities to family and bills etc? Is it too much immersion in the world of church that you never have the time to surface above and see what you see later? Is the pulpit a prison to open thought?

--------------------
Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

Posts: 10829 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
Mark Wuntoo
Shipmate
# 5673

 - Posted      Profile for Mark Wuntoo   Email Mark Wuntoo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
This is a story I've heard before. What exactly prevents people from saying the hard things to themselves and sorting it out while they're employed as church leaders? Does the pay cheque cause it and the responsibilities to family and bills etc? Is it too much immersion in the world of church that you never have the time to surface above and see what you see later? Is the pulpit a prison to open thought?
Briefly, may come back later.

I think it was all of that for me. I was busy trying to make worship relevant, as well as addressing some of the hard (dead horse) issues from the pulpit. I was a bit of a maverick (clowning 'n all, for example) so really didn't have the time to read more widely. I was, I suppose, also scared at what I might find when I looked into myself so avoided doing it. Perhaps that's why it was such a relief when I finally gave it up after I retired. Coming up to retirement must also have influenced my (lack of) thinking.

--------------------
Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light.

Posts: 1916 | From: Somewhere else. | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Bob Two-Owls
Shipmate
# 9680

 - Posted      Profile for Bob Two-Owls         Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Autenrieth Road:
I've been in and out of faith twice now.

I have been in a similar situation in that I have left Catholicism for Atheism, turned back to Anglicanism and then left that with only brief forays back into either fold. There were no straws or camels, just a realisation that I was happier without faith and away from Church. Once that idea takes hold it is difficult to go back. I would describe it as walking downhill, it isn't impossible to go back to having faith but it is more difficult and not necessarily taking you in the direction you want to go.
Posts: 1253 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Schroedinger's cat

Ship's cool cat
# 64

 - Posted      Profile for Schroedinger's cat   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
This is a story I've heard before. What exactly prevents people from saying the hard things to themselves and sorting it out while they're employed as church leaders? Does the pay cheque cause it and the responsibilities to family and bills etc? Is it too much immersion in the world of church that you never have the time to surface above and see what you see later? Is the pulpit a prison to open thought?

I suspect that the same issues apply to congregation members too - if you start questioning, what do you risk losing? Maybe your job and house, but maybe your friends, everything that you have dedicated your last few decades to. So rather than asking, you work harder, and so have even less time to then read around what is irritating you.

If there is sign that the edifice you have created is crumbling, there is a tendency to look to those arguments that support this, hence the "we are being persecuted" responses. The longer someone does this, I suspect, the more of their world will crumble if they have to admit it is wrong.

--------------------
Blog
Music for your enjoyment
Lord may all my hard times be healing times
take out this broken heart and renew my mind.

Posts: 18499 | From: At the bottom of a deep dark well. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
TallPoppy
Shipmate
# 16294

 - Posted      Profile for TallPoppy     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
My own story is quite brief.

I always knew God existed. Then when my husband and were coming up to 50:

1. He got oral cancer, despite having never smoked. Only 50% of people with his cancer survive, but they suffer permanent disability from the devastating treatment regime. Husband was one of the lucky ones, though is still being monitored in case the cancer comes back.

2. Somehow something inside my brain broke under the strain. I took a massive overdose, then broke my back in a catastrophic second attempt at self-harm, then another overdose. I was eventually diagnosed with bipolar spectrum disorder, having had many stays in psychiatric hospital.

3. My beautiful friend Emily died tragically at the age of only 30 after a life of unimaginable illness and suffering in both mind and body.

Along the way, as my faith ebbed away, I revived it for a while with the excellent book 'Where the Hell is God?'. But when the last dregs recently disappeared down the spiritual plughole, I was willing to let them go with good grace.

I am now faith-free and content with that state.

Much love to all posting here. There have been many moving, brave and honest messages.

TallPoppy

--------------------
Papaver exaltatum

"Love comforteth like sunshine after rain"

Posts: 2386 | From: Southern England | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged
Macrina
Shipmate
# 8807

 - Posted      Profile for Macrina   Email Macrina   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I don't think for me it's specific moments as such. I do want desperately to live a life that's more than just consumerism and 'this is it-ness' because I don't think that this IS it. It's more that I just cannot handle the politically motivated, elitist, out of touch and harmful idiocy that the Church preaches over and above the message that Jesus gave it.

Christianity has been the West (and yes the East I'm ex Plot) has connected with a higher sense of its own humanity for so long. It's wrapped inside our culture in ways we can't quite appreciate and is hard to ignore.

So for me the hard part about not being in Church, and in fact being deeply angry, depressed and turned off by what the Church has become is that I've struggled to find a voice to the innate sense of spirituality and holiness that I know I need and want.

Posts: 535 | From: Christchurch, New Zealand | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Carex
Shipmate
# 9643

 - Posted      Profile for Carex   Email Carex   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I went to Sunday School at a Presbyterian Church when I was growing up. While I learned bible stories and such I never felt personally connected, and it seemed like a waste of time. Then when I was about 12 my parents stopped attending: I'm not sure whether it was a shift in their own beliefs, the new younger minister wasn't to their liking, or just what. I know that they returned to a different church later in life - around age 60 or so, possibly as they were having to look at their own mortality.

I still enjoy traditional hymns and other music, and have no compunction singing Messiah or spirituals when they convey my mood. But my spirituality has taken its own path over the years based on books, classes, wanderings in the wilderness, and personal experiences, sometimes in unusual places or circumstances. (Including one on the Fourth of July in a crowded bar in Alaska.)

Posts: 1401 | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
TallPoppy
Shipmate
# 16294

 - Posted      Profile for TallPoppy     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Macrina:
I don't think for me it's specific moments as such. I do want desperately to live a life that's more than just consumerism and 'this is it-ness' because I don't think that this IS it. It's more that I just cannot handle the politically motivated, elitist, out of touch and harmful idiocy that the Church preaches over and above the message that Jesus gave it.

Christianity has been the West (and yes the East I'm ex Plot) has connected with a higher sense of its own humanity for so long. It's wrapped inside our culture in ways we can't quite appreciate and is hard to ignore.

So for me the hard part about not being in Church, and in fact being deeply angry, depressed and turned off by what the Church has become is that I've struggled to find a voice to the innate sense of spirituality and holiness that I know I need and want.

I must confess that apart from a brief and very unwise 'fling' with evangelical Christianity at university, I have never been part of any faith community, apart from the Ship itself (if that counts). I can remember a friend who was also a Catholic priest expressing disapproval of this. I am very much of the view that an individual path to spirituality can be a valid one.

That is the road I have trodden all my life. Perhaps I will find my way back onto it - at the moment I am walking with Buddhist teachings in my heart to help me to deal with a life of chronic illness. The book 'How to be Sick' by Toni Bernard is guiding me.

Warmest wishes to all

TallPoppy

--------------------
Papaver exaltatum

"Love comforteth like sunshine after rain"

Posts: 2386 | From: Southern England | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged
the famous rachel
Shipmate
# 1258

 - Posted      Profile for the famous rachel   Email the famous rachel   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Wow - I've been amazed by the honest and thoughtful posts on this thread, and am almost feeling guilty about how shallow my own story seems. One thing that really chimes with me though, is the questions people have found themselves asking about God's failure to act in certain situations. Another moment that really influenced me on my current journey to where I am now was a friend (who was on his own journey out of faith) asking me how anyone could possibly believe that a good God would act to (for example) help them get a promotion or win a running race, but not act to heal a young person dying of cancer, or save a starving child's life in the third world. The same person might well pray equally fervently about all those things, and would praise God for answered prayer when the former requests appeared to be met, but would not rail and rage at God when the latter requests appeared to be ignored. To him, the most logical answer was that God does not answer prayer at all, but that coincidences do happen. The only other option, he suggested, was a very strange and rather nasty God who answered comfortable middle-class people's prayers about trivialities, but ignored a huge amount of suffering. Put like that, it was an argument I found difficult to side-step and I found that it influenced how I thought about prayer and made it difficult for me to pray about either big issues or trivialities, except when under stress (when I don't philosophise so much and just get on with it!).

Rachel.

--------------------
A shrivelled appendix to the body of Christ.

Posts: 912 | From: In the lab. | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mark Wuntoo
Shipmate
# 5673

 - Posted      Profile for Mark Wuntoo   Email Mark Wuntoo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by the famous rachel:
.... and am almost feeling guilty about how shallow my own story seems.

Guilt goes out of the window, surely, when we stop doing GOD? [Biased]

.... The only other option, he suggested, was a very strange and rather nasty God who answered comfortable middle-class people's prayers about trivialities, but ignored a huge amount of suffering.

[Killing me] But many a true word ....?

Put like that, it was an argument I found difficult to side-step and I found that it influenced how I thought about prayer and made it difficult for me to pray about either big issues or trivialities, except when under stress (when I don't philosophise so much and just get on with it!).

Rachel.

This points-up something that is important for me. Surely GOD does, in fact, answer the prayers of the poor and disadvantaged? GOD does it by the motivation that corporate prayer brings to those who are doing the praying. I dip into Lanternari's 'The Religions of the Oppressed' from time to time. Now over 50 years since publication, it has things to say to us about people under pressure turning to their gods for help and finding a common solace, even a social or political answer to their challenges. I would argue that the gods created in the imaginations of people under pressure are very real for them - and their god's existence is proved to them when their suffering is relieved by whatever means. Perhaps the religion(s) of slavery is a good illustration in that it brought succour, even subversive activity, and, in the end, abolition by the actions of both slave and anti-slave.

--------------------
Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light.

Posts: 1916 | From: Somewhere else. | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
the famous rachel
Shipmate
# 1258

 - Posted      Profile for the famous rachel   Email the famous rachel   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mark Wuntoo:
This points-up something that is important for me. Surely GOD does, in fact, answer the prayers of the poor and disadvantaged? GOD does it by the motivation that corporate prayer brings to those who are doing the praying.

Interesting point, which somewhat turns the notion of prayer on its head. Still, if that's the best answer God's got, I can't say I'm impressed. [Biased]

R.

--------------------
A shrivelled appendix to the body of Christ.

Posts: 912 | From: In the lab. | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mark Wuntoo
Shipmate
# 5673

 - Posted      Profile for Mark Wuntoo   Email Mark Wuntoo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
But it's got nothing to do with GOD [Biased] [Razz]

--------------------
Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light.

Posts: 1916 | From: Somewhere else. | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
the famous rachel
Shipmate
# 1258

 - Posted      Profile for the famous rachel   Email the famous rachel   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I did write a longer version of the previous post, which said something like "If that's how God answers the prayers of the needy, we'd be better off cutting out the middle man and getting out there and getting on with it". But I decided that sounded a bit smug. Nonetheless, it's possibly true!

Rachel.

--------------------
A shrivelled appendix to the body of Christ.

Posts: 912 | From: In the lab. | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Curiosity killed ...

Ship's Mug
# 11770

 - Posted      Profile for Curiosity killed ...   Email Curiosity killed ...   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
There's always God as the personification of good, the good we use to align ourselves to in prayer, and if we do that things do work out better for those around up. But a omnipotent, all-seeing, all-knowing, every sparrow that falls God, not so much.

Straws? Several ~ the realisation that I was too heretical to be welcome in any groups, so there was no community for me, am increased emphasis on youth that rendered the worship noisy, lacking in space and full of crappy choruses, a spur added to the sound system in such a way that it caused feedback at a pitch that gave me tinnititus, an insistence I kept running the pram service even though I was desperate to stop, and losing the fair trade stall which was all that got me along some Sundays in the kerfuffle. And then the CofE deciding to get entangled in SSM, women bishops and headship bishops.

The pram service required me to lead unaccompanied singing and I really can't sing, so weekly mortification, every bloody week.

--------------------
Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

Posts: 13479 | From: outiside the outer ring road | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
Schroedinger's cat

Ship's cool cat
# 64

 - Posted      Profile for Schroedinger's cat   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
For me the straw was the licensing of someone else as a Reader, when I had been refused licensing. In fact, I had been refused licensing at 3 separate churches.

This was not the "reason" I left. It was the final straw. If I am to be involved in a church, I need to have some acknowledgement of my skills and experience. I need to feel that my position is listened to.

The final final straw was when the vicar objected to my website as it was for complaining about church. It isn't - it is for supporting those for whom church has failed them. That lack of understanding was crucial.

--------------------
Blog
Music for your enjoyment
Lord may all my hard times be healing times
take out this broken heart and renew my mind.

Posts: 18499 | From: At the bottom of a deep dark well. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Pre-cambrian
Shipmate
# 2055

 - Posted      Profile for Pre-cambrian   Email Pre-cambrian   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
For me, I can't think of a particular straw.

There were two issues which had been troubling. The first was, ironically, a result of my Lenten reading. So many of my Lenten readings were medieval mystics, whose relationship with God was "Mea culpa" I am a worm. Increasingly I couldn't accept such negativity.

Alternatively I was studying Islam a bit and recognising that the views of the divinity of Jesus were completely incompatible, although I was desperately hoping that the Christian version was right.

But then one morning on the commuter train it suddenly struck me it didn't matter. Like a flash I thought there is no god and I don't believe in one. Strangely it didn't worry me. There was no guilt or soul-searching. Instead I started from this new position and tried to work out "Why?".

For me it has never been a case of disapproving of, e.g the old Testament God. God could not stop existing simply because we disapproved of its actions, although we can still reject such a God. For me it is a case that given the vast age and size of the universe the idea of a god that over only the last couple of thousand years suddenly takes an interest in a species/turns up on an offshore planet is completely implausible. Possibly I could accept a Deist God - but what's the point? But a theist one? No. It is basically demand led. It is much more plausible that the writers of the Bible made him/her/it up.

All of the arguments I have read that aim to counter this have completely failed to convince me.

--------------------
"We cannot leave the appointment of Bishops to the Holy Ghost, because no one is confident that the Holy Ghost would understand what makes a good Church of England bishop."

Posts: 2314 | From: Croydon | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged
IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

 - Posted      Profile for IngoB   Email IngoB   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Pre-cambrian:
For me it is a case that given the vast age and size of the universe the idea of a god that over only the last couple of thousand years suddenly takes an interest in a species/turns up on an offshore planet is completely implausible. ... All of the arguments I have read that aim to counter this have completely failed to convince me.

Neither ancient Judaism nor classical Christianity believe that God just happened to take some interest in an arbitrary species on some backwater planet at some point. Both assume to the contrary that man was created as the crown of material creation, and that material creation was supposed to be governed by man. The scale of the universe is basically irrelevant for this, other than for scaling our amazement at the power and generosity of God. So to classical Christianity your conclusion simply relies on a false premise.

--------------------
They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

Posts: 12010 | From: Gone fishing | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Macrina
Shipmate
# 8807

 - Posted      Profile for Macrina   Email Macrina   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Neither ancient Judaism nor classical Christianity believe that God just happened to take some interest in an arbitrary species on some backwater planet at some point. Both assume to the contrary that man was created as the crown of material creation, and that material creation was supposed to be governed by man.

So by this we are to assume the human appendix is a result of the fall?
Posts: 535 | From: Christchurch, New Zealand | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Schroedinger's cat

Ship's cool cat
# 64

 - Posted      Profile for Schroedinger's cat   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by Pre-cambrian:
For me it is a case that given the vast age and size of the universe the idea of a god that over only the last couple of thousand years suddenly takes an interest in a species/turns up on an offshore planet is completely implausible. ... All of the arguments I have read that aim to counter this have completely failed to convince me.

Neither ancient Judaism nor classical Christianity believe that God just happened to take some interest in an arbitrary species on some backwater planet at some point. Both assume to the contrary that man was created as the crown of material creation, and that material creation was supposed to be governed by man. The scale of the universe is basically irrelevant for this, other than for scaling our amazement at the power and generosity of God. So to classical Christianity your conclusion simply relies on a false premise.
Can I gently remind you of the guidelines - that peoples decisions are their own. For pre-Cambrian, this was an issue. Whether it makes sense to others or not is not the point. For one person, that was an issue that they struggled with.

Discussion of a reason is perfectly valid. Criticising is not.

Schroedingers Cat
Faithfree host.

--------------------
Blog
Music for your enjoyment
Lord may all my hard times be healing times
take out this broken heart and renew my mind.

Posts: 18499 | From: At the bottom of a deep dark well. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Nicodemia
WYSIWYG
# 4756

 - Posted      Profile for Nicodemia   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
For me it is a case that given the vast age and size of the universe the idea of a god that over only the last couple of thousand years suddenly takes an interest in a species/turns up on an offshore planet is completely implausible. Possibly I could accept a Deist God - but what's the point? But a theist one? No. It is basically demand led. It is much more plausible that the writers of the Bible made him/her/it up.

All of the arguments I have read that aim to counter this have completely failed to convince me.

Pre-Cambrian, I am totally with you there. Only I am still trying to reconcile a God with my knowledge of the universe/cosmos/multiverse. So far it hasn't happened, but somehow, like others on this board, I feel rather scared NOT to believe in God.

Not very intelligent or intellectual, but I don't know.......
[Confused]

Posts: 4537 | From: not too far from Manchester, UK | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

 - Posted      Profile for Karl: Liberal Backslider   Author's homepage   Email Karl: Liberal Backslider   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I totally get Pre-cambrian's point. IngoB is right that it's not a complete "therefore there can't be a God", but the fact remains that rational humans are incredibly latecomers to this planet, which is a bit of a latecomer to the universe, in an undistinguished position in the suburbs of the Milky Way. And humanity in its current form ish having been around for 100,000 years ish has only recently taken to the idea of monotheism as far as we know. Having been a theist for so long I need something more than that to jettison the concept, but I do understand the issue. Why now?

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17443 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
the famous rachel
Shipmate
# 1258

 - Posted      Profile for the famous rachel   Email the famous rachel   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I totally get Pre-cambrian's point. IngoB is right that it's not a complete "therefore there can't be a God", but the fact remains that rational humans are incredibly latecomers to this planet, which is a bit of a latecomer to the universe, in an undistinguished position in the suburbs of the Milky Way. And humanity in its current form ish having been around for 100,000 years ish has only recently taken to the idea of monotheism as far as we know. Having been a theist for so long I need something more than that to jettison the concept, but I do understand the issue. Why now?

I also get pre-Cambrian's point, and faced with IngoB's counter-argument about man as the pinnacle of creation, a universe essentially created to place us in, I not only take Karl's point ("Why now?") but would also add "and why didn't God do a better job?". Surely a being who can create the whole universe just as a place for mankind to hang out could come up with a plan which didn't involve billions of sentient beings burning in hell for all eternity? Of course, I am aware there are plenty of people around here who don't believe that is God's plan at all, but I guess I can't yet get past conservative evangelical theology. More than once, I've been told "God invented us with free will because he wanted us to be his friends not his slaves, but free will gives us the possibility to turn away from him and when we do, he has to punish us," or words to that effect. (There's sometimes a lot of wriggling around the punishment bit, along the lines of God doesn't punish us, but if he is holy and we are not, we cannot tolerate his presence and hence hell is our choice not his, or something, but it all comes down to the same thing).

My translation is: God made us because he wanted to, he made us able to choose to turn away from him, because he wanted to, he let temptation come our way, because he wanted to. He then wanted us to resist temptation. We failed. He didn't get what he want, so he stamped his foot and cast us into the outer darkness. This is what I call my "toddler God" model of Christian theology. (My 4 year old son used to react quite similarly to not getting his own way, only he didn't have the power to cast me into the outer darkness*. He's starting to grow out of it now.) Now, I suppose it is possible that the toddler God exists, but I don't want to worship him! (This is all the same problem as the "God is not good, he's holy" issue in the OP!).

Admitting that my toddler God picture is slightly a parody, nonetheless, if God is both loving and all-powerful and has made us as the pinnacle of his creation, I am definitely left with the question "Why didn't he do a better job?"

So I feel like God is either...
(a) so unlikely as to have a vanishingly small chance of existing
OR
(b) incompetent
OR
(c) mean.

And yet somehow I would like a way back towards an extant, powerful, loving God. I just can't find him or her.

Best wishes,

Rachel.


* I suspect he wished he did.

--------------------
A shrivelled appendix to the body of Christ.

Posts: 912 | From: In the lab. | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

 - Posted      Profile for mousethief   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
I totally get Pre-cambrian's point. IngoB is right that it's not a complete "therefore there can't be a God", but the fact remains that rational humans are incredibly latecomers to this planet, which is a bit of a latecomer to the universe, in an undistinguished position in the suburbs of the Milky Way. And humanity in its current form ish having been around for 100,000 years ish has only recently taken to the idea of monotheism as far as we know. Having been a theist for so long I need something more than that to jettison the concept, but I do understand the issue. Why now?

This probably deserves a Purg thread.

--------------------
God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

Posts: 62941 | From: Ecotopia | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
quetzalcoatl
Shipmate
# 16740

 - Posted      Profile for quetzalcoatl   Email quetzalcoatl   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I think it depends on where you start from, or point of view. If I start from the present moment, I am often impressed by a sense of the numinous or transcendent, and then it's quite a smooth slide to God, although maybe not the Christian version.

However, if I begin with pre-cambrian's point about the vastness and great age of the universe, everything seems very different, and God seems unlikely.

I don't think I can reconcile these things; but then, I have given up worrying about this. I don't even decide which point of view to take; it's a kind of roller coaster for me.

Infinity in a grain of sand - yes; infinity in the universe, which boggles my mind - yes. But the second one is very intellectual, and for me, therefore unreliable. Or, if you like, the present moment is all we have.

--------------------
no path

Posts: 9504 | From: UK | Registered: Oct 2011  |  IP: Logged
Pre-cambrian
Shipmate
# 2055

 - Posted      Profile for Pre-cambrian   Email Pre-cambrian   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by Pre-cambrian:
For me it is a case that given the vast age and size of the universe the idea of a god that over only the last couple of thousand years suddenly takes an interest in a species/turns up on an offshore planet is completely implausible. ... All of the arguments I have read that aim to counter this have completely failed to convince me.

Neither ancient Judaism nor classical Christianity believe that God just happened to take some interest in an arbitrary species on some backwater planet at some point. Both assume to the contrary that man was created as the crown of material creation, and that material creation was supposed to be governed by man. The scale of the universe is basically irrelevant for this, other than for scaling our amazement at the power and generosity of God. So to classical Christianity your conclusion simply relies on a false premise.
This may be classical Christianity, but to me it is not materially different to the way that I put it apart from a positive rather than a negative gloss. It has the same deep implausibility and to me indicates even more the human race's immense collective ego!

--------------------
"We cannot leave the appointment of Bishops to the Holy Ghost, because no one is confident that the Holy Ghost would understand what makes a good Church of England bishop."

Posts: 2314 | From: Croydon | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged
IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

 - Posted      Profile for IngoB   Email IngoB   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
This probably deserves a Purg thread.

Probably. Not least because hosting advised me directly "Discussion of a reason is perfectly valid. Criticising is not." on an in my opinion rather neutral post. I do not think that I can discuss an opinion which I consider to be wrong in a way that cannot at least be construed to be critical of the person holding that opinion.

So I'm afraid I will bow out of this discussion here, this seems not like the right venue for it.

--------------------
They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

Posts: 12010 | From: Gone fishing | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Autenrieth Road

Shipmate
# 10509

 - Posted      Profile for Autenrieth Road   Email Autenrieth Road   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
IngoB, the ruling is under discussion on the Faithfree Guidelines thread here, and being considered by the hosts. Please do chime in there if you would like. You might like to start a Purgatory thread in the meantime while we are still considering our Faithfree policy.

Autenrieth Road
Faithfree Host

--------------------
Truth

Posts: 9559 | From: starlight | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

 - Posted      Profile for Boogie     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I think it depends on where you start from, or point of view. If I start from the present moment, I am often impressed by a sense of the numinous or transcendent, and then it's quite a smooth slide to God, although maybe not the Christian version.

Yes, I agree.

But there is no 'Christian version' of God as far as I can see. There seem to be as many versions of God as there are Christians! (which is part of the problem imo, why doesn't God reveal herself more clearly? - she has it in her power to do so, after all. She could at least give us a consistent picture to accept or reject.)

--------------------
Garden. Room. Walk

Posts: 12541 | From: Boogie Wonderland | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged
Mark Wuntoo
Shipmate
# 5673

 - Posted      Profile for Mark Wuntoo   Email Mark Wuntoo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
..... Yes, I agree.

But there is no 'Christian version' of God as far as I can see. There seem to be as many versions of God as there are Christians! (which is part of the problem imo, why doesn't God reveal herself more clearly? - she has it in her power to do so, after all. She could at least give us a consistent picture to accept or reject.)

This is partly why I find non-theism such a helpful concept. It allows me to have no GOD whilst accepting that other people, from their imaginations, create gods that are meaningful, challenging, comforting, whatever - IMHO. So long as their belief does not harm / hurt others, it's ok by me.
It also allows me to reject any idea that GOD could intervene. [Biased]

--------------------
Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light.

Posts: 1916 | From: Somewhere else. | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Jemima the 9th
Shipmate
# 15106

 - Posted      Profile for Jemima the 9th     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by the famous rachel:

My translation is: God made us because he wanted to, he made us able to choose to turn away from him, because he wanted to, he let temptation come our way, because he wanted to. He then wanted us to resist temptation. We failed. He didn't get what he want, so he stamped his foot and cast us into the outer darkness. This is what I call my "toddler God" model of Christian theology. (My 4 year old son used to react quite similarly to not getting his own way, only he didn't have the power to cast me into the outer darkness*. He's starting to grow out of it now.) Now, I suppose it is possible that the toddler God exists, but I don't want to worship him! (This is all the same problem as the "God is not good, he's holy" issue in the OP!).

Admitting that my toddler God picture is slightly a parody, nonetheless, if God is both loving and all-powerful and has made us as the pinnacle of his creation, I am definitely left with the question "Why didn't he do a better job?"

So I feel like God is either...
(a) so unlikely as to have a vanishingly small chance of existing
OR
(b) incompetent
OR
(c) mean.

My toddler and I would like to do mutual casting out today. As would the 11 yo I think, but that's another story.

I understand your characterization here, and i agree with it. I think it's probably something more often experienced by those of us from a evangelical background, where there is much less room for what my friend calls the "hand wavy, well it's all a holy mystery, innit?" approach, which I am more keen on.

It seems like a divine playing of games with your creation, and for a loved, supposedly pinnacle of creation, I find that very difficult to understand.

I find it interesting that in my own church Eden & the fall is never preached on. (Mind you, lots of nasty Bible bits are, we seem to confine ourselves to the fluffier parts of Paul). I've yet to have a satisfactory answer to the question "Why did God put the tree there?"

Posts: 745 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged
Jemima the 9th
Shipmate
# 15106

 - Posted      Profile for Jemima the 9th     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Sorry, that should say "lots of nasty bits of the Bible are NOT".
Posts: 745 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged
quetzalcoatl
Shipmate
# 16740

 - Posted      Profile for quetzalcoatl   Email quetzalcoatl   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I think it depends on where you start from, or point of view. If I start from the present moment, I am often impressed by a sense of the numinous or transcendent, and then it's quite a smooth slide to God, although maybe not the Christian version.

Yes, I agree.

But there is no 'Christian version' of God as far as I can see. There seem to be as many versions of God as there are Christians! (which is part of the problem imo, why doesn't God reveal herself more clearly? - she has it in her power to do so, after all. She could at least give us a consistent picture to accept or reject.)

Well, I suppose in terms of world religions, Christianity has the distinctive feature of the Second Person.

But I find your point relevant across different faiths - I could no longer accept that one was correct, and the others incorrect.

There's also the point that the keys to the kingdom (if you accept that there is one), are often held by an elite group, who then acquire knowledge and power. Or I should really say, that in this context, knowledge is power.

Hmm, something in me really doesn't like that. We are the keys, and we are the kingdom, and we don't get to that via knowledge (or power), but by letting go of them.

--------------------
no path

Posts: 9504 | From: UK | Registered: Oct 2011  |  IP: Logged
the famous rachel
Shipmate
# 1258

 - Posted      Profile for the famous rachel   Email the famous rachel   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Jemima the 9th:

I've yet to have a satisfactory answer to the question "Why did God put the tree there?"

That's my problem in a nutshell (although I have never believed in the creation narrative in any literal sense). Parenthood threw this one into stark relief for me. If you have a toddler, you will have encountered situations where your child knows that they really shouldn't do something, but somehow just can't help themselves. One of the things I try to do, as a parent, is to avoid putting my child into such situations if I can foresee them (often I can't). When I fail on that, I try not to come down on him like a ton of bricks when he succumbs to the temptation I failed to spot. Often I fail but that's my failure not his. I am the adult in the situation.

In the Adam and Eve story we have the all-powerful creator, and the newly-formed naked humans with no knowledge of good and evil. I reckon God is the adult in that situation, and I find his behaviour difficult to square with something Jesus is meant to have said: "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!".

Thanks Jemima - it's a relief that somebody else recognises this characterisation, to be honest.

Best wishes,
Rachel.

--------------------
A shrivelled appendix to the body of Christ.

Posts: 912 | From: In the lab. | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jemima the 9th
Shipmate
# 15106

 - Posted      Profile for Jemima the 9th     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
You're welcome. [Smile]

And you underline the point I'd not thought about in detail - that the humans at the time had no knowledge of good and evil. I suppose my next questions (not to you, in general) would be - why is such knowledge a bad thing? And what does it mean, in that situation, for them to have that knowledge?

Perhaps the story isn't there for any particular reason. One of the additional dangers of my evangelical upbringing is the assumption* that all the Bible stories are there for us to learn something from. Or, worse, to imagine ourselves as part of the story. It doesn't really seem to be on to respond to a sermon with "Nope, I'm sorry, I don't recognise myself in any part of that story. It holds no challenge or encouragement for me. It's just weird".

Especially when that story is the calling of Isaiah. Being sermonised at by someone half my age about stepping out of one's comfort zone was pretty galling. I think people should be banned from preaching until they're at least 40 and have had at least one seriously shitty life experience.Yes, yes, I know the latter could well have been true in his case and I shouldn't assume otherwise*

And whilst we're at it with the assumptions, what's with assuming that we'd want to worship this toddler God?
<awaits lightning strike [Devil] >

*Assumption, as we all know, being the mother of all fuck ups.

Posts: 745 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged



Pages in this thread: 1  2 
 
Post new thread  Post a reply Close thread   Feature thread   Move thread   Delete thread Next oldest thread   Next newest thread
 - Printer-friendly view
Go to:

Contact us | Ship of Fools | Privacy statement

© Ship of Fools 2016

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.5.0

 
Check out Reform magazine
sip of fools mugs from your favourite nautical website
 
  ship of fools