« The Rotary Club could be the ideal church | Main | Time to ditch the traditional Christian story »

February 09, 2007

Comments

bls

Point #1, I can follow, although I probably wouldn't use the words "fertile" - most of space is empty and sterile - or "farm." (Ditto).

Where in the world does Point #2 come from, though? How are human beings "assisting in the work of creation"? And which parts of the universe have human beings created?

Many people haven't gotten to share in any fruits, either; I personally wouldn't be too sunny on this one. I really can't agree that this "fits the evidence," either; I can't understand how you can ignore the events of the 20th Century - the worst mass slaughter(s) in human history, all across the globe. Going back further, we have the slavery, the subjugation of women, and persecutions of all sorts by every kind of society.

And where does the "human" part come in, BTW? Where along the evolutionary scale did God decide to hire us as helpers? This is a serious flaw in this argument, IMO - the same one that exists in the "made in God's likeness" argument. We were once slime, correct? How does that constitute either "made in God's image," or "hired as God's little helpers"?

Also, there are many other takes on the meaning of the life of Christ; why are you "ditching" all of them because you don't like one of them?

Further: FYI, I don't believe this story, either! It doesn't make any sense to me, although apparently it does to you. Well, that's great - but why would you want to drive me and others out of the church?

The church is absurd by itself; without the story of Christ, believe me I'd run in the other direction as fast as I could.

D. C.

bls writes: "most of space is empty and sterile ..."

The universe is fertile in the sense that it contains the raw materials from which countless, wondrous things can take shape. 'Farm' is just a figure of speech.

-------------

bls asks: "How are human beings 'assisting in the work of creation'? And which parts of the universe have human beings created?"

Well, to name just a few examples, we 'created' (OK, 'fashioned' might be a better term) the computer you wrote your post on; the chair you're presumably sitting on; the food you ate this morning. We also 'created' the social mechanisms that let us fashion natural materials into more-complex and more-useful forms.

(The term 'created co-creator,' incidentally, comes from Lutheran theologian Philip Hefner.)

-------------

bls writes: "I can't understand how you can ignore the events of the 20th Century ...."

But life isn't a snapshot, it's a movie. We have to those events, and really all forms of 'evil,' in context — specifically, in the context of how we learn from our mistakes (the "trial and error" that I mentioned in the main posting) and how we do better as time passes.

Try Gregg Easterbrook's thought experiment (from The Progress Paradox): Would you be willing to permanently trade places with a random person who lived 100 years ago? A thousand years ago? Ten thousand years ago? Probably not.

Would very many people living today — outside the areas of wretched poverty, where we still have so much work to do (which is why the church shouldn't be wasting so much time fighting over trivial matters like sexuality and scriptural authority) — be willing to make such a trade? Probably not.

And my own extension of that thought experiment: At any time in history, would very many people be willing to permanently trade places with a random person X years in their own past? Probably not.

-------------

bls asks: "And where does the 'human' part come in, BTW? Where along the evolutionary scale did God decide to hire us as helpers? "

Don't know. Nor can I rule out that God hasn't 'hired' other species, on Earth or elsewhere, as helpers. (This may be an argument in favor of the vegan lifestyle, but I'm not prepared to go quite that far, at least not just yet.)

-----------

bls asks: "Also, there are many other takes on the meaning of the life of Christ; why are you 'ditching' all of them because you don't like one of them?"

Because I don't like living in a fantasy, and my professional training and experience tell me that trying to do so is generally a Bad Thing.

--------------

bls asks: "Well, that's great - but why would you want to drive me and others out of the church?"

I don't, not at all. But neither am I willing any longer to have church people insist I have to believe their version of events, when (a) the evidence doesn't support their version, and (b) it does support a different story.

bls

D.C., the "creation" of the universe is nothing like the "creation" of the food I ate this morning. For one thing, the food I ate this morning was "created" by the universe itself, not by human beings. The term "co-creator" implies that there is an equivalence between two distinct meanings of the word, which there isn't.

Further, the "co-creators" thing implies that human beings are somehow doing great things that will affect the entire universe in some way. But we live in a tiny remote corner of the cosmos, and we will likely not ever be able to leave even our solar system, because the spaces are so vast. We are tiny and puny, and have absolutely nothing to do with any "wondrous things" that the universe may provide. They were there before us and they will be there after we're long gone, and they will not have noticed our existence.

Let me try a "thought experiment" with you, in return: would you be willing to permanently trade places with a person living a hundred years from now? 200 years from now? A thousand? Why don't you ask the question in this form, as a control?

D.C., I ask again: why do you want to belong to an organization whose beliefs you find repugnant? This makes absolutely no sense to me. As far as "insisting you believe a certain version of events"? Isn't that what this post is proposing, its own self? i.e., that we all need to believe your version?

D. C.

bls writes: "the food I ate this morning was 'created' by the universe itself, not by human beings."

We may be talking apples and oranges (no pun intended). I'm using 'creation' to signify the process of going from Nothing (?) to the cereal in your bowl this morning; maybe I should use a different word.

In any case, big parts of that creative process were definitely of human origin, unless, that is, your breakfast was nuts and berries you gathered in the wild.

------------

bls writes: "would you be willing to permanently trade places with a person living a hundred years from now? 200 years from now? A thousand?"

Great idea; it hadn't occured to me to do that.

Another way to pose the question would be: If it were possible for you to continue to live at your present age, and in reasonable comfort, for another 100 years, 200 years, or even 1,000 years, would you? My answer is, you bet I would! I would absolutely love to see how things are going to turn out! I'm convinced that in the long, long, long run, things are going to be unimaginably wonderful.

----------------

bls writes: "As far as 'insisting you believe a certain version of events'? Isn't that what this post is proposing, its own self? i.e., that we all need to believe your version?"

Nope. I don't insist that anyone believe my version. I happen to think people who hold your views are wrong, but I could be the one in error. Either way, our holding different views doesn't mean we shouldn't worship God together, nor that we shouldn't welcome each other at the table. As I've said before, I'm happy to worship with devout Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc., and personally would welcome them to the Communion table if they felt comfortable receiving it.

(I intentionally titled the blog posting the way I did as an attention-getter.)

bls

But we don't go from Nothing to get breakfast. We go from Something to Something Else.

It all exists already; it simply changes form. But your own point of view about God's creation - unless I'm wrong - is that God DID go from Nothing to Something.

Anyway, I don't think you actually know what my views are; I don't think I've expressed them here in any great depth. So I think you might assuming things that aren't necessarily true. What I'm saying is that it's not really right to force other people to change the rules of the game to their own detriment, just so you can play. It's more reasonable to find a way to accept the rules, or to find another game, or to start a different game.

If you were just being provocative, well, you did a good job.

MysticalSeeker

For what it's worth, process theology does not believe that God fashioned the universe out of nothing, but rather that God has acted as a co-creator with the universe. According to this view, every moment in time is a creative act involving God's offering of possibilities and the response by the "occasion of experience". This response is a creative act of free will, but it does involve God in the sense that God offers the best possible response. In this view, the universe is always a co-creator with God at each moment in time. This is also a panentheistic theology, since it sees God as encompassing the universe but also being more than the universe at the same time.

bls

But that doesn't really engage what would be considered "science." It doesn't explain anything - at least, not in the same way as D.C. is putting forth his ideas here.

And it's still apples and oranges, no matter what; human "creation" has nothing in common with either of those examples.

Mystical Seeker

The point of process theology is that God doesn't create anything ex nihilo, and neither do humans, but it defines creation as involving the introduction of novelty into the universe from what preceded. And this novelty is not the result of Divine fiat, but requires both the universe (and thus humans) and
God. Thus creation is a joint effort. It is scientifically consistent because it works with an evolutionary universe, from the Big Bang to the evolution of life on earth.

bls

Sorry, that doesn't make any sense to me.

How is "creation a joint effort" that humans are somehow involved in? How are humans involved in it? What is the meaning of "introducing novelty"?

More importantly, what preceded? And where did God come from? If there's something that preceded God, aren't we worshipping the wrong being?

Mystical Seeker

If you want to understand process theology better, you might try going to the web site for the Center for Process Studies. You might find answers to your questions there.

bls

No, I don't; I didn't bring this topic up. I'm simply asking you to explain some of the statements you made.

Mystical Seeker

The best resource that would explain process theology to you, and thus answer your questions, would be the web site that you provided. There are also some excellent books out there on process theology that would help to explain what is a rather complex theological and metaphysical system.

Chaya

Commandment and Summary of the Law — love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself — which is precisely what Jesus stressed
========================
This is Judaism!

Aaron

The next time you want to disgrace scripture, please, please use it in context. Your "evidence" takes the words of Jesus and mereley cortorts to what you believe and find acceptable.

Doug

I largely agree with your post, but don't see how it contradict orthodoxy. Within orthodoxy there is ample room for the believe the God created the evolutionary process. In fact, I think this is the only position that is tenable for anyone to hold because it believe in the created and the creator.

I consider myself a thoroughly orthodox emergent Christian (and no that is not an oxymoron). We are called to live our lives by Loving God, Loving Ourselves, Loving Others. My only point of mild disagreement is that we don't know how we are suppose to help. If we put everything before the above verses than we do know.

C.P

Why is the first 'tale' unconvincing? The bible is not a historical blueprint of life. It is God's word and revelation to mankind about his plans and purposes for the world, which is written in poems, songs, some historical accounts, wisdom writings and other text genres. It doesn't require anything science proves or disproves. UNLESS science proved that Jesus in fact stayed dead, then Christianity would be obsolete since we know that no one can fulfill God's Law.

D. C. Toedt

@C.P., thanks for visiting, but please re-read the second paragraph of the main posting — especially the part about assuming facts not in evidence.

In the same vein, you might also want to read about Russell's Teapot, and for that matter the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The church wants people to radically reorder their lives, on grounds that Jesus supposedly was raised from the dead. It's up to the church to adduce convincing evidence that things actually happened that way.

If you claim otherwise — if you think I should believe the church's pronouncements unless and until I can prove them false — then you and I have very, very different approaches to life.

I appreciate your having taken the time to comment.

Canada Without Prescription

yes Another way for followers of Jesus to look at historyhello people I want to emphasize this blog Excellent my friends have lots of views in the comments that I feel great, keep in that way.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Your email address:


Powered by FeedBlitz

Favorite Posts

Adv.

Episcopal Church

  • Come and Grow
Blog powered by Typepad