September 09, 2004


If you've never delved into one of my "The Whole God Thing" posts, well that's what TWGT stands for. This time, I'm just going to put my thoughts out on the main page and see what happens. As always, these are my own opinions and observations. I'm not trying to "convert" anyone, I'm just talking it out. Feel free to comment, but if you are disrespectful, I'll be displeased with you.

Marty "chimed in" in the comments to this post and brought up a very interesting concept. The idea that God created man in his own image. (BTW, the imagery he puts forth is quite striking. Mirrors. I liked it a lot.)

I'm not exactly sure that the Judeo-Christian Mythos is the only one that posits this idea, but I've never heard of another that does. You've got to admit that it's very elegant. In Marty's "Mirror", he sees Man talking to God, and I see Man talking to his Reflection. From the point of view of my atheism, I see that instead of God creating Man in his own image, it's quite the reverse. Man created God in his own image, in order to create a certain familiarity with God. I mean, even though "He" is an abstract, "He" wouldn't work as effectively if he were an "unfamiliar abstract".

There has got to be something in the mannerisms of God that Man can identify with in order to instill Faith. Different societies can arrive at this in different ways, but the effect is just the same. "Faith can move mountains", but you have to have a little something to have faith in before anything happens. It's very difficult to get someone to hold their faith in something that is completely unknown to them. Therefore, Man is God's image. I think Man is Man's image, and I take the whole Diety thing out of the equation. Little to have faith in there, as we all know the falleabilty of the human species, but there it is.

In order to for Religion to perform the good works that it can do, it has to motivate its followers in some way. The idea that God is just like you, is a good way for people to "buy into" your Religion, and therefore to carry out your good works. Sometimes the works aren't so good, ie: The Crusades (Nothing more than a religiously spurred land grab), but for the most part, they really Are good, for the wrong reasons. Hey, whatever it takes to motivate people right? Meanwhile, Iraq...

I had another frequent reader email me their thoughts on the subject (because they wished to remain anonymous) that came at the situation from the other side. This person was raised atheist, and after a number of years has gone out to explore spirituality. They wound up being about half-Episcopalian, and half-Buddhist. A little confused I feel, but still reaching out for that particular "Meaning" that I espoused upon in my last post. Not wrong, and not a bad thing, but it smacks of someone who needs a little something to help them through their day. Something to make it all "Mean" something. Maybe if you are doing everything you can to ensure that you live your life in accordance to the Golden rule, then you'll sleep a little better at night without all of this atonement that you are imposing on yourself.

People need to have a "higher power" in order to lend a certain validation to their lives. I mean There's got to be a point, doesn't there? No there doesn't. All you can do is own up to your mistakes, and resolve to never make them again. You don't need to "Give yourself over" to a higher power, merely recognise what is within yourself as "Godly", and act accordingly. It's not easy, but you don't have to lie to yourself to get there.

As a finale to this post, I would like to state that I have nothign but respect for Religions in general. They have done a lot of good throughout history, as well as a lot of evil. There are a majority of folks out there who are doing the "Lord's Work" that are making a positive difference on our society, and I'd like to thank them for their service. All the Hypocrite's can Kiss my Ass.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at September 9, 2004 12:43 AM

Interesting. I vaguely remember something about the "man creating God in HIS image" idea being discussed when I took Religious Studies at college. It was called the anthropomorphicising of God.(excuse the spelling. It's early over here). Also, the word "image" was translated from the original Aramaic, so I'm wondering if that translation was any good. The original word might have meant something different to our idea of what an "image" is. Even the English language has changed an awful lot since the King James' Bible. And wasn't that translated from Latin?

I can see I'm going to be keeping Google busy for a couple of hours when I finish this. You're a very bad man Johnny!

And "Buddhist Extremist" is a great comedy religion. I think I'll put that on my census form instead of "Jedi" ;-)

Posted by: Sally at September 9, 2004 05:28 AM

I guess if you're a Buddhist Extremist, then you are already doused in gasoline and nervously playing with your lighter. I can see the police stand-off now. "Lady! Put down the lighter and slowly back away!"

I'll give the Buddhists this: at least when they want to go out in a "Blaze of Glory" they have the decency to not try and take others with them.

I guess I have a twisted sense of humor when I first wake up.

Posted by: Johnny - Oh at September 9, 2004 09:43 AM

This whole man-made God concept is something to behold then, considering that it was begun by nomads who were little more than cave men. It's certainly withstood the test of time...

And it doesnt explain who no cultures ever evolved with a completely different concept -- they all settled on the supernatural concept of life after death.

I'm also concerned that someone who does not beleive in their own immortal soul, or the souls of their earthly brothers, can ever have the best interests at heart for the childrens childrens children. If they're just dust, and i'm just dust, what does anything matter at all?

As someone who believes otherwise, that the things we do in this life have an eternal importance for our brothers, that frightens me.

Posted by: Marty at September 9, 2004 11:11 AM

Yeah Marty. I think it's very fascinating that each society has arrived at the same place. As an athiest, I realize that I'm an aberration. Even people in mud huts came to the realization that they have an immortal soul, but I cannot seem to get that concept to "stick" in my personal outlook on life and its nature.

As for the last aspects of your comment, please don't fear. I'll probable flesh it out better in another big post, but the gist of it will be "actions have consequences". It'll be a bit more far reaching than that, but that's the root core of it.

As always, thanks for stopping by, and your input is always welcome.

Posted by: Johnny - Oh at September 9, 2004 09:46 PM

Found this over at Dawn's site, and thought -- who among us cannot relate?

(On attempted suicide)

...I lacked faith, so I couldn't see beyond wanting and not having, as James wrote. I saw life not as endless possibility, but as a succession of possible things to hope for—and if I didn't get what I wanted today, it would take a supreme effort to carry on in hope that I would get it tomorrow.

What faith gave me, in a word, was continuity—a sense that there was a divine plan, and that whether or not I felt I was part of it, I was. No longer did I feel that there was no benefit to surviving pain. Faith infused even my losses with meaning, and with a sense that God was with me, loving me, during my trials as well as my triumphs.

Posted by: Marty at September 10, 2004 09:25 AM
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