Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-10-2019, 09:57 AM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 60,534

How egotistical must an entity be to need to be worshiped


To paraphrase James Tiberius Kirk, "What does God need with a world full of worshipers?" When you are all-powerful, why would you need your ego boosted by lesser beings telling you what you already know. In fact, how could a being that powerful even have an ego to boo?
  #2  
Old 05-10-2019, 11:18 AM
rsat3acr is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,550
Because there is no God. A manmade creation has human failings.

Last edited by rsat3acr; 05-10-2019 at 11:19 AM.
  #3  
Old 05-10-2019, 11:23 AM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 60,534
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsat3acr View Post
Because there is no God. A manmade creation has human failings.
I'm sort of hoping that those who worship explain the need for/purpose of it.
  #4  
Old 05-10-2019, 11:26 AM
Inigo Montoya's Avatar
Inigo Montoya is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: On the level, if inclined
Posts: 15,603
Because the deific species feed on directed mental energy. If they stop getting prayers, the concentration of assembling sacrifices, etc. then they starve and die off. Baby gods come from the minds of schizophrenics. If the schizophrenic manages to convince others to worship the voices in his head, a god is born.
  #5  
Old 05-10-2019, 11:32 AM
iiandyiiii's Avatar
iiandyiiii is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 33,566
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya View Post
Because the deific species feed on directed mental energy. If they stop getting prayers, the concentration of assembling sacrifices, etc. then they starve and die off. Baby gods come from the minds of schizophrenics. If the schizophrenic manages to convince others to worship the voices in his head, a god is born.
Gods come from belief, but I think you have it wrong. According to my sources, gods originate from rather mundane sorts of superstition -- a shepherd finds his wayward lamb in a clearing in the forest, and lays an offering to give "thanks" to the spirits that kept his lamb safe. If he continues these offerings, and others join in, then the local spirits can sort of coalesce into an actual little deity, which gains strength and power from the number and vehemence of their worshippers' adoration.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 05-10-2019 at 11:32 AM.
  #6  
Old 05-10-2019, 11:40 AM
Inigo Montoya's Avatar
Inigo Montoya is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: On the level, if inclined
Posts: 15,603
Quote:
Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
Gods come from belief, but I think you have it wrong. According to my sources, gods originate from rather mundane sorts of superstition -- a shepherd finds his wayward lamb in a clearing in the forest, and lays an offering to give "thanks" to the spirits that kept his lamb safe. If he continues these offerings, and others join in, then the local spirits can sort of coalesce into an actual little deity, which gains strength and power from the number and vehemence of their worshippers' adoration.
OK, so schizos & solitary mushroom eaters.
  #7  
Old 05-10-2019, 11:45 AM
Dinsdale is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 18,069
You are now touching on a specific sore spot in my family history.

Wife, kids and I are a firm atheists. My family is traditionally Catholic, wife's family Lutheran. One year my SIL asked us to join them for Easter services, because her husband was playing music. So we attended, and later met for dinner. SIL kept asking, "How did you like the services?" Over and over.

Honestly, we thought them disgusting. Yeah, I know Easter Sunday is not representational of the whole year, but (in short) nothing was said to help people in THIS life. Instead, I was wondering why any god worth worshipping would want all these people in this big expensive building singing "Alleluia", instead of - say - DOING something to actually help people or make the world better.

So we kept just saying, "The music was nice." "The church was pretty." Etc.

When she kept asking about the service itself, I thought I politically asked, "Why does God need to be worshipped?" Stupid me - I thought I was politely asking a legitimate question of someone who expressly asked my opinion. I thought she might explain some aspect of her theology which I could consider.

Instead, she was irate that I would even ask such a question in front of her middle-school aged children, and did not speak to her sister or me for several years! (Which, when she finally started speaking to us again - we realized wasn't entirely bad! )
__________________
I used to be disgusted.
Now I try to be amused.
  #8  
Old 05-10-2019, 11:48 AM
Thudlow Boink's Avatar
Thudlow Boink is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Lincoln, IL
Posts: 26,677
From the thread title, I thought this was going to be about why people have dogs.

  #9  
Old 05-10-2019, 11:49 AM
QuickSilver is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 17,675
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
I'm sort of hoping that those who worship explain the need for/purpose of it.
When you get the answer, be sure to ask if they know which are the correct set of sacrifices and propitiations.
__________________
St. QuickSilver: Patron Saint of Thermometers.
  #10  
Old 05-10-2019, 11:49 AM
Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 80,439
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsat3acr View Post
Because there is no God. A manmade creation has human failings.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
I'm sort of hoping that those who worship explain the need for/purpose of it.
I think it is an explanation. As you pointed out in the OP, an actual all-powerful all-knowing deity wouldn't feel the need to be worshiped by lesser beings like us.

But we don't see things from a divine perspective. We see things from a human perspective. And we'd like to be worshiped. So we project our human feelings on to a divine being and feel that he would like the same things we would like.

This holds true regardless of whether or not God exists. We have to realize that the being we're worshiping is not God; we're worshiping our image of God.
  #11  
Old 05-10-2019, 11:50 AM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 60,534
1. This thread isn't about where gods come from, and
2. I would really like to hear from those who worship, so
3. It would nice if y'all didn't make them feel as unwelcome as a fire-ant infested tampon by calling them names.
  #12  
Old 05-10-2019, 11:54 AM
QuickSilver is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 17,675
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
1. This thread isn't about where gods come from, and
2. I would really like to hear from those who worship, so
3. It would nice if y'all didn't make them feel as unwelcome as a fire-ant infested tampon by calling them names.
You know, many of your thread topics would benefit from a more suitable nom de plume. Just saying.
__________________
St. QuickSilver: Patron Saint of Thermometers.

Last edited by QuickSilver; 05-10-2019 at 11:54 AM.
  #13  
Old 05-10-2019, 11:56 AM
kanicbird is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
Posts: 19,400
It is a desire in us to worship God - once we get to know God, it's not a need of God to be worshipped.
  #14  
Old 05-10-2019, 11:58 AM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 60,534
Quote:
Originally Posted by kanicbird View Post
It is a desire in us to worship God - once we get to know God, it's not a need of God to be worshipped.
So the god you worship doesn't require said worship at all?
  #15  
Old 05-10-2019, 12:03 PM
Covfefe's Avatar
Covfefe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 1,257
There are so many people who worship so many false gods. So when God's followers are worshiping him they're alleviating some of this disparity. Isaiah 42:8
  #16  
Old 05-10-2019, 12:04 PM
Thudlow Boink's Avatar
Thudlow Boink is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Lincoln, IL
Posts: 26,677
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
1. This thread isn't about where gods come from, and
2. I would really like to hear from those who worship, so
3. It would nice if y'all didn't make them feel as unwelcome as a fire-ant infested tampon by calling them names.
Well, I think you poisoned the well a bit in the OP, when you framed it in terms of God/gods being egotistical.

Some will say that, when people worship God, it's for their benefit/sake, not God's.

But maybe being worshiped does make God feel good, in a way that's analogous to what we humans feel when someone expresses their love or praise or appreciation of us. That's not (necessarily) egotism.
  #17  
Old 05-10-2019, 12:04 PM
KarlGauss's Avatar
KarlGauss is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Between pole and tropic
Posts: 8,003
Worship? A real god would have you doubt him every day.
  #18  
Old 05-10-2019, 12:07 PM
QuickSilver is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 17,675
Quote:
Originally Posted by Covfefe View Post
There are so many people who worship so many false gods. So when God's followers are worshiping him they're alleviating some of this disparity. Isaiah 42:8
Yes, we are aware that he is a jealous and needy god. Questions is, why? I mean, it's not like he has to worry about competition, being the one true god and all.
__________________
St. QuickSilver: Patron Saint of Thermometers.
  #19  
Old 05-10-2019, 12:08 PM
Max S. is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 624
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya View Post
Because the deific species feed on directed mental energy. If they stop getting prayers, the concentration of assembling sacrifices, etc. then they starve and die off.
This is the approach taken in the 2003 real-time strategy game Age of Mythology.

~Max
  #20  
Old 05-10-2019, 12:13 PM
Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 80,439
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
1. This thread isn't about where gods come from, and
2. I would really like to hear from those who worship, so
3. It would nice if y'all didn't make them feel as unwelcome as a fire-ant infested tampon by calling them names.
I think the believers' explanation would be that they worship God because he told them to and because he deserves it.
  #21  
Old 05-10-2019, 12:19 PM
Max S. is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 624
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
To paraphrase James Tiberius Kirk, "What does God need with a world full of worshipers?" When you are all-powerful, why would you need your ego boosted by lesser beings telling you what you already know. In fact, how could a being that powerful even have an ego to boo?
There are many interpretations of the act of worship, and I don't take a position on whether God exists or religion is good and bad. But let me give you my understanding of how others feel about this topic.

It is my understanding in mainstream monotheism that worshiping God directly improves your soul. The act of worship is less about God being egotistical than God being altruistic. You are literally inviting God into your soul. The act of worship is also an act of ultimate humility and piety, which again directly improves your soul and therefore your character. Not only that, congregated worship is an essential part of many religious communities. Nobody denies the powerful positive effect of belonging to a community, and congregated worship lays the groundwork for a religious community.

~Max
  #22  
Old 05-10-2019, 12:21 PM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 60,534
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
Well, I think you poisoned the well a bit in the OP, when you framed it in terms of God/gods being egotistical.

Some will say that, when people worship God, it's for their benefit/sake, not God's.

But maybe being worshiped does make God feel good, in a way that's analogous to what we humans feel when someone expresses their love or praise or appreciation of us. That's not (necessarily) egotism.
God has emotions that we can change? This doesn't seem to correspond with the idea of a being that is the source of all emotions. I have as much trouble thinking we can make such a being happier as I do with the idea that we can somehow disappoint a being that already knows our every secret thought and action, from birth to death.
  #23  
Old 05-10-2019, 12:24 PM
Crotalus's Avatar
Crotalus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Chillicothe, Ohio
Posts: 6,017
The sense I have gotten over many years is that the nature and attributes of God require worship. Not that He demands it, but that He must be worshiped because of what He is.
__________________
Ad hominem is a logical fallacy when it's used to argue against a concept. But it's perfectly appropriate when your point is that someone is an asshole. TonySinclair
  #24  
Old 05-10-2019, 12:26 PM
begbert2 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Idaho
Posts: 12,423
I was under the impression that many gods, including the god of the Bible, are pretty humanlike in their moods and behaviors.

Based on the way the bible typically characterizes his interactions with people, one gets the distinct impression that he considers it a respect thing - the same way that your boss at work expects you to let him speak first, without interrupting him, and preceding your queries to him with animal sacrifices.

The main reason that a reasonable person might want respect would be to keep order.
The god of the bible struck me as a bit less reasonable than that, so my guess, as an outside observer, would be that it had more to do with ego/insecurity.
  #25  
Old 05-10-2019, 12:28 PM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 60,534
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
It is my understanding in mainstream monotheism that worshiping God directly improves your soul. The act of worship is less about God being egotistical than God being altruistic. You are literally inviting God into your soul. The act of worship is also an act of ultimate humility and piety, which again directly improves your soul and therefore your character. Not only that, congregated worship is an essential part of many religious communities. Nobody denies the powerful positive effect of belonging to a community, and congregated worship lays the groundwork for a religious community.

~Max
If God is literally everything, and if God is the creator of souls, then what caused him to leave the soul in the first place?
  #26  
Old 05-10-2019, 12:28 PM
begbert2 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Idaho
Posts: 12,423
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
God has emotions that we can change? This doesn't seem to correspond with the idea of a being that is the source of all emotions. I have as much trouble thinking we can make such a being happier as I do with the idea that we can somehow disappoint a being that already knows our every secret thought and action, from birth to death.
The god of the bible is definitely written as an entity that has emotions. It's also very explicit that human behavior can effect his moods. Usually by pissing him off, but he's been stated as being pleased about things people do too.
  #27  
Old 05-10-2019, 12:36 PM
Grrr!'s Avatar
Grrr! is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 16,121
Isn't this just a by product of paganism?

When there were many gods, they had to compete for your attention in the form of worship.

Now there's no competition, but the worship still remains. Mainly because worship had become so embedded into how they relate to deities.
  #28  
Old 05-10-2019, 12:56 PM
Max S. is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 624
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
If God is literally everything, and if God is the creator of souls, then what caused him to leave the soul in the first place?
I think it was the original sin. You might get a better answer by asking a theologian.

~Max
  #29  
Old 05-10-2019, 01:05 PM
WillFarnaby's Avatar
WillFarnaby is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Baltimore
Posts: 4,825
How do you get get to be powerful other than by gaining worshippers? Take the state for example.
  #30  
Old 05-10-2019, 01:07 PM
Max S. is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 624
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
If God is literally everything, and if God is the creator of souls, then what caused him to leave the soul in the first place?
In Judaism and Islam, I believe this would just be normal sins accrued during the course of one's life.

~Max
  #31  
Old 05-10-2019, 01:10 PM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 60,534
Quote:
Originally Posted by WillFarnaby View Post
How do you get get to be powerful other than by gaining worshippers? Take the state for example.
I believe the premise is that this god is already all-powerful.
  #32  
Old 05-10-2019, 01:13 PM
Czarcasm's Avatar
Czarcasm is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 60,534
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
In Judaism and Islam, I believe this would just be normal sins accrued during the course of one's life.

~Max
This actually makes more sense.
  #33  
Old 05-10-2019, 02:57 PM
Eonwe's Avatar
Eonwe is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Burlington VT
Posts: 8,552
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
This is the approach taken in the 2003 real-time strategy game Age of Mythology.

~Max
And, to bring it back to references in the OP and an earlier literary source for the concept, the Star Trek episode Who Mourns for Adonais.
  #34  
Old 05-10-2019, 05:18 PM
Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 80,439
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
God has emotions that we can change? This doesn't seem to correspond with the idea of a being that is the source of all emotions. I have as much trouble thinking we can make such a being happier as I do with the idea that we can somehow disappoint a being that already knows our every secret thought and action, from birth to death.
It would also fall outside most Protestant belief. Protestant doctrine generally feels that nothing people can do can have an effect on God. Granted, they usually express this as saying people cannot save themselves from damnation by their own actions but the principle's the same.
  #35  
Old 05-11-2019, 04:16 AM
GreenWyvern's Avatar
GreenWyvern is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Cape Town
Posts: 1,439
Worship does nothing to God, and he doesn't need it. It's purely for the sake of the worshipper himself. The worshipper benefits by cultivating his own love and devotion and spirituality.
  #36  
Old 05-11-2019, 05:55 AM
bizerta is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: wilmington, ma
Posts: 914
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
... I was wondering why any god worth worshipping would want all these people in this big expensive building singing "Alleluia", instead of - say - DOING something to actually help people or make the world better. ...
"Two hands working do more than a thousand clasped in prayer." - Madalyn Murray O'Hair
  #37  
Old 05-12-2019, 08:40 AM
Jackmannii is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: the extreme center
Posts: 31,439
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenWyvern View Post
Worship does nothing to God, and he doesn't need it. It's purely for the sake of the worshipper himself. The worshipper benefits by cultivating his own love and devotion and spirituality.
And by getting something back from the Deity in return for worship, in intangible and tangible (if you believe some of the more blatant media preachers) ways.
  #38  
Old 05-12-2019, 08:57 AM
monstro is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 20,278
Back when I was a Christian, I probably rationalized the whole "we must worship" thing (which did make me uncomfortable) with the idea that worship activity distracts people from doing bad things. If you're worshipping, you aren't gossipping, fighting, stealing, coverting, or killing. And worship makes you feel good so that you will keep coming back to church. The worship part of the service, which always involved really good music, was the only thing I liked about church as a kid. Take that away and church really would have been hell for me.
  #39  
Old 05-12-2019, 10:09 AM
AHunter3 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: NY (Manhattan) NY USA
Posts: 20,200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
To paraphrase James Tiberius Kirk, "What does God need with a world full of worshipers?" When you are all-powerful, why would you need your ego boosted by lesser beings telling you what you already know. In fact, how could a being that powerful even have an ego to boo?
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsat3acr View Post
Because there is no God. A manmade creation has human failings.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
I'm sort of hoping that those who worship explain the need for/purpose of it.
OK, I'm game.

First, omit from consideration the notion of God as a personality who "wants" or "needs" anything. Quit psychoanalyzing God for a moment and shift the focus to yourself (or to me) as potential worshiper.

What are the attitudes and emotions of a dedicated driven attorney towards Justice? The attorney in question may be fully familiar with anthropomorphized images of justice blindfolded and holding the scales, but is actually relating to Justice as more of an abstraction, but (on the other hand) does not think of justice as "a cultural and social construct that doesn't exist except in the sense of 'whatever people have been encultured to think justice is' ". Nope, this individual is a true believer, someone who thinks there really is a divine principle of what is fair, what is true, whether our puny courts and fallible officers thereof can approximate it or not.

That emotional and cognitive embrace of that abstract principle, around which the attorney has arrayed an entire lifetime and made a career, is worship.

Now, yes, I know you're thinking there's a massive difference between Justice and God. That people who believe in God don't think of God as an abstract principle, they pray to God and anticipate answers and stuff, they think God is conscious! Well, the attorney may spend some time trying to set aside the nuts and bolts of casework and make an effort to get in touch with that sense of justice and what is right, as a method of clarifying and getting in touch with purpose and so on. Tuning into it. That process is prayer. You actually don't need to fold your hands into a certain shape and address God (or Justice) as if you were composing an email or something and conceptualize the message's recipient as a blindfolded woman holding a scale (or a bearded sky God or whatever) in order for the process to be useful and meaningful.

(You may also think I've got a ludicrously idealistic notion of the typical attorney's relationship to ideals of justice. I don't, actually. Nor do I have any illusions about the typical religious believer's relationship to God. Neither of these things mean that there aren't that kind of idealistic dedicated people who really are true believers, not in the mindless-puppet sense but in the inspired-and-driven sense. And no, you, any of you who state that you do not believe in God, don't get to tell people that identify as theistic that they don't believe in God the way you mean when you wish to discuss beliefs in God)
  #40  
Old 05-12-2019, 03:58 PM
eburacum45 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Old York
Posts: 2,833
If justice can be considered divine, then it seems as though you are arguing for polytheism. Actually I'm fine with that; there could be an infinite number of gods for all I care. But which of them is worthy of worship? All? None? I don't think I could give all the infinite gods enough reverence, so I'll settle for not giving it to any of them. They won't miss it; they don't need it.
  #41  
Old 05-12-2019, 05:01 PM
Ulfreida is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: pangolandia
Posts: 3,427
I believe in God and I pray. Maybe I'm a crappy example, though, because I don't understand God the way all the atheists on this board seem to. I understand God as love. The entire living spirit of everything. Jesus being the human manifestation of this. My emotion toward God is gratitude. A variable and complicated gratitude but that word describes it best. I do not understand God as "needing" anything in the sense a person does. What God wants, however, is obvious: infinite awareness and infinite compassion. Since we are pathetically finite and self-absorbed, the idea of looking beyond ourselves to something greater is a kind of spiritual exercise which it is hoped draws us toward that awareness and compassion which is what God wants for us. Who hopes it? God does. How do I know this? Because infinite love isn't complete while selfish little oblivious sparks pretend there is no such thing. We are a kind of consciousness hole, a rent in the fabric that wishes to be healed.

I am expressing it very badly.

There are a lot of words like worship, obey, father, judgement, sin, damnation and so forth that don't seem to have much meaning for me. And for some, that means I'm no Christian. But oh well.
  #42  
Old 05-12-2019, 05:49 PM
Kent Clark's Avatar
Kent Clark is offline
You mean he's STILL here?
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 25,754
Okay, I'm a practicing mainline Christian, which means I don't take the Bible quite as literally as some.

Little Nemo has it right. We don't know what God does or doesn't want. We know what the Bible says, but the Bible was written by humans. Its overall theme is TRUE, (the Old Testament was about the Jews' very special relationship with God, and the New Testament is a collection stories of what people remembered Jesus did/said). I, and many other people of faith, don't believe that every single detail has to be literally correct.

I would suspect that every form of faith with some sort of sacred text has at least a few followers that feel the same way.

Maybe God doesn't care about worship at all. Maybe God feels that worship is a good thing, but not a deal-breaker. Maybe the Old Testament is actually understating things, and God is an all powerful being who's really judgmental, who takes offense, and who has no hesitation to let us know it. Maybe, just maybe, the part about worship was stuck in there by people with good intentions who wanted to make sure believers would stick together.

Czarcasm, you and I have been here throughout eternity (okay, not literally.) I'm not asking you to convert, but I hope you'll accept my answer.
  #43  
Old 05-12-2019, 07:38 PM
AHunter3 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: NY (Manhattan) NY USA
Posts: 20,200
Quote:
Originally Posted by eburacum45 View Post
If justice can be considered divine, then it seems as though you are arguing for polytheism. Actually I'm fine with that; there could be an infinite number of gods for all I care. But which of them is worthy of worship? All? None? I don't think I could give all the infinite gods enough reverence, so I'll settle for not giving it to any of them. They won't miss it; they don't need it.
I'm not following you here, although I, too, have nothing against polytheism. I don't think you were following me very well either, come to think of it. I wasn't trying to establish Justice as a god. Please reread what I posted, thanks.
  #44  
Old 05-13-2019, 02:49 AM
eburacum45 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Old York
Posts: 2,833
Quote:
I wasn't trying to establish Justice as a god.
You were the one who brought up 'divine justice'. If justice is worthy of veneration, then everything is; that is fine, but I don't have the time or inclination to venerate everything.

As I said- the infinite gods (if they exist) don't need our worship, or even our acknowledgement - they will continue to do whatever it is they do, with or without our god-bothering. And they definitely don't need organised god-bothering every Sunday.
  #45  
Old 05-13-2019, 03:13 AM
GreenWyvern's Avatar
GreenWyvern is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Cape Town
Posts: 1,439
Quote:
Originally Posted by eburacum45 View Post
And they definitely don't need organised god-bothering every Sunday.
But maybe people need it, or enjoy it?
  #46  
Old 05-13-2019, 03:20 AM
GreenWyvern's Avatar
GreenWyvern is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Cape Town
Posts: 1,439
There are different levels of knowledge in religion, as in any other field.

If you have a medical question, you can ask a snake-oil salesman (who will try to sell you his snake oil), or a pharmacist, or an ordinary doctor, or a medical researcher, or a biochemist, or a professor of medicine specializing in that particular field. You will get different answers, with different levels of accuracy, detail and complexity. And different professors of medicine may have different theories and opinions, different doctors may prescribe different treatments.

But you will always get the best answers from the best-qualified people.

It's similar in religion. It's easy enough to laugh at televangelist snake-oil salesmen, or feel superior to an ordinary guy who goes to church on Sunday and doesn't think intellectually about it, who can't give good answers to your questions.

But if you sincerely want the best answers, you have to go to the greatest thinkers on religion, not to the lowest-level people. You have to go to Augustine, or Thomas Aquinas, or the Talmud, or the commentaries of Adi Shankara, or the great Buddhist philosophers. The answers won't be glib or easy to understand, but they are the real answers.

If you want modern answers, I highly recommend the books of David Bentley Hart. He's one of the foremost intellectuals writing about religion today, and he deals with 21st century concerns and responds to current atheist thinkers. As David Bentley Hart says in The Experience of God:

Quote:
A straw man can be a very convenient property, after all. I can see why a plenteously contented, drowsily complacent, temperamentally incurious atheist might find it comforting—even a little luxurious—to imagine that belief in God is no more than belief in some magical invisible friend who lives beyond the clouds, or in some ghostly cosmic mechanic invoked to explain gaps in current scientific knowledge.

But I also like to think that the truly reflective atheist would prefer not to win all his or her rhetorical victories against childish caricatures.
In this book he examines what the world's major religions actually mean by the concept of 'God'. Obviously it's NOT the crude idea of 'some big mystical person' that many atheists (like the OP of this thread) seem to imagine. More interestingly, he shows that all the major religions have very similar concepts of God, despite their superficial differences.

If you can engage with or refute the arguments of David Bentley Hart - or if you can even reason at that level of intellect, learning, and clarity of logic - then your views as an atheist will mean something.

Otherwise you're like someone who has a pet theory of physics and argues that distinguished mainstream physicists are all wrong, but can't solve a simple differential equation.

If you want serious answers, they are there. But - as in any field of knowledge - you have to put in the effort to understand them.

Last edited by GreenWyvern; 05-13-2019 at 03:23 AM.
  #47  
Old 05-13-2019, 03:36 AM
eburacum45 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Old York
Posts: 2,833
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenWyvern View Post
But maybe people need it, or enjoy it?
So it is a people thing, not a god thing? So long as we realise that.
  #48  
Old 05-13-2019, 04:16 AM
GreenWyvern's Avatar
GreenWyvern is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Cape Town
Posts: 1,439
Quote:
Originally Posted by eburacum45 View Post
So it is a people thing, not a god thing? So long as we realise that.
Exactly. That's what I said in post #35 above.
  #49  
Old 05-13-2019, 04:31 AM
eburacum45 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Old York
Posts: 2,833
In my country we have largely moved beyond god-bothering. Empty churches show how irrelevant this activity is here.

Indeed, a case could be made that there is an element of disrespect involved in organised religion - if you choose one form of worship you are denigrating the others. I'd go as far as to say that there are an infinite number of ways that humanity could interact with God, or with the gods, or with the non-personal concept of non-god that is at the heart of Buddhism, and they are all wrong. So long as we realise that the act of worship is entirely divorced from the divine, we can do whatever we like to entertain ourselves in this respect.
  #50  
Old 05-13-2019, 07:50 AM
BrotherCadfael is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Vermont
Posts: 10,178
Quote:
Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
I was under the impression that many gods, including the god of the Bible, are pretty humanlike in their moods and behaviors.
[George Carlin]Man created God in his own image...[/George Carlin]
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:26 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017