1. Donationrwingett
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    06 Jun '09 14:13
    I did not keep up on the original "Why does god hide" thread, and with 150 posts in it I'm not going to go back and read them all. So we'll start a new thread. I apologize if this approach has already been covered.

    Within this thread we will assume that there is a god (of some sort) who hides from his creation, or who does not want his existence and attributes to be factually known.

    What motives might a god have for that behavior?

    The traditional answer is that he wants us to have "faith" in his existence, or that he wants us to "desire" him, or some such thing. But what if this is wrong? What if god hides because he wants us to doubt his existence. What if god hides because he wants us to think for ourselves about the big problems in life instead of just giving us all the answers. In this scenario, god granted us reason, not so that we could shut it off and exercise faith, but so that we could actively question everything that was going on around us, up to, and including, god's own existence.

    In this scenario, the blind faith of a true believer would be abhorrent to god. It would gratify him much more to have people exercise their capacity for reason by doubting his existence and by doubting the proclamations of the world's various self-appointed holy men. Maybe doubt is what god wants. Maybe god finds creeds, orthodoxy and religious zealotry to be distasteful in the extreme. Maybe god wants us to grow up and think for ourselves instead of running to him, like children, every time we have a problem. Maybe.
  2. Joined
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    06 Jun '09 15:04
    Originally posted by rwingett
    I did not keep up on the original "Why does god hide" thread, and with 150 posts in it I'm not going to go back and read them all. So we'll start a new thread. I apologize if this approach has already been covered.

    Within this thread we will assume that there is a god (of some sort) who hides from his creation, or who does not want his existence and att ...[text shortened]... rselves instead of running to him, like children, every time we have a problem. Maybe.
    Maybe you should try assuming that it is man that is hiding from God.
  3. Standard memberkaroly aczel
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    06 Jun '09 15:361 edit
    Maybe? Whatever! I dare anyone else to 'expose' rwingett. His point rocks and should be read word by word b4 being replied to
  4. Donationrwingett
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    06 Jun '09 15:541 edit
    Originally posted by josephw
    Maybe you should try assuming that it is man that is hiding from God.
    Boring! I will just ignore you and continue my freewheelin', heterodox sermonizing from earlier.

    Expanding on god as a 'parental' figure, or a heavenly father, if you will, the Israelites were to him as children. God's covenant with them was like that of a father toward a young child. He interacted with them as a stern father, protecting them and they showed respect and obedience for him. But as everyone knows, you can't live in your parents basement forever. There comes a day when you have to leave the nest and make your own way in the world.

    When god felt his children were mature enough, he had Jesus tell them they had to move out. The period of god's parental 'law' was over, the temple was destroyed, and mankind was on their own to make their way in the world as aspiring adults. Jesus gave them some words of wisdom for the road, but they were expected to make their own way. They were expected to call or write from time to time, but god didn't want them to keep running to him every time they had a problem. A good parent teaches you to think for yourself.

    God has been preparing his children to live without him. He knows the day is coming when he will no longer have anything to teach them. When they have become self-sufficient, emotionally mature adults, god will have the satisfaction of knowing that he has done a good job. Then he can cease to exist. Some will keep a picture of god on the mantle piece to remember him by, but its there for comfort and not because they really need him. For they have grown up and moved on, just as any parent would wish of his children.
  5. Donationrwingett
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    06 Jun '09 16:42
    Originally posted by karoly aczel
    Maybe? Whatever! I dare anyone else to 'expose' rwingett. His point rocks and should be read word by word b4 being replied to
    I might make you my first disciple. Just don't take any silver from anyone.
  6. Illinois
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    06 Jun '09 17:19
    Originally posted by rwingett
    I did not keep up on the original "Why does god hide" thread, and with 150 posts in it I'm not going to go back and read them all. So we'll start a new thread. I apologize if this approach has already been covered.

    Within this thread we will assume that there is a god (of some sort) who hides from his creation, or who does not want his existence and att ...[text shortened]... rselves instead of running to him, like children, every time we have a problem. Maybe.
    In this scenario, the blind faith of a true believer would be abhorrent to god.

    Let me point out that the Bible does not teach "blind" faith. Rather, faith is spoken of as a divinely instilled assurance of what one cannot see (Heb. 11:1 NRSV; Eph. 2:8; 2 Cor. 4:6). In other words, faith is the result of God revealing Himself to man. The Holy Spirit attests to the truth of scripture, giving faith in God's word to all who accept His testimony.

    That is not to say, however, that there is not a power at work actively seeking to hide God from our hearts and minds: "But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds [Satan] the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them" (2 Cor. 4:3-4).

    Biblically speaking, then, far from actively hiding Himself, God is said to be actively revealing Himself. "For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6).

    It is Satan who seeks to hinder that light (i.e., knowledge) of God from enlightening the hearts and minds of unbelievers, most likely by tempting human frailty (e.g., our pride, lust, greed, etc.). The parable of the sower, I think, best illustrates this effect:

    "[God] The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown" (Mark 4:14-20).
  7. Hmmm . . .
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    06 Jun '09 17:481 edit
    Originally posted by rwingett
    I did not keep up on the original "Why does god hide" thread, and with 150 posts in it I'm not going to go back and read them all. So we'll start a new thread. I apologize if this approach has already been covered.

    Within this thread we will assume that there is a god (of some sort) who hides from his creation, or who does not want his existence and att rselves instead of running to him, like children, every time we have a problem. Maybe.
    Twhitehead once made an argument along the following lines (as best as I can remember; I would be happy if he would present it again, in case I’ve not got it quite right):

    Assuming

    (1) “God” refers to a supernatural (extra- or non-natural) entity that is separate from the natural cosmos; and

    (2) Human consciousness, being a natural phenomenon, is in no way separable from nature;

    —then, any act/communication by that supernatural entity directed into the natural world itself becomes ”naturalized” (my word, not tw’s) in such a way that it can be even perceived by our consciousness, else we would not be able to perceive it at all, let alone comprehend it. At the very least, any such divine communication must be thoroughly naturalized in order for it to be comprehensible.

    Basically, the supernatural is never (and can never) be communicated except in a naturalized form. Therefore, the most we would ever perceive would be a weird and perhaps inexplicable event in nature—and some people extrapolate from that weirdness or inexplicability to a supernatural cause.

    But the supernatural can never, b y definition, be apparent to a natural consciousness. So there is no real epistemic warrant for that extrapolation. The supernatural remains inherently unknowable.

    The same argument can be cast in terms of putative revelation via language that is accessible to the human consciousness (being a product of that consciousness), as well as putative revelatory events. Look at all the argument that goes on here (in which both you and I have participated many times) about the meanings of words, phrases, metaphors, etc., in various languages, in what is supposed to be “revealed scripture” that makes knowledge of the supernatural accessible. At a more scholarly level, look at all the disagreement among exegetes, textual critics and theologians.

    At bottom, there is no evidence that reveals the supernatural qua supernatural. The supernatural remains inherently unknowable. God, as such, remains hidden, pretty much by definition.

    Again, I’d be happy if twhitehead would revisit this argument, in case I’ve just bungled it…
  8. Donationrwingett
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    06 Jun '09 19:12
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    [b]In this scenario, the blind faith of a true believer would be abhorrent to god.

    Let me point out that the Bible does not teach "blind" faith. Rather, faith is spoken of as a divinely instilled assurance of what one cannot see (Heb. 11:1 NRSV; Eph. 2:8; 2 Cor. 4:6). In other words, faith is the result of God revealing Himself to man. The Holy ...[text shortened]... and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown" (Mark 4:14-20).[/b]
    Brother Epiphinehas...sometimes I feel that you cannot see the forest for the trees. Sometimes I feel that instead of scripture being an aid to you understanding Jesus, it instead becomes an obstacle in your path. You concentrate so hard on pinning down the printed word that the living Jesus slips through your grasp unnoticed.

    Peace be with you, brother.
  9. Donationrwingett
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    06 Jun '09 19:51
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Twhitehead once made an argument along the following lines (as best as I can remember; I would be happy if he would present it again, in case I’ve not got it quite right):

    Assuming

    (1) “God” refers to a supernatural (extra- or non-natural) entity that is separate from the natural cosmos; and

    (2) Human consciousness, being a natural phenom ...[text shortened]...

    Again, I’d be happy if twhitehead would revisit this argument, in case I’ve just bungled it…
    What, no burning bushes?

    I see the point, though. A supernatural being would necessarily lie outside of the realm of our natural consciousness. It would not register on our "radar." Is that the gist of it?

    We may not be able to detect supernatural beings, but we can presumably detect supernatural events (if we define them as violations of natural law). So if someone raises a verifiably deceased person from the dead, we could infer the handiwork of a supernatural being, could we not?
  10. Hmmm . . .
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    06 Jun '09 20:16
    Originally posted by rwingett
    What, no burning bushes?

    I see the point, though. A supernatural being would necessarily lie outside of the realm of our natural consciousness. It would not register on our "radar." Is that the gist of it?

    We may not be able to detect supernatural beings, but we can presumably detect supernatural events (if we define them as violations of natural la ...[text shortened]... ased person from the dead, we could infer the handiwork of a supernatural being, could we not?
    How would we conclude to a violation of natural law as opposed to a violation of natural law as we currently know it?

    Also, how do we sort out possible errors in our perception (or psychological projections)? If either the form or the seeming power of any experience were themselves enough to decide the issue, no one would ever be deceived by a mirage.

    Anyway, I may have muddled twhitehead’s argument, or missed some critical aspect of it. I really hope he might present it again.

    BTW, Robb, if no one has ever commended you on your efforts into textual, as well as theological, scholarship—and the fact that you do not use your findings to simply and crassly “bash” Christians across the board—then let me be the first. (Not that anyone should have presumed that you would conduct yourself in any other way. ) That spirit of true inquiry seems far too rare a thing. I’m probably not saying this well, either, but I hope you get “the gist” of it. 🙂
  11. Territories Unknown
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    06 Jun '09 21:07
    Originally posted by rwingett
    I did not keep up on the original "Why does god hide" thread, and with 150 posts in it I'm not going to go back and read them all. So we'll start a new thread. I apologize if this approach has already been covered.

    Within this thread we will assume that there is a god (of some sort) who hides from his creation, or who does not want his existence and att ...[text shortened]... rselves instead of running to him, like children, every time we have a problem. Maybe.
    Within this thread we will assume that there is a god (of some sort) who hides from his creation, or who does not want his existence and attributes to be factually known.
    Then I guess you will be considering a god completely unlike the God described in the Bible--- you know, the One who instructs man to search out and know His ways via His word.
  12. Donationrwingett
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    06 Jun '09 21:10
    Originally posted by vistesd
    How would we conclude to a violation of natural law as opposed to a violation of natural law as we currently know it?

    Also, how do we sort out possible errors in our perception (or psychological projections)? If either the form or the seeming power of any experience were themselves enough to decide the issue, no one would ever be deceived by a mir ...[text shortened]... head’s argument, or missed some critical aspect of it. I really hope he might present it again.
    Someone once made the point to me that people experienced so many "miracles" in the ancient world because that is what they were expecting. They viewed the world in those terms. All otherwise unexplained phenomena were therefore credited as being miracles. Now that we live in a technological age people no longer do that. They credit unexplained phenomena to UFOs, or something that is more in tune with their technologically oriented world view.

    So in the presence of unexplained phenomena, I guess we should infer nothing other than the phenomena are unexplainable.
  13. Donationrwingett
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    06 Jun '09 21:24
    Originally posted by vistesd
    BTW, Robb, if no one has ever commended you on your efforts into textual, as well as theological, scholarship—and the fact that you do not use your findings to simply and crassly “bash” Christians across the board—then let me be the first. (Not that anyone should have presumed that you would conduct yourself in any other way. ) That spirit of true inquiry ...[text shortened]... re a thing. I’m probably not saying this well, either, but I hope you get “the gist” of it. 🙂
    I thank you for that.

    You are correct that it has never been my intent to bash Christians across the board. Heck, some of my best friends are Christians. 😉 Even though I do not believe in their god, I find Christianity to be a fascinating subject (as my many posts in this forum will attest). If someone wants to believe in god, I have no qualms with that. They can believe whatever they like. Where I get into "bashing" mode is with people who claim to 'know' that their interpretation is right and that everyone else is wrong, and probably doomed to hell for it.
  14. Donationrwingett
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    06 Jun '09 21:32
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    [b]Within this thread we will assume that there is a god (of some sort) who hides from his creation, or who does not want his existence and attributes to be factually known.
    Then I guess you will be considering a god completely unlike the God described in the Bible--- you know, the One who instructs man to search out and know His ways via His word.[/b]
    You are correct. I see no reason why I should limit myself to the dubious interpretation of god contained within the bible. My purpose here is to blaze new theological paths through the firmament and kindle the flame of knowledge within the human psyche. There can be no limits on my bold quest for the truth. If it means overturning cherished, but shopworn conventions, then so be it.
  15. Illinois
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    06 Jun '09 23:52
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Brother Epiphinehas...sometimes I feel that you cannot see the forest for the trees. Sometimes I feel that instead of scripture being an aid to you understanding Jesus, it instead becomes an obstacle in your path. You concentrate so hard on pinning down the printed word that the living Jesus slips through your grasp unnoticed.

    Peace be with you, brother.
    Give me a break.
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