Important Notice: WonderCafe has Closed
The United Church has sadly come to the decision that WonderCafe needed to close and all new discussion ended June 2014. Read More...
This really is an ad - and it is for God.
Sometime this week, I will have an article on a large, national blog www.thenewsmark.com
it is on what religion means to me. You might not agree.
Ah ... interesting graeme ... I will watch for it!
I'm taking names down. (I learned that when I was teacher's pet in grade one.)
I guess it's not up yet. Actually I was teacher's PEST in grade one. Actually, all the way through grade 8. I know you'd find that hard to believe. LOL
What, an advertisement for God???
I always thought God didn't need any advertising. After all, creator advertises best through creation. And there is plenty of that!
He does seem to get a lot of bad press...
Actually, its kind of a backhanded insult to WonderCafe...'I have some world-inspiring information about me which I have posted on a serious board....a board worthy of my God-gleanings...'
(I'll wait for a laconic, brief, post of few words here, a succient epitome, a twitter-legnth summery...)
...ok., that's me at my judgmental worst. (I know of others who have taken space elsewhere to explain themselves and the (their?) universe...thinkin' of doing' it m'self...(I guess the FACEBOOK and TWITTER phenominon indicate that everybody on the planet is starting to do it...)
also sorry. it's www.themarknews.com
They said my piece would be out early in the week. I've written for them several times. Editing is excellent, very professional. And the spread is quite broad, brom the Fraser Institute to honest commentators.
I can't believe this. All t his discussion, and it hasn't even appeared yet. very heady.
Somehow, that link doesn't work, either.
Clearly, God does not approve of your ad, and does not want people reading it.
now is the time for atheists to stand up and be counted in protest against the power of Glod.
The link works fine for me.
Try to google the mark news.
And h ave faith. It's there. or it will be by tomorrow or Wedesday.
I googled the mark news and it came up ok. Will keep looking for your article graeme...or let us know when it's published.
Meanwhile, read the article by David Suzuki.
There. Linkified. (You spelled it "nesw" in the actual link, so no, it didn't work.)
mmmm...I checked all the posts above. The word Nesw does no appear. Perhaps this gives un an insight into atheism.
I almost always read Suzuki. He and his foundation are in quite often.
the other two spelling mistakes are free.
OK, for the last time, try to click this link you provided:
It looks like it is spelled correctly, but the link is actually incorrect. Check the source code of the link and you'll find "nesw" in the url. It threw me, too, until I realized the mistake between the text and the url.
I don't think this offers any insight into theism - just your ability to type and check a link.
I think it indiicates a problem with lack of faith. I just typed www.themarknews.com
and I got it.
perhaps God is trying to reach you?
Let me know how it goes.
just did it again. it worked.
Faith is a wonderful thing.
Oh FFS. Click on your link below and tell me how it goes:
Or are you not aware of this newfangled hotlink technology, where you hover your cursor above a web address, watch it change to a pointing finger, and click on it to magically take you to that address?
If you think that's cool, wait until I show you what newsgroups are.
No, I'm a simple, religious person. I ain't smart like them there atheists. Nor do I have their keeness for gadgetry. I guess it's that there scientific streak in them.
But save yourself for the article. You might actually enjoy it - part of it.
Perhaps you've inadvertantly proven that God exists. If you insist your link works, and it clearly doesn't for anyone else with an Internet connection and a pointing device, then we have to return to my earlier hypothesis that God is so embarrassed by your effort that He is preventing everyone but you from reading it.
Well, gecko46 found it. (read his post) . But,if you're really stuck, why can't you google the mark news? That's what a really rational person would do.
Meanwhile, just hum along the happy old song, "I believe for every drop of rain that falls a flower grows...."
Ah,they don't write them like that anymore.
I don't agree.
With some of your points or some of the theological constructs you share.
I am not violently in disagreement with anything that you have written.
I think that your definition of forgiveness falls short of what scripture reveals with respect to forgiveness. I would agree that "its okay. Forget it." is not what forgiveness is about, I think that forgiveness is more accurately summed up by the statement, "It will be okay when we agree to forget it."
I'm not sure that this thread is the best place to have that discussion.
I am also not in agreement with your closing position that, "we should worship less, and pay attention to the common sense of our religions." Part of the function of our worship is to remember who and what we are in relationship to God and in extension, to our neighbours.
That remembering can and has gone off of the rails resulting in religiosity. That religiosity thrives in shadows and worship allows the community to come together to dispel those shadows. I would hope that a solution could be more both/and rather than a simple either/or.
I would agree that the Bible contains some excellent history of humans living together. I do not believe that is its purpose or even the primary historical record it was intended to share.
I don't know if my preaching in the buff would add the spice to worship you suggest is possible. Still, different pallets prefer different tastes so what might be too much for some might be too little for others.
Thanks for sharing the blog.
Grace and peace to you.
Read your article, graeme and probably agree with most of it...some tongue in cheek, no?
Ministers preaching in the nude...no thanks!
"Religion, though, is quite different from religiosity." Hadn't thought about this distinction before, and will ponder it more carefully.
I suspect - probably - revjohn and I have very different ideas about God. I don't have any very clear idea of God - just faith, and it's a faith I find comfortable. I don't feel a need for worship. I feel a confience in faith, but no need to demonstrate it in that personal, very human way we call worship. However, I can see the value of the practice in order to hold a society on course.
None of this is to say I take my faith casually. It's not casual at all. It has become funamental to my judegements and behaviour - insofar as I'm capable.
Some tongue in cheek. I really don't think a nudist clergy would be a good idea. Too much like religiosity.
I do find, though, that the temphasis on ritual, even in a rather loose church like the UC, detracts from connectiing God to the human context we live in.
Oh, I very much disagree with revjohn's view about forgiveness. I think the key to forgiveness to remember we are dealing wiht people -not with saints and sinners, not with evil spirits. People behave as they do for reasons - very human reasons. Forgiveness is what gives us the ability to see reality and to deal with it in some efffective. That means forgiveness For even the most extreme cases. Our lack of is what now has a large part of the world acting out of a sheer hysteria which is placying all of in serious danger..
The tension between Israel and Palestinians is quite understandable if you look at the experience of both Jews and Moslems over the past century and more. Ditto for relations between Iran and the US. But most of our news analysts use language that suggests these as all struggles between God and various forms of evil. Thus the hysteria.
I'm not sure I see why this is not the thread to discuss this topic. I've seen some topics here - unquestioned or challenged - that make cringe. I fully expect somebody to raise the daunting prospect that Mary might have worn makeup.
I think the key to forgiveness to remember we are dealing wiht people -not with saints and sinners, not with evil spirits.
Well, while there are some who engage in demonizing the other I don't think demonizing the other is actually the root problem. I think it is the willingness to apply the label of other that is what is most problematic.
Forgetting, as an active part of forgiveness, is concentrating on that which is most important and letting go of that which is not. There comes a time in the process of reconciliation where to hold onto the memory of an injury allows the victim to define the victimizer as evil. Apart from that we humans do not handle memory that well when we are the only ones allowed to hold that memory.
We reconstruct events so that we as victim become more and more the victim while the victimizer becomes more and more evil. We also reconstruct events so that we as victimizers are justified and our victims can never be innocent.
Holding onto the memory until both victim and victimizer can be reconciled is necessary. Once that reconciliation happens forgiveness remembers the event no more.
People behave as they do for reasons - very human reasons.
No doubt. We are often quick to forgive in ourselves that which rankles us most in others. That is not our inability to recognize the other as human, that is our ability to paint the other as other to the point of failing to see the sameness.
Forgiveness is what gives us the ability to see reality and to deal with it in some efffective.
Well, no. It isn't. Forgiveness may be the end result of dealing with reality it is by no means a given. Forgiveness, for example is not a requirement for justice.
That means forgiveness For even the most extreme cases. Our lack of is what now has a large part of the world acting out of a sheer hysteria which is placying all of in serious danger..
I disagree with this assessment. I agree that there is a lack of forgiveness. I don't think that lack arises out of a failure to see the other as human. I think that lack rises out of our inability to forget that which has or has not been repented.
I do not believe that we are obligated to forget that which has not been repented. It becomes a possibility though that unless we are able to forget that there will be no peace.
It would be interesting to see how our respective positions hold up in the South American context and their truth and reconciliation commissions. Are those who have appeared before the commissions constantly reminded by others of their misdeeds? Is forgetfulness possible?
I admit that the concept is challenging. It isn't one that I created. I'/ve recently read Miroslav Volf's "The End of Memory" and his argument for the necessity of forgetting.
The tension between Israel and Palestinians is quite understandable if you look at the experience of both Jews and Moslems over the past century and more.
Well. sure it is understandable when one is able to identify with the target victim. When one is set on viewing the other as other all one is able to see is is how the evil of the other contrasts strongly with the innocence of the self.
Ditto for relations between Iran and the US. But most of our news analysts use language that suggests these as all struggles between God and various forms of evil. Thus the hysteria.
Maybe. One doesn't need to bring God into the equation to up the fear factor. The tribal origins of religion lends itself easily to such shallow critique.
I'm not sure I see why this is not the thread to discuss this topic.
It is your thread. I didn't want to hi-jack it with a theological debate on the nature of forgiveness. If you feel that such a discussion fits with your blog I'm game to continue.
I've seen some topics here - unquestioned or challenged - that make cringe. I fully expect somebody to raise the daunting prospect that Mary might have worn makeup.
I'm not sure of the normative practice in the application of makeup by mothers in Galilee so I am not comfortable arguing yea or nay on the point.
I won't go into detailed analysis because I fear treading into hairsplitting. But I do see something more active and riealistis in forgiving. (Nor am I much concerned with whether we forget or not, because we have limited control over that.)
Encourgaed by our news media and poliicians, we see forieign affairs as largely a struggle between good and evil so does the other side.) As a result the only possible conclusion is we have to kill each other.
But forgiveness, recognizing that we are dealing with humans who have human reasons for what they do, we can see reality. Israelis feel justified in taking brutal action and ignoring world opinion, because of the holocaust and because, more to the point, few in the whole world (that includes us) didn't lift a finger to help them.
Palestinians were ruled an exploited by the west through half of the twentieth century. Then the west gave their land awas to what they perceived correctly as another western group.
Siimilar, Britain looted Iranian oil from 1910 to 1959, leaving relatively money behind, and most of that to a corrupt but cooperative dictatorship. Indeed, for forty years, oil for the RN came virtually free from Iran. In return, Britain and France provided free military support fo the oil companies in their looting. When, In 1950, Iran democratically elected a president who was determined to see some of that money remain in Iran to build schools and hospitals, Britain and France forced him out - with the help of the US which came in for a 40% share of the oil.Then they imposed a murderous dicators over Iran.to an end as Iranians turned to their faith for leadership. and the shah was kicked out.
Ssso the westner powers urgen Saddam in an invasion of Iran that kiilled a million. The US has contintually threated Iran since that time.
These are not saints and devils. We can see it hat way when we can see real people, doing thing for real people reasons like greed and fear, Despite the tone of our news media, we are not dealing with evil moslem and Godly Christians. And all atttempts to do so have mave things worse.
Forgiveness is what gives us the capacity to see reaoity.
I won't go into detailed analysis because I fear treading into hairsplitting.
because we have limited control over that.
Indeed we do have limited control over forgetting. The principle obstacle is remembering.
I find that analysis to be simplistic. I won't say that there aren't some who think in such stark terms. I'm not convinced that all must. The distinction between good and evil is more often than not secondary to the primary distinction made between the we and the they.
There are other possible conclusions. I agree that there is a push to accept violence and retribution as the only possibility which I think is a human response. Therefore forgiveness as seeing the other as being human doesn't really do anything more than justify the violence. Justifying the violence doesn't do much to reduce it.
The fear of other ensures that the cycle of justification increases as violence spirals. Allowing the other to be transformed to the self pushes us in the other direction.
I think that you are onto something. I just don't share your conviction that we get there by seeing that the other is human.
I agree that forgiveness has the power to stop the progression of violence as retaliation. So long as the other remains the other they don't need us to retaliate to justify their ongoing violence our existence is threat enough.
to what they perceived correctly as another western group.
Agreed. to the 'other'.
I agree with your assessment we are dealing with other and it is that otherness that allows for us to construct the innocent self in contrast to the evil other. Which faith or deity gets appended to that innocent self and evil other makes no difference. We see that played out here in the wondercafe among the Christian spectrum. There we have Christian others. So other to the point that we begin to deny them access to the label Christian because that is who "we" are.
Well, I don't think it gives us the capacity to see reality so much as it gives us the ability to order it better.
Perhaps in that better ordering all of us get another chance at redemption.
I think that we are both agreed that forgiveness is important I am not convinced that we agree why.
The trouble with forgiving is that it pre-supposes accusing. We can only forgive those whom we accuse of wrondoing in the first place, and then we generously forgive them for the wrongdoing that we have judged and accused them of.
Satan is sometimes regarded as The Accuser.
We all know what Jesus said to the woman after he had shamed her accusers away by telling them: "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."
"Where are thine accusers?" he asked her.
"They have gone, my Lord."
"Neither do I accuse thee. Go, sin no more."
well, "Go, sin no more" certainly looks as though it has an accusation in it. And it also has forgiveveness. How would it be possible to forgive if there were no sin in the first place?
As to forgiveness helping one to see reality, that arises from my (quite possibly arrogant) experience. In our society, we accuse all the time. When a group of Moslems kills 2000 Americans, we accuse them of terrorism. When the US government killed 200,000 Guatemala natives, the word terrorism was not mentioned. Nor was it mentioned in the bombing of Cambodia that killed over half a million civilians.
I think prejudice, fear, and hatred, manipulated through he use of (or failure to use) words like terrorism and murder. The news media constantly use loaded language - ascribing sin to other side and goodness to ours. I find that the concept of forgiveness gets my past those barriers. And you cannot make a useful job of fixing anything if you don't know exactly what's broken in the first place.
We learn by our mistakes; everyone makes mistakes; there is no need to forgive anyone for making mistakes because it is a natural and essential part of life. Some mistakes, however, are more severe than others.
A mistake, once recognized as such and corrected, becomes a valuable learning experience. That's how sin is transformed into virtue.
To make mistakes is human, to realize that there is nothing to forgive is divine.
The trouble with forgiving is that it pre-supposes accusing.
Not always. The only instance I can recall is once a dear friend did something absolutely terrible
Awful. Bothered me a LOT. And then one day, I decided I was not a cosmic judge, and forgave.
Immediatly I felt akin to winning the lottery!
The relationship was repaired. I never mentioned my 'forgiveness' but I will never forget
the pleasure (joy?) that total acceptance (Not of the 'awful' thing, but the person.)
I can hardly think that I have not "trespassed" but 'The Lord's Prayer' ...uh...vibrates in me.
I wish I could be more clear...it's the best I can do at 5am
Hi Happy Genius:
I once read a story about two friends. On the day of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when everyone is supposed to forgive each other, they came out of the Synagogue and one said to the other: "I forgive you."
"What have I ever done to you that would warrant your forgiveness?" the other demanded hotly.
One word led to another, and the two friends parted as enemies.
When one "forgives" by way of acceptance, then one actually withdraws one's accusation, as you did. Accusation is, I think, what embitters us, and withdrawing our accusation, in our own minds, is, I think, what makes us feel better. Then there is no need to forgive or make a show out of forgiveness.
Acceptance does not mean we condone or approve what the other party did. It is just acceptance, and gives us piece of mind.
Everyone learns at their own pace and in their own unique way; everyone makes their own mistakes and learns from them. We have to allow each other the space to make mistakes so that they—and we—may learn.
thank you for showing us this.
Your beliefs in that regard remind me a lot of sombunall self-identified -agnostics, -atheists, -humanists, -secular humanists I have met -- they share a similar view to yours, except they don't call it 'G_d'.
Towards agape for all!
Yes. Atheists and Unitarians are painfully self-concious about their beliefs. It can be quite amusing to hear Unitarians dance around a de-deified version of a standard United Church service.
And in my ban the bomb youth, I remember an atheist McGill professor going into a fury because some speaker said our cause drew on the Judaeo-Christian tradition. There are no people more orthodox in their faith than atheists.
I think that is true of some atheists, Graeme. I don't think it is true of all atheists.
HA! I know what you mean; sombunall people still want what they find offfensive to automatically belong to others. It DOES get better with age, right?
(my father went to his first Unitarian service...he said he felt like they were being aggressively encouraging...including a parting 'come again, bring money'...which reminds me of my wife's friend's first encounter with a UU church, leaving the service saying 'G_d isn't here' :3 My experiences with UU were that they reminded me of my elementary school, with their encouraging and singing and whatnot...)
And hey, if your avatar at that site is what you look like, my mental image of you has changed from Thomas Moore (the Care of the Soul guy) to more like Jack Webster, scottish reporter from the Wet Coast :3
Yes, I know what you mean. I'm painfully self-conscious about not believing in a sky-daddy and his offspring, who is also the sky-daddy. And a ghost, which is also the sky-daddy. I mean, it's so obvious that all of the above is true, and by not believing it, I must be weird in some way. This self-consciousness impairs my ability to not worship the sky-daddy.
No. It just means you've invented beliefs that exist only among very simple-minded people, applied them to the majority of Christians, and take pride in you superior mind by rejecting them.
Like most atheists, you believe that your power of reason is the supreme and only way of knowing. And since you have never seen any god and you can't even imagine such a thing, you assume no godt exist.
You'll find similar styles of logic in The Flat Earth Society. I have more sympathy with agnostics who simply admit they don't know. I feel sorry they don't understand that not all wisdom is subject to the laws of physics.
I'm an less patient of atheists who admit they understand nothing but their own powers of reason - and use that to conclude that anything they cannot reason or imagine must not exist. That's just a touch arrogant.
Arrrgh. UU is not synonymous with atheist, nor is it synonymous with agnostic. Let's get that straight right off. We have atheists and agnostics in our pews, but we are free to believe in God if we wish and a significant percentage of UUs do, in fact, believe in God IN SOME FORM. Not necessarily the same as what you believe, but they do believe.
As for our services being "de-deified United Church services", we are descended from liberal Protestant movements that, in some cases, pre-date your United Church (the Universalist Church of America, one of the bodies that merged form the modern UUA, was founded in 1866). We use a Protestant-style liturgy because we began as liberal Protestants and it is as much part of our heritage as it is of yours. It is also because much of what has been done on the theory of liturgy has been done by Protestants (since the Catholic Mass isn't something we would generally use, although a UU Mass was performed at this year's CUC annual conference) and we would be fools not to take in some that work.
Very few UU churches use anything even vaguely resembling the Approach/Word/Response liturgy that is common in the more traditional UCCs. My own fellowship's standard service (which we don't always use) follows Protestant liturgy on a very general level, but is quite simplified and includes elements (such as Candles of Joy and Concern) that I've never seen in a UCC. IOW, we aren't just taking your liturgy and removing God from it (which your post above seems to suggest). We are taking the basic structure of the liturgy that comes from our own heritage as a liberal Protestant movement and using it to do our own thing.
Yes, we don't talk about God in our services AS MUCH as you do, but many of our services do, in fact, have God present in some form. I reference the Divine in roughly every other service. Some of our churches are even still Christian to some extent. However, we are not uniformly Christian or even theistic so we do not reference God in each and every service. Many of our churches even do Buddhist meditation, pagan rites, etc. in their services because they have members who identify with those traditions.
I do agree with you about the "orthodoxy" of some atheists. There are Unitarian atheists who resolutely insist on ignoring the fact that "Jewish and Christian teachings" are among our sources and attack any effort to acknowledge or make use of that source (we had a battle in my fellowship over the minister offering a Bible study, which I was a part of). They are nowhere near being a majority of UUs and certainly should not be the basis on which you judge my church.
If you want to talk about atheists, talk about them. If you want to talk about UUs, talk about us. But at least do both of us the courtesy of recognizing that we are not the same thing (e.g. one can be UU without being atheist and vice versa), even if there is a degree of overlap.
And I can tell stories of people who've said the same thing about UCC services (including the "G_d isn't here" part). A bad church experience is a bad church experience. Doesn't matter whether it is UU, UCC, RC, or Church of the Sub-genius. There are many people who can tell good stories about UU services, including me.
Your father's experience, in particular, is not something that my church would encourage our greeters or others to be saying to a visitor.
God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost were my inventions? Believed by "simple-minded people?" Even I'm not saying that.
Because you, nor any theist or deist in history has been able to show us a god, either. You think we can't see or don't know where to look, so fine, show us. We're open to any observable evidence.
Atheists say "we don't know" as well, but we follow where the evidence leads. So far, the evidence does not point to us being here because of some intelligent god(s). We have evidence of a single starting point, a "Big Bang", and we don't know what happened before that. But here's the thing: Religion doesn't know, either. What religion has, is a bunch of wild guesses, and we know they're wild guesses, because when religion tries to do science, it gets it wrong.
And "arrogant"? Arrogant is "knowing" the existence of something for which you have no proof. You're basically saying that you have some knowledge denied to others, but you can't show us. That's the height of arrogance. Atheists are simply calling theists on that baseless claim.
I don't have qny knowledge that is scientific evidence that is superior to that of atheists. And I am arrogant. But no so arrogant as to disbelief in something simply because my little mind doesn't have the capacity to reason it or to recognized th evidence of it.
You are referring to God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost in literal terms. That is exactly what simple people do. (Even most smart simple people.)
Mendalla -I have often led UU services (and enjoyed the experience.) . The only time I have heard the word God used in a UU church was fifty years ago. (I was mildly shocked to hear a sermon that made me think I must have stumbled into a Baptist church.)
There is a very self-concious avoidance of mention of God, with the hymns full of artful substitutions. I understand the reasons for it. But it still sounds artificial, like a gathering of a small town chapter of the IODE.
Iim not crazy about liturgy and rites of an sort. But I find, like the hymns, that of the UU seem, a too self-concious desire to intellectualize faith.
I agree up to a point, but having heard the word God (and having used it myself) many times from the pulpit in my fellowship, I still think you're overgeneralizing a bit given the diversity in our congregations. There's also been some evolution in some congregations. Mine was highly humanist at one time, probably fitting your description quite nicely, but changing demographics have moved things in a different direction. Yes, we still have services where God isn't mentioned (by name, at least) but I can also stand up and and preach a sermon called "Faces of God" which explicitly discusses a UU interpretation of the Trinity and get compliments from both the secular and spiritual types in our seats (we don't have pews in my fellowship). As for the hymns, the original UU hymns are quite good (we may be having a concert and service with a major UU songwriter in the fall). It's some of the secularlized Protestant hymns that still bug me at times (although I do like some of them).
That sounds interesting.
Charles Dickens left the Anglicans for the Unitairians for many years. (I''s surely noticeable but rarely commented on that the church is almost invisible in his "Christmas Carol". He was disgusted at the church's failure to confront the wrongs of the daily world in its work.
I'm on Dickens' side in that one.
OK, you've decided that "God" must be too complex for us to understand, but not so complex that you wouldn't realize that it must be incredibly complex. And you believe in it, because you've decided it's complex and beyond our ability to understand, and anybody who doesn't believe it is arrogant to disbelieve in somethng for which there is no observable evidence. And of course, there is no observable evidence because it is incredibly complex.
You've created a belief system so crazy, you have to drive yourself crazy to believe it.
Does anyone else see just how monumentally stupid this all sounds? You claim people who believe in the Holy Trinity are "simple", but all this baseless complexity you build into your belief system hardly makes you look intelligent, by comparison. It's just a different variation on the same crazy theme.
Ooops, I forgot that other people are reading this ;3 I did not intend what I wrote there to be read as "UU is teh stupid". I liked my few experiences with UU -- when I compared it to my elementary school, that is a compliment (my elementary school ROCKED and still does, apparently--I owe a lot to that school).
I recommend reading what graeme is saying here and in addition to your one way of understanding it, try to come up with AT LEAST 2 other ways of decoding 'what he is saying'.
You are getting caught up in the surface details.
© WonderCafe. All Rights Reserved
Brought to you by the people of The United Church of Canada
Opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of WonderCafe or The United Church of Canada