Why the God Figure Must Remain Invisible.

The blog about Reagan’s “Trust but Verify” brought an interesting discussion. I appreciate everyone who participated.  The lack of verification is essential to a successful religion.

Occasionally, someone thinks a successful god can be a real person.  Rev. Sun Yun Moon is such a god.  He is the Messiah prophasized in the Bible.  Another person made this claim  2000 years ago.

While quite successful for a couple of decades, Moon was convicted of a tax vilolation and has lost some of his appeal.  Most everyone who claims godly status runs into something eventually that puts the hairs out of place.

Followers require an invisable god because each person’s god must fit that person’s needs.  Some need a god that disciplines.  Another needs a god that encourages.  Every follower needs a god that knows him or her personally.  No actual human figure could delivery the individual attention required of a god.

One of the most successful recent “gods” has been the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  This  parody god was introduced when a group insisted that Intelligent Design be taught in Kansas schools along with evolution.  The parody author said he looked forward to the day when three scientific origins of the universe were taught all children, evolution, Intelligent Design and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The FSM decided early on to be an invisible god.  This was because people are more likely to believe a god is real if they cannot see it.

 

 

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years.
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82 Responses to Why the God Figure Must Remain Invisible.

  1. entech says:

    Followers require an invisable god because each person’s god must fit thar person’s needs. Some need a god that disciplines. Another needs a god that encourages. Every follower needs a god that knows him or her personally. No actual human figure could delivery the individual attention required of a god.

    The thought that God is different for each believer is a good one. I have heard it said that America is actually a polytheistic nation – there are at least as many gods as there are sects (denominations if you prefer). This polytheism is disguised by the fact that all the gods are called Jesus.

  2. Wanna B Sure says:

    The flying spaghetti monster makes sense. ” It” (I say that cautiously) could give of itself to world hunger.

    • entech says:

      Nice to see you pay some deference to the sensitivity of your friend Bob. He does object to the he/she format as being extending the male dominance theme he sees throughout religious history. They should be referred to as it, or perhaps ‘that entity’

    • Bob says:

      only if its whole grain and gluten free

  3. Santa says:

    Evolution is a theory, Intelligent Design is a theory, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a theory. If these were indeed the three mainstream theories, it would make sense to teach all three and let the kids decide which makes the most sense to each, wouldn’t it?

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Santa 3:30 Yes, evolution is a theory that has been tested. The nul hypothises that evolution does not take place has been rejected. Intelligent Design is not a testable statement, nor a mainstream theory. It is religion as determined in a U. S. court. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is just a valid an explanation as Intelligent Design.

    • Bob says:

      To Santa 3:30 Evolution IS FACT. Everything evolves, including inanimate objects like the earth, sun, solar sytem. EVERYTHING evolves, this is fact.

      There is the theory of gravity, yet we KNOW there is gravity and it is FACT. Don’t make the common mistake of willfully confusing the word theory: a scientific term that just means something is being tested or is testable, with verifiably fact. It is fact we humans breath, yet it is also a theory to be tested, explored, so it is both fact and theory (testable).

    • DavidSyd says:

      No it would not make sense to teach any unproven theory because it was popular. This is NOT how science works. Imagine the Theory of the Flat Earth, if it had a wide following. Only one Theory has substantial scientific evidence to substantiate it’s claim for the accuracy, that is the Theory of Evolution. Intelligent Design is a hypotheses and so to is the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Despite all the time, money and man-power, no-one has been able to prove the existence of the God of Abraham (nor for that matter any of the 30 000 other Gods that have been suggested so far). Therefore, Intelligent Design does not belong in the classroom. It’s really not that complicated if you think about it.

  4. entech says:

    In general usage theory has two meanings. The casual meaning revolves around such expressions as “it seems right, in theory”: this could give us the theory that if I am investing (gambling, really) on the turn of dice in a casino then in theory if I double up on losses my luck will change and I will break even and eventually win – lot of people go broke first. A scientific theory is much more serious and develops from the scientific method – which can be casually stated as:
    a: you look at the world around you and make some guesses at what is going on.
    b: based on your observations and guesses you do some tests and experiments.
    c: you evaluate the results of the experiments.
    d: if the results of the experiment match and confirm predictions made on the basis of a, then, you can mostly confirm that the guesses were close to correct.
    e: The scientific method is an iterative process so we go back to a.
    If there is confirmation we go take the information back to a and use them as the basis for the new set of guesses.
    Without confirmation we go back to a empty handed and start again.
    The initial guesses can be of thought of as a hypothesis, failure to disprove a hypothesis and further development of the hypothesis using the scientific method result in the original guesses becoming accepted theory. It is accepted because repeated experiments consistently confirm the hypothesis and validate its elevation to theory.
    Religious theory, called theology, on the other hand relies on the idea that my first guess is right and God did it, so there.

    The Theory of Evolution has it that once life we have life it goes through a process of development from lower forms to higher forms, at different points in the development there is a divergence that leads to two or more forms developing in separate directions. There is no going back to try again if the development is beneficial it survives and advances or it fails, it is estimated that there is a better than 90% failure rate. That a development is beneficial does not make it ideal and future development often carries aspects that are not, in themselves, beneficial. There is no direction in this development no teleology or design, what works best survives.
    Evolutionary Theory describes how the process works, natural selection and so on.
    This is my own understanding of the idea. It may (being me probably does) contain some error and misunderstanding. Evolutionary biologists mostly contend that it is not theory but verifiable fact. I am content to believe that it is the best explanation that we have.

    Intelligent Design Theory has it that there is a teleology, a direction in the universe and that there is a ‘a profoundly informative intervention by an intelligent cause and the conclusion is that a design can be detected in biology, science cannot determine from this evidence whether the design was from a creator outside the cosmos – this from the 1984 book The Mystery of Life’s Origin. Further developments of the theory state that some things are too complicated not to have been designed, that there is a level of “irreducible complexity” and they can only have come into existence by design. Although ID proponents argue that it is theologically neutral the concepts of creation and a creator infer that there is a creator God, probably the Christian God.
    Like evolution this is my own understanding and I could well be wrong again. From my personal viewpoint the argument is basically self defeating, the design of the earth for ample is far from intelligent. Tectonic plates floating around on a molten core – giving earthquakes and volcanoes is not even a good design. A good intelligent design is simple and does the job for which it was designed without excess complication; it has a minimal number of side effects and calls to externalities. It does not describe the world we live in or the universe in general.

    Spaghetti Monster is not a theory it is a bit of mindless sarcasm. Sarcasm with a mind and from a great mind is Russell’s flying teapot. Bertrand Russell declared as an atheist and his flying teapot was a jibe against agnostics, if you can neither accept nor deny without positive proof then you must accept the possibility of an invisible and undetectable flying teapot (or, I am sure he would have added today an invisible entity with a noodley appendage).

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      entech 8:50 Wonderful essay on the scientific method. I hope all our readers read it twice.

      But, “Spaghetti Monster is not a theory it is a bit of mindless sarcasm,” hits a believer like myself right in the gut. :)

      • Henry says:

        A believer, Jon? You called yourself a believer? Entech took me to the woodshed a few months ago for characterizing atheists as believers. He thought I was distorting the language.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Henry; belief is not “faith”. Everyone has belief in something. “I believe the sun will” rise” (appear) on the eastern horizon in the morning if it isn’t cloudy”. Faith is when the sun is there even when it can’t be seen. Nonbelievers believe they are right, and believers believe they are right. If believers have faith in their belief, would non believers not have faith in their belief? To put it another way; would believers believe in their faith? Or would non believers have (since they have no faith) believe in their belief? Sun “up” or not, even if they feel the warmth on a cloudy day?

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Henry 9:02 “A believer..?’

          Wanna gave a good summary. I try not to use that word as explained by Entech. It brings up kinds of stuff, like does defend “belief”, etc. But, like Wanna explained, I believe the sun will come up tomorrow. Yet, the safer way to say it is, “Evidence is the sun will come up tomorrow.” Sometimes it isn’t worth the trouble to button up all this stuff.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Just an exercise in irony.

          • entech says:

            It does not matter what you call yourself or it, the sun will come up anyway, at least that is what we all expect from our common experience. If we read David Hume, the great infidel, we will have to start to think about inference and induction, do we have any reason to believe the sun will rise apart from the fact that it always has done, do we have any reason to believe that it is god that causes the sun to rise apart from consistent talk about it from our elders since we were young.

          • entech says:

            interesting misuse of the word irony

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Ironic isn’t it?

          • entech says:

            Idiotic perhaps, ironic NO. I think you are starting to try too hard.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Entech; From dictionary; #2 b pretty well fits. Others probably not. Not a stretch. Idiotic no. Sometimes meanings seem to contradict. Is it mathmatical, philosophical, other.

          • entech says:

            Which dictionary?
            Shorter Oxford 2 “A contradictory outcome of events as if in mockery of the promise and fitness of things” an excellent example would be the recent discussion with Henry about Voltaire’s printing press being used to print bibles.
            Or perhaps you were being Socratic, in which case I apologise, you are far too subtle for me.

        • Henry says:

          Ah, I see. Faith involves the unseen. Belief involves the seen. Now, applying the FSM to this discussion, and Jon’s representation that it is invisible, he was describing faith, not belief in it.

          I learn something every day from you guys. My knowledge and faith in Christianity does nothing but genuinely increase. Thanks, Jon and Wanna.

      • entech says:

        Sorry to disillusion you. But eventually everyone must put aside childish things ;)

    • Henry says:

      entech 8:50: “Tectonic plates floating around on a molten core – giving earthquakes and volcanoes is not even a good design.”

      Are you sure? Renewal is not good? What scientific evidence are you drawing upon? A number of species would be wiped out without tectonic plates. Tectonic plates are also good for the steel industry providing mankind shelter and the jewelry industry to adorn God’s creation, mankind. Thank you, Lord for tectonic plates. They were wonderfully created.

      • entech says:

        A geology which causes the death of so much of “… God’s creation, mankind. “, which makes so much of the planet inimical to the life of “… God’s creation, mankind. “ and the combination is “wonderfully created”?

        This is only a small part of the reality that makes me glad that Your creator is just a figment of Your imagination. “Thank you, Lord for “, the death and destruction of Tsunamis, landslides, earthquakes and volcanoes and for the marvelous benefits of floods, droughts, famines and for the pleasures of watching the good crop that grows in spite of the aforementioned benefits being devoured by grasshoppers and locusts.”

        • Henry says:

          And without steel for shelter or mechanized food production, many more would starve than directly suffer from the effects of the tectonic plates. Iron ore on the surface of the earth is a result of the action of tectonic plates.

          Without tectonic plates, no steel, no merchant marine, no entech livlihood.

          • entech says:

            An intelligent design would not have had undesirable side effects. You are starting to sound as if a scientific explanation is not impossible.

            I am retired from marining, even from working – just having a nice time, relaxing, talking nonsense and waiting for the ferryboat to the next destination wherever, whatever or if ever.

          • Henry says:

            Undesireable side affects? Interesting idea.

  5. Bob says:

    If you are an adult, it seems to be a choice, believing or not believing in something you cannot see, or test to know if its true or not. Believing in things I cannot not see, have no evidence of, or is testable, is no valid choice for me.
    The natural world is so strange, and mysterious and wonderful and beautiful as it is, why would I need to add non-testable invisible things to it? That is counter productive. We humans only have a finite time in our short, short lives, why not expend it on all the amazing natural world that is both testable, and beautifully wondrous?
    And ironically, there are testable, scientific reasons why humans have been religous. And it has nothing to do with if supernaturalism is true, but it does have everything to do with survival of our species.

  6. Anybody care to comment on my blog? I’m right next door. My post is on this very topic:
    http://apostleofdoom.areavoices.com/2011/11/28/in-the-beginning/

    I’m not as dynamic as Jon but I think my points are worth considering along side what he has to say. Freethinkers should be openminded, fair and balanced, should they not?

  7. Bob says:

    To Michael, have you invited Mac to comment on your blog?

  8. Santa says:

    Great replies. There is alot of evidence pointing to some amount of evolution. But there is no concrete evidence of how a big bang theory occured and voila, life began. So in that regard, relying solely on evolution doesn’t explain the whole process.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Santa–6:43 I don’t think many skeptics think all questions are answered. It’s just that they consider the religious explanation one of dozens, or, maybe thousands of possible explanations. So, the most honest answer to the question, “What is the original source of the universe?” is, no one knows.

    • entech says:

      What has evolution and big bang theory got in common?

      Evolution is an attempt to explain how life has grown and developed from simple structures to the most complicated multi-cellular life forms we see around us. it has nothing to say about the origins of life, the universe or anything.

      Big Bang is one explanation for the origin of the universe, widely supported with consistent observations and theories about the details that change as more knowledge is gained. Theories change as improved observation techniques and instruments make more information available.

      The consequence of Santa’s arguments is that there was a creator. The most widely accepted idea of this creator, in America where you live and Australia where I live, is that he caused it all to happen fully formed, presumably the idea was formed in the mind of the creator then brought into being by the articulation of ‘the word’. This cannot be verified anymore more than the details of big bangs and evolution can.

  9. Bob says:

    entech 8:53
    Entech, I hope you understand that on behalf of all the women folk of my family, past and present, that its insulting to all the women in history who’ve suffered under male gods. Say it like it is, its MALE gods who’ve done most of the damage to females in history.
    That’s why. Why this vitriol over it?
    I have an acedemic linguistics background, along with a heavy science background. Language creates reality, is very very powerful. Don’t be so cavalier about this, please, please.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      associate’s degree or bachelor?

    • entech says:

      Actually I was trying to keep it neutral and the ‘he’ did “creep in” unnoticed until I read the word on the screen. That is why I made the comment about being products of our upbringing, try not to be so sensitive and accept common usage as it is without reading more into it than it needs.

  10. Bob says:

    To Entech 10:41 I’m sorry entech, but I will be respectfully sensitive to many things, including linguistic gender issues, and the power for good or ill of it.

    • entech says:

      Consider for a moment, you keep talking about “Male Gods”, we both have doubts about the existence of such entities – your doubt is to the point of total disbelief. Even though the Christian god is gender neutral it has been common practice, for thousands of years, to use the masculine form, so your real complaint should be against the male humans that use whatever excuse they can to try and dominate female humans. Even more shameful are the women who collaborate in the suppression of their sisters.
      Perhaps God being neuter is the reason he is so much against sex?

      • Bob says:

        Entech 11:40 Absolutely agree.

        But is it totally fair to blame the victim? I mean, if women throughout the ages are afraid what the males would do to them if they spoke up, beat them, kill them, I don’t know if I would have either.
        I think of “Hyperion.”

  11. Bob says:

    Just so you know entech, I think you are awesome!

    • entech says:

      Thank you kind sir but everything has its equal and opposite and I am sure many readers think I am awful.

      But that must involve certain arrogance on my part; I have no cause to assume than most readers think anything at all about me. At times like this I think of the words of Oscar Wilde, “People that worry about what other people think of them would be amazed at how rarely they do”.

  12. Bob says:

    Entech 11:48 Lol!
    But you are a kind sir, Sir.

  13. Santa says:

    entech said: “The consequence of Santa’s arguments is that there was a creator. The most widely accepted idea of this creator, in America where you live and Australia where I live, is that he caused it all to happen fully formed, presumably the idea was formed in the mind of the creator then brought into being by the articulation of ‘the word’. This cannot be verified anymore more than the details of big bangs and evolution can.”

    i find this interesting….so if i’m reading what entech said correctly, atheists believe in some sort of “creator”? an event of some sort perhaps?

    • entech says:

      I am not sure what atheists believe about a creator, But I would say that the definition of atheist precludes the possibility of a creator be it a God or any other kind.
      For myself I think the possibility of a creator is there but that it is increasingly unlikely that anything I have heard described here, especially the strange idea that the God of Abraham miraculously divided himself in three while remaining one God indivisible, this trinity is so far down on a scale of probability that I do not think it is a viable hypothesis, neither valid nor verifiable.

      • Henry says:

        Entech, if I may be allowed to summarize your faith, please correct my errors. You believe in the God of Abraham, which is consistent with your Jewish faith in what you have said in previous discussion on other threads. You also reject the notion of the triune God.

      • entech says:

        Sorry missed part of your comment. In the matter of a creator, creation, big-bang from nothing, cyclical universe, resting on an elephant sitting on turtles all the way down, deity that kick started and left, a personal God that mad me special and expects my adoration in return, a super God that rescues us from the clutched of that evil tyrannical God of Abraham (the god of Marcion) or any of the other varieties deity and forms of Christology that were so widespread in the early days of Christianity.
        About any of these things being an “event” that explains every thing, I have absolutely no idea, that is as close to a categorical statement I can make about the various creation stories – I do not know and I do think that anyone that say that they do know, or worse says that they have a personal relationship and can hold a conversation with some entity, is delusional. Talk to it all you like, if it answers – panic.
        More positively I like the idea, believe would be too strong but i can say that the trinity is at the lower levels of probability and this idea is towards the top of the range, that there is an energy that has always existed and always will exist, it changes with form and all the forms matter, light, sound life, back to energy again are aspects of the same thing: is there a teleology, is it sentient again I have no way of knowing all I no is that this is all there is and I am a part of it, a privileged observer, I came from it and will return to it and that is all there is to it.

        • entech says:

          The tentmaker said it best:

          Oh, come with old Khayyam, and leave the Wise
          To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;
          One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
          The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.

          Into this Universe, and why not knowing,
          Nor whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing:
          And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
          I know not whither, willy-nilly blowing.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          entech 5:25 “Talk to it all you like, if it answers–panic”

          That is the best summary, ever, of the secular view. Don’t be surprised if it show up in a blog of mine sometime.

  14. entech says:

    Henry 5:09 A couple of lines from To a Louse by Robert Burns might be appropriate

    O wad some Power the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as ithers see us!

    Burns wrote in the Scots Language, not to be confused with Gaelic, but a form of English reflecting the lowland dialect, fortunately by the time we reach the Scottish Enlightenment a more Standard English was used otherwise we may have lost much good work.
    Roughly translated it comes out as “We need to see ourselves through other people’s eyes” it continues on about saving us from mistakes and foolish notions.

    Your summary based on what I have written is very interesting and makes me wonder what I have been writing and how I have been expressing my thoughts. English English and American English have some differences in usage but mostly interpretation of idioms. They have not moved apart to the same extent as French Canadian or South African Dutch, in many ways American usage is more correct in others I shudder, English = ‘low bridge’ Californian English ‘Impaired Vertical Clearance’, English ‘it will probably rain later’ against ‘percentage possibility of precipitation’ (beautiful alliteration but I would prefer the simple version). When my wife was travelling on the ship with me we used to joke about ‘The Voice of America’ on short wave radio, they had a program called “The News in Simple English” as native speakers we found the simple version more intelligible.

    Last point, Yes. I do think that the concept of the trinity was a part of making the newly developing religion more acceptable to the Hellenic and Roman cultures which had a long history of polytheism, further moves to make the whole thing more acceptable to gentiles was the easing of dietary restrictions and the cancelling of the need for circumcision (the Greeks especially found this practice barbaric), the beginnings of anti-Semitism in Christianity started from the same reasoning, you could hardly hope to convert a Roman to your religion while telling him that he had slaughtered the originator. Personally, though I just find it too complicated.

    First point? Two of my favourite speakers are Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry, I don’t always agree with Hitchens on a lot of things and Stephen though also an atheist is much more reasoned, I do love the mastery of language and the humour that creeps in. They both have Jewish Mothers and Stephen on one occasion said (borrowing from Jonathon Miller and the very early Beyond the Fringe comedies) that he wasn’t a Jew only Jewish, not the whole hog, playing on the dietary proscriptions and it could be considered racist from someone who was of a different background. I can’t make such jokes because I was intact until my mid sixties and had the operation for medical reasons, my Jewish Doctor joked about it being a good time to convert and as the operation was very close to Easter he was genuinely amused when I joked that it was an experience I would have preferred to pass over.
    But seriously I would find the Abrahamic concept better than the later change; it would take a lot of interpretation when you consider it was written with the self-aggrandisement of the Judeans in mind, this was the group that lived in the rocky desert to the south of prosperous and fertile Israel. They wanted the glory of the warrior but an excuse for the atrocities, most of the lost tribes had wandered off for a better life the rest were being driven towards Jerusalem as the better lands were being taken over and the immigrants had to accept the book as it was written. Basically I am not too happy with the god of Abraham or the trinity.
    I do try to look at things from a Jewish perspective; they have had a lot of bad press over the centuries, the main thing against them seems to be a distinct objection to being slaves. I tend to support the concepts of gay lib, not terribly interested in marriage as such, but no discrimination legal or social. Having said that I am neither, just a seeker, one that finds most religions offer opacity rather than clarity.

    In view of the impression I have given I will need to be a lot more thoughtful, I have noticed you are very quick to pounce on anything careless (even a lot that is not), I am still very sceptical but am prepared to be convinced, most of what happens here has the opposite effect on me to what it has on you; my doubt increases and your faith increases.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      entech 11:45 Thank you, David, for the excellent essay.

      I know it is hard for our Christian friends, here, to understand, but the original God of Abraham is so much easier to swallow than the complicated three-in-one things that followed. Even though I think the god of Abraham was only in the minds of the faithful, and, was part of the barbaric inhuman practices of the kind, it doesn’t have those “human” ego and magical events that are so far out of the range of believibility. Like the Paul character falling into a heap over his sudden conversion or the Jesus figure bragging he was told his is the ONE and on and on.

      • Henry says:

        “I know it is hard for our Christian friends, here, to understand, but the original God of Abraham is so much easier to swallow than the complicated three-in-one things that followed.”

        The God of Abraham is not complicated? Do you understand the natures of God in the OT? Actually, the Trinity is rather simplistic in comparison. Have you not read?

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Yes. In the Hebrew Bible, there are, (I count) 17 names of God. In these are all the works, functions, natures, personalities, and purposes in the tri-unity of the Godhead. The Trinity IS difficult to appreciate if one considers the “The Lord is one” ONLY , without considering ALL the ATTRIBUTES of God. “Trinity” is not in the Bible, however, the OT attributes of God do contain the triunity of the godhead. The term “Trinity” is nothing more than a codification. and consolidation of the attributes of God in the OT, and brought forward into the NT. The most common error is to ignore all the OT names of God, and their attributes. If there were a better concise term than the “Trinity”, it would be used instead. However, it hasn’t yet been found. Actually, I preffer the term “Triunity of the Godhead”, which more clearly reflects those attributes, and names in the OT.
          Yes, in the NT, some of the attributes are more clearly understood because of the completion, and brought forward.
          Jehovah Raah =shepard
          ” Rapha =heals
          ” Tsidkenu =righteousness
          ” mekoddishkem = sanctifies
          I could go on.
          The earliest Christians, (which were pretty much all Jews) would have been aware of these attributes, and would have understood the Triunity even before the term “Trinity” was used.
          I am sure entech will attempt to poke holes in this. Let him. He has that freedom. And Jon will be right behind him. I would not be surprised that he/they will introduce the thought that it could have been easy to do a “look back”, and fit the result with the OT. The earliest Christians certainly had no problem with “The Christ”, (part of the Trinity), as they were more than familiar with the attributes of the Godhead.
          As for Marcion, I’m sure he was well intentioned. Once developing a thought, it is difficult to change, especially when confronted with an alternative. Gnosticism in any form is compelling because it has a tendency to put man in charge over God rather than the other way around.

          • Henry says:

            “I am sure entech will attempt to poke holes in this.”

            You will be found guilty of association.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Such is the destiny of thinking freely.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna–4:19 Thanks for spelling all that out. I did not know there were 17 gods, or names of gods, in the OT.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon; Re-read please! ! Your ” I did not know there were 17 gods or names of gods (small g) in the OT.”
            I said 17 names (plural) of god, (capital G) and (singular). Did you do this on purpose just to be cute, or did you actually not catch it. I can’t believe a man with your credentials wasn’t trying to be cute. If you actually missed the content, you are not qualified to comment. Ditz.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon; you clearly cannot freely think , yet you claim to be a freethinker. Typical twisting of information . I see it from you and others from your camp all the time. You just got caught at deception. The sad thing is, you decieve yourself and others with this clear example.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 9:50 Please relax. I was sitting the car place waiting for my car with lots of distractions and actually thought you had written 17 gods. As I was writing it occurred to me you may have written 17 names, that is why I added it on.

            But, let’s be honest. First, it doesn’t matter whether there were 17 gods, or 1700, or whether they were the same god with 17 or 1700 names. Second, no one really knows what was in the heads of the people who worshipped those different names, or, different gods. The unknown people who wrote about it didn’t know either.

            Sometimes you say the literal people are incorrect. Then, you go into this very literal thing with the 17 names, etc. Very hard to figure out.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon; Your “it dosen’t matter” is a false premise. It does matter, as it is the line between theism and polytheism. Not to be clear on this has nothing to do with “literalism”, it is all about taking an opportunity to deny what and who God is.
            As for the Hyper “literal” people vs “others,”, That is determined by the context. This certainly was not the context in this conversation.
            If it was an honest mistake, go and ditz no more.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            I should have/meant to have said “..the line between MONOtheism and polytheism”.

        • entech says:

          Henry, if you look at the boldface in my post you will see that the God of Abraham is indeed a simple entity and concept. Too simple to accept as the whole, therefore we need to add complication on top of complication. When I said we I meant you (not personally but Christians generally), to me it is a simple proposition there is either a creator and a creation (with the creator of necessity being eternal and outside of time and space) or time and space is itself eternal.
          If you feel the need to arrogate a special position then you are at liberty to do so, I am content to be an observer.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Last first; a simple google search of Marcion will reveal the Gnostic relationship. You will remember I said “Gnosticism in any form”. It fits.

            As for the rest; key words, phrases–Septuagent-YHWH-Yehovah-jehovah-kurios (Greek for Lord) Strongs Concordance, among many others. I see 221 refferences to the above in the OT.
            The mystics number also is the source (if my understanding is correct ) of the 72 virgins meeting martyers. Related also to the Kabala I believe.
            Your denial is shallow, biased, and short sighted.
            Won’t give more sources, such as cross references, commentaries, etc. Useless to your approach.
            Interesting that you should so easily recognize “vanity.” Something about logs, slivers and eyes?
            I wish you well.

          • Henry says:

            entech, long time-no see. How have you been?

            Arrogate a special position? It appears you have arrogated that I have arrogated.

  15. Bob says:

    I’m an atheist who does not believe in a creater, unless with evidence proven otherwise.
    Same way I need proof to believe in unicorns, or fairys.

  16. entech says:

    Fascinating. Seems the harder a thing is to believe the more convoluted the answers have to be and perhaps the further from reality the belief the further the explanation.

    Recited twice daily by devout Jews is the Shema it starts with “Hear, Israel: the LORD is our God, the LORD is one”.
    This simple statement encompasses several different ideas:
    There is only one God.
    No other being participated in the work of creation.
    God is a unity. He is a single, whole, complete indivisible entity. He cannot be divided into parts or described by attributes.
    Any attempt to ascribe attributes to God is merely man’s imperfect attempt to understand the infinite.

    God is the only being to whom we should offer praise. The Shema can also be translated as “the LORD is our God, the LORD alone”, meaning that no other is our God, and we should not pray to any other.

    You mention shepherd as being one of the names of God:
    Yahweh Rohi – – The Lord is My Shepherd.
    Not sure where Jehova came from it is not Hebrew.
    If you take the 23rd Psalm, which even I can remember from childhood:
    The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;
    he restores my soul. heals my soul – Rapha

    (PLEASE, note well, I am writing this paragraph AS IF I were a true believer)These are not the names of God, the attributes or the parts of God these are expressions of my relationship to and with god, and there are many more than 17 (The mystic tradition has 72). So the various names of God are not the shepherd, the healer and so on. You make the error of trying to describe the indescribable, assign attributes to an entity that is above and beyond such things. The name of God is God. Check some of the Eastern thoughts about the tricks and devices we need to try and make this comprehensible. Stop fooling yourselves your assumed knowledge is pure vanity, “He created me in his own image?” Do me a favour!
    OK diatribe over.

    One last question: what makes you think Marcion was a Gnostic, apart from the false accusations that were used to denigrate him ( a technique that lives on)?

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Out of order; see my 3;21 above.

      • entech says:

        Feel free to have it your way, I will keep searching in my way. Seems your attitude is my way or the highway. Give someone else a chance, be wrong, just a little bit, for once.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Go ahead. I believe I have given you /allowed you that privilege, (although it is not mine to give). Yours is a different highway from mine. You seem to be quite free to judge which maps I use, and I reserve the same privelege.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Entech; Your “Any attempt to ascribe attributes to God is merely man’s imperfect attempt to understand the infinite”. THIS IS TRUE, but we do the best we can with the tools we have available. As you do to deny the same with the tools you have available. The infinite cannot be explained by science, reason, or mathmatically. The infinite can only be best humanly understood from a spiritual position. Something you are not willing to or can do. The question you have to ask yourself is; when did this “imperfection” happen, and when will this “imperfection” cease. Those questions and answers you are unwilling to answer because you reject the authority of the Bible. Oh yes, you use the Bible as a tool to deconstruct the Bible and it’s content, but not as a source of positive spiritual growth.

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