This ain’t your Ground of Being

Today’s Bizarro comic, by Dan Piraro, is funny but also a bit sad.

Picture 2

Sophisticated Theologians™ tell us that God is indescribable, that he’s “outside of space and time,” a Being Whereof We Cannot Speak, a “ground of being”—anything but a humanoid being. Well, for most believers that’s not true.

I’ll quote here from the book I’m reading, When God Talks Back, by Tanya Luhrmann, which is an anthropological study of an evangelical Christian sect: not an ultra-loony one, but one that comprises intelligent and well-off people (one branch Luhrmann studied is right here in Hyde Park, Chicago).

Luhrmann describes the very personal relationship that members of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship have with God.  They talk to him constantly, pray with him, and one even has “dates” with him, sitting on a park bench and imagining Jesus sitting next to her with his arm around her and chatting.  Why, one person even pulls out a chair at breakfast and pours God a hot cup of coffee, conversing with the imaginary deity as if he were right there with the java!

The whole nature of God for these people (and for many, many Americans) is that of a personal God, something with the characteristics of a human. To deny the ubiquity of this concept of God belies profound ignorance of religion. Either many theologians are ignorant in that way, or simply feel that such people have wrong belief.

Here’s a statement from one of the booklets on God that members of the Vineyard Fellowship read, Bruce and Stan’s Pocket Guide to Talking With God:

“It’s really important to understand that God is not an impersonal force. Even though He is invisible, God is personal and He has all the characteristics of a person. He knows, he hears, he feels and he speaks.”

Tebow 1, Kierkegaard 0.

h/t:  Tommy R.

88 Comments

  1. Posted December 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Either many theologians are ignorant in that way, or simply feel that such people have wrong belief.

    There is, of course, another, even more likely option: that they are Lyin’ for Jesus, in exactly the same way the Eusebius advocated lo these many many centuries ago.

    Cheers,

    b&

  2. Posted December 14, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    creepy “They talk to him constantly, pray with him, and one even has “dates” with him, sitting on a park bench and imagining Jesus sitting next to her with his arm around her and chatting.”

    well that explains the disturbing Christian songs that are nothing more than poorly written pop love songs. It’s also a great window into the minds of people who think that god approves of all they do and agrees with all of their hatreds and desires.

    • Posted December 14, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      There’s a lot of thinly-veiled homoeroticism in those songs, too — or, at least, the ones I’ve involuntarily been within earshot of on occasion.

      It’s none of my business, but I think it’d be a lot better for them to live out their fantasies with a real flesh-and-blood person rather than only dream about them with an imaginary friend.

      b&

      • Posted December 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        It ain’t so thinly veiled. Here’s a lyric from “The Potter’s Hand”:

        Take me, mold me, use me, fill me.
        I give my life to the Potter’s hand.
        Call me, guide me, lead me, walk beside me.
        I give my life to the Potter’s hand.

        Here’s something from “Forever Reign”:

        Oh, I’m running to Your arms
        I’m running to Your arms
        The riches of Your love
        Will always be enough
        Nothing compares to Your embrace
        Light of the world forever reign.

        • gluonspring
          Posted December 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

          Here is one I still remember:

          I come to the garden alone
          While the dew is still on the roses
          And the voice I hear falling on my ear
          The Son of God discloses.

          And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
          And He tells me I am His own;
          And the joy we share as we tarry there,
          None other has ever known.

          He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
          Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
          And the melody that He gave to me
          Within my heart is ringing.

        • Posted December 14, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

          Jesus Use Me?

          • Posted December 14, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

            Fun game.

            “Let him have his way with thee.”

            http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Let_Him_Have_His_Way_with_Thee/

            • Posted December 15, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

              Now that IS fun… lets see if I can embellish the lyrics, just a scosche:

              Would you live for Jesus, and be ready for His choad?
              Would you mess with Him within his dank abode?
              Would you like to bear his children, swallow all his load?
              Let Him have His way with thee.

              Refrain:
              His bat’r can make you what you ought to be;
              His pud can pack your fart and take a pee;
              His love can fill your hole, and you will see
              ’Twas best for Him to have His way with thee.

              Would you have Him take a pee, and swallow at His call?
              Would you blow the flute that comes and give your all?
              Would that He enslave you, penetrate and work the wall?
              Let Him have His way with thee.

              Would you in His dungeon let Him whack you with a cane?
              Wash you with His drops of golden rain?
              Leave you in His service, wracked with never ending pain?
              Let Him have His way with thee.

              It was kind-of difficult preserving the correct number of syllables; the original was such horrible poetry. At least it should still fit the original tune, however it sounds.

          • Posted December 15, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

            Let Me Touch Him?

          • Posted December 15, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

            The Lord’s Coming Again?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 14, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

          Maybe so — though the two of you seem awfully interested in the thickness of the guys’ veils.

          No denying that what you’re suggesting exists, but there may be a (small “p”) platonic explanation, too: For some of these folks — particularly the ones trapped in the economically strapped neck of the woods where “they cling to guns and religion” — God probably seems to be in the shrinking pool of grown-up English-speaking white guys they still have left around to talk to.

    • still learning
      Posted December 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Andrew Newberg, etal in Why God Won’t Go Away, says that the area of the brain that lights up during sex is the same part that lights up in religious ecstasy. So, religious fervor = sexual passion. Bottom line: they want to have an affair with Daddy.

      • KDK1
        Posted December 14, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        Approximately how many basic brain areas did they divide the brain into in order to determine what counted as the same areas lighting up and what counted as different areas lighting up?

        • Scott near Berkeley
          Posted December 15, 2012 at 10:54 am | Permalink

          Good question!

          The brain/mind is so unfathomably complex, it is a disservice to make generalized comparisons and then arrive at some “deeper” social conclusions. Read up on the Amygdala to get a flavor of just one complex region:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amygdala

    • Kotvin
      Posted December 14, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

      My aunt, the nun, tells a story of a convent who talk about jesus, their husband, as if he is in the next room. Just around the corner and about to walk in. Very creepy. She’s a catholic nun and more sophisticated in her belief so she looks down on those ideas.
      69

      • Kotvin
        Posted December 14, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

        My cat walked on the keyboard just as I was posting. Please ignore the last two numbers.

      • JohnnieCanuck
        Posted December 15, 2012 at 1:31 am | Permalink

        It’s not uncommon for Catholic nuns to be referred to as ‘Brides of Christ’ and in some orders, to be given a wedding ring to wear.

        They’ll tell you it is only symbolic and they get most uncomfortable with the idea that Christ has many hundreds of nuns as wives.

  3. brad
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    As god gets more abstract and unknowable, one begins to naturally wonder why he is worth worshiping. He gets so unknowable that agnosticism becomes a real live option that it wasn’t before for many people. As he gets more like us, it again begins hard to see why he is worthy of worship. This is a real dilemma–no one ever suggests some midpoint that is acceptably knowable and acceptably worshipable. I think that many xians, even the ones like Luhrmann studies, trade on these options, different conceptions for different conversations. When you need god to be knowable, use it. When you don’t, don’t. It’s part of the inherent slipperiness of the whole idiotic idea.

  4. Kevin
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    “anything but a humanoid being”

    Christianity 101: et homo factus est.

  5. Graham
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    “Either many theologians are ignorant in that way, or simply feel that such people have wrong belief.”

    Classic response of the religious when confronted; the ‘no true Scotsman’ ploy. Someone recently tried telling me about all the horrible things done in the name of atheism by people such as Stalin. When I pointed out that Stalin had a religious upbringing this was dismissed as irrelevant as ‘The Russian Orthodox lot don’t count.’

    • Posted December 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      I generally agree with the religious that it was Stalin’s atheism that led to the purges. If only he had abandoned his atheism and welcomed the loving embrace of the great god Quetzalcoatl we would have been spared the horror!

      …wait. What?

      b&

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 14, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      The Russian Orthodox lot don’t count.

      Of course they don’t count. What good is a millenium-long schism, if you’ve still got to count them?

      That Eastern crew was a stone in the Pope’s red leather slippers long before any Reds started giving him grief.

    • Scott near Berkeley
      Posted December 15, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      With Stalin, Hitler, the North Korean dictators, Pol Pot, and even the recently deposed Saddam Hussein, there was such an incredible syncophancy and reinforcement around such authoritarians, that the dictators themselves took on deistic beliefs and tendencies. God on Earth, and visible! Saddam Hussein increasingly (so reported) felt more and more immortal, which explains his dismissal of life in exile. The late “Dear Leader” in North Korea was described in newspapers as “never having the necessity for a bowel movement.”

      The religious-like fervor surrounding these dictators might as well be defined as a religion (e.g. Hitler claimed to receive hundreds of thousands of letters in 1933, each month). It certainly follows then, to look at all the slaughter brought down in the Old Testament??!! Certainly, it is the moral obligation of Him shepherding the Chosen People, to destroy those who would defy the Lord.

      As I’ve said before, IMHO it is severity of punishment for apostasy that defines whether an ideology is a religion or simply a social club. Solzhenitsyn describes (apocryphally) the man he met in the Gulag, who was incarcerated there because he was the first to stop clapping after a Stalin speech.

  6. Posted December 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Some of those Vineyard people live near us. They are truly scary. Or maybe I should say ‘scared,’ because I believe people who aren’t very bright are afraid of just about everything, and they look for easy answers in the form of an all-knowing, all-seeing Daddy.

    • still learning
      Posted December 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      The willingness and desire of people to put themselves under an invisible authoritarian figure is a scary psychological construct. What’s worse is that these same people will follow despots and dictators without question.

      • KDK1
        Posted December 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        Frightening, isn’t it. Some people believe we are lumbering robots controlled by our genes. And get this, some even think it’s an entity called Lossoff Fissicks who pulls the strings. When will we ever be set free?

      • Posted December 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        Humans are scary.

  7. Posted December 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    If one is going to hallucinate, I suppose Jesus is a better subject than Beelzebub.

    • steve oberski
      Posted December 14, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      I think that if you check out their respective track records you might reconsider.

  8. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    “Today’s Bizarro comic … is … a bit sad.”

    a bit indeed, for today.

    • NoAstronomer
      Posted December 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Rather than ‘sad’ I would tend to go with ‘fucking annoying’. If people keep assuming that someone else is charge* we’ll never understand that we have to fix our damn problems.

      Mike.
      * See the immediately prior post for a perfect example.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted December 14, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        Today was a sad day in the US. check the news, you will know.

  9. gluonspring
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Don’t imagine that this is something specific to this one sect either. All the believers I grew up with and know from a different fairly large U.S. denomination are like this. While I’ve never known anyone to go on a “date” with God all the rest sounds perfectly ordinary to me, as newsworthy as “the sky is blue” or “the sun is hot”. I have no idea what Sophisticated Theologians think of these believers, but I know what most of these believers think of Sophisticated Theologians: they are heretics.

    This is important to remember because a lot of effort spent trying to engage the arguments and ideas of Sophisticated Theologians is wasted, because that’s not really what the people in the pews believe.

    • Notagod
      Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      That’s what I was thinking as well.

      The “sophisticated” theologians are presenting gods that no christian I’ve met believe in. All the christians I have met think that their gods are very personal and interactive. I’ve even met a couple that think the whole universe was created for them personally to gain experience for an after death mission they are preparing for. All other animals including humans are just puppets in the exercise. Christians would be hilariously funny if they weren’t so destructive.

  10. kelskye
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s a third option: theologians talk of God in a way that’s enigmatic and mysterious, but believe in the same anthropomorphic deity that every other believer does.

    • Sastra
      Posted December 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      There’s also a fourth option: theologians believe in a God that’s enigmatic and mysterious AND they believe in the same anthropomorphic deity that every other believer does.

      But how? How can they believe two completely opposing things at the same time?

      Theologians believe belief is enigmatic and mysterious. Believing in opposites? There’s a miracle in that. Faith itself is a miracle.

      And then they’ll make an inappropriate and sloppy analogy to something ambiguous which looks like it’s a contradiction if you don’t think too hard about it and go “see…?” like they’ve proven they’re not doing anything unusual, anyway.

      Doublethink masquerading as Deep Insight.

      • kelskye
        Posted December 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, that is probably likely too. I do remember hearing something similar from a theologian – that while God is this infinitely mysterious and enigmatic ineffable transcendental grounding of being, it’s both a convenience and somewhat accurate to explain God in terms of the personal theism that we’re used to.

        It does come down to a matter of faith – which is the standard atheist objection to a belief in God – but it doesn’t stop the absurdity of looking at it as an outsider. It’s not only nonsense, it’s unintelligible nonsense!

      • Christian
        Posted December 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        A similar phenomenon is known as the “tragedy of the theologian“. From John Loftus’s blog:

        Some work done by Justin Barrett is interesting in this respect. Barrett designed some experiments intended to distinguish between what people claimed to believe about God and how they actually thought about God when reasoning about religious matters. It turns out that while people may claim to believe, for example, that God was omnipotent and omnipresent, in practice they assume that he can assist only one person at a time. This leads to what Boyer calls “the tragedy of the theologian”: whatever sophisticated notions theologians may develop about God, in practice people keep thinking about God in the same old, anthropomorphic way.

        It seems that many theologians aren’t immune to this either.

  11. Posted December 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    “Tebow 1, Kierkegaard 0.”

    The hell?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      Half a safety? Third of a fieldgoal? Maybe in the metaphysical game, they keep a different kind of score?

      • AndrewD
        Posted December 15, 2012 at 3:18 am | Permalink

        Prehaps Tebow has moved to the CFL and we have not been told.

  12. jose
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    For some believers it is both things at a time, depending on whom they’re speaking with. If they’re speaking with an atheist, God is an ineffable Force at which you arrive only by examining things like the regularity of the creative love of the cosmos and the objective truth of moral reality; then, the christian turns around towards his parishioners and tells them to open their psalms book at page 23897 and pray for Baby Jesus.

    Related cartoon.

    • Sastra
      Posted December 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      It can also vary according to which “part” of themselves they’re dealing with at the time. Feeling skeptical? Ineffable force. Feeling vulnerable? Daddy, I love you, please help me.

  13. KP
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Tebow 1, Kierkegaard 0.

    hahaha

  14. Stephen Barnard
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I think God is past due to upgrade to a smartphone.

    • Posted December 14, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

      A smartphone will not be good enough. He will need a smartphone and a super computer.

      • Posted December 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        Oh, probably an army of secretaries could handle all the communications & appointments necessary.

  15. DiscoveredJoys
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    In a relationship with a being who has deep relationships with millions of other people at exactly the same time? (He’s omnipresent you know)

    Not very special and rather icky.

    • Posted December 14, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      “Ick” is right, especially if you realise that the “person” you are on a date with really does have the ability to see through your clothes.

  16. corio37
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    The accommodationist Julian Baggini wrote a whole series of articles about this, finishing with the astounding (to him) conclusion that yes, Christians REALLY DO believe all this crap:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/09/myth-religion-practice-belief

  17. Timothy Hughbanks
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    I would dearly love to see an interview with a player from a team that just lost the big game saying, “I just wanna say, “F*&k Jesus! We prayed our asses off and he totally screwed us over. Our opponents are a bunch of godless heathens and Jesus didn’t give a shit. What an asshole.”

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted December 14, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Or, as I read somewhere not too long ago, “No one ever points to the sky after hitting into a double play or striking out.”

      • Diane G.
        Posted December 14, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        It’d be hilarious if the opposite bench did that.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

        You’d think, for consistency’s sake, before heading back to the dugout, they’d at least give The Devil The Finger.

      • KDK1
        Posted December 15, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        Many do actually. The tennis player Novak Djokovic, eg, regularly casts a glance upwards, palms outstretched, when someone gets, say, a lucky net-cord against him.

    • Georgia
      Posted December 15, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      You’re not a football fan, are you? After he dropped the game-winning touchdown pass two years ago, Steve Johnson of the Buffalo Bills tweeted as follows:

      I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!!AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME?????YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS???HOW???!!!I’LL NEVER FORGET THIS!!EVER!!! THX THO . . .

      I think the “Thx tho” was a quote from one of the Psalms.

      • Timothy Hughbanks
        Posted December 16, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        I think the “Thx tho” was a quote from one of the Psalms.

        +1
        😀

  18. barael
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    For all of his faults, I think Wittgenstein simply slays all of theology with this:

    “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”

    • KDK1
      Posted December 15, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Probably best read him again. Wittgenstein being, for what it’s worth, a deeply religious person, albeit in a fairly idiosyncratic manner.

  19. Mark Joseph
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    @clubschadenfreude: “It’s also a great window into the minds of people who think that god approves of all they do and agrees with all of their hatreds and desires.”

    Perzackly. Do you ever meet a believer who says, “Damn, god wants me to do/say/believe/vote other than how I want to. I’d better change”? I’m not saying it *never* happens, but anyone who has been in an evangelical/fundamentalist church for awhile knows that it certainly isn’t very common. This lines up perfectly with the old saw that “the bible is full of good things that other people should do,” as seen in the religious right’s focus on things they personally don’t do (here one might want to contrast how often Jebus spoke against homosexuality vs. how often he spoke about the danger of riches).

    @Ceiling Cat: “Tebow 1, Kierkegaard 0.” While I understand the sentiment, I’d only score it like that if said personal god actually existed. Since these people are putatively having a personal relationship with a non-existent being, which strikes me as some kind of neurosis, I’d score it as “Tebow -1, Kierkegaard 0.”

    @corio37: “Julian Baggini wrote a whole series of articles about this, finishing with the astounding (to him) conclusion that yes, Christians REALLY DO believe all this crap.”

    But, that is the whole point. I certainly believed it during my period of dementia. And didn’t Sam Harris point out that the reason why certain muslims flew planes into the WTC was precisely *because* they believed what their religion teaches, and that that is a much more parsimonious explanation than the ones the media was trying to come up with for why people practicing a peaceful religion would do such a thing? As was remarked by several others above, this is scary.

  20. Posted December 14, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    “one branch Luhrmann studied is right here in Hyde Park, Chicago”

    Jerry, given your recent post in opposition to zoos I’m surprised you condone this sort of captive study. Anyone would think they were animals.

    • Posted December 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Ah, these were in their natural habitat.
      At least this study did not require the taking of DNA samples in the same manner as Japanese whale “research”.

  21. Posted December 14, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    I certainly would be embarrassed if God was looking over my shoulder during one of my escapades in the bedroom. However.so far he has egnored me. Lee.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 14, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      I’m so hoping that “egnored” isn’t just a typo, but a divinely intense form of being ignored, or at least being left alone — because that would be something, finally, worth praying for.

  22. Cremnomaniac
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    The thing that struck me was this sentence,”He knows, he hears, he feels and he speaks.”

    I wonder in what sense they think “he feels.” Obviously, they haven’t given it much thought. Certainly, a deity, supernatural being, or omnipresent force would have no use for typical senses such as sight, touch, or taste. The other interpretation is that this deity feels emotion? That would be truly scary. Of course it would explain a lot of the scriptures that describe the anger, jealousy, revenge, etc.

    I’m thinking, “That’s great, they worship a god that would benefit from Lithium.”

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 14, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

      You’ve finally hit on the explanation for why descriptions of The Hereafter sound so much like a Lithium trance.

      Maybe they keep a dosed salt lick in the middle of the joint so all the saints and all the angels and all the dieties can just help themselves whenever they start contemplating the implications of spending Eternity there together.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 14, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

      “He knows, he hears, he feels, he speaks … ”

      … he palpates your prostate?

      Criminy! How’s a guy supposed to get any privacy?

      • Mark Joseph
        Posted December 15, 2012 at 7:28 am | Permalink

        At Landover Baptist’s web site you can get “Jesus is watching you masturbate” and “Jesus is watching you fornicate” bumper stickers. The implications of omniscience are, shall we say, not fully realized by believers.

        • Timothy Hughbanks
          Posted December 16, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

          So … internet porn is next to godliness?

  23. Myron
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    “That God is a person, yet one without a body, seems the most elementary claim of theism. It is by being told this or something that entails this (e.g. that God always listens to and sometimes grants us our prayers, he has plans for us, he forgives our sins, but he does not have a body) that young children are introduced to the concept of God.”

    (Swinburne, Richard. The Coherence of Theism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977. p. 101)

    • Scott near Berkeley
      Posted December 15, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Julian Jaynes and the bi-cameral mind, if you have not read about this:

      http://deoxy.org/alephnull/jaynes.htm

      Not endorsing all given here as “true”, but simply worthy of consideration.

  24. Bruce S. Springsteen
    Posted December 14, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    God is that being than which nothing more inconceivable can be conceived.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted December 14, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      “God is that being than which nothing more inconceivable can be conceived.”

      I dearly hope you meant that to be sarcastic.

      • Posted December 14, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

        As the say, god and theology is still where it was 1300 CE. Nothing new.
        And I think you hoped wrong.

        • alias Ernest Major
          Posted December 15, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          I think it was a parody of the ontological argument.

          • Bruce S. Springsteen
            Posted December 15, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

            It was witty.

          • Stephen Barnard
            Posted December 15, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

            That’s a relief.

    • Posted December 14, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

      Ah yes. The ground of all being is the height of all inconceivability. I must remember that. (scribble, scribble)

    • Tulse
      Posted December 15, 2012 at 5:55 am | Permalink

      I do not think that word means what you think it means.

  25. Posted December 15, 2012 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    I can feel their loneliness Quote “It’s really important to understand that God is not an impersonal force. Even though He is invisible, God is personal and He has all the characteristics of a person. He knows, he hears, he feels and he speaks.” The imaginary friend is very common in children and it is supposedly helpful in the learning of language. But meeting Jesus in the park? Going out on an imaginary date? How sad.

  26. Myron
    Posted December 15, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    How could a bodiless person without any sense organs perceive anything?
    Knowledge is a dispositional mental state. But where and how could a bodiless person store any knowledge or memories when it lacks any such thing as a neural hardware?

    “Much of the difficulty with talk of God likewise derives from our insistence in making him in our likeness, and so attributing to him a mind, and even a personality—everything except the body needed to give it all sense.”

    (Rundle, Bede. Why there is Something rather than Nothing. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. pp. 12-3)

    • Scott near Berkeley
      Posted December 15, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Knowledge is ultimately memory. That is the great problem in every avenue, with theology. Memory, until the 19th Century, was the province of metaphysics, and “science, do not come near…this is strictly soul and religion.”

      So, if there is some deity, how are its memories first generated, then stored? Model please!

  27. Jeff Johnson
    Posted December 15, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    If anyone wants to read more about the Vinyarders and Luhrmann’s book, here is a good by Joan Acocella that came out earlier this year.

  28. Dominic
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    Which bit of god does that?It is all so ridiculous because none of them can agree what gfod is or what she does.

    • Dominic
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 3:11 am | Permalink

      gfod = god!


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