Re: virus: Religion

Eric Boyd (
Mon, 26 May 1997 19:53:07 -0500

John "Brand New -- You're Retro" Williams wrote:
> >> Well, a traditional Christian anyway. I'd tend to answer 2. No. 1. Because
> >> that makes God less impotent than than 2. :-)
> >
> >I can't see how you can even call yourself a Christian now...
> Somewhere along the line, at least one skeptic starts sounding a lot like a
> Fundamentalist.
> >By
> >relying on God (who is all powerful and all knowing and thus /always/
> >right and good) to provide them with answers and a way to live their
> >life, they have removed the burden of /responsibility/ from of their
> >shoulders and unto the Godhead. But if, as you claim, God is not all
> >powerful and all knowing, this entire scheme fails... you can't trust
> >God to be right and good anymore! How can this be at all meaningful for
> >you?
> You have bought the Fundamentalist/Athiest definition of Christianity and
> allowed it to define all of your thoughts towards Christianity. Your
> perception of how and what Christianity is is neither my doctrine, or, for
> that matter, United Methodist Doctrine or Unitarian Doctrine. (It might now
> be Baptist Doctrine, since the Fundies took over that branch). You make us
> all sound like a bunch of robots, Eric, who all think alike. Last UM
> conference alone there were at least three amendments to the Book of
> Discipline that were proposed that would have allowed "praciticing
> homosexuals" to be ordained ministers; and at least three that were
> proposed that would have strengthened the Church's position against
> homosexuals. (Both were voted down.)
> Does this sound like a church were people aren't concerned about Good/Evil?

I fully admit to my brain-washing... My limited experience with
Christians has brought me into no contact with anyone like you. Evelyn
always said that Lutherins were rather more "fundamental" than not... I
guess it's finally catching up with me. Anyway, I'd like to point out
that I never said that the people in church were unconcerned with Good
and Evil. I just said that they like to have an omnipotent omniscient
God so that they can be /sure/ what He sais /is/ Good or True or

> It's fairly obvious that these decisions on morality are based in part --
> I'd say mostly -- on human decision. Indeed, John Wesley (Methodist
> founder) set this guide for approaching moral or other issues. In deciding
> upon a course of action, including determining religious practice, etc, one
> must consider:
> * The Bible
> * Experience
> * Tradition
> * Reason
> This is called the "Wesleyan Quadrangle," or "Methodist Quadrangle." It
> obviously places a great deal of emphasis on human experience and human
> intellect. In your characterization of Christianity, you've completely
> anhiliated an entire denomination. I suspect this was not your attempt.
> You've just got a dominate meme developed by radicals lodged in your brain.

I like this triangle! I must admit that I've never seen or heard of it
before. Quick question: are these four equal, or are they in
ascending/descending order of importance?

> As far as whether or not God is "all powerful," in the rock sense, I reject
> that catagorically. May OT stories, particularly Job & the Great Flood,
> demonstrate God *admiting to and recitifying* injustice. The notion that he
> is not all-powerful does not change the fact that the guidelines and
> philosophy layed down in the NT and OT are both useful and wise.

But is does have an effect on whether or not they are "True"... I see
what you mean about that only being important to the fundamentalists.

I'm going to see if I can link all of this back to my spiritual
"to travel is better than to arrive" Obviously, you are on my side of
this issue, and beleive that answers must be arrived at by considering
("journeying") all (or most) relevant things (like the quadrangle) And
so you've changed the Bible from being the "Truth" (as I've always been
told it is) to merly a part of (or a vector pointing towards) the
Truth. Quick question: do you beleive that there is an absolute
"correct" answer for any of these complex spiritual questions?

> >The reason this debate is so important is that God _has_ to be all
> >powerful in order for Him to be any good at all. Otherwise, why not
> >just trust yourself?
> For the same reason I trust my parents, perhaps? And my instructors? The
> same reason I trust my elected officials not to go totally batty and nuke
> their own country? Does someone have to be all-powerful before *you* trust?

This is exactly the point I'm making... you have reduced trust in God to
the level of trust in humans. In so doing, you've basically ruined the
/certainity/ that Christianity offers to it's members. All I'm saying
is this: why do you now need a God? Could you not just trust your
parents / instructers / officials to give you all the morals and ethics
you need?


The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor
the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the
spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers
that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust
him with his friendship. -Ralph Waldo Emerson