Re: virus: Religion

John \ (
Tue, 27 May 1997 22:47:45 -0400

At 08:55 PM 5/27/97 -0500, Tom wrote:
>Now this makes sense. Except of course I disagree with "need the
>sacrificial death and resurection" part... I just think that it's enough
>to recgonize that we /are/ imperfect and do make mistakes. As long as
>you forgive yourself, and those around you forgive you as well, who
>needs more?

One of the more liberal pastors I was talking about earlier gave a
redefinition of the phrase "born again." This phrase is often spoken rather
snidely by Methodists, who associate it with more pentacostal faiths. Not
very tolerent of us, but none of us are immune to holier-than-thou (or
"more-rational-than-thou") syndrome. His suggestion was that being "born
again" refered more to a sense of renewal or spiritual (re)awakening -- and
that while symbolically the "old" person had been killed, the new person
reborn, what it was actually refering to was a dramatic change in attitude.

>I think I understand, although your explaination sucked (hehehe). Seems
>to me a better way would be to call imperfection and absolution the arch
>and "god is omnipotent" meerly a decoration on the arch. Christianity
>is not as nice without it, but it still works... (hey John, have I got
>this right?)

I'd say half-right. I like Christianity better without the omnipotence, and
it does seem to work quite nicely without it. I've just scratched the
surface (else I'dve brought it up sooner), but Alfred North Whitehead
appears to have an interesting formulation of the Christian God as an
imperfect being limited by rules of the universe.

I quote from _Philosophy of Religion, 4E._, ed. John H. Hick, Prentice Hall:
"According to the main Christian tradition, God is the creator and
sustainer of the entire universe _ex_nihilo_ (out of nothing) and God's
ultimate power over the creation is accordingly unlimited. However...God
withholds the exercise of unlimited devine power, thereby forming an
autonomous creaturely realm within which God acts noncoercively, seeking
creatures' free responses. Process theology [developed by ANW -- John]
likewise holds that God acts noncoercively, by "persuasion" and "lure," but
in contrast to the notion of devine self-limitation, holds that God's
exercise of persuasive rather than controling power is necessitated by the
ultimate metaphysical structure of reality. God is subject to the
limitations imposed by the basic laws of the universe, for God has not
created the universe _ex_nihilo_, thereby establishing its structure, but
rather the universe is an uncreated process which includes the deity."
(pg 48/49)

This works better for me as a formulation because it answers the one
question Irenaean Christianity cannot: why the **** would God make the
universe in the first place?

The process meme has apparently caught on in some circles --

John Williams ICQ Address: 1213689
Various Artists: Raising the Tide of Mediocrity for Two Years