Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Church of Patrick M - Part 1

As discussing my politics is currently as effective as pissing in the wind (and I'm burning out), I'm going to recharge a little by going hard toward the faith angle. Because most of us have it, a few of us need it, and some of us couldn't explain there's with a teleprompter. So I'm going to ban politics from the comments and just discuss faith matters, and lay out the mixed bag of stuff I've got until I run out of posts.

Also, remember, God does have a sense of humor; just look at the platypus.

God, the Universe, and the FSM

To begin this discussion, it's necessary to begin at the beginning. And that means God, in whatever form you perceive Him. Out of habit, I will probably lapse into referring to the Judeo-Christian God, but that perception was only the beginning of my journey.

My breakthrough of sorts was my attempt to define God without relying on the crutch of others' descriptions. the result was the Atheist's definition of God (first articulated in this post):
God is that being, or entity, that exists beyond human perception, definition, and understanding, and whose existence can only be accepted as an article of faith.
In coming up with this definition (and watching the movie Dogma with more seriousness than is warranted, and that college class where we looked at the Bible as a work of literature), I began to realize that there were two significant problems with the Judeo-Christian God. First, consistency. He was all pissed in the Old Testament (fire, brimstone, turning people into salt licks), then got all mellow in the New Testament. I know my fellow Christian bloggers are getting ready to explain that Jesus is the reason for the change, but while it was a good change, it seems both arbitrary and late in its timing. Second, He's limited. We ascribe human (flawed) attributes to Him (like the aforementioned gender, or defining him as a Flying Spaghetti Monster), which imposes, to some degree, some level of limitation by the human imagination. And this second one is why I can never be clear in defining God beyond the above definition. So we'll go with what I believe.

I believe that God is both personal and impersonal. I do believe that you can talk to God and get answers (because I have). I believe that, as long as the other tenets of your personal faith teach good and not evil acts toward others (terrorists, Fred Phelps for examples), and your actions match your beliefs, then I cannot honestly question your relationship with God. And I most certainly believe that God is within us, within the world, and beyond it as well. And it is that part of us that is both connected to and is God that makes humanity (and probably aliens too) special.

Of course, I do have a clip that illustrates my point more or less (mostly less)):



As God relates to science, I consider them complementary. In short, I take most things on faith until science provides an explanation. And I never try to confuse the two, lest I need touched by a noodly appendage.

My next post will delve into the nature of humanity.

14 comments:

Shaw Kenawe said...

I realized that when I prayed, I was talking to myself.

When I was a wee lass and received my "first holy community" [my baby sister's name for it], the nuns instructed me to receive the wafer, not chew it because it was the living body of Jesus, and to listen very carefully because Jesus would speak to me.

I received the wafer, clapsed my hands together and knelt in the pew and waited to hear the voice of Jesus.

I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I HEARD A VOICE! I DID! A VOICE.

But it was my voice.

I was only six years old. I remember thinking to myself as I knelt in my virginal white lace holy community dress with my hands clasped in prayer, "That's not Jesus' voice; that's my voice."

It was impossible to deceive me again.

I believe the "devil" is the worst of our human nature; I believe that "god" is the best of our human nature.

When we pray, we talk to ourselves and encourage the "best of our human nature" to help us through our most difficult and challenging times.

Satan is the part of our human nature that is lazy, deceitful, and dishonest.

It's called duality.

We have the ability to be angelic and satanic.

I don't believe there is a supernatural being watching over our every action and keeping score of our good and bad deeds.

We are responsible for our actions, good and bad, and for the choices we make. We then suffer the consequeces of our poor choices or receive the blessings of the good ones.

That wasn't Jesus talking to me. It was my own 6-year old conscience saying "Be good, pray nice, and after the ceremony, you mommy and daddy will take you out for a strawberry pancake breakfast."

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"As God relates to science, I consider them complementary."

I've long since held this believe too Patrick. In fact, I've held that when it comes to evolution vs. intelligent design, What could be a more intelligent or divine structure for life than putting in place a natural cycle of evolution as opposed to simply creating things outright?"

Satyavati devi dasi said...

I believe that God is both personal and impersonal. Which is, to say, the Supreme Person.

The way we can explain this is by the analogy of the sun; there is a sun itself, and then there's sunlight. Sunlight isn't the sun itself. In the same way, there's the impersonal aspect, and the personal aspect.

I'm too frickin tired to argue further. Suffice to say that should we ever come into a monstrous sum of money, I want a full complement of grounds crew.

Patrick M said...

Shaw: I think you've gotten a little ahead of me. Just wait until I get to part 2. You'll find me in much agreement with most of what you have written.

(Actually, since I haven't written it yet, I might have to quote you.)

However, I wouldn't necessarily describe what the nuns told you as deception, but more accurately, a limited perspective.

Soapster: Yep.

Saty: Your comments are proof God has a sense of humor. :)

Toad734 said...

Umm, you really think God answers you? Does he talk to you too? Like tell you to chop up the mailman and stuff? Fly planes into buildings and what not?

Name one example of when you talked to God and he answered. And sitting in your car and praying that the light would turn green and then sure enough the light eventually turns green, doesn't count. Something with better than 50/50 odds would suffice.

KIND AND GENTLE TRUTH101 said...

Not to get into is He or isn't He.
But humans are capable of great good and great evil without the help of God or Satan. Wherever you find salvation or enlightenment is fine with me.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Saty: Your comments are proof God has a sense of humor. :)

I have no idea what you're talking about.

I wasn't laughing.

Patrick M said...

Toad: You don't have the least bit of intellectual interest in matters of faith, do you? Obviously you're confusing God with the delusional and the stupid. And if you can't be respectful ad/or share what took you away from any belief, then there's no reason for you to keep commenting.

The last time God spoke to me was over a year ago. The details are irrelevant to this discussion, but it most certainly happened. It wasn't much, more a reminder than a clear discussion. I can't expect you to believe. It's not important for you to; it's only important that I believe.

Saty: I have no idea what you're talking about.That's the idea. :)

KIND AND GENTLE TRUTH101 said...

These discussions never go well. While I share your belief in The Almighty Patrick, there are thousands of Bible passages that will refute or agree with whatever you and I say. And in my experience, non believers for some reason know the Bible better than most of us believers. Some subjects are just as well left alone.

rockync said...

I don't know TRUTH, perhaps this is just the kind of subject we should NOT leave alone.
It is the one topic in which we all have our own ideas, shaped over years of life experience and subject to change as we grow and learn. But, it is the one subject where, while we can share our beliefs, we can't prove a word of what we are saying.
If we listen and just accept another's right to have their own belief system, then we can have conversations without all the drama.

KIND AND GENTLE TRUTH101 said...

I just don't want to get stupid and tell somebody he/she is going to hell because they don't share my faith. I don't think that anyway. There's room for everyone in Heaven. I don't believe that God in his wisdom and mercy would condemn a doubter that lives a moral life and cares about his fellow man would send him to eternity in hell with the Hitlers and Stalins of humanity.


I told myself don't get involved in this. Here I am getting involved in this. Dang you Patrick and Rocky with your enticing posts and comments!

Patrick M said...

101: If you notice, I'm not condemning anyone (as long as their God doesn't tell them to kill). That's why all we can do is share our stuff and let others learn.

The alternative is writing about Nancy Pelosi. 'Nuff said?

Rocky: Like you said.

THE EDITOR said...

We could discuss Nancy Pelosi's ample bosom.

Patrick M said...

We'll get to her Tuesday.