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Author Topic: Nature Doesn't Love You, Abrahamic God Does  (Read 9831 times)

RecycledBenedict

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Re: Nature Doesn't Love You, Abrahamic God Does
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2015, 11:10:29 pm »
Quote from: Altair;178580

Well, yeah, it strikes me as rather contradictory, but if that's how your worldview is arranged, then you can view your god as unfailingly loving, while condemning other gods by denying them the same loopholes.


Quintus Mucius Scaevola (who served as Pontifex Maximus 89-82 BCE) was, allegedly*, of the opinion, that there is a fundamental difference between theologia fabularis, theologia civilis and theologia naturalis, so already then ancient Pagans treated myths as non-literal. For Sallustius, in the 4th century CE, the deites are unfailingly good. The difference between the Pagan view and the Catholic view on the goodness of the divine and the spiritual interpretation of myths seem not to be very great.

Quote from: Altair;178580
It still doesn't explain the "love" behind the totality of humanity, except for Noah and kin, being drowned by their god. Deliberately.


The Noah story would have been grisly if it had been a fact. Catholics view it as a baptismal allegory. The same is true about the march-through-Red-Sea-and-drown-Egyptians-myth in Exodus: Not historical fact, but a baptismal allegory. Or so says the Catholics I meet as university lecturers in Europe - mostly Swedes, French, Germans and Swiss. I also read a statistical survey about how Catholic priests interpret the Bible, and they view it the same way: Not history. Baptismal allegories.

* Marcus Terentius Varro is our source to this.

RandallS

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Re: Nature Doesn't Love You, Abrahamic God Does
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2015, 07:56:59 am »
Quote from: Altair;178580
I understand that, in the Christian belief system, we humans were granted free will by their god. But do Christians (or some Christians) really claim--despite a universe predicated on an all-powerful god who has a plan--that everything bad that happens is the fault of the natural world (which he created) or human error (humans being made in his image, and god having granted us free will), and god has no hand in it; he only traffics in the good?

Evil comes from Satan -- at least according to most American Christian Fundies I know. And this somehow relieves God of responsibility for it even though God created Satan even though (being all-knowing) he knew Satan was going to rebel and bring evil to the universe. :confused:
« Last Edit: August 12, 2015, 07:57:23 am by RandallS »
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rinceoir

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Re: Nature Doesn't Love You, Abrahamic God Does
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2015, 11:47:35 am »
Quote from: Altair;178580

I understand that, in the Christian belief system, we humans were granted free will by their god. But do Christians (or some Christians) really claim--despite a universe predicated on an all-powerful god who has a plan--that everything bad that happens is the fault of the natural world (which he created) or human error (humans being made in his image, and god having granted us free will), and god has no hand in it; he only traffics in the good?

 
From a non-fundie Protestant Christian perspective, we humans were granted free will, but you're supposed to use the free will to accept Jesus as your savior (from which you're absolved of your inherent evil) and because you've done that, you want to do good things. Bad things just happen. It could be related to bad people, like someone committing murder. But if it's something related to nature, like a hurricane causing massive destruction, then it just happens. Although we often ask why, that is not the important question. What is important is how you respond to the bad thing and grow. For example, after a hurricane you regroup, help your neighbors who need help, and rebuild. The mainstream Protestant god, from my experience, is rather removed from the world and he mostly interacts via Jesus.

So I guess to sum it up, evil exists where there is an absence of good. Meaning that the world and people the Christian god created were good initially, but then we "fell" and there is now an absence of good, or evil, and that isn't the good god's fault.

Juniperberry

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Re: Nature Doesn't Love You, Abrahamic God Does
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2015, 12:22:15 pm »
Quote from: Altair;178580
You're talking beyond my depth here, I'm afraid; I've already admitted my knowledge of the Christian bible is scant.

I'm not much of a bible scholar either. My understanding of Christianity comes from the few things picked up in foster homes and the pervasive, mainstream Christian pop culture.



Quote
I understand that, in the Christian belief system, we humans were granted free will by their god. But do Christians (or some Christians) really claim--despite a universe predicated on an all-powerful god who has a plan--that everything bad that happens is the fault of the natural world (which he created) or human error (humans being made in his image, and god having granted us free will), and god has no hand in it; he only traffics in the good?

I don't know if God traffics only in the good, but rather only in the right? I know that probably seems like a silly distinction, but sometimes what is right might not always seem good.

Quote
Well, yeah, it strikes me as rather contradictory, but if that's how your worldview is arranged, then you can view your god as unfailingly loving, while condemning other gods by denying them the same loopholes.

I agree one shouldn't disparage other gods to make a case for their own. I'm with Frater on this one also, though; there's no harm in granting Christianity it's own valid mythology.

Quote
It still doesn't explain the "love" behind the totality of humanity, except for Noah and kin, being drowned by their god. Deliberately.

Well, if you take the story at face value, then mankind had become a cesspool of ugliness. Imagine that everyone but Noah had become child-abusing meth heads, and that the most horrible, depraved deeds we can think of today occurred as the norm constantly.

To sit back and allow that type of miserable existence for every man, woman and child to suffer through could be it's own form of sadistic cruelty.

You could argue that that's what he's doing now, since he promised to never intervene again. However, that's the supposed power of Christ. Rather than kill man this time for what's right, he killed himself.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2015, 07:14:20 pm by SunflowerP »
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Re: Nature Doesn't Love You, Abrahamic God Does
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2015, 01:10:34 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;178606


I agree one shouldn't disparage other gods to make a case for their own. I'm with Frater on this one also, though; there's no harm in granting Christianity it's own valid mythology.


Not really. Remember that such statements, and the original statement which triggered this thread, are not simple statements of belief or explanations of mythology. They are attacks. They are condemnations of us and our gods. Its not 'we believe this'; its 'you are evil because.'

Quote
Well, if you take the story at face value, then mankind had become a cesspool of ugliness. Imagine that everyone but Noah had become child-abusing meth heads, and that the most horrible, depraved deeds we can think of today occurred as the norm constantly.

To sit back and allow that type of miserable existence for every man, woman and child to suffer through could be it's own form of sadistic cruelty.

You could argue that that's what he's doing now, since he promised to never intervene again. However, that's the supposed power of Christ. Rather than kill man this time for what's right, he killed himself.

 
The problem of course is that we have no idea what 'crimes' people were actually committing, or if those crimes were all equally deserving of punishment. Remember that the 'crime' committed could be as simple as being loyal to one's own gods. Not to mention all the trees and land animals that would have died in such a flood. What exact sins did they commit? At least if taken literally. Taking the story metaphorically actually makes some sense.

RecycledBenedict

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Re: Nature Doesn't Love You, Abrahamic God Does
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2015, 01:49:47 pm »
Quote from: rinceoir;178605
From a non-fundie Protestant Christian perspective, we humans were granted free will, but you're supposed to use the free will to accept Jesus as your savior (from which you're absolved of your inherent evil) and because you've done that, you want to do good things.


What you describe is a fair representation of what Methodists, Liberal Evangelicals and the revivalism-influenced Presbyterians believe, but is not a fair description of every sort of non-fundie Protestants.

Liberal Lutherans would avoid the entire question. Everything is nice, and, since God is nice, everything will be nice at last.

High Church Lutherans would dismiss the 'accept Jesus as your saviour' bit as a suspect form of Pietism, and instead say that baptised persons ought to remain in baptismal grace, since we are justified by grace alone, not justified by 'accepting Jesus as your saviour'. The grace to remain in grace will be found in participating at celebration of the Eucharist, going to Holy Communion frequently, receive absolution when needed, and having a regular observance of prayer. The advanced and adventurous one would experiment with a Breviary and a Rosary, flirting slightly with the Catholic Church.

Conservative Presbyterians would say, that if a person who is not eternally pre-destined to salvation 'accept Jesus as his saviour', (s)he will not be saved, and if a person is eternally pre-destined to salvation, there is no need of revival meetings, sentimentalism or ostentatious emotional 'born-again' experiences. The trust in pre-destination will be enough for such a person. For Conservative Presbyterians bad events is a punishment from God. I don't know how common Conservative Presbyterians are any longer. Someone would probably need to put the remaining ones in a museum.

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Re: Nature Doesn't Love You, Abrahamic God Does
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2015, 02:16:40 pm »
Quote from: Yei;178614
At least if taken literally. Taking the story metaphorically actually makes some sense.

 
It is worth keeping in mind that for all that Biblical literalists are very noisy, that interpretative thread in mythological parsing only started becoming significant in anything like the modern sense in the 18th century.

(Some people posit that it's a reaction to the scientific revolution, I'm guessing because of the sudden shift in emphasis on factuality.  Others note that the Reformation in the 16th century required a higher authority than established ecclesiastical powers, and that primed the way for Bible-veneration to become a thing.)
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Altair

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Re: Nature Doesn't Love You, Abrahamic God Does
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2015, 02:18:45 pm »
Quote from: FraterBenedict;178615
What you describe is a fair representation of what Methodists, Liberal Evangelicals and the revivalism-influenced Presbyterians believe, but is not a fair description of every sort of non-fundie Protestants.

Liberal Lutherans would avoid the entire question. Everything is nice, and, since God is nice, everything will be nice at last.

High Church Lutherans would dismiss the 'accept Jesus as your saviour' bit as a suspect form of Pietism, and instead say that baptised persons ought to remain in baptismal grace, since we are justified by grace alone, not justified by 'accepting Jesus as your saviour'. The grace to remain in grace will be found in participating at celebration of the Eucharist, going to Holy Communion frequently, receive absolution when needed, and having a regular observance of prayer. The advanced and adventurous one would experiment with a Breviary and a Rosary, flirting slightly with the Catholic Church.

Conservative Presbyterians would say, that if a person who is not eternally pre-destined to salvation 'accept Jesus as his saviour', (s)he will not be saved, and if a person is eternally pre-destined to salvation, there is no need of revival meetings, sentimentalism or ostentatious emotional 'born-again' experiences. The trust in pre-destination will be enough for such a person. For Conservative Presbyterians bad events is a punishment from God. I don't know how common Conservative Presbyterians are any longer. Someone would probably need to put the remaining ones in a museum.


The extent of your knowledge of the intricacies of various Christian belief systems astounds me. And make my head hurt!
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RecycledBenedict

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Re: Nature Doesn't Love You, Abrahamic God Does
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2015, 02:33:54 pm »
Quote from: Altair;178618
The extent of your knowledge of the intricacies of various Christian belief systems astounds me. And make my head hurt!

I am interested in Religious Studies, and have a Masters Degree in it. I studied all the major religions and the sub-divisions of them. If you want me to make your head hurt of Buddhist denominations instead (Chan, Tendai, Zen, Pure Land, Nichiren et c), I am willing to switch the subject. :D:

I am afraid that my background in Agnosticism and Lutheranism make my descriptions of Lutheranism's sub-divisions somewhat flippant.

I didn't describe the Lutheran reaction (Liberal and High Church alike) to natural disasters:

Quote
Oh no! Raising buildings at the rifts between tectonic plates turned out to be a bad idea, and the flammability of flammable materials caused a bad reaction to the presence of high temperatures! We must help the poor, poor people with humanitarian aid. And coffee.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2015, 02:40:17 pm by RecycledBenedict »

rinceoir

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Re: Nature Doesn't Love You, Abrahamic God Does
« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2015, 03:17:28 pm »
Quote from: FraterBenedict;178615
What you describe is a fair representation of what Methodists, Liberal Evangelicals and the revivalism-influenced Presbyterians believe, but is not a fair description of every sort of non-fundie Protestants.

Liberal Lutherans would avoid the entire question. Everything is nice, and, since God is nice, everything will be nice at last.

High Church Lutherans would dismiss the 'accept Jesus as your saviour' bit as a suspect form of Pietism, and instead say that baptised persons ought to remain in baptismal grace, since we are justified by grace alone, not justified by 'accepting Jesus as your saviour'. The grace to remain in grace will be found in participating at celebration of the Eucharist, going to Holy Communion frequently, receive absolution when needed, and having a regular observance of prayer. The advanced and adventurous one would experiment with a Breviary and a Rosary, flirting slightly with the Catholic Church.

Conservative Presbyterians would say, that if a person who is not eternally pre-destined to salvation 'accept Jesus as his saviour', (s)he will not be saved, and if a person is eternally pre-destined to salvation, there is no need of revival meetings, sentimentalism or ostentatious emotional 'born-again' experiences. The trust in pre-destination will be enough for such a person. For Conservative Presbyterians bad events is a punishment from God. I don't know how common Conservative Presbyterians are any longer. Someone would probably need to put the remaining ones in a museum.


I was raised in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. So I guess I should update what I said and specify "from the perspective of my experience in the ELCA church and occasionally the United Methodist church...".

Our church (or at least the multiple churches I attended within ELCA) didn't outright avoid the question.  But there wasn't really an answer. "It happens. Your response is what is important."

I suspect (but don't know for sure) that your "liberal Lutherans" are similar to the ELCA, whereas "High Church" Lutherans are perhaps similar to our Lutheran Church Missouri Synod/Wisconsin Synod Lutherans, who are more conservative and closer to the Catholics. They don't ordain women, don't support same sex marriage, etc. But, I'm not exactly sure what you mean by Liberal Lutherans and High Church Lutherans...perhaps my experience is applicable only to the US. The Evangelical Lutheran Church exists in other countries but I suspect it still varies. We have our roots with the Swedish Lutherans who immigrated to the US to some extent, as the ELCA was formed by a merger that included the Lutheran Church in America, which itself was formed by a merger that included the Augustana Synod - the Swedish-American Lutheran church. But that being the late 1800s/early 1900s when the immigrants established their churches, things have likely evolved quite differently here vs. back in Sweden where the church had its roots.

In my ELCA experience, accepting Jesus as your savior was very important to the concept of being saved by grace alone. It doesn't matter if you do good, because you're only saved by grace, and you're only saved by grace if you accept Jesus died for you. Attending services weekly, observing holidays accordingly, and participating in communion were all expected of me because that's what you should do as one whose savior is Jesus. You are saved by grace and not works, but because you accept Jesus died on the cross to save you of your sins then you want to do good works.

rinceoir

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Re: Nature Doesn't Love You, Abrahamic God Does
« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2015, 03:20:05 pm »
Quote from: FraterBenedict;178619

I didn't describe the Lutheran reaction (Liberal and High Church alike) to natural disasters:
Oh no! Raising buildings at the rifts between tectonic plates turned out to be a bad idea, and the flammability of flammable materials caused a bad reaction to the presence of high temperatures! We must help the poor, poor people with humanitarian aid. And coffee.

 
I second this as being a very Lutheran response. And, at least in the Midwest of the US, we must also provide casseroles to go with the coffee. And pancakes.

RecycledBenedict

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Re: Nature Doesn't Love You, Abrahamic God Does
« Reply #26 on: August 12, 2015, 04:10:03 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;178617
It is worth keeping in mind that for all that Biblical literalists are very noisy, that interpretative thread in mythological parsing only started becoming significant in anything like the modern sense in the 18th century.

(Some people posit that it's a reaction to the scientific revolution, I'm guessing because of the sudden shift in emphasis on factuality.  Others note that the Reformation in the 16th century required a higher authority than established ecclesiastical powers, and that primed the way for Bible-veneration to become a thing.)


I agree with you, and it happened in several steps.

Luther theoretically put the Bible over the Church and Tradition, but in practice Lutheran churches retained a lot of traditional things: Old Lutheran church buildings and old Catholic church buildings looks more or less the same (with the exception of the tabernacle in Catholic buildings, which is unusual in Lutheran buildings, although they are not entirely unknown), but, in the case of younger buildings, the personal visions of individual architects make it impossible to generalise. Luther also created a 'canon within the canon': Everything about grace and faith became automatically much more important and authoritative than biblical verses lacking these central themes. In reality, Luther was very dismissive about such parts of the Bible as the Book of Esther and the Letter of James.

Calvin was a Biblicist and a proponent of the doctrine of Verbal Inspiration of the Bible, but he was also a renaissance Humanist with a positive view on science. The two very, very different faces the Reformed (or Presbyterian) denominations show the world today, is dependent on which of these sides a Presbyterian denomination (or individual) choses to accentuate.

The Anglicans (who often opt out from being classified as 'Protestants') took their time to emerge as a recognizable Communion of churches. From 1533 to 1559 many things continued as usual, without any large changes at all. From 1559 to 1662, there was a heated struggle between the Anglicans-to-be and the Puritans about what the Established Church in England ought to be. After a century of debate, one Civil War, a military Puritan dictatorship dressed up as a republic (the Christian Talebans of their day), and a restoration of monarchy and Anglicanism, the Puritans left the church (and in some cases left the country), and the Anglicans accepted Reason and Tradition as interpretative tools in Bible reading. This restoration of monarchy and Anglicanism also prepared an environment favourable to the emergence of modern Natural Science: Boyle, Newton...
 
Ironically, Evangelicalism is the Anglicans' fault. Under the extremely broad and accepting umbrella of Anglicanism, some members of the church in the 18th century found spiritual value in both Luther and Calvin (mixing them in a way unthinkable in Continental Europe before the 1810's). While Lutheran Pietists in practice initially valued religious experience higher than Bible reading (although Bible reading was one of their practices), the Anglican Evangelicals they influenced became Bible-thumping in a way we may recognize today.

Anglican Evangelicalism influenced several revivalist movements in Northern America and US, and Evangelicalism took a life of its own. It is now more prevalent outside Anglicanism than within, and it is now more extreme outside Anglicanism than within. Enlightenment happened, and facticity in a modern sense bacame important. That influenced how the Bible was interpreted.

Meanwhile in Germany, the Pietist Johann Salomo Semler began treating the Bible as any other historical source material from the ancient world. One of the things he initiated was the distinction between 'Jesus' as a character in the biblical stories and 'Jesus' as a historical person. Semler's German contemporaries (Bengel, for instance) shared Semler's interest in text criticism: They all sought after the oldest possible reconstructable 'Ur-text' of the New Testament, and had reason to believe that the generally available Greek Textus Receptus contained younger interpolations and scribal mistakes.

For a while UK was insulated from these developments in historical research and theology, but in the 1860's the new (or no longer very new) trends from Germany arrived in UK, at the same time as Darwin's Origin of Species revolutionized biology and paleonthology. The Broad Church Anglicans managed to reconcile these new results of research with their faith, producing the famous book Essays and Reviews. The Anglo-Catholic Anglicans did the same with the influential Lux Mundi. The long standing ties between Church of England and the universities, encouraged a mentality welcoming new research, and from Renaissance Humanism and the Enlightenment Era, Anglicans in general had inherited an attitude that valued Reason high. The Evangelical Anglicans, however, reacted with horror and protest, and it took a while until a Liberal form of Anglican Evangelicalism emerged, that was comfortable with modern research.

In the US, the reaction was more extreme, understandable against the background of several Evangelical Revivals which had affected a number of non-Anglican American denominations, which were descendants from Puritans to begin with. Fundamentalism emerged 1910-1915, with the publication of a series of tracts called The Fundamentals. Unlike the old type of Biblicists (which often, despite their conservatism, had nurtured a positive view on science), Fundamentalists perceived a conflict between belief and science, and sided with belief. The Fundamentalists thought themselves to be 'the old time religion', but were actually participants in an entirely new movement.

From 1929 onwards, Adventists developed Creationism, a pseudo-scientific ideology which invents changes in light refraction and light speed in order to 'explain' details in the Bible (especially the Old Testament) which are unexplainable if read as literal scientific facts. It later spread among several Evangelical denominations. The type of Evangelicalism which is now the bed-fellow with the Republican Party, didn't emerge until the 1970's.

Darkhawk

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Re: Nature Doesn't Love You, Abrahamic God Does
« Reply #27 on: August 12, 2015, 04:59:02 pm »
Quote from: FraterBenedict;178624
In the US, the reaction was more extreme, understandable against the background of several Evangelical Revivals which had affected a number of non-Anglican American denominations, which were descendants from Puritans to begin with. Fundamentalism emerged 1910-1915, with the publication of a series of tracts called The Fundamentals. Unlike the old type of Biblicists (which often, despite their conservatism, had nurtured a positive view on science), Fundamentalists perceived a conflict between belief and science, and sided with belief. The Fundamentalists thought themselves to be 'the old time religion', but were actually participants in an entirely new movement.

 
Though Fred Clark has commented extensively on how the field in which that development was planted was originally cleared and cultivated by the need to come up with textual justifications for slavery.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/09/17/slavery-segregation-and-biblical-literalism-contd/

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2014/12/05/white-evangelical-biblicism-grew-up-defending-slavery-thats-what-its-for/

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2015/02/02/slavery-and-the-way-we-read-the-bible-the-picture-is-accurate-but-its-upside-down/

for just a few of those.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

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Re: Nature Doesn't Love You, Abrahamic God Does
« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2015, 05:02:48 pm »
Quote from: Altair;178539
I stumbled across this on a Catholic website...


Well, I have several thoughts on this article, but before I proceed, I think I should try to briefly articulate my own point of view so that anyone who reads this at least knows where I’m coming from.

I identify as a polytheist, but I may have more of a “naturalistic” interpretation of the Gods than many modern polytheists - I do not see the Gods as synonymous with the natural and cultural forces they are associated with, but neither do I see them as completely separate. That said, on with the show!

Firstly, I fully acknowledge that “natural forces” do not necessarily have my well-being or even that of humans as a whole as a top most priority. The Sun is the reason is the earth exists, yet it is also the thing that will be the cause of the earth’s destruction. I don’t think that makes them unworthy of worship, I just think that the type of relationship I seek to build with these powers is going to be different than the relationship that a person who believes in an omnibenevolent being is going to have with their object of worship.

For example, the Mountains near my home are a fundamental part of my religious life. They are a source of immeasurable awe for me, and they help me to feel a connection to forces much larger than myself. However, I fully acknowledge that these mountains are not falling over themselves to benefit me. If I am not careful, I could fall off a precepice, be caught in a blizzard and die of exposure, or be killed and eaten by a bear. In addition to respecting and loving these mountains, I fear them. And I would say that healthy fear is fundamentally intertwined with my respect and awe of them. (I would say they are not overtly hostile or vindictive though - I would have a hard time worshipping something that was actively interested in my suffering and death)

Secondly, I think that the author of the article may be presenting a bit of a false choice for at least some of the people who worship nature or deities closely aligned with natural forces. He seems to be saying “why worship cruel nature when you can worship a loving God?”

I think many people who worship nature may a) not believe in a benevolent creator God or b) may not agree that the God(s) described in the Abrahmic traditions is in fact benevolent. If I were to say to the author of the article “why worship a cruel God who condemns people to hell when you can worship the REAL (tm) God who would never do such a thing?” The author may well respond that they don’t believe that such a God exists. Telling people who worship nature that do not believe in a benevolent creator God that they should worship such a being is, I think, a similar situation.

Finally, I do not consider the behaviour of the God described in some Abrahmic traditions to be either moral or worthy of worship. I mentioned above that for all their perils and pitfalls, the Mountains are not actively hostile or vindictive. Nor do I consider them immoral (amoral yes, but not immoral). I honestly think that creating beings that you KNOW to be morally flawed, and then choosing to condemn them to ETERNAL suffering for having the “wrong” (unverifiable) theological beliefs is as an immoral action as I can imagine. I do not in any way consider such behaviour to be morally superior to an indifferent natural world.

(I fully acknowledge that there are branches of the Abrahmic traditions that do not condemn non-believers to eternal torment. I can respect those traditions, but I ultimately reject them because I view/believe/experience divinity as pluralistic and immanent rather than as being singular and transcendent).
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RecycledBenedict

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Re: Nature Doesn't Love You, Abrahamic God Does
« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2015, 05:11:14 pm »
Quote from: rinceoir;178620
I was raised in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. So I guess I should update what I said and specify "from the perspective of my experience in the ELCA church and occasionally the United Methodist church...".

Our church (or at least the multiple churches I attended within ELCA) didn't outright avoid the question.  But there wasn't really an answer. "It happens. Your response is what is important."

I suspect (but don't know for sure) that your "liberal Lutherans" are similar to the ELCA, whereas "High Church" Lutherans are perhaps similar to our Lutheran Church Missouri Synod/Wisconsin Synod Lutherans, who are more conservative and closer to the Catholics. They don't ordain women, don't support same sex marriage, etc. But, I'm not exactly sure what you mean by Liberal Lutherans and High Church Lutherans...perhaps my experience is applicable only to the US. The Evangelical Lutheran Church exists in other countries but I suspect it still varies. We have our roots with the Swedish Lutherans who immigrated to the US to some extent, as the ELCA was formed by a merger that included the Lutheran Church in America, which itself was formed by a merger that included the Augustana Synod - the Swedish-American Lutheran church. But that being the late 1800s/early 1900s when the immigrants established their churches, things have likely evolved quite differently here vs. back in Sweden where the church had its roots.

In my ELCA experience, accepting Jesus as your savior was very important to the concept of being saved by grace alone. It doesn't matter if you do good, because you're only saved by grace, and you're only saved by grace if you accept Jesus died for you. Attending services weekly, observing holidays accordingly, and participating in communion were all expected of me because that's what you should do as one whose savior is Jesus. You are saved by grace and not works, but because you accept Jesus died on the cross to save you of your sins then you want to do good works.


It seems like historical circumstances have caused Church of Sweden to be different from both ELCA and the Missouri Synod, although it is probably closer to ELCA than to the Missouri Synod. Women are ordained since 1958, and same gender weddings occur.

No exact equivalent to the Missouri Synod exist within Church of Sweden, but a handful of small independent Lutheran churches outside Church of Sweden conform to your description of how the Missouri Synod is.

Today, 65% of the Swedish population are still members of Church of Sweden, although the majority of these are non-practicing or low-frequency practicing.

The insistance on born-again experiences ('accepting Jesus') is a part of Lutheran Pietism, an emotional movement from the 1680's, that was very influential (but not the only expression of Lutheranism) in the 18th and 19th centuries, but considerably less so today. During its history, Pietism has been able to take both Conservative and Liberal forms.

In Sweden, Pietism survives in at least three forms: In southern and southwestern Sweden conservative movements exists with roots in late 18th century and early 19th century revivals (Old Pietism). In northern Sweden a very conservative but very emotional movement exist, with roots in the 1840's and 1850's (Laestadianism). In many parts of the country exist a less rigid, and considerably more joyful, type of Neo-Pietism (Rosenianism) with roots in the 1850's and 1860's. There are also two Moravian organisations within C of S.

Two early forms of Liberal Lutheranism emerged already in the 18th century, called Wolffianism and Neology. Due to the influence of Friedrich Schleiermacher, a form of extremely open-minded Pietism was absorbed by Liberal Lutheranism in the early 19th century. In the late 19th century, the theology of David Friedrich Strauss, Albrecht Ritschl and Adolf Harnack caused 'the Fatherhood of God', 'the Kingdom of God' and 'the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount', to become the focus of Liberal Lutheranism. The miracle stories in the gospels were dismissed as fairy stories or viewed as superstition, and a Presbyterian view of the Eucharist was adopted. The Swedish disciple of the Germans Ritschl and Harnack was Emanuel Linderholm. Liberal Lutherans are often suspicious against what they perceive as Pietism's sorting of persons into 'born-again' and 'not-born-again', instead stressing the shared human nature of all, and baptismal grace.

While the old Liberal theologians nurtured an optimist view on the possibility to reconstruct the historical Jesus, their hopes were crushed by a younger generation of theologians, among them Rudolf Bultmann, who also influenced theology in Sweden (although at a later stage than in Germany).

High Church Lutheranism exist (and have existed) in several forms, not identical in all respects. The oldest form of High Church Lutheranism, Neo-Lutheranism, emerged at the university of Lund in the 1850's. The movement criticized Pietism for its sentimentality and individualism. Baptism, Eucharist and the ordained ministry became important for the High Church Lutherans. They wanted to reconnect to the Lutheran Scholasticism of the 17th century, but also transmit contemporary influences from Neuendettelsau, Schwerin, and Erlangen to Sweden. The ordination of deacons, which had become defunct in the 1660's, reemerged, and the ordination of deaconesses was taken up after a German pattern. The High Church Lutherans defended baptismal regeneration against the revivalism of the Pietists, and the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Communion against any attempts to reconcile Lutheran and Presbyterian eucharistic doctrines.

A second wave of High Church Lutheranism emerged shortly before and after WWI, with Archbishop Natan Söderblom as an early proponent. While Söderblom himself was a Liberal Highchurchman, the movemement became more conservative after WWII. This movement introduced liturgical ideals from Anglo-Catholicism, and engaged in the early ecumenical movement: Life and Work as well as Faith and Order. At the introduction of ordination of women, the movement split in a conservative branch (which didn't accept the reform) and a liberal branch (which did accept the reform). Conservative High Church Lutherans now cooperate with the Anglican organization Forward in faith, and liberal High Church Lutherans cooperate with the Anglican organization Affirming Catholicism.

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