What are your thoughts? In what ways is the church the devil's playground? In my former career as a pastor, I had quietly come to this realization because of the injustices I often saw Christians commit against other Christians within the church, as well as to others outside the church. It was often disheartening to see Christians talk so high and mighty about how worthy they were to "the Lord," and yet all the while be exactly the opposite. It was even more damning and disgusting when I became the target of such ill will, when it came to putting child safety over church politics. So I wonder what any of your thoughts were - particularly those who are former Christians. What say you?
Please note, that I use the term "devil" not in it's generally accepted theological sense of an actual anthropomorphic being, but as a more loosely personification of the concept of evil and the injustices human beings often commit against each other.
I just got off the phone with the President of the seminary I had been attending. He had called to inquire about my absence for the past year, and why I was not enrolled this year. I laid it all out for him, and needless to say he was appalled. He even inquired as to the name of the church of my unfortunate experience so as to tell student to "steer clear of it." I gladly replied and also let him know that the pastor I was under had also moved to another church. He also asked about my continuation of studies, and while I have the intention of completing the masters I started, now is not the time to do it - should there ever be a time.
I think the church gives it's followers a false image of their own moral superiority.
And in this, I would agree.
I listen to Truth and beauty without a deity, so I'd say it was a mixed bag, Barry.
Well, the idea of a powerless god is certainly contrary to just about everything in the bible, but it does agree with my reality. If you believe the book of Job, the above statement would be blasphemy. In light of discovery, education, and a growing sense of human rights, religion is becoming just a happy face shell of it's former self. Either take it all as truth and stop rationalizing the holy books to be meaningless or just pull the rug on all the voodoo altogether.
It certainly does fly in the face. The only interpretive value I can give it in a literal sense (If I use the term correctly), is by inferring is that in the act of creation, God weakened himself because once it was created, it no longer necessarily was his alone, but belonged to the very life that exists within the reality created. Almost like how an artist or author creates a painting or piece of literature, but once created it no longer belongs to them - it belongs to the very beings who engage with the painting or written work. Either way, it is a well constructed way of putting the church/religion in it's place.
It's a beautiful idea, I admit.
A big part of "freeing my thinking" was the softening and modernization of scriptural interpretation just to keep up with a more ethical human race. It became obvious that the average person of today has a higher standard than the old god himself (and his human incarnation) and well then how could god be true?
Pastors and Priests spend most of their time "hard selling" these outdated concepts and as a result they often lose faith themselves and start doing some very questionable things.
To paraphrase Matt Dillahunty, "If your god has no power then he is a useless god!".
Would this god manifest in reality?
Else what would be the evidence of the existence of this god?
If one's presupposition is of the existence of some god, then why not the FSM as that claim is far more plausible than these, IMO.
What is useless to one man is useful to another. You hold one conviction, I hold another, but that does not mean we do not share common ground. Your convictions are just as meaningful and powerful for you as mine are for me, and I choose not to endeavor to change any of that because then it would not be your conviction, but mine. Thus, you become a robot - a fabrication of what is actual - and well, we both know where that leads.
I don't allow others to dictate my reality - I own it, just as you own yours. It's just we happen to be on opposite ends of the spectrum and I can respect that.
Then the question is: Is he more interested in being a master over others, or does he prefer that the individual be a master of oneself?
One can be in a position of authority, and yet turn the power of that authority back onto those that give him such power. Very few people are able to do that: to return the power given to them by others back to those who first relinquished power. A good teacher is one that allows the student to discover the mysteries of life through the student's own lens of being, rather than dictate how the student should be. Does that make sense?
Your model seems much more in line with a moral leadership than almost any prevalent one, IMO, Barry.
The Baha'is state that their elected representatives are to be servants to the people. I like that concept very much also. Have you looked at their administrative principles? Those seem to be quite in line with your thinking.