I observe that a very large portion of the human race does not believe in God and suffers no visible punishment in consequence. And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt his existence. Bertrand Russell
Why does God need to be worshiped?
Are you trying to defend believers (don't know your credo, so I'm guessing) by saying that because we all speak and think metaphors, then divine truths must be communicated by means of metaphors, so there's nothing wrong with metaphors in religion?
I'm not a theist anymore, but I know some believers would definitely argue this way (I'm especially thinking of French Protestant philosopher Paul Ricoeur). I think the (admittedly anthropomorphic) idea of gods with an absolute demand on mankind is a kind of common psychosociological infrastructure upon which civilizations have built along different lines (such as Greek ontological philosophy, Jewish ethical monotheism, Buddhist self-awareness, Western objectivist scientism); still I believe the old gods remain in the depth of language as a (mostly unconscious) metaphorical referent.
I can definitely do some metaphor-free thinking, but it's more like pre-cognition and you need a sligthly unnatural form of language if you want to put it in speech.
I'd be glad to read about this, either in pm or on another thread (there might be a few interested around...).
please.. no one abbreviate God spot .. k?
Whilst the points raised may, or may not, have merit. I'm at odds to point out that the manner in which this topic is being discussed may be construed as offensive.
Whatever happened to have a modicum of respect for people's belief's (however wild you may view them)?
I do not think God "needs" worship like an insecure ruler craves. Though God may be called parent, and we the children, it is like mixing metaphors to complain that a parent 'demand' worship from his children. If a parent trains his child to listen and obey him, is such a parent merely insecure? Or maybe the parent understands the whole relationship better than the child?
Terry's comments about our own selves taking up our every thought is true... in a sense, we already do worship a god, which is our own selves. But we are powerless to prevent our own dying--and we often can't understand why we act they way we do. Not that impressive, for all the brains we possess...
Anyway, I think worship is automatic when you see something worthy of worship. For example, we admire and respect heroic actions, breath-taking scenery, or qualities or characteristics we have deep appreciation for. Worship is a kind of heart-reaction to seeing something profoundly beautiful or extremely valuable. Not only just in expressing our appreciation, worship can jolt us into action or service.
Maybe if God wants us to worship Him, He meant that we will have to know/experience Him much better so that worship is not just a mundane, irrelevent 'duty', but becomes the only response we could imagine giving. (Sex is called a duty, too... but people deeply in love never complain about this duty... )
Ross: I guess the best way to have the whole bunch of us behave is to step right into the topic with your own comments It is a very interesting subject from a theological standpoint as well: so what's your take on worship (especially in view of what Calvin says about glorifying God at the opening of his catechism)?
If a parent trains his child to listen and obey him, is such a parent merely insecure?
Sometimes he/she is.
Anyway, I think worship is automatic when you see something worthy of worship. For example, we admire and respect heroic actions, breath-taking scenery, or qualities or characteristics we have deep appreciation for. Worship is a kind of heart-reaction to seeing something profoundly beautiful or extremely valuable. Not only just in expressing our appreciation, worship can jolt us into action or service.However, alongside the call to worship Yhwh based on the awe-inspiring character of his actions in nature and history (especially obvious in Psalms) the Bible also contains much criticism of worshipping the wrong gods on the same "automatic" or "natural" basis. The very old, polytheistic, concept of Yhwh's "jealousy" comes to mind, as well as the more recent, monotheistic, condemnation of idolatry. The Bible teaches us both to worship and to beware of worshipping, and I guess this sort of "double bind" plays an important role in the shaping of the Western mind and civilisation.
I think worship is automatic when you see something worthy of worship. For example, we admire and respect heroic actions, breath-taking scenery, or qualities or characteristics we have deep appreciation for. Worship is a kind of heart-reaction to seeing something profoundly beautiful or extremely valuable.
Yes, we see this among those who have not yet fully developed/see their self image/identity, or those w a self image problem. Those who are able to see things for what they are grow out of this reactivity. That doesn't mean that they don't appreciate beauty. On the contrary, they can see beauty in many things, many times each day, even in some of the most simple things. They also do not worship themselves. Does the branch worship the trunk? Does the leaf worship the branch? Does the leaf worship the root which it cannot see?
Didier:I don't know so much about Calvin, off the top of my head, but the Westminster divines had an interesting take on it:
"Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."
I don't recall any text that talks about God demanding worship. Isn't it rather the reaction of those who record their experiences? Even Thomas succumbed to it, allegedly...
I think God was provoked to jealousy because the Israelites began moving backwards--having experienced God in some way in their lives, or as a nation, and then they deliberately ignored that revelation. E.g., they had worshiped God as creator, and yet later began to worship what they themselves created. Even right after the exodus from Egypt, the Hebrews made up a calf and worshiped it as the god who had delivered them (provoking God to anger).
In Acts, Paul says that God overlooks the ignorance of those who have only known idols. This is a different situation than the Jews being unfaithful to God. And this statement doesn't reflect an insecure God, but one who has real understanding and patience for the limitations of men. I appreciate that!
"Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."
This is the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which draws on Calvin's Geneva Catechism I was quoting on the first page of this thread. Interestingly the part on "enjoying Him" was not in this first Catechism by Calvin (although it might probably be found somewhere else in his works).
I don't recall any text that talks about God demanding worship.
What about Deuteronomy 6:13ff (partially quoted in Matthew 4):
Yhwh your god you shall fear; him you shall serve (= worship), and by his name alone you shall swear. Do not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who are all around you, because Yhwh your God, who is present with you, is a jealous god. The anger of Yhwh your god would be kindled against you and he would destroy you from the face of the earth.