First off, I'd like to apologize to anyone who felt offended by the content of this thread. That was not the intent at all. ((( LT )))
Secondly, I'm very impressed with the reasonableness of the discussion. Before I posted I was kind of worried that it might deteriorate into something nasty, and I'm delighted to come back here and see that it hasn't.
There have been some really interesting comments that have given me lots to think about.
Free Willy writes:
It's funny, if there is anything at all that I am grateful for from my JW experience, it is the fact that I am now free from any "need" to worship anything. I certainly feel i have found greater objectivity and appreciation of life in the process.
At this point in my life, I feel very much the same way... as though I'd given so much of my earlier life to God (or the JWs) that I need to take the time I have now to figure myself out and do something with my life that I found meaningful and purposeful.
What parent expects worship from his/her progeny, why should god?
I've used the analogy before that when human parents have children, the last thing on their mind is to have the children worship the parents. In fact, it would be considered the sickest of human conditions for parents to demand worship from their children. Or else face the terrible consequences of not doing so.
Only the most perverted of human parents would force such an act on their children. What does that tell you about a God who demands worship upon pain of death, then?
Perhaps because mankind is ensecure we created an ensecure god who needs attention and praise.
If god is a human idea, however, then isn't it utterly predictable that he wants power and adulation?
Bertrand Russell via Valis:
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.
These thoughts pretty much mirror where I'm at now. If God created people with the sole purpose of having those people worship him, it seems to me to be a very selfish thing to do. If he demands worship (or exclusive devotion) on penalty of death, pestilence, pillaging by hostile armies, destruction at Armageddon, etc., doesn't that constitute coercion? Would it render suspect all acts of worship by people who are familiar with the above terms of worship, no matter how freely given or sincere those acts of worship were? Once a reward/punishment clause enters the picture, is it wrong for someone to develop the expectation that "If I do what God wants, my life should be peachy"? And how is it possible to cling to the notion that enduring horrible tribulations is pleasing to God?? Does God enjoy watching "his" people suffer??
The way I think about the notion of God now is that if God exists, there is nothing that I can do for him. Nothing. He is, after all, "everything" personified. And if I can't do anything for him to make his existence better, worship is an exercise in futility. However, if I use the gifts and talents that I have within me to make my life and the lives of those around me better, then that should be what makes God happy with me. Why would he want anything else than for me to achieve my full potential and help my children reach theirs? Isn't that enough for God?
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. If you're interested in my examples (I only have one), PM me (it's a bit off topic on this thread).
Please feel free to expand on this here. I don't mind in the least. Terry
Each man is large in his own life and "ME" drowns every sound and thought.
God is ....."other"....and the most demanding other possible.
Your posts always make me think. Wonderful stuff. Thank you. Narkissos
, I've really enjoyed your comments - you always have something interesting to add to the conversation. I may not always quite "understand" the deep stuff you bring, but I'm very glad that you share your thoughts. I'm going to read some more and come back to this later. Good stuff, everyone! Love, Scully