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How can we have a dialogue about... 
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Post How can we have a dialogue about...
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How can we have a dialogue about the God question and keep our emotions in check?


Shermer asks this question in the Preface and I thought it would be interesting to hear some members responses. Personally, I struggle with this one.

Chris

"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them"



Sun May 23, 2004 5:20 pm
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Post Re: How can we have a dialogue about...
Chris
Interesting question. Some folks might not be able to have that conversation. It probably depends on the attitudes of those involved. Mutual respect for the beliefs of others would be a good starting point. Too many times, I've heard one religion ridiculed by those in another. There is also ridcule between athiests and those who believe in God. When ridicule and name-calling are present, there's no possibility of a decent discussion.

Personally, I can only speak from the standpoint of a believer. Being Christian does not mean I can trample the beliefs of other religions. It's a matter of respect for what other people hold sacred. Or, in another case, respect for the thoughts of those who do not believe in a God.

Can those discussions take place without an excess of emotion? I think so. I'll admit, though, to some feelings of frustration when reading PALE BLUE DOT. I'm in the first chapter or so, and Sagan keeps emphasizing how unbelievable it would be that a god created the entire universe just for the humans on this one tiny planet. Yes, it is a bit ridiculous. My answer would be another question. Whoever said it WAS just for humans on one planet? My conception of God would be the being who set all things in motion. Not just this planet, this solar system, etc. In all the far off reaches of space, surely there are other beings. We are not the center of things, but then, neither are they. We're all part of a whole.

Anyway, that's my two cents worth.

Karen




Tue May 25, 2004 9:07 pm
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Post Re: How can we have a dialogue about...
It makes sense that dialogues concerning God, Goddess, or gods, or the absence thereof, would spark controversy and conflict.

These issues strike at the core of who we are and what we deem essential in life. There is no 'neutral' ground, per se, in these conversations. We are already committed in multiple capacities before we even begin the discussion.

And what is this discussion about? As I see it, it is about love, and what it is we love when we say we love God. So, for those who feel the conversation is simply a matter of lining up evidence, arguments, a priori's and other assorted debate tools...I think they miss an essential point. Love is the point, and that is hardly a banal argument to prove or disprove.

It's more like a trust to be upheld or betrayed. It is a risk as well, a task and challenge that demands a response in word and deed...not simply a treatise or argument. In other words, when talking about love, talk is cheap.

I think talking about God should shake you up, agitate you, force you to consider the impossible and question the safety you find in what is possible.

I think discussing God should bring you to what is most pressing, integral, and demanding in your life...eliciting a response to the question "Who do you serve, and why, and what does it cost you to do so...what are you sacrificing to this ideal, axiom, dream, fantasy, delusion, hope, and love?"

There is a wrestling with values here that will painfully expose all traces of denial and avoidance...and a disrupting confrontation with our ego inflations that should bring us to a shuddering humility...if we love ourselves enough to brave the enterprise.

The philosophers and scientists who see Faith in God as simply neurotic superstition stemming from childhood trauma, resentful frustrations, cowardice, sloth, ignorance or lack of imagination...should look carefully in that very same mirror of scales, and see where these judgements lie when they place themselves in the same dock.

As for me, love of God is precious and awesome and it elicits a ravenous wonder and excitement about life...and it shocks me to the core as I ponder the scale and power of such a mystery.

In Joy.





Tue May 25, 2004 10:09 pm
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