Tuesday, July 04, 2017

This is an exchange from CADRE blog in comment section,Itis in response to thispost "We can know that God is love" (by me).

A comment was sent in:
How can God have any human characteristics since it is not human? Why is God referred to a "he" or "him" when it is more like an alien with supernatural powers. It has the ability to create an entire universe and at least one planet with millions of plant and animal species from nothing? How would any being that could do that be ANYTHING like the human animal or someone's daddy?

That's a good question because not only is it valid, logical and important, but I feel it leads to one of the better answers Christians can offer.All religious language is metaphor and analogical. Its' all an attempt to relate what we know to that which is beyond our understanding. What we can know with certainty is what we experience. We can't necessarily relate it to others but we can experience it. One basic thing we can experience and not mistake is love. We know when we are loved and we know when we love.

We can know that God is love. That's the only thing we can be truly certain about, God, that God loves us, that God is real (which is a function of the conformation of being loved).I can see other atheists asking questions like "how do you know God is not lying?" Or "How do you know God is not really evil. Some who think they are being really tricky and clever say stuff like "how do you know that what God calls good is not really evil? so God is just tricking you into being evil?" Of cousre that would be a stupid fear because God's will is the standard so if God says it's good it is. Then of course is raised the question, well God can just order murdering babies for fun and you would say it's good.

All such questions can easily be dashed if you know God in a true personal encounter. Of course the hearty skeptic will laugh at the very notion. Yet the fact of of the confidence with which I speak of it I think is a proof that it is real experience and since it leads to stronger personhood the better ability to endure life's storms and ultimately more and deeper sense of God's presence all of that is a good indication indication, and probalby the best we can have, that God is true. It's not the case that lies and falsehood work out to make us better in a positive sense. Sure if they don't kill us we may be stronger for having endured but love doesn't work that way. I love is a lie it usually dissipates and laves one broken rather than healed. The kind of strength that comes form God's love is not this bitter taste in the mouth sort of "what kill me makes me stronger" but a nurturing sort of love one finds form the good things in life. Part of the basis of skepticism is looking at the glass half empty.

From the nature of love we can deduce several things. Han Urs Von Balthasar made the point that it's the positive basis of love and the giving out of itself nature of both and being that link the two. Love is an attribute of being itself. That connection is a good way to understand the reason why God is right, God can't be a liar, can't be evil, and is the basis of the good. Love is nurturing and building. Love and being both give themselves out to produce more of what they are. Love and Being are the original. Evil is the absense of this original and it tends toward tearing down. That's an indication that it's a mockery of what comes first, thus it can't be the good.

Love is the best means we have of understanding anything about God. We can only speak of God in analogical terms and the analogical only makes sense if we have some frame of reference. the only frame of which we can be certain concerning God is the experience of God's presence and love.

Of course all of this is a lot of raving about nothing if it isn't real. The only way to know of it's reality is to experience it. Stop reading about it on paper and go pray. As God to show you his love. Ask God to let you feel his presence of love. Stop reading...get off the net...move away from the computer...close your eyes and pray.


My dialogue partner going by "Anonymous" also goes by Pixie, he is from UK and posts on my message boards, he's a friend. Professor of chemistry.

Anonymous (Pix) said...
JH:(what I said before he's responding to) We can know that God is love.

Pix: What does that actually mean. Love is an emotion; do you really mean God is just an emotion humans feel?
Joe:
This statement is what we educated people call"a metaphor," It;s a literary device which is more or less symbolic. Usually when one says X is some other kind of X one means this x is very much a certain way,In this case it means God is the original source of love, the reason we have love as an emotion is because God built it into us so we can love God.There is no biological reasom why we should have love. But love is not merely an emotion because logically it is a philosophy. Atheists fear feelings and thus try to dismiss love love as mere emotion,


JH: Of cousre that would be a stupid fear because God's will is the standard so if God says it's good it is.

Pix:
Then of course is raised the question, well God can just order murdering babies for fun and you would say it's good.

Joe:
All such questions can easily be dashed if you know God in a true personal encounter.

no because does not issue purposeless arbitrary orders, he only issues orders commensurate with his character,

Pix:
If "God's will is the standard", then if he chose that murdering babies was right, then murdering babies would necessarily be morally right, and that would be the loving thing to do - afterall you would be saving them from he misery this world inflicts on people. And yet here you seem to say that God would not say murdering babies is wrong because of his nature, which is a direct contradiction of right and wrong being the standard he has chosen.
Joe:
wrong I just explained that, God's will will not contradict his character which is love,


Pix:
Which is it Joe? Is God free to choose what is right or wrong, or not?
Joe:
see above


JH: It's not the case that lies and falsehood work out to make us better in a positive sense.


Pix:
People following other religions, religions you consider false, seem to have the same happiness as Christians. We both agree they are living a falsehood (you might argue that they are still following God, but nevertheless they have some of it wrong, some of their religion is a falsehood). Apparently this is not as universally true as you would like us to believe.
Joe:
Truth is not simple rough to say people of other faiths are living falsehood all understanding is limited. Truth is relative to God which is beyond our understanding. religions are filtered through cultural constructs which is what makes them appear different. The actual truth is beyond all of us. The point of the essay is that the one thing that is not beyond us is the experience of Love,that will not turn out to be different.

JH:(before) The kind of strength that comes form God's love is not this bitter taste in the mouth sort of "what kill me makes me stronger" but a nurturing sort of love one finds form the good things in life.

Pix:
Placebos are pretty effective too.
Joe:
Placebo is not analogous to religious experience,see chapter seven (7) The Trace of God. my book on Amazon

JH: Part of the basis of skepticism is looking at the glass half empty.


Pix:
Skeptism is looking in the glass to see how full it is. Theism is trusting the glass is full without even knowing if there is a glass.

Joe:
that's just re wording what I said, you are marking its emptiness

JH: From the nature of love we can deduce several things. Han Urs Von Balthasar made the point that it's the positive basis of love and the giving out of itself nature of both and being that link the two. Love is an attribute of being itself. That connection is a good way to understand the reason why God is right, God can't be a liar, can't be evil, and is the basis of the good. Love is nurturing and building. Love and being both give themselves out to produce more of what they are. Love and Being are the original. Evil is the absense of this original and it tends toward tearing down. That's an indication that it's a mockery of what comes first, thus it can't be the good.


Pix:
We do not have some emotion sensor that goes ping when we feel love, Joe.
Joe:
yes we do that's part of you fear of feelings you know so little about them you don't get that we know love when we find it,

Pix:
Love is nurturing and building in the sense that when you love someone you will nurture that person. I love my kids, so I nurture and build them. They know I love them because they can point to stuff I do that is nurturing and building. The way you feel love is the actions of the person who loves you.
And we see no actions from God.
Joe:
glass is half empty hu? you close your eyes and put your fingers in your ears and shout lalalalalalaall when one talks o God then say:"I don't sense anything of God" if no omne ever did we would have all this study data on religious experience. people do and you don't because you want to avoid it.we are not required to it;s good to no verse in bible says you will go to hell if you don't pray, that would be salvation by works which is false, we don't pray in order tomerit God's love

Anonymous said...
JH: This statement is what we educated people call"a metaphor," It;s a literary device which is more or less symbolic. Usually when one says X is some other kind of X one means this x is very much a certain way,In this case it means God is the original source of love, the reason we have love as an emotion is because God built it into us so we can love God.There is no biological reasom why we should have love. But love is not merely an emotion because logically it is a philosophy. Atheists fear feelings and thus try to dismiss love love as mere emotion,

Pix:
A classic example of a metaphor is "All the world's a stage", and if we consider these two things, the world and a stage, we can think of aspects that they share and aspects that they do not.
Joe:
so? you are arguing from analogy,all metaphors don't work the same


Pix:
You seem utterly sure this metaphor, God is love, is apt, and so it must be that you can think of some aspects God and love share that makes the metaphor applicable. If it is applicable, and not just some trite phrase.
Joe:
I also have the data to back it up (200 studies on mystical experience,see my book: The trace of Go by Joseph Hinman,on Amazon)


Pix:
I guess what it comes down to is whether "God is love" is a metaphor to elucidate or obfuscate. So with that in mind: When you draw a parallel between God and love, when you goive this metaphor, what aspects do they have in common and in what regards are they different?
Joe:
compare and contrast is pretty simplistic for graduate school. God tell us in the Bible.I don't time to give you a seminary education,

3 comments:

runamokmonk said...

Hey Metacrock, haven't finished this blog post yet. It sort of dawned on me recently, atheists say their atheism is position on a proposition, but it isn't.

Atheism, which in the west, is generally another name for materialism/physicalism, which is a relationship with nature and the world.

It is a relationship with a dead world, with their isolated minds, buffered inside their skulls. But there are other relationships you can have with the world. The pantheist, or panpsychist, has a different relationship with natural world that is animate. The sense of self is even different, so in way, you may even have a different relationship with your self.

We may even treat the natural world differently if we experienced, or related to it as animate.

What if atheists could just take a break from it for a little bit, and experience reality as a story, like we do at the movies? Taking a break, and letting this story unfold, just to experience even, how our ancestors may have, and just see what that relationship is like?

Our ancestors didn't live in a materialist and physicalist world with their sense of self buffered from the natural world.

If atheism isn't simply a position on a proposition, as they like to say, it is a relationship, and state of being, with nature and the world. There are other possible forms of relationships, and other states of being that can be lived.

The divine loves us, because if it is our life giving force, that is a relationship.

Joe Hinman said...

containing the dialogue:


Joe Hinman said...
JH: It means love exists because it is Gods nature to love...

At last!

So why not just say "It is God's nature to love" rather than "God is love"?

Me:
Because in former times before science leached out all other forms of thought people understood and responded to the power of words.Literary devices such as metaphors are used because they put the power in words. A metaphor is when you say one thing is another to make a point, God is love, the love of money is the root of all evil,and so on.

The claim of the post, then, is that we can know it is God's nature to love.

Me
I said it explicitly

Have you ever been loved by a person?

me
yes! I had the best parents in the world.

How do you? The way we know is by observing that person's behavior towards us.

Me
not entirely. sometimes behavior can be confusing and misinterpreted; there are other aspects such as emotional vibes, that's the kind of thing emotionally shut down people don't like to hear.

If you cannot see or hear that person, you have no way to know if he or she loves you. You cannot feel love through a wall. The curious thing about this love from God is it is quite the reverse of that. We cannot see or hear God, but his love can (supposedly) be felt. Which to me suggests it is not love at all, but something else entirely!

Me
but of course you have not felt it so you don't know. You are at war with your super ego and you are bitter about aspects of life,we all are. The atheist movement teaches you to blame God for all ills and to reject anything good in your life as a mere accident and to disassociate it from God.If you were actually open to feeling God's love it would become abundantly clear to you how many blessings he's put in your life,but you den't want to see it that way because you want to beat the super ego that confuse with God.

Joe Hinman said...

hey runamuck it;s great to see you again man, come back to the boards,