Monday, December 22, 2008

The Theistic God is All But Unemployed; Outsourced

A post from September 2007 while on sabbatical.

So many of the things that we once attributed to the theistic deity, the God in the Sky, we now explain with no mention of supernatural power at all. English theologian, Michael D.Goulder, a New Testament professor at the University of Birmingham, explaining his withdrawal from the Christian church, said that the theistic God of traditional Christianity no longer had any real work to do. He was unwilling to worship what he called an "unemployed deity."

What an interesting phrase: unemployed Deity. Ought we to feel sorry for this state of affairs or breathe a sigh of relief? For millennia, that deity, whatever the name, was 'busy' keeping order here on earth: the winds, the rain, hurricanes, floods and all sorts of weather-related duties. Old texts call upon this deity to calm winds, bring rain, stop floods and all sorts of meteorological deeds. Today, of course, we know better: meteorological science explains it all.

Let's see what else? Oh, yes, cures. The Great Deity was called upon to cure illnesses that fell upon the people. Naturally [rather supernaturally], illness was often seen as punishment for sin, but people still prayed for a cure. Today microbiology and medicines take care of that task.

Weather and illness take a rest. Gosh, I almost forgot about holding up the heavens so that they do not come crashing down to earth. The Great Deity held the sun, moon, and stars in place so that there was a regular day and night cycle along with the seasons. The Deity also stopped the sun from slipping further and further down into the depths of winter. Luckily our prayers and bonfires appeased this Deity and the sun began to rise once again in the sky. Galileo and Newton rescued the Deity from that duty.

Smiting the enemy was big stuff for the Deity, especially for his chosen people. This Deity even held the sun from setting during one battle so that his chosen people could completely destroy their enemies. The Deity was also asked to whip up several plagues of locusts as well as drought to smite the enemy. Today military science has produced smart bombs and Agent Orange to take care of that smiting thing.

Smiting, weather, juggling the universe, medical cures all now 'outsourced' from the Deity. What about magic? Aha! There you go: magic- levitation, ghosts, bi-location- things like that. Now we are in the realm of the Great Deity. So, unless some smarty can come up with how this magic happens, there will still be plenty of work to do.



I was thinking about how deflating the concept must be to those who have been snugly wrapped up in this theistic deity all of their lives. What if it is true? Is that a devastating psychological blow? If one has, for all of their lives, 'depended' upon this deity to guide them, to help them, to reward them at the end time, and there is no such entity, then is everything for naught?

It could lead to massive depression among the believers. In fact, I suppose that many folks will cling to their 'belief' despite the logic of reality. After all, what else is there to live for, if not for some eternal reward at the end? And what about the punishment for all of those 'bad' people who have not 'obeyed' the laws of righteousness? After all, they deserve eternal damnation, don't they?

So many thoughts about this issue will, I'm afraid, make the believers cling to their sinking ship rather than seeking real life in their own humanity. After all, Jesus, speaking through John said: "I have come that you have life and have it more abundantly."

Abundant life here on earth, fully alive, fully human- being all that you can be as a fellow traveler here on earth. Lifting up others along the way, helping them be all that they can be so that they, too, can have life and have it more abundantly.

update 12/22/2008

There were 29 comments on this original post, more than half from the resident 'authority' on all things biblical [and her alter-ego son].  In one of the comments Mrs. Righteous was castigating the group of people on a French blog for not accepting her beliefs.  It is to be noted that, after hijacking that French blog, she was forced to leave it, but, naturally, returned , hijacked it again, and was forced to leave it permanently.

Since then she hijacked this blog and twice was asked to not post here, but, of course, in her most-righteous style, refused to do so.  The sad thing about these righteous fundamentalists is that their 'belief system' is so entangled and depends on an interconnected  string of beliefs, that when one 'belief' is tugged, the entire 'system' comes unraveled.  Thus the need to post volumes of quotations in a defensive strategy, much akin to using a machine gun to kill a squirrel.

Were this group to merely proclaim their set of beliefs and go about their own business, that would be perfectly tolerable. The Amish are a great example of a knot of people who hold a particular set of beliefs and customs and go about their lives in rather a parallel culture to ours.  The Christian fundamentalists, on the other hand, are not happy at all merely interacting with each other.  Sadly, they feel a missionary spirit is demanded of them and therefore take an active role in culture and society, hoping to change or modify society with their belief-system.  They are determined to 'fix' our society and bring their Bible-based rules and regulations into this American culture.

Naturally they are now in mourning because of the Obama victory.  You can be sure, thought, that they will spend the next 4 years attempting to disrupt, criticize and end his presidency much like the right-wing Republicans sought to impeach President Clinton on specious charges.  The righteousness of the Christian fundamentalists knows no boundaries.  They alone have the knowledge.  They alone know what is best for our American society.  Be careful.  They are a dangerous lot.

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