God and me
We asked New Statesman readers to share their thoughts about God and faith - here are a selection of
A waiting room for death?
1) This mortal life is the only one we are sure of, and therefore represents our best chance of happiness, both for ourselves and for those around us. Religions, however, encourage us to think of life as merely a waiting room for death.
2) Throughout the history of religion, theocratic governments and movements have caused great harm to humanity, from the medieval witch burnings to twenty-first century Islamist suicide bombers. Despite protestations from religious apologists, these acts of violence are mandated by holy scripture. I would go as far as to argue that religion is the main threat to the peace and security of the world.
3) By contrast, secular societies are the best placed to provide safety and freedom of expression to both believers and non believers. I would like to see a written separation of church and state in the UK on the American constitutional model.
4) The idea that you need personal faith to have a sense of morality, or an appreciation of beauty, is a fantasy borne of vanity and insecurity.
It's a personal thing...
Let people make their own mind up and believe what they like.
Children should be introduced to religion in the curriculum as it can be the most exciting and inspiring of subjects. They will either forsake it, keep with it or return to it as they grow older.
What other topic can cause such debate and discussion on both a philosophical and academic level? Read Dawkins and Polkinghorne to confirm this viewpoint.
Religion has and will continue to have a place in an increasingly secular society.
My own personal view is that it will return to be a growth industry even without the Churches to support it.
Diocesan Schools Inspector
Good Heavens is a raised eyebrows memory
Once a Roman Catholic I am now happily retired and instead follow the fortunes of the Greek gods. I prefer their capricious behavior because it is more like mine, and what's more, at the end of the day, they envy me my mortality. I have learned from them to be careful before I sin so that I sin less, the punishment is less therefore, but real - I suffer a bit and I expect to, then I am done with it.
In the old Catholic days guilt was distributed ad nauseam as an effective control, quite political really, in order to keep the faith, subjectively speaking. Now, instead of living in fear I prefer to rise to the challenge of the old Socratic aphorism, Know thyself; it's practical and offers an intriguing sort of pain - I hope God is amused.
Three fs and me
Could I point out please to those who obviously do not know that Christianity is not the same as religion that anyone can be religious. You can stay in bed, worship your mattress , say you are a Calethumpian and call yourself religious.
Being a Christian entails accepting Jesus Christ as the son of God, believing that he died for our sins, accepting him into our hearts as our own personal saviour and repenting of our sins.
I am not a weirdo - just a normal mum who loves her sons, lost her first husband when young, and for whom the three fs have been sustenance all her life, that is, family, faith and friends.
My view broadly follows the Gnostic angle: God can be seen as an embodiment of evil, to being merely imperfect and as benevolent as its inadequacy permits.
And really people are not willing to associate with the manifest example of what God does which unfortunately is farming souls on this planet. Religion is consumer branding of spirituality and riddled with dogma and often lacking in deep philosophical thought.
If people are not prepared to associate with this definition of God then it be termed as an alien deity. And an alien deity dovetails with Fermi's Paradox which I also interpret as meaning that aliens with such a control of the quantum ether that they use to shape events and history. Humans live and perceive the world in linear time and cartesian physical dimensions. Where really the universe is quantum.
Until humans fundamentally understand themselves on a philosophical level, we really have not progressed much beyond Plato or Aristotle, then they will never understand God.
Tags: God 2009