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Switch to Forum Live View Does being a good person matter?
6 years ago  ::  Aug 17, 2008 - 12:58PM #21
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,832

Which is our most detrimental contribution to UU. I speak up as lifelong UU and atheist that will not willingly attend a UU service where God is a forbidden concept in the service. I find those services sterile in all senses of the word and not worth my time, let alone the contribution.



Heartily agreed, J'C. I've long known you to be one of the several atheists of my acquaintance who feel this way. Some, I know, you perhaps among these, regard the absence of "God-talk" as a woeful and misguided attempt to deny the UU heritage, so that even though such does not reflect their beliefs, they are hardly eager or willing either one to deny it for those who so believe.

Frankly, the vast majority of theistic Unitarians are at least borderline atheists, IMO (meaning solely those who believe in something they term a singular entity and may or may not call God, not Pagans for the most part) . How many theists of other faiths would countenance a belief in the nature of God as anything BUT the big fatherly guy up in the sky or some kind of immense supernatural being?

[Honestly, I wish that B-net tech would get the sluggishness of this thing fixed! I'm getting thoroughly tired of losing postings, and the quote button sometimes working, more often not. Just lately, I've not been able to get the font size selector to stay in place long enough for me to click on the size I want. It vanishes almost immediately. So annoying!]

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6 years ago  ::  Aug 17, 2008 - 1:32PM #22
nothingspecial2770
Posts: 38

ChrisSuperstar wrote:


Also, I think my definition of "universalism" might be a bit different from your's. I am not entirely sure what happens after we die, but I do not believe in a God that punishes people....especially for having the "wrong" beliefs or opinions (the God of the Fundamentalist Christian, for example, gleefully consigns to Hell any non-Christian, or even non-Protestant.) That being said, I also DO NOT believe that our actions carry no repercussions. I think most people are basically good, or try to be, and if there's a Heaven I expect to see all of them there.....no matter what religion they practice. For people who have deliberately chosen evil, and hurt their fellow man through violence and hatred, I think they will have some serious work to do "on the other side" before they will have atoned for their crimes.

So, while in the end I think everyone and everything will reconciled to God (if that indeed is what needs to be done) I don't think that's license to do whatever we want. I think evil people will have to pay the piper in one form or another. Whether that means something like purgatory, or bad karma, or whatever.......I don't know.



Chris,

You and I are pretty much in agreement on what Universalism is, for what it's worth.

While I use decidedly more "Christian" language in my description of it, I do not subscribe to the belief that only those that call themselves "Christian" get to partake in Heaven. My belief is that those who do good for the sake of doing good, regardless of theological beliefs (or lack therof) and with no thoughts of their own rewards will be called "children of God". I cannot see God condemning the Dalai Lama, for instance, to an "eternal hell" just because he doesn't call himself a Christian. (In my humble opinion, the Dalai Lama demonstrates more "Christian" characteristics than the vast majority of professing Christians.) In fact, I can't really see God condemining atheists or agnostics to an eternal hell**. My view is, if one is displaying selfless compassion toward their fellow creatures, regardless of their beliefs, they are doing the will of God.

In the Christian vernacular, God is characterized as "eternally just", and, as such, the "wicked" or "sinful" people will suffer a just retribution from God. But, being infinitely just, God will eventually reconcile all souls back to Him*.

It really becomes about something more than rewards and punishment, though. In my case, when I became convinced of Universalism, it didn't create the thought "well, I can go do whatever I want.", but, rather, the thought that I was not grateful enough for what I had been given. If Universalism (whether aproached from a Christian perspective or not) is aproached deeply, with a reading that goes beyond the surface of "hey! We're all going to heaven!", the reality comes through that we have an obligation to do good, for the sake of setting an example of goodness for others to follow. It isn't about proselytizing and converting so much as it is about planting seeds wherever we go in hopes that, by our example, others will be inclined to follow suit, thus expediating the establishment of the proverbial "Kingdom of Heaven" on Earth.

It's only my opinion, but I think that most Christians place entirely too much emphasis on the "next world" rather than on the here and now . I can't possibly know what is to come after I die, but I feel convinced that, as a follower of Jesus, I am called to promote those things that Jesus seemed to hold dear: love of God, love of neighbor, peace, and justice. It is my opinion that the entire Bible points toward the eventual establishment of these ideals on Earth, which will be called God's Kingdom. It's not really about me, but about working for the glory of God.

Of course, as always, this is just my opinion, your mileage may vary...

peace, paul

*
For clarification:

It should be noted that, while I refer to God in the masculine, I do not hold to the anthropomorphic deity image of God. I call God "Him" out of habit, more than anything else.

I do not see God as a "person", but as a "spirit". More precisely would be the idea of God as "being itself", as presented by Paul Tillich (with a few addendums.)

**

Of course, I do not believe there is any such thing as an "eternal" hell, anyway.

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6 years ago  ::  Aug 17, 2008 - 1:40PM #23
nothingspecial2770
Posts: 38

jcarlinbn wrote:

Which is our most detrimental contribution to UU. I speak up as lifelong UU and atheist that will not willingly attend a UU service where God is a forbidden concept in the service. I find those services sterile in all senses of the word and not worth my time, let alone the contribution.




Thank you for that.

peace, paul

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6 years ago  ::  Aug 17, 2008 - 6:08PM #24
thelovesower
Posts: 97
[QUOTE=DotNotInOz;696907]
Pleasant thoughts and ones with which most UU's would agree, I think, although the AASH's probably wouldn't like the references to deity.[/QUOTE]

What is AASH?

[QUOTE]
I'm sure I don't understand what you mean by "unity with Him." I see that state as the energy which now animates my body having evolved through various lifetimes until it is purely energy. The ultimate goal of each human spirit, IMO, is to become pure energy. I realize this idea likely seems rather cold and impersonal. We have to go through all the happiness and sadness of this life just to be energy in the end? Who wants to do that? And why?[/QUOTE]

I'm sorry for my bad English. What I mean is I have yet personally experienced the state that you may called enlightenment, spiritually highness, divinely fulfilment, etc, such as Buddha's enlightenment under the tree.

You can say that I have yet reached the state that I can feel like God is talking to me, just like the author of "conversation with God" series.
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 17, 2008 - 6:56PM #25
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,832

thelovesower wrote:

What is AASH?



Sorry I was unclear. That's my short form way of saying "atheists-agnostics-secular humanists."

I'm sorry for my bad English. What I mean is I have yet personally experienced the state that you may called enlightenment, spiritually highness, divinely fulfilment, etc, such as Buddha's enlightenment under the tree.

You can say that I have yet reached the state that I can feel like God is talking to me, just like the author of "conversation with God" series.



That's all right. English is a very difficult language to learn. You express yourself well for someone who is not a native speaker of English, IMO. You will gradually get better at finding the best words for what you mean, I'm sure.

Now, I understand. Thank you for explaining. That is what I thought you might mean.

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 07, 2009 - 2:42AM #26
Kimrdhbsms
Posts: 181
[QUOTE=nothingspecial2770;697189]Thank you for that.

peace, paul[/QUOTE]
I'd like to second the thanks, J'Carlin. 
While I'm not exactly a God-believer, I'm not an atheist either.  And I feel sad that people get so up-tight about the mention of God in services. 

I find that, though the "God" I believe in has no personality, given the nature of our language and our thinking, it is much easier to refer to the spiritual base of the universe as a pronoun, to anthropomorphize, to make metaphor.....
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