[religion] If I were a theist

If I were a theist, I would want to believe in a deity who was better than me.

A deity who showed me how to love what I want to hate.

A deity who showed me the good in others, rather than reflecting my own fears in the faces of others.

A deity who expected me to see the world around me rather than denying it.

A deity who was above my prejudices and dislikes, and lifted me above them as well.

A deity who trusted me rather than testing me.

If I were a theist.

8 thoughts on “[religion] If I were a theist

  1. This is exactly how I approach my theism on a personal level.

    I’ve said to myself: “If God exists, and he is not like this, then he is a capricious God and a villain: such a God I can never worship.”

    So, I believe in a God like this, a loving and humane God.

    Unfortunately, following on that is increasingly leading me to see how others,especially religionists and including many, probably most, of those of my same religion, profess to believe in such a God but practice a faith that denies the existence of such a God. This saddens me deeply, and has lead to a lot of cognitive dissonance and existential angst, lately.

    1. Jay says:

      The initial crack in my unquestioning childhood theism was when I was 6(ish) and found myself in Sunday School wondering why we were celebrating Passover as a miracle, when thousands of little boys were being killed. Not that I phrased it that way at the time, of course, but that was the thought. That was not the deed of a loving God.

      1. Yes, the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament is filled with many examples of this sort. I was raised Christian with an education that focused more specifically on the New Testament, which has comparatively few examples of this nature. The teaching we received was that the Old Testament was effectively done away with and replaced by the New. This wasn’t exactly an explanation of or an excuse for the atrocities committed in the Old, but it gave me a foundation to reject those atrocities as specifically divine in origin.

        I look at the Old Testament now in a far more anthropological sense… and treat the writings as those of a tribalistic culture that had a first glimpse of the possibilities of a loving, monotheistic god, but had not the cultural qualities nor environmental conditions requisite to embrace the full implications of what a loving God truly meant (and were still tuned to the idea of ascribing natural disasters and genocides to the will of God). Not a surprising thing, considering our modern people still do the same thing.

        I realize I’m in a very small minority who can read scriptures this way.

        1. I should add that I look at the New Testament in a similar way. I’ve moved past the idea of “biblical inerrancy” in a pretty big way. Instead, when I do read scriptures, which isn’t often these days, I keep in mind that they are the flawed documents and records of the people of that time, and are tainted by their own cultural assumptions.

        2. Jay says:

          but had not the cultural qualities nor environmental conditions requisite to embrace the full implications of what a loving God truly meant (and were still tuned to the idea of ascribing natural disasters and genocides to the will of God)

          That disclaimer would appear to include the vast majority of contemporary American Evangelicals….

          1. Indeed it does.

            One might question whether a species evolved from tribalistic apes has the full capacity to embrace the larger family of humanity in a way that a truly loving God might.

            Then again, the contention of a loving God is that God’s love is theoretically perfect, but that human love isn’t, owing to whatever imperfect conditions that inflect our humanity. But if god is indeed loving, we should be striving to be more loving, not less.

            I could go on about how my thoughts on this have evolved, but I’ll not clutter up your blog with my mostly inane ramblings.

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