Thinkerfromiowa's Blog

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Reading God’s Mind — Part 1

Reading God’s Mind

Hello, everyone.

I recently was involved in a thread in one of the Autism groups that I am a part of, on this topic: “Autism study strengthens idea that we read God’s mind.” I am including three messages that I wrote on the thread. I will only say that I found it absolutely remarkable that everyone jumped on one statement that I made, but totally ignored a second statement that I made in the following sentence. But, unfortunately, that is how too many human minds operate. Here are my contributions to the thread.

Hello, Jeffrey.

> I believe in God.

So do I. I no longer believe in Jesus Christ; I consider him to be nothing more than a figment of a sick imagination. But I believe absolutely in a Supreme, Sovereign God.

> Without him I think I would go crazy and give up hope.

I know I would. I believe that we could all say the same thing if we are totally honest. I know that atheists do not believe in God, but there must be something that they believe in that keeps them sane. I for one would love to know what that “something” is.

Back 40 years ago, I was in the choir of the United Methodist church in my home town. One Sunday morning, we sang an anthem titled “What Would I Do Without God.” That song has lived with me for all these years. The song talks about how God loves us and is our Friend, and how he is there for us whenever we need him. This is a far cry from the Evangelical God, believe me!!

> I just wish I could find a church that does not judge me because I am slightly different.

If I may, I have a suggestion.

Look for a mainline church. If you live in the States, that would be Lutheran, United Methodist, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Presbyterian (PCUSA), or Episcopal. Other countries have these denominations or something similar.

I was raised in the Evangelical tradition, so I am writing from my own personal experiences. I also am different; after all, I see many markers of Asperger’s in my life. I was never really accepted in the Evangelical tradition. Fathers did not want me to have anything to do with their daughters, and the girls themselves saw me as a creep. I am very capable as a pianist and organist, and the churches really liked Bill the Piano Player. But they didn’t have much, if any, use for Bill the Man.

That all changed when I entered the world of the Mainline Church. I felt I was truly loved and accepted. I shared my musical gifts with them, and they also liked Bill the Piano Player. But they also loved Bill the Man. And I did have success in my relationships with women. Mainline women did not see me as being a creep. Sure, they may have thought that I was a bit weird, but they simply chalked that up to my simply being “just plain Bill.”

I know that “one size” does not necessarily fit all, and that you may have some negative experiences in the Mainline Church. Personally, my Mainline experiences were wonderful, and that is why I am making the suggestion to you. I personally believe that you will find yourself accepted — NOT judged — in the Mainline world.

> Isn’t greed one of the seven deadly sins?

Yes it is, and God takes a very dim view of it.

 Best of luck to you.

Bill C.

When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.” – Dom Helder Camara

Here is my response to a message from a fellow named Kevin Simonson.

> Bill C,

Yes?

> You consider Jesus “to be nothing more than a figment of a sick imagination,” and yet you’ve found a secure home in the “mainline” churches, that you identify as the Lutheran, United Methodist, Christian, Presbyterian, and Episcopal Churches, etc?

I certainly did! The experiences I had in the Mainline churches were as opposite from my experiences in the Evangelical movement as snow is opposite to coal.

I must admit that I made a goof in my listing of the Mainline churches. I accidentally omitted the Unitarian-Universalist Church. The UUs are VERY inclusive, to the degree that I believe that Jeffrey could well find what he is looking for in the UU Church. Truth be known, I see myself as being VERY close to the UU philosophy.

> I’m glad to hear those churches are that welcoming of people with divergent views, but I wasn’t aware that they were that welcoming of that divergent of views.

They are, pretty much. Different groups have differing takes on things, of course, but my experience is that the Mainline Churches aren’t anywhere as Jesus-crazy as are the Evangelical groups.

> Are your church leaders aware of your opinions on Jesus?

Church? What church? I haven’t been a part of any church since 1998 or 1999. And to quote Herbert Buffum, “I’m as happy as a bird, and just as free!”

> And if so, are they approving of your opinions on Jesus, or perhaps just neutral?

I joined the United Methodist Church in October, 1971. Now I’m going back over 40 years. But as I remember, when I joined the church, I was asked only two questions. 1. Did I agree to live my life in accordance with the teachings of the Bible? 2. Did I consent to give my loyalty to the local church through my attendance and giving? Not a blessed word about “Jesus,” as I recall.

> I personally am a Latter-day Saint, that a lot of people consider to not be Christian to begin with.

Oh I don’t know. I think that you LDS find that attitude mostly among the Evangelicals. Indeed, I recently read an article on the Net about how Evangelicals would have trouble voting for Mitt Romney because he doesn’t believe in the “Trinity.” You don’t find that horse crap among the Mainline believers; they by and large are receptive to the LDS Church. Plus you Mormons have the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. THAT alone is enough to warm Mainline hearts towards you.

> But if a person who believed Jesus was “a figment of a sick imagination” were to come to the LDS missionaries desiring to become a member of the LDS Church, they would tell that person that s/he needed to first gain a faith that Jesus actually existed and that Jesus was in fact the Son of God, before that person could be baptized into the LDS Church.

Well, to be totally honest, joining the Latter-Day Saints Church is not on my To-Do List. I am content to watch “Music and the Spoken Word” on TV and listen to the wonderful Choir and the tremendous music that they do, and listen to Lloyd Newell and his wonderful meditations. I get FAR more out of that 30-minute TV program than I get out of a 2-hour church service.

Have yourself a great day.

Bill C.

When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.” – Dom Helder Camara

Here is my response to a message from a lady named Charli Devnet.

> Hi, Bill:

Hello, Charli. Good talking with you.

> When you say you believe that Jesus Christ is no more “than the figment of a sick imagination,” are you saying that you disbelieve in the historical existence of the man Jesus

That’s right.

> or that he was the Son of God

That’s also correct.

> or that he founded the Christian Church?

That is also correct. There are a lot of people — both theologians and laypeople — who believe that Paul — not Jesus — was the REAL founder of the Christian Church. One has to recall that the “church” of Jesus’ time was basically a sect of the Jewish religion. The “church” began on the Day of Pentecost, as mentioned in Acts 2, but it was Paul who in essence put sinew and flesh on the Church skeleton.

As for the “son of God,” on this one, I personally believe that the Muslims have it right. They reject Jesus as a “son of God” because they believe that Allah cannot have any children. To be honest, I believe that they are right.

As regards the “historical Jesus,” I believe that the jury is still out on this one. A killing fact is that there are no known legitimate mentions of Jesus in the contemporary histories. Sure, there are a couple of mentions of Jesus in the Antiquities of Josephus, but scholars believe that there is enough evidence in existence to call them spurious.

Plus, the story of a god personality “rising from the dead” was old hat by the time that “Jesus” was supposed to have lived on earth. In addition, that story is not unique to the Jewish or Christian religions. It first appeared in Egypt millennia before the time of Jesus, plus in India centuries before Jesus, plus in other places — including Mexico — again centuries before the coming of “Jesus.”

> Would you say the same thing about the historical Prince Siddhartha, known as the Buddha?

No I wouldn’t. I am VERY interested in Buddhism and have seen several programs about the religion on PBS. And from watching those programs, I have the impression that there is enough hard evidence to prove that Siddhartha Gautama actually DID exist. Such hard evidence on behalf of Jesus, however, has never been found, so far as I know.

> I think even an atheist or agnostic has to admit that the philosophy propounded in the Gospels is pretty sound, as is the philosophy put forth by the Buddha. Non-violence, a forgiving God, loving one’s neighbor, who can quarrel with that?

Not the atheists! I have been involved in on-line messaging for over 20 years, first on the old BBS echoes, and then on the Internet itself, and I have had several atheists cross my path. And almost to a one, they say that their problem is NOT with Jesus, but with his followers. Indeed, I have seen this quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are not like your Christ.” How terribly, terribly true!! And I stand at Gandhi’s side on this one. If my knowledge about Jesus Christ were as sketchy as my knowledge about The Buddha is, I could like Christ as well. But I have experienced too much bullhockey from his followers for me to accept him for what he claimed to be.

> As for the concept that Jesus, son or foster son of an obscure Jewish carpenter was the Son of God, born of a Virgin, died and rose from he dead after three days, well, I can see how one might be skeptical.

I became skeptical when I looked at all of the claims made about Jesus in the light of my own personal experiences and knowledge.

> Doesn’t seem logical..

In reality, it isn’t.

> On the other hand, the story must have had a powerful resonance in the ancient world as Christianity spread like wildfire throughout the Christina empire,

Given what life was like under the Roman heel, people were looking for anyone — anything — who could break the yoke they were under. I have read accounts that this was why some of his disciples joined up with Jesus. They thought that he would be a political / military Messiah. But when they discovered what his message REALLY was, they turned against him. I have read accounts that claim that this was what happened to Judas Iscariot. Little wonder that Christianity spread throughout the ancient world, especially with the help of Constantine.

> spread, not by the sword, as Islam did,

Christianity too, especially in the Western Hemisphere. The spreading of the faith was a major factor in Columbus’ voyages of “discovery.” The message of “Jesus” was not a benevolent message to the indigenous peoples in Latin America. Sure, the Spanish and the French sent missionaries who came and set up missions to serve the Indians, and their voyages were for the good of the natives in the long run. But these voyages were long after Christopher Columbus’ rape of the Caribbean, and after the efforts of the Conquistadores to conquer South America.

> but largely by slaves, peasants and the working classes. Were they all susceptible to a sick imagination?

Basically, yes they were. I have mentioned above what the situation was after the time of Jesus, and there is no need to repeat myself here. But people in dire straits are desperate people, and they will willingly listen to anyone who can offer a way out. That is what happened to Germany in the 1930s. Inflation was so bad that it took a wheelbarrow full of German marks to buy a loaf of bread. The German people were so desperate that they were willing to listen to the snake oil that Hitler was selling.

So technically, the people under the control of Rome were susceptible to a sick imagination.

Bill C.

When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.” – Dom Helder Camara

In conclusion, this “communist” is presenting a precious item from the Crooks & Liars website:

– – – – – – – – – –

My name is Olivia. I can’t hold a sign because I’m so little.

I was born with club feet. One was so bad, it was nearly upside-down. My feet have been stretched into place and casted into position every week since I was 3 weeks old. It really hurts. I’m 3 and a half months old now, so I’ve done that a lot. It costs about $500 each time. (You can see one of my casts peeking out under my dress.)

[COMMENT: The article had a picture of the precious little girl, but e-mail services do not permit illustrations in the body of a message. But you can be sure that she is a beautiful, precious little child.]

On March 21, 2012 I had my first surgery, because the stretching wasn’t working. That cost nearly $9,000, but if my feet don’t get fixed, I’ll never be able to walk.

Medicaid is paying to fix my feet. My Daddy is a disabled veteran, but his insurance won’t cover my feet. My Mom is trying to raise my 3 brothers and I while she wracks up student loans getting her college degree, because minimum wage isn’t enough to keep a roof over our heads.

WIC is paying for my formula, because Mom’s milk never came in. She feels kinda bad about that, but sometimes these things just happen.

I hear that some people [COMMENT: Read that as Republicans] want to get rid of Medicaid, the Pell Grant, and WIC, so that the 1% can have even more tax breaks. Well, I want to be able to walk. I need to eat. And my Mom would like to be able to provide for me better someday. I don’t understand why people want to take that away from me. What did I do wrong?

– – – – – – – – – –

You did two things wrong, Olivia. First, you were unfortunate in being born in a country which has a totally inept, incapable President sitting in the White House. Second, you were unfortunate in being born in a country where a gang of thugs who don’t give a friggin’ shit about anything except abortions and gay marriage call the tune that the whole country dances to. But then you didn’t really have a say in where you were born, did you?

And it is no secret that Evangelicals are avid supporters of the “people” (giving them the benefit of the doubt that they are human beings) who want to get rid of Medicaid, the Pell Grant, and WIC, so that the 1% can have even more tax breaks. They support these creatures because they are on the “right” side of the fence on the subjects of abortion and gay marriage. There is no rule that says that you HAVE to have a heart to be an Evangelical.

And that is possibly the biggest reason that I have so much anger towards Evangelicals and their Jeezus. Indeed, today (6/4) I saw an absolutely wonderful article about atheists and anger. URL:

http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2007/10/atheists-and-an.html

There is an absolutely WONDERFUL website titled “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?” Here’s the URL: http://www.whywontgodhealamputees.com/ I happened upon it a LONG time ago, and I have read and downloaded every word on the entire site. It does raise some good, valid questions that cry for answers. It is somewhat scholarly in tone, so it will likely be beyond the comprehension level of some who take the Bible to be literally true, but if one can handle the reading level of the site, it is well worth a visit.

I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the “Reading God’s Mind” thread in the Aspie group. The thread has run its course, bit it did give me some food for thought, and hopefully I gave it some food for thought in return.

That’s all for now. Have a good day.

And no, I won’t channel Herbert Buffum; I did that earlier. But I totally comprehend what he wrote in that line.

Bill

 

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June 13, 2012 - Posted by | Miscellaneous, Religion

1 Comment »

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