good God, ... and evil ...
It seems to me that any discussion of God and the
existence of God tempts theologians into attaching good and evil as something other than abstractions and as things that must
be incorporated into a discussion of what is in the mind of God.
The theistic God of the Bible is, if you will, the
pre-existing condition, already present when the history of the ancestors of the Hebrews was written down into what later
became the Hebrew Bible.
As such, I think that a general comparison can be made to all of the tribal gods present at
that time. As we are attempting to discuss this without the "leg chains" of having to accept the Bible as literal history,
we can then ask why the earlier scriptorians wrote about God in the manner that endured.
Another aspect of the tribal
Gods with the exception of those societies grounded in matriarchal or goddess religions is their opposite. Tribal gods came
out of highly patriarchal societies where the tribal leader had god-like powers - recognized, accepted and respoected - by
It seems then that the perception of good and evil was in fact directly related to what was seen as
good and evil regarding tribal welfare and survival.
What is interesting is that our understanding of tribal culture
in North America indicates that Native American tribes for the most part did not evolve into a formal patriarchical society.
Spirituality although inclusive of a Father Sky and Mother Earth, was more related to a view of all of nature being included
in manfestations of diety.
Furthermore, particularly in areas of tribal warfare and tribal security there seems to
have been a lack of "good/evil" connotations to the reasons for that warfare and raiding.
I'm not well read on the
subject, but I'm not aware of any primary documentation of Native American tribes expressing the idea that the "Great Father"
took sides regarding tribal wars - that no tribe was the chosen tribe and other tribes were enemies of the Great Father.
the theistic god, perhaps good and evil need to be discussed as abstractions. If they are not abstractions - if there is a
"Light as well as a Dark side of The Force" then it seems that ethics would not be an alternative to morality.
Above all, the Theistic God is totally good. Evil exists;
but, it is outside the Theistic God. There are other ideas about god; but they are now what might be called the Theistic God
of Traditionalist Christianity.
Well, from my perspective the theistic god in some
vague and nebulous way is supposed to exist as the fulcrum around which good and evil swirl. This because much Christian moral
thinking is based on the idea of God protecting or blessing obedient humanity in its struggle with evil as part of a natural
order of things.
Doesn't it almost suggest that in the creation God was unable to create life without evil present?
Not that God created evil, but that life without good and evil (opposites) is impossible.
The theistic god then has
place around which the theology of morality evolves because good and evil seem to be almost the primary purpose of the existence
of the theistic god.
Speaking and acting against what is evil is not the sole purview of the
religious nor the secular.
we can talk about evil all day and into the night, but if that's all we do our efforts are limited
to mere opinions - never venturing out into an active attempt to make this planet a healthier place in which to exist.
Speaking and acting against what is evil is not the sole purview of the religious nor the secular.
Both sides demonstrate their own capacity to practice evil as a way of life without ever espousing ownership.
The religious act in "moral" ways irradicate that which they define as evil based on a religious
standard out of scripture and charisma.
The secular act in "moral" ways to irradicate that which they define as evil based on a humanistic
standard out of an attempt to consider the highest good of all concerned.
Neither has a monopoly on the definition of evil and both have blinders as to form and method of
combatting evil. This is particularly so when the use of force and coercion are seen as justifiable means to a justifiable
What seems to be needed is for both the religious and secular to team up - waiving the right to
call the other evil because of disagreement as to definitions or their source.
In the end, if the town-center is burning, what more obvious foolishness than to see the religious
villagers insisting that there's only one true way and only a chosen few to put out the fire?
What more obvious foolishness than to see the secular villagers insisting that the religious stay
out of it because they are part of the problem and may have -inadvertently or deliberately - inflamed the town-center themselves?
from which almost the
entirety of Protestant theology owes its existence.
Much of the traditional dogma and doctrine that has survived
through the centuries is that which was allowed, voted-on, and literally created by Roman Catholic Fathers from which almost
the entirety of Protestant theology owes its existence.
I have yet to see an acknowledgement from Biblical literalists
and the “inerrant” Bible of which they practice an unreasonable idolatry is a document that was compiled, edited
and redacted by mere mortal religious and political men. The original Hebrew Bible is not intact today as the Old Testament.
The current New Testament does not include all scripture available at the time.
There was no universally accepted God-inspired prophet present
when the New Testament was compiled, no angel whispering into the minds of the victorious Roman Catholic Christians who had
vanquished every other point of view also born at the advent of Christian belief.
I see a powerful endurance of that Roman Catholic interpretation
of Paul’s writings which are older than the synoptic gospels and much closer to the time of the mortally alive Jesus.
Regarding our inherited interpretation of Paul, that interpretation didn’t come from angels whispering to inspired Catholic
political clerics. It came from the theology of the likes of Clement who said, among other things: “Every woman should
be overwhelmed with shame at the very thought that she is a woman.”
Paul’s expositions are the oldest New Testament scripture.
He refers constantly to the Christ and very little to the mortal Jesus other than repeated references to the resurrection
and its power. Clearly those writings are more spiritual in context and refer to our potential for internal epiphanic experience
that truly conveys the power of the resurrection, of on-going existence and eternity in the sense of forever a part of God.
It also conveys a God of compassion much more than a God of judgment and is consistent with the most powerful concepts of
Jesus: The Good Samaritan, Progidal Son and the other parables.
Those who have ears to hear will hear the message of Jesus’
teachings through the experiences portrayed by Paul.
We certainly could benefit by some sort of recognition and
reconciliation regarding Christian history from the time of Constantine with what we have learned about the diversity of Christian
practice prior to that time.
One of the primary issues with an inerrant view of the New
Testament is it’s origination as a “document” whose compilation, editing and interpretation – it is
assumed by many literalists - somehow survived the guile and deceit of those from whose self-interested labors the Bible was
In that regard, the literalist view of the Bible is no different
than the Mormon literalist view of the Book of Mormon. The assumptions as to why each contains the absolute and inerrant word
of God are the identical.
The Jesus Model
The American Christian Political Right Model
Pail, Pursuit & Hidden Secrets
The path is remembering just who you might be
lit by your
confusion by which you still see
thru darkness and grope with your fear of unknown
while pours in experience and my,
how you've grown!
Evil has remedies while folly's a chore,
for to chastize a fool is to scream at a door
is locked by opinion, distrust and belief
in a magic quite borrowed to transport a grief
to a place deep inside
where not even the fool
can acess his secret over which him does rule.
When notions are foolish they're hardest to see
they govern conviction as to how one should be.
The secret tyrannical rules with a lie
the rudderless compassless
not knowing why.
To fix others' pain is not yours to control,
to measure the standard is nobody's role.
fixing be healing un-demanded by you,
but in the hands of Great Father when healing falls due.
Eruption of anger drives
open the door
if only for moments that feeling can pour
from the source of the pain kept beneath lock and key
lies the infection where no one can see.
The heart has pried open the door to the pain
so open with loudness the cry
to be heard by Great Father whose whispering flows
throught the doorway to touch what the agony
Cease to be guilty and cease to find guilt.
Intention's not relevant in what was built.
yourself with a fear loud and shrill
that if you do not then for certain God will.
A punishing God exists not, don't
that punish begins in the thoughts deep in Thee.
It is from our hunger that hunting is driven
well from our seeking that finding is given.
Pursuit is a blessing in making one swift
yet to stand, not to flee gives
your power great lift.
For what is perceived on the surface alone
may hide a great secret you may come to own.
hidden contains very often the power
to overcome fear when the pain makes one cower.
From moment to moment we
find we must choose
from things all quite visible though some we might lose.
Yet coming still closer may offer the key
a concept much clearer is then plain to see.
As terror pursues can you not make a stand
take courage, know secrets,
for freedom's at hand.
So as you're pursued know that such makes you swift
but with courage empowered as life's grandest
good for the sake of goodness itself?
You asked about this sentence: "The venue in life that seems to require endurance is more in the perceptive
realm of mind and spirit and is not better countered by an approach of moralizing and exhortation to conscious believing with
strict conformity to tradition and doctrine"
"Does it matter more that one seeks good because seeking good is a commanded practice with the promise of
happiness and future reward? Or does it matter that one seeks good for the sake of goodness itself?
The former, despite
ministerial protests, amounts to "telling God what to do and the people how to behave", as Watts wrote. Furthermore, from
a literal perspective, one would have to assume that Jesus told his Apostles that it is the divine will that they spend the
rest of their lives telling everybody how to behave rather than preaching the Resurrected Lord.
The latter suggests
that the human will is of itself capable of perceiving the highest good of all concerned. That such giftedness need be practiced
in order to be obtained might very well be what human life is about. "
The latter is that venue in life that requires
endurance. It is a way of living with a prayer in the heart to Jesus that goes something like this:
"Help me, Lord,
to see things as you see them; to know what you know; to be able to experience life as you experienced life."
preached a formula that formula was not invested in conformity with everyone strictly proscribed in what to think and how
to feel. It was a formula of personal seeking, asking and knocking. Whatever is found, answered or opened is what Jesus promised.
There's nothing judgemental in any of that. There's nothing in any of that which suggests that even a church's approval is
necessary for personal validation.
For the love of God among us,
Why do you think God
then created humanity as something trashy?
When applied to the whole notion of mankind as "born sinful"
- the question to those millions who believe so is a follow up to "God don't make trash,":
Why do you think God then created humanity as something
The dogmatic response would be, "God did not. Man made himself
into trash in the Garden."
Is letting such a horrific
and long-term thing happen the best that God could do?
The American Christian is a journal based
in Bay Center, Washington.
2005-2009 The SwanDeer Project