Friday, 23 October 2009

Armstrong and the Not-god


I recently happened to read an interview with Karen Armstrong that brought up some questions that I've had in the past, but not asked. For anyone who doesn't know Ms. Armstrong, she's "perhaps the world's best-known living writer on religion." So, what does she say? She says things like this:
Then came Newton. Newton is unable to think mythically. He claimed that the intricacy of the solar system required the existence of an intelligent being as creator that provided scientific proof for the God of the Bible. He said this being is clearly omniscient, omnipotent, massively powerful and obviously very well versed in mechanics and geometry.

Hitherto, people had said the natural world can't lead us to God. It can make us inspired. It can make us look and wonder. But it can't give us detailed information about God.

That's interesting, considering many believers claim that things like fine tuning and the world around us somehow constitute evidence for god. Or, take this:
You cannot think of God as a creator in a literal way: whoops-here's-a-robin kind of thing. God is not another being. So to ask, “Is there a God who created the world?” is a misnomer.

God is not a sort of thing. We can't say there's a God, as though he's an item in a species. God is the all. God is being itself, St. Thomas Aquinas says. Ipsum esse subsistens.

It's a misnomer to ask if there's a god who created the world? Huh?

Ms. Armstrong also tends to argue that the "New Atheists" are totally wrong, because no one actually believes in a real god that created the world, etc. etc. etc., and arguing against that is arguing against what Xians don't believe. Her god is some mystical force or something that simply is and doesn't really do anything. So, my question is this - does this describe what the Xian commenters here actually think about their god?
You can't feel God any more than you can think God.

I don't know many Xians that would say that.

15 comments:

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I know liberal Christians who think like that. Of course, we have slightly more cordial conversations than when I talk with hard core fundies. ;-)

Virginia said...

I love this blog!

I work as a school librarian in Jesusville and every Wednesday afternoon, my fundie coworkers "connect" with a very "literal" god in my library...They have a "Bible study" & prayer session. The devotees speak to It. He/She/It takes their groveling into consideration.

Ms. Armstrong should spend a Wednesday afternoon in my library...literal devotees praying to a literal rascal named Yahweh and his human-ish son. If the weather is nice, they prayer-walk the school. Creepy stuff.

The New Atheists are absolutely correct.

Anonymous said...

Yes Virginia, there is a Jesus Christ.

Tyler said...

He works at my buddy's landscaping company.

Virginia said...

The only Jesus I know is Jesús Crisco...Less greasy than lard and keeps the fajita meat from sticking...

Anonymous said...

Still won't let you slip out of Hell.

Tyler said...

Hell...

lulz...

Tyler said...

Karen Armstrong is tired of the noise of fundamentalists and the new atheists alike.

Translation: Karen Armstrong is tired of having it pointed out to her that she doesn't have anything worth hearing to say.

She wants to give God back to the silence that He – or It, as she prefers – properly merits.

Her new book, The Case for God...


Way to give god the silence it merits, dumbass.

Virginia said...

Of course the fictional character known as Jesús Crisco won't let anyone worm their way out of Hades...Yahweh's putative brat has a psycho-sadistic streak. Like father, like son...Crisco is quite the jerk as evidenced by his treatment of fig trees. Who the hell wants to be like that?

No such thing as a teflon Christ but he is sacrilicious...

As Kathy Griffin states, "Suck it Jesus."

LOL! :-)

Anonymous said...

You belong to Satan.

Virginia said...

Anon, how are you privy to such information? Not even my HMO....

Satan is a fictional character. She only exists in your head. No referent in reality....but I loved Satan's role in Goethe's Faust. I still think Jesus is sacrilious...

LOL!

Tyler said...

Satan...

lulz...

B.J. said...

i would like to applaud your passion for this stuff - all of you atheists on here. ... man, i can barely find the time to check it every-once in a while. but you guys... you are always ready! ready to pounce on those stupid Christians! git' em!

sorry i have been out. school, baby, work, and house-buying has taken me away from all the fun. otherwise i would give my insufficient, Christian two-cents.

Tyler said...

B.J.: i would like to applaud your passion for this stuff - all of you atheists on here.

My personal passion, or one of them, anyway, is a pursuit of knowledge, and skepticism is the means by which knowledge is acquired. My lack of belief in deities is merely one result of that passion, and my outspokenness on religion is a direct result of having been religiously brainwashed as a child and later coming to understand the scope of the damage religion has done to countless people for thousands of years.

B.J.: but you guys... you are always ready! ready to pounce on those stupid Christians! git' em!

I personally 'pounce' on anyone who displays willful ignorance and/or a steadfast refusal to acknowledge when the beliefs they shove on others are inconsistent with reality, christian or otherwise.

B.J.: ... otherwise i would give my insufficient, Christian two-cents.

Why?

GCT said...

Welcome Virginia. What is a prayer walk?

BJ, care to comment on whether Karen Armstrong represents your views correctly?