The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
The Forum - On Line Opinion's article discussion area



Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

Main Articles General

Sign In      Register

The Forum > Article Comments > Telling the story of God > Comments

Telling the story of God : Comments

By Peter Catt, published 4/2/2013

In a time of declining congregations some churches are maintaining their size through a commitment to narrative theology.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All
I am something rare for someone of my advanced years, a third generation atheist. I donít think my parents or my grandparents would have labelled themselves atheists but that is effectively what they were.

To be clear about what I mean by "atheist".

I do not know whether there exists some being or entity that could be called the "creator of the universe." What is more I donít ever expect to know.

But I am as certain as it is possible to be about these things that "God" as that is understood at least among practitioners of the "Abrahamic" religions does not exist. I am equally sceptical about the existence of the Hindu Gods.

However I am fascinated by the phenomenon of religion and its persistence.

It has always struck me that religion offers certain services that cannot easily be replicated by secular institutions of which the most important is community. By joining a religion you acquire a community and that is no small thing in a big city.

You get to meet people in a safe and trusting environment. You are accepted for what you are and who you are.

It can even be a global community. I know that I can go to any orthodox synagogue in any city that has one and I immediately have the nucleus of a network. No one is going to ask me whether I truly believe that Moses received the 10 commandments on Mount Sinai.

Religious communities provide human support in times of stress and a group to share joy in times of happiness. They provide a venue in which you can receive counselling in a non-threatening way.

The difficulties arise when religions become imperial. By that I donít mean that they proselytise but when they want to impose their dogma on others
Posted by stevenlmeyer, Monday, 4 February 2013 8:52:08 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
We all suddenly appear in this frightening chaotic dream world. Nobody really knows how or why.
We all know that we could be snuffed out in any minute. People therefore huddle together in their fear and create collective stories/narratives which seem to reassure them in their hell deep fear and trembling. But all the while the fear and trembling is always there just below the surface of our normal dreadful sanity.

Some enduring stories/narratives persist for many centuries and even millenia.But even most of the contents of those stories/narratives were created by people who, in their time, had no more real understanding of our situation than we moderns.

In general, what people want, and, therefore what religious institutions tend to provide is consoling social associations and optimistic talk, perhaps in combination with self-applied tecniques that people can use as means for consoling themselves.

Therefore, in the modern world, instead of cultures of right practices, there are religions which are essentially businesses and social clubs (where coffee, tea and cake are on offer).

Such gathering do not demonstrate any kind of profundity. Indeed they generally have no idea re how to cultivate any kind of profundity.
Posted by Daffy Duck, Monday, 4 February 2013 10:52:28 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
This is perhaps the longest and most discursive apology for telling lies I have ever read.

"Narrative theologians look for the story that unfolds within the Bible rather than seeing the Bible as a source for developing systematic theology."

Translation: we make up stuff that sounds good.

Next week at St. John's -- how Jesus and Peter took the Ring to Hell, and Judas snatched it away before falling into the lake of brimstone.
Posted by Jon J, Monday, 4 February 2013 12:08:21 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
stevenmeyer,

Yes, there's no evidence for the existence of of any deity, deities or indeed the supernatural.

I'm certainly a second generation atheist, if there are genes for religion I don't have any, I just can't believe. Religious belief is probably a quirk of evolution, i.e. a product of those beliefs and behaviours that conferred survival advantages.

The problem is that proselytising, which also reinforces the believer's ideology, often results in theocracy. Ideally, the religious should be free to practise as long as they obey the laws of the secular state and leave the infidels alone.
Posted by mac, Monday, 4 February 2013 12:53:40 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
a load of waffle that parades as intellectual but is really simply unbelief. I'll stick to the doctors, science Proffessors, the garbage collectors, the cleaners etc and the occassional pollie who is not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is the Only way to salvation and any other waffle is a denial of simple truth. No wonder the Anglican church is in such a poor state. The believers still in the Anglican church must be in despair.
Posted by runner, Monday, 4 February 2013 1:04:09 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Every living being including Black Ducks with attitude "problems" has the heart based instinct of Infinite Life. That instinct, that urge must be allowed, cultivated, even educated. Sacrd culture happens only if human beings create it. Otherwise it does not happen. in that case the secular domain becomes a kind of self-contained culture, a culture in and of itself, fulfilling to a greater or lesser degree, only the civic aspects of human existence, the more mundane aspects of human life.

Human beings must understand that the transcending of mortality is what they are purposed for, what they are Living for. To literally go up in a blaze of Light.
Human beings are not alive in Earth merely to be cogs in the machine of hoped (hyped) for progress towards utopia - merely to sing their cricket song, make a baby or two, and then drop dead.
No. There is also the impulse based on the knowledge that this human birth is a mortal condition. It is the urge to Find What Is Greater, and to be INCLUDED In That.

When the sacred domain is suppressed, ignored, forgotten, and trivialized by the naive exoteric religiosity such as promoted by Peter Catt, human culture produces nothing but a "stage play" that goes on and on and on, even while allthe "players" keep dying. In that case, human life has no purpose greater than mere reproduction, simply for the purpose of ensuring that the "play" goes on.

Such is merely a mortal drama, which is in no way satsfactory enough for the human heart. Human beings are heart-urged to Find What Is Greater than that, to Find a connectedness to What Is Greater than that, to participate in the Real transcending of mortality. Rather than the ersatz telling of mere stories.
Posted by Daffy Duck, Monday, 4 February 2013 1:23:01 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All

About Us :: Search :: Discuss :: Feedback :: Legals :: Privacy