Thursday, October 11, 2007

My Deconversion Story – There is No Needle

It was now clear the Christian picture of God was off. Way off. There may be a minute portion of correctness somewhere within, but to find what it could be within the haystack would be very difficult. I still believed in a God, (I was talking to somebody at 2 in the morning!) and could not willfully remove theistic belief any more than I could willfully put my face in acid. Couldn’t do it.

The question being—which God? It is one thing to have a previously instilled belief in a particular God, and ponder what parts of your belief may be inaccurate. It is a very different kettle of fish to have a basic understanding there is a God, and wonder what parts must be accurate. And I now had a methodology firmly in place—If I was arguing for a position, either in favor of it being included in a God, or against it being included in a God; what would a neutral jury determine?

A very common thread running through arguments for a God is the argument of incredulity. The fact that life happened is so incredible, certainly it would be impossible to come about on its own. Or the odds of the universe existing are so infinitesimally small; surely there must be a God. When I think of a “neutral juror” I am not thinking of people with a preconceived notion of what a God is or is not. What is likely and what is not. Imagine someone who doesn’t even know the term “God.” Or know the various proposed claims for how the universe came into being.

Someone with a completely blank slate. A true agnostic in that they do not know; not that they cannot decide (which, too often, is how an agnostic is incorrectly portrayed.) We see jurors like this all the time. They line up in the box, not knowing whether the case is about an armed robbery, or an automobile crash, or a breach of contract. They discover it is a case about the sale of electricity. By the time the case is over, they have more knowledge than they knew even existed about how electricity is sold.

“God” is so ill-defined. Oh, sure, we figure He/She/It manufactured the universe…somehow. And lives…somewhere. He/She/It may or may not be interested in humans. May or may not have utilized evolution. May or May not have something or other to perhaps be involved in some way with some things such as morals, love, truth and conscious. Or maybe not. But like the elusive needle, the more you look, the larger the haystack becomes, the greater the fear you missed it in the parts already investigated.

Because God is placed behind a barrier beyond our zone of discovery, the only way for us to gain knowledge about God is if He/She/It chooses to reveal it. And all the theists disagree as to both the definition of this God, as well as how we come to know any aspects of God’s characteristics. For those reasons, it is easier for me to conceptualize using a completely neutral juror, (even though obviously no such person actually exists), since there is so little common ground to safely claim all jurors would believe.

I have my jury; I need my proofs, my witnesses, and my examining attorneys to review all of these possible Gods. So I fill the benches with one (1) person from each of the various schools of thought regarding God, what God is like and how we know it. Since there are so many, I limit it to only 50,000. I call the first person in the first row to be the first witness. Now my jury starts to hear the claims about what a God is, how this particular person knows of it, and why it is believed to be an accurate depiction.

However, there are no “free rides” in this method. Since theists love to disagree and demonstrate how other theists are incorrect, I let them do so. I let the other 49,999 people cross-examine this person, since the other 49,999 are convinced the testimony is not correct. Then the second person in the first row testifies, and is cross-examined by person 1, and 49,998 others. The Third person testifies, cross-examined by persons 1, 2 and 49,997 others.

The proofs continue; we begin to see a familiar pattern. What is rejected in another’s religion is embraced in one’s own. What one holds as sacred, another discards as rubbish. And each and every religious claim is no more than what a human could devise at that moment.

As the religions of ancient history testify of God’s moving the sun around the earth, the more scientifically advanced modern religions would elbow each other with a knowing grin, salivating at their opportunity to cross-examine the person regarding their inability to understand the Earth orbits the Sun, and how this religious belief is wrong. The Native Americans testify to the Great Spirit only creating parts of the world immediately before it is discovered by them; the religions from the European countries prepare their notes to demonstrate how wrong this is.

All the religions tell the tale of their particular creation story; all of the other religions hover like vultures, waiting to swoop in with how it fails to align with science, or knowledge, or is completely preposterous. Unlike their own creation story, of course.

Many of the Jewish sects testify how God revealed himself in writing in the Tanakh. The Christian sects can hardly contain themselves, to both cross-examine and testify how it is the Tanakh AND the New Testament. Do the Christians see the Muslims right behind, eager to prove it is the Tanakh, the New Testament AND the Qur’an? Do the Muslims see the Mormons, who agree it is more than just the Tanakh and the New Testament, but not the Qur’an; instead the Book of Mormon?

Person 1,015 testifies how his religion is validated by miracles. Only to be ripped apart by the skepticism of Person 21,211. But when Person 21,211 testifies how her religion is validated by miracles, the juror hear the same questions asked of her, that she asked of Person 1,015. With likewise unconvincing claims. What person 21,211 would not accept from 1,015, she gladly embraces in her own belief.

Over and over our jurors hear how personal testimonies of changed lives legitimize the person’s religion, but are mere stories, myth and untruth coming from any other religion. Again and Again, as the questions get thick and tough, the witnesses retreat to concepts such as “faith” and God is unknowable. Unverifiable. Undeterminable. The same answers the person scoffs when cross-examining others, the witness finds are the only response available when questioned. Exhibits mount as to what is or is not a divine writing; what constitutes or does not constitute a valid miracle; what is divine work within nature, or mere speculation.

We see people who desire to kill and conquer, find a God who likewise desires the same. Those who aspire to love, and help others; find the same in their God. Those who ache to justify name-calling, rudeness, brashness and contention—discover unsurprisingly their God does as well. A God who hates homosexuals is the God the person who hates homosexuals is triumphant to declare as the only valid being.

And in this cacophony of humanity, a small voice says the classic line, “If a fish could make a God; it would look like a fish.” Humans are creating gods in their own image. Not the other way around.

As I looked for God; as I read the theists arguing amongst themselves; as I reviewed the history of God belief, all I could imagine was this tumultuous trial and each person unable to sustain their own, while knocking down other theistic beliefs and my thoughts kept returning to this one thing—there is nothing divine here. This is humanity.

More than just the 50,000 filled seats, I could not help but think of the long line of empty benches behind my current courtroom. Think of the discoveries we have made in the past 2000 years. If our trial happened in 1 CE, we would have no Christianity. No Muslims, no Catholics. If our trial happened in 1000 CE, we would have Christianity, but no Protestants in the courtroom. No Mormons; no Christian Science. If our trial happened in 1800 CE, we would not have the technological advancement as to the size and scope of the universe. We would not have the development of the fossil record or the breadth of the theory of evolution. If our trial happened in 1950, we would not have the archeological discoveries questioning the Torah. We would not have the translations of the Dead Sea Scrolls to use.

Imagine what we will have by 2500 CE. Or 3000 CE. Imagine who will be sitting in those seats which are empty now. Just as we chuckle, nudge, nod and wink at the Gods created by persons in 1000 CE, due to limited knowledge; will the people of 3000 CE likewise nudge, nod, chuckle and wink at our own? Do we really think this is it? God beliefs will not morph and modify and we have reached the pinnacle of theistic knowledge obtainable on this plane?

Over and over, as I looked at theistic claims, the most obvious, common sense determination was that the belief was something the human made up. With all this disagreement—how can we be certain there is a God--something--at the base? When even that base was in contention.

In describing my situation, I previously wrote
I would wake up at 2 a.m. and the wheels would start spinning. I’d creep out of bed, go into the living room and pray. I wasn’t interested in reading, or writing or even thinking. All I wanted to do was pray. And I only prayed for one thing—that God would show me he existed. I didn’t care which God, I didn’t care whether he did it in the form of a vision, or a miracle, or the right book, or a phrase or a person or a quote—or whatever.

When I prayed, I pointed out (realizing that a God would already know it) that my mind seemed to work in a certain way. Why and how--I did not know, but apparently it yearned for information in a distinct pattern. Whatever that pattern was, whatever my particular brain seemed to require, but was not getting, all I asked is that God would provide it.

I prayed that God would show me, and if it was enough for me—even if I could never prove it to anyone else, or use it as a “club” to beat those atheists—that was just fine with me. All I needed was to know he existed. I didn’t ask for a particular God, or for proof on a particular point. I figured knowing there was a God would be enough. I could enjoy the rest of my life working out the rest of the details—but know there is a God.

I prayed standing up, I prayed kneeling, I prayed pacing, I prayed doing sit-ups. I prayed every way I knew, with every word I knew. I prayed for words to explain what I was praying for. Eventually I would sleep for a few hours. The next day I would capture a few moments of reading at work, read at night, lie down exhausted, and at 2 a.m. my eyes would open. For a few nights, I tossed and turned to go back to sleep, but soon gave that up. Once 2 a.m. rolled around, I might as well get up.

I literally reached a point where I said I did not know what else to say. I just sat there. Not thinking. Not forming prayers. Wondering what was to become of me. God had his timing. God knew what I needed. I did not want to rush him.

I thought of quitting the research entirely. I would assume the claim of being a “theist” and dare not think any further. I would be afraid to move forward. Afraid to move back. Live in a perpetual half-belief of “God” and nothing more. But that gave legitimacy to the questions. That would mean I was afraid of looking for what was true. Even if no one else knew, I would know—by being afraid to ask myself the question, I was conceding I was terrified of the answer.

I was about to become the terrible monster—a man without God. The concept of a creature that my entire youth, and much of my adult years had pounded and nailed and riveted as being hopeless, moralless, and miserable. I recognized that I had too much knowledge to hold onto God, and that I was going to become wretched.

It comes as no surprise; this threw me into despair. No one could look forward to this existence of dredging through a reality I hated. It was receiving a terrible disease, for which there is no cure, yet I would have to live out my life in pain.

One morning, I looked in the mirror and said, “O.K., I cannot live like this. I am going to say it. ‘I do not believe there is a God.’” (Yes, I half-expected a lightening bolt to come right out of the electrical socket and in a moment appear before a very Angry God.) And then I got ready and went to work.

I wish I could say that immediately I felt a flood of peace, and all of my cares and troubles flew away. Life is rarely in that fashion. Change is slow and in a progress, not a jump.

What I found is that I worked that day, and it was just like every other day. I went home and spent time with my family like every other night. I wasn’t getting depressed. Instead, I was feeling more at peace—relieved. I started to sleep better and better at night. Instead of wrestling with questions, I could address them. “If there is no God, then this is just some human’s attempt or picture of God, and is no better or more true than anyone else’s.” Amazing how many questions that clears up!

I started to actually enjoy my studies. No longer was I bound by a certain dogma that required a God at the end of it. I could be free to study and come to the conclusion of This God, That God, We Don’t Know God, or no God at all. I could use my “head thinking” as much as I wanted, rather than stifle it with “heart thinking” and then try and figure out what the heck “heart thinking” was.

I started to enjoy my life about me.

As I review my past writings, I have come to realize it is becoming harder, looking back, to definitively define when I was no longer a Christian, when I was no longer a theist, and when I became an atheist. I distinctly recall, at the end of that thread on Judas’ death, changing my designation on from “Christian” to “Theist.” I know as I entered, I used the designation of “agnostic.” Yet at times, as a “theist” I was thought as a Christian. And, at times, as an agnostic, I thought as an atheist.

The best certainty I can give, is in the year of 2004: February - I was a Christian. By July I was not. By October - an atheist.

The Final Chapter


  1. Hi Dagoods
    Great read, as always. I do think that religion is on the docket in your narrative, not God so much.

    I took another route. I began with the premise that God had to exist in order for us to exist, then worked my way toward checking the intelligence revealed in the workings of nature to necessities of character that God would have and last compared those attributes with the Christian God.

    I was surprised to find that they matched well. But it still wasn't until I saw and felt the Holy Spirit that I was convinced of the reality of God.

    I don't think quizzing theists is a good way to get to truth. An overwhelming percentage will impose their own will on the Scriptures. That's human nature. Second, it's like trying to find out about humans by interviewing ants.

    BTW I agree that you were indeed talking to someone at 2 in the morning. God is incapable of not hearing your voice or knowing your thoughts.

  2. ***As I looked for God; as I read the theists arguing amongst themselves; as I reviewed the history of God belief, all I could imagine was this tumultuous trial and each person unable to sustain their own, while knocking down other theistic beliefs and my thoughts kept returning to this one thing—there is nothing divine here. This is humanity. (DagoodS)

    Well spoken. This is indeed humanity. We do the same thing with history, with philosophy, with sociology, with anthropology, even with science. We can't reach any consensus on what the truth is. And the post-modernist understandably throws up his hands and says, "there is NO truth!"
    But it doesn't follow. Not in relation to history, nor philosophy, nor sociology, nor anthropology, nor science, nor God.

    There is a God. But he is known by individuals, not interest groups, not churches, not movements, not doctrinal adherents, not nations, not cultures. He won't be found by researching the arguments of others. He is met man-to-man and woman-to-woman.

  3. Jim Jordan,

    I would be interested in your method of how you determined what parts of nature revealed the characteristics of a God. Have you blogged this anywhere?

    Unfortunately, the only choice I have is quizzing theists. ‘Cause God refuses to make an appearance.


    Where is it written God cannot be found in researching the arguments of others? Is your God met in only the way in which you met him?

    If I told you the ONLY way to learn math is by written story problems, I would be seen as very limited in my ability to teach or communicate with others. Yet, curiously, theists very often inform me their God is bound by the same inability to communicate in any other way besides what that particular theists communicates with their God.

    I find that a very small God indeed. He creates people like me to think in a certain way, but then says, “Whoops. Sorry. I can’t communicate to YOU in that way.”

  4. Have you blogged this anywhere?

    Here and here.

    I think what Jennypo was saying is that the larger and more powerful the group, the greater the possibility of corruption. The Holy Spirit convicts the individual.

  5. ***Where is it written God cannot be found in researching the arguments of others? Is your God met in only the way in which you met him? (DagoodS)

    DagoodS, I'm sorry. I'm not sure if its simply the nature of what I'm trying to communicate or if there's something I'm doing wrong that I keep coming across in ways that I don't intend. God is ABSOLUTELY not met in only the way in which I met him. He meets individuals, AS individuals. I wasn't focussing on the METHOD. I am not telling you to stop looking at arguments. What I mean to say is, there's no perfect argument out there that is going to convince you of God. The arguments aren't useless, they are something. They just won't substitute for an actual meeting. God is a spirit. How can the physical or the intellectual convince us of what is spiritual? We can learn many things about God from what we see and what we think, but his essence is fully apprehended by body AND mind AND spirit.

    I do NOT mean that anyone should throw their brain out the window when they search for God, or for Reality, if they be unconvinced of God. I do mean that God will not be known by the brain alone. The arguments that are sufficient to convince us of other things are insufficient to convince us of a spirit.

    For example, while I respect the scientific disciplines, I must confess to knowing very little in the lines of physics or chemistry. When others discuss them, I judge and accept their arguments based on their credentials (ie. education, experience). The credentials of a Christian are the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control). I have known many Christians and non-Christians both who have displayed these attributes. I may trust to a greater degree those who display them in a greater degree, but their experience alone, no matter how vivid, is insufficient to convince me of God - I must have my own knowledge.

    The knowledge of God must not go against the mind, (not even yours!) but he is not known by the mind alone - although each and every person's meeting of him is so individual that while I'd love to be able to give a prescription for such an encounter, I cannot. God reveals himself to each of us as individuals based on our choice - not our choice in relation to who we think God might be, but our choice in relation to Love, Light, Truth, to the extent that we know those things.

    It must be galling for someone of your intellect to feel that a stranger is coming around handing out truths like dog-biscuits. I am truly sorry if I have appeared a know-it-all, but most of all, if I have obscured God's character - it is the most important thing of all. I hope with my whole heart that you will someday know him in a way that satisfies your body and mind and spirit - all. There is nothing, nothing, nothing that compares.

  6. Hi Dagoods
    A few points:
    God's awful timing
    I empathize with your frustration with the difficulty in knowing God. Frankly, one of the most cited points by nonbelievers has been His timing. We've all heard the story of the atheist professor who commands God to stop the pencil from dropping to the floor in front of hundreds of students. The pencil always hit the floor. The professor concludes that if God existed He would at least have stopped that pencil.

    Or He would at least have done something prior to 8:46 AM on September 11th, 2001 to mitigate the disaster. Or He could have stopped my grandmother's Alzheimer's or my favorite uncle's Parkinson's disease. Quite frankly, His timing stinks! But I laugh as I write this because I am certain I have no idea what I'm talking about. feels good to say it.

    God's fingerprint
    God is love, John tells us. But not just love, agape love. There was no greater show of that than Jesus, who asked His Father to forgive his assassins while nailed to a cross. His example demands that I respond in a different way to people I normally would despise. I am compelled now to look at hippies in a different way. I always despised them for their selfish, shallow personalities [my perception]. Not anymore. They have a past, present and future that I know little about. Instead of condemning them, I must always have hope that God can use me to help those whom He puts in my path. And in showing love to others, I am also strengthened.

    God has a definite fingerprint on my life. His love is more than the good feeling that wells up inside. It is a selfless love, a love that the world little understands. It instills a patience in believers that cannot be nurtured without His involvement. He has helped me restore many relationships and has strengthened my relationship with my wife.

    The same kind of love fingerprint can be seen in nature. How He feeds His creation through complex eco-systems and nurtures species of animals and plants over millions of years. Even though the creatures die they are replaced by new ones, carrying on the march of life.

    God is manifest in that unconditional commitment to us and to life. Even if we insult Him or deny Him, He is still there giving us "God moments" to remind us that there is still time.

  7. I would throw out for consideration at this point the fact that the idea in western Christianity of a "personal relationship with the Holy Spirit" and the idea of the revelation of God coming on an individual basis is in fact very, very new and would be unfamiliar even to the Reformers. It's one (of many) things I find somewhat creepy about fundamentalist Christians. They seem to honestly believe that this is the way Christianity has ALWAYS been and has NEVER had a different view of the interaction between God and Human.

  8. Jim Jordan,

    Yep. God always gets a “pass” when in it comes to timing. Oddly enough, though, “timing” is key to us as humans when it comes to love. Miss your wife’s birthday or anniversary, and try to explain how “timing” is not important in loving! We all have occasions on which we recognize it is better to wait to have conversations with other people, and hold our tongue, due to love.

    Yet there are other occasions where an immediate response is likewise necessary. Regardless of how busy or involved in a project I may be at a moment, if my child comes to me with a genuine fear—that is NOT the time to teach them to “stand on their own two feet.” That is a time, out of love, to put down the hammer, and administer a hug. To talk. To let them know I am there.

    As deconverts, we are often informed we did not “wait long enough” for God to respond. The obvious problem with this is the fact no one will dare commit to what is “long enough.” Like Godot, it would seem we must wait forever.

    Sure, we have all heard the phrase, “God is love.” What I see, in reflecting on my past, are some humans who are able to love others. Some are not. Whether they claim it is a theistic belief or not makes little difference. You and I are well-aware that Christians are some of the worst at loving each other.

    (Thanks for the links. I had read those blog entries. Just forgot.)

  9. jennypo: … But he [God] is known by individuals, not interest groups, not churches, not movements, not doctrinal adherents, not nations, not cultures….
    …He [God] won't be found by researching the arguments of others….
    …He [God] is met man-to-man and woman-to-woman….
    …God will not be known by the brain alone….
    …The arguments … are insufficient to convince us of a spirit….
    … but their experience alone, no matter how vivid, is insufficient to convince me of God - I must have my own knowledge….
    …The knowledge of God must not go against the mind, (not even yours!)…
    …but he [God] is not known by the mind alone…
    …God reveals himself to each of us as individuals based on our choice … in relation to Love, Light, Truth,…

    It amazes me to read a human telling me what God can or cannot do. Should or should not do. Does or does not when relating to humans.

    jennypo, all of these are lovely assertions. Not a single one of them can be confirmed. I have had numerous theists tell me all the ways in which God cannot communicate to me. I have watched theists retreat from the use of “reason and logic” to find God, as such tools point away from Him. I watch theists withdraw from verbal or written or miracles or personal appearances as those equally are demonstrated as insufficient. Eventually it comes down to some gut-feeling of knowing there is a God. And that is how God communicates. Through our guts, not our minds, not our eyes, not our ears.

  10. Flycandler,

    You are quite correct people’s perceptions of how a God interacts with humans is reflective of the society in which they live. The Hebrew society lived by representation (a king represented its people, a man represented his family) and lo and behold—their god rewarded and punished on a representative basis. The Hellenized Jewish and Greek society of First Century emphasized recognition of being within a group. Not surprisingly, the God of that time created a group of followers, called “Christians.”

    And as a society, now, we focus on individual achievements, and personal relationships. Again, falling right in line, our standing with God is based upon what we do, and we are convinced that God wants to have a beer with us. Be our friend. ‘Cause we’re so great.

    The question being—which God-representation is correct? Or are all of them? What I see is something created by humans. There is nothing within the “changing God” that is outside the realm of human thought. Quite the opposite, this changing God is reflective of the current thought.

    50 years ago God hated divorce. 40 years ago God hated sex. 30 years ago God hated Rock-n-Roll. 20 years ago God hated abortion. Now God apparently hates homosexuals getting married. I wonder what God will “hate” 50 years from now that we haven’t even considered?

  11. flycandler said the revelation of God coming on an individual basis is in fact very, very new and would be unfamiliar even to the Reformers.

    And Nathaniel, Saul/Paul, Jacob, etc.? Individual revelations all and I can find many more by flipping through my Bible to jog my memory.

    As for "relationship with the Holy Spirit" I think an awareness of the Holy Spirit moving in you is a "relationship". Scripture is said to be inspired by the Holy Spirit.

    Maybe these are just semantic difficulties.

    Dagoods. Your father analogy is very good. You have never felt God answer you in any way? There is a difference between Father God and Dad. Dad is flawed. You need him to put down his hammer a lot and pay attention. Father God needs only to reveal Himself once, maybe twice or more for the hard of seeing, and that one contact is enough.

    But if that doesn't happen, I don't know what else to tell you. Debate might help shake down faulty thinking just as you debating me shakes down my faulty thinking, forcing me to be more articulate.

    Without a personal conviction that God is real then we'll probably be debatig until Godot shows up. Take care.

  12. DagoodS,

    However limited my ability to communicate here, I think you know I'm not advocating any kind of a "gut feeling". However, I can understand and respect your frustration at the inadequacy of my explanation.

  13. Jim, you're missing my point. The Bible gives Paul and Jacob as glorious exceptions to the rule, and even then, they cannot really be characterized as amicable, personable friendships. Jesus strikes Paul blind on the road to Damascus; the mysterious man wrestles (and loses) to Jacob and never directly identifies himself.

    Dagoods is absolutely right when he points out that the idea of one's relationship to God has changed as society changed. The idea of needing an intermediary between Man and God in the priesthood existed from Exodus at the earliest, and I would argue reasserted itself for several centuries after the conversion of Constantine. The Reformation shifted the emphasis back to the group (Luther's "priesthood of all believers"), but in doing so laid the groundwork for the individualistic faiths of Wesley, the Baptists and finally the Pentecostals. We're talking about a vision of the relationship between Man and God that is probably not even 300 years old.

    I do think it's pretty remarkable that this fairly regular shifting of the understanding of this relationship is purportedly based on examining the same texts over and over. I think we do ourselves a disservice by pretending that that shift is in no way related to our personal presuppositions, the history of our churches, the personalities and biases of theologians over the centuries, etc. At least be willing to admit it!

    We as humans can't help ourselves: we create God in our own image. Even if God exists, our understanding of God is hampered by our own human frailty.

  14. We as humans can't help ourselves: we create God in our own image. Even if God exists, our understanding of God is hampered by our own human frailty.

    Mostly correct, fly. Could it be that we "corrupt" the image of God with our own image? That would be a more accurate statement, I think.

    One other point, the books that make up the Bible bear little resemblance to the image of man as its driving force. Isn't that an underlying criterion for selecting the books we call the Scriptures?

  15. [T]he books that make up the Bible bear little resemblance to the image of man as its driving force.

    Not from where I'm sitting (though I'm having a little trouble being sure of exactly what you mean there). I'm assuming you mean that the God depicted by the Bible bears little resemblance to the God-image man may have corrupted.

    God gets sad, mad, jubilant or vengeful; regrets, repents/changes his mind, claims he never changes his mind, shows favoritism, has jealous fits of rage, murders infants, commands that married non-virgins be stoned based on medically unreliable (extremely) evidence, physically wrestles with Jacob and loses despite cheating; loves, blesses, gives grace, has mercy, and "is perfect".

    That sounds like an already-corrupt and necessarily pliable (you have to resolve the contradictions, guess you get to choose which ones to accept) image, to me.

  16. flycandler: I do think it's pretty remarkable that this fairly regular shifting of the understanding of this relationship is purportedly based on examining the same texts over and over. I think we do ourselves a disservice by pretending that that shift is in no way related to our personal presuppositions, the history of our churches, the personalities and biases of theologians over the centuries, etc. At least be willing to admit it!

    This is a great thought that bears repeating. At least the more liberal brands of Christianity seem to acknowledge they are presenting a new way of viewing God, in light of a changing culture. You are right the more fundamentalist mindset is of a God who always relates in one way, and one venue, and the problem is the previous generations failed to recognize the “correct” God, which this particular crop of believers has now “correctly” identified. In other words, God has ALWAYS been a Pre-Trib Rapture sort of persons. We just didn’t know it until about 150 years ago. *roll eyes*

  17. Jim Jordan,

    Yes, as humans we “corrupt” Gods too. We create ‘em; we corrupt ‘em; we eventually kill ‘em off.

    Like Micah Cowan, I was unclear as to what you were saying regarding the books of the Bible and the “image of man as its driving force.” Also, like Micah Cowan, I see a great deal of humanity within the God of the Tanakh, representative of the social construct of the time. Part of the tension between the God of the Tanakh and the God of the New Testament is the change in society, resulting in the God which humans created also looking different.

    I would point out, in addition to what was said previously as to the similarities between the God of the Bible and humans, in the New Testament we have a God literally appearing in the form of a human. Eating. Sleeping. Getting Angry. Crying. Showing favoritism. Walking. Riding.

    While Jesus is claimed to additionally do miracles, so where other gods who you believe are completely human-made. Simply put, humans could figure out how to tell tales of Gods doing things regular humans could not do. Is it so surprising by the time of the Gospels (but not when Paul wrote, mind you) the stories included Jesus, as a god, doing miracles?