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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

So, aren't we all "atheists" in a way?

The Nature's God post below has fielded some excellent comments. And between the lines I'm starting to appreciate the Founder's wisdom more and more.

The more specific one gets about describing what one means when s/he says "God" or "Higher Power" the fewer folks one finds who believe exactly as they do. In fact, it's probably fair to say that the only God anyone CAN truly believe in is the God of their personal understanding.

Think about it. Who really believes in Zeus anymore? Or Thor? Or Zarathustra? Jews don't think Jesus is God. Neither do Muslims. Nor do most Buddhists (or at least they don't care.)

On the other hand, somewhat ironically, a Vedanta Hindu beieves Jesus was God, and — one could argue — so did Spinoza. Because in their own way, as monists, they think EVERY thing is God (well, sort of).

And yet, recent polls show that a huge percentage of the US population believes in God, and the good old boy American Bible thum... er, um... maybe I should say...Bible enthusiasts) take that as proof that we are a Christian nation. They say that about the Founding fathers as well.

Okay, maybe. But then again, maybe not. It depends on your personal opinion on what it means to be Christian, doesn't it? And after all, isn't THAT one of the reasons our nation was founded?


Taunia Adams said...

"I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Mahatma Ghandi

That pretty much sums it up.

Neal said...

The fact that one's relationship with the divine is inherently a subjective experience does not render everyone an atheist.

Bill Fleming said...

Of course it doesn't, Neal, it just means you don't believe in the same God I do. (wink)

Steve Sibson said...


Was Ghandi 100% right 100% of the time? In other words, was Ghandi God?

Bill Fleming said...

Hey, it's Stevie Wonder!

Hi Sibby. Welcome to the Forum.

Thanks for stopping by.

The preferred spelling of his name is "Gandhi," but your "Ghandi" is also quite common. Here's a good resource on him.

To your point, Gandhi himself once said, `I am a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, and a Jew' but as to his being "God"?

Good question. Great one actually.


Donna said...

"It is curious how we delude ourselves. We fancy that one can make the perishable body impregnable and we think it impossible to evoke the hidden powers of the soul. Well, I am engaged in trying to show, if I have any of these powers, that I am as frail a mortal as any of us and that I never had anything extraordinary about me nor have any now." Gandhi 1926

He never claimed to be anything more than a mere mortal, nor will you find self righteousness in any of his beliefs. I agree with him on Christians. A "Christian" in the true sense of the word does not feel compelled to convince you that he is one. He just is.