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„There is no place like home“

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No. 22870
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Since a few of us here are seriously interested in religion, let us have a discussion for all things related to faith, theology, spirituality, metaphysics, et cetera. Virtually everything within the purview of faith is welcome in this thread. Absolutely no restrictions on any particular belief system. Cults are as welcome as major religion so long as they have serious, substantial beliefs. Agnostics, atheists, secularists and the non-religious are welcome, but keep your inquiries and arguments in good faith.
No. 22924
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I've been reading about Theories of Atonement. Christians accept that Jesus' death was for the sin of mankind, but there has been a lot of theological debate as to how exactly that was accomplished. He died for us, but in what sense? The way I interpret it: Jesus gave up something and recieved nothing; God gave up something and recieved something; and man gave up nothing and recieved something. The equation balances, but that still leaves open the details and exact mechanism of what was being exchanged. Anyway, it's an interesting topic, and I thought I would share my summary.

Ransom Theory:
Sinners are in bondage to Satan, and God offers Jesus' life in exchange for their freedom.

Recapitulation Theory:
Jesus is interpretted as a repetition of Adam. Where the first man disobeyed God and doomed all who followed, Jesus was obedient even unto death, and thus undid that original curse. This theory emphasizes Jesus' solidarity with mankind; He became like us, so that we could become like Him.

Satisfaction Theory:
A modification of the Ransom Theory, which posed a problem since it involved God owing something to Satan. This theory proposes that God is due honor, and human sin dishonors Him. This dishonor becomes a debt which must be repaid. Since Jesus died sinless, he essentially overpaid. This overpayment is used to satisfy the sin-debt which the rest of humanity has accumulated.

Penal-Substitution Theory
An evolution of the Satisfaction theory, which portrayed the relationship between God and man as a commercial transaction. Here the emphasis shifts from a debt being owed, to God's requirement for perfect justice. Sin violates God's law, and every sin must be punished. Jesus vicariously bore that punishment on the cross, thus allowing God to grant men forgiveness while still upholding His laws.

Moral-Example Theory:
This theory is built on numerous passages in the New Testament which exhort moral behavior. A rejection of the Ransom theory, which gave too much power to Satan, and the Satisfaction theory, which portrayed God as offended or judgemental. Here, the depth of Jesus' love was meant to inspire men to follow his example of obedience to God. Thus the death of Jesus does not change God's disposition, but influences the hearts of men.

Governmental Theory
This theory removes the vicarious repayment/punishment seen in the Satisfaction and Penal-Substitution theories, and imo is the most complicated. God is given the role of a cosmic judge, with the authority to punish sin-but not the obligation to do so. While sinners can be forgiven, to do this too freely would undermine God's moral law. Jesus' death was thus a public demonstration of just how seriously God views sin. Since the purpose of punishment is to deter future bad acts, this single crucifixion is a lesson which affects humanity without each individual having to face personal punishment. God, having established the severity of sin and its consequence, is then willing to forgive anyone who repents.

This is a good starting point for more detailed descriptions:

I originally included some bible passages supporting each theory, but that post was just too long. The proponants of each idea, at one point in time, made their own case. Except for the Moral-Example theory. Peter Abelard was an early developer of that, and he wound up being condemned as a heretic(not just for this, though). I actually think his was an appealing interpretation, since it was built on Jesus' demonstrable actions which any man can understand, and emulate.
No. 22927
Ok but is there a God? Can we definitively say that there is one through proofs so I don’t have to worry about my fleeting existence?
No. 22930
If there were and you had proofs wouldnt that just prove you in fact do have bigger problems than your fleeting existence? In a world without God and also nonafterlife or spirituality it means your consequences are ulimtaely immediate and trivial. If there is a God it means all your actions count, yes even your dirty thoughts.
No. 22931
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>is there a God? Can we definitively say that there is one through proofs so I don’t have to worry about my fleeting existence?
The problem is that concrete proof that there's a God, by itself, isn't enough to relieve that stress. If I could conclusively demonstrate His existance, it doesn't necessarily follow that His eternal nature guarantees humans that same lifespan. Simply put, the universe needs God, it doesn't need me. To reach the point where God's everlasting life extends to the rest of us, I think you have to move beyond His merely existing, and into theological proofs of His nature and relationship with us as His children. That's the real challenge, and while this has not yet been proven to everybody's satisfaction, I'm convinced He's going to keep me around in one form or another.

>If there is a God it means all your actions count
Yeah, that one hits hard sometimes.
No. 22964
No. Well sort of, since man created gods it would be easy to create one and then prove that you were right all along. If you fail that, well though shit.
No. 22977
I've always been thinking of God as some sort of necessary concept to moral behaviour. Think of it as political realism, God therefore is the ultimate, un-challengable hegemonial power. All-knowing and allmighty he is the only institution capable of ensuring good behaviour among human beings or at least sanction misconduct. That doesn't make his existence true but necessary.
No. 22978
I think that moral systems predate religions, or at least they first have been developed independently from belief systems and then were incorporated into them. Benefits of morals aren't obvious, so in order to keep the society together, priests told about the harsh consequences for misconducts ("if you murder someone, the gods will fuck your shit up!"). Later, as societies were becoming more and more sophisticated, the enforcement of moral behaviour had to be taken charge of by the judiciary system, but the ethics still stayed in religious sphere, because it's easier to prevent a crime than to deal with a committed crime.
No. 22987
Ransom Theory: God created satan and there is no trade.
Recapitulation Theory: Jesus shows way back to heaven.
Satisfaction Theory: Only you will pay for your sins.
Penal-Substitution Theory: God can forgive anyone if he wants, and there's no "trade" around this you can't just make good things just for make more sins.
Moral-Example Theory: Yes he dies to make everyone believe.
Governmental Theory: mostly right
No. 22990
Your version of God is basically the Enlightened version of God. God in this case is nothing but a moralist, not a Creator and Maintainer of all things but a ruler of human behavior. This is what Voltaire meant when he said "if God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him". Voltaire didn't need God for his scientific explanations of the world, but he still thought that God was necessary to keep humans from behaving evil. The same kind of reasoning can be found in Dostoevsky's saying "if God didn't exist, then everything would be allowed" (can't remember which of his characters said it or which of his books contained it).

It is debated where this idea of a moralist God came from exactly, Catholics blame it on protestantism, proddies blame it on cathols or try to pretend that the Enlightenment just so happened to emerge in the protestant world but didn't come from protestantism, but you can also find orthodox such as as Dostoevsky thinking like that. Whatever the origin, this idea of a moralist God also implies that if God didn't exist, we would have to create our own rules, and this is exactly what Sartre, Nietzsche and similar existentialist thinkers argue. Nihilism for them isn't bad, it's actually a liberation from archaic values, without God we are finally free to create our own rules. True liberalism and true humanism can only be finally achieved once we create rules from humans and for humans only. Much of the radicalism of the sex revolution was based in this idea.

This idea of God is alive and well among murkan evangelicals. Watch Dawkins and similars debating such evangelicals and you'll see that much of the rhetoric of evangelicals circle around the idea that values such as charity, empathy, love for one another, etc, cannot be accounted for in atheistic terms, be they scientific or political.

Some secularist thinkers such as Habermas have come to agree with this, they agree that much of the values that we all find good, common and necessary for our societies today cannot be accounted for in secular, enlightened, materialist, marxist, empiricist, etc, terms, that they are of theistic and abrahamic origins. But they go on to argue that these values today are common to all of us and so we don't need to look for them in their sources anymore.
No. 23135
What I find stupid, particularly the desert religion, is the idea that the god that is omnipotent actually cares about you. If a god that created the universe exist then that entity would be so utterly incomprehensible to us, more like something out of Lovecraft then an bearded abusive uncle who likes to watches you masturbate. It would care less about you then you care about a single cell in your body. It would be even more bored about it's creation then R.R. Martin, he fucking wrote the book, he knows everything.
No. 23145
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Fair enough. Even though I don't know how much sense it does make to a) find an entity such as God possible but then b) measure it with human standards. I mean, it would be very well possible that even though he is the fucking R.R. Martin he (or she or it or else) is still super into everything of his creation. Just saying.

Anyway, find to images attached how I kind of deal with religion currently.
No. 23146 Kontra
Add: i know that the second quote has never been mentioned as such as in Meditations (which I have only read in German though) but I still like the idea.
No. 23181
Seems kinda desperate ways to cling to meaning. Human brains make mistakes, so to say that you're set in your hedonistic ways as a religion is closed minded I would think. Why do you need to live forever to have meaning?
No. 23191
>super into everything of his creation
Yes. But it knows the outcome. It knows how your story will end and there is nothing you can do to change that. And then you are supposed to worship it even though the outcome is already set.
No. 23202
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>the idea that the god that is omnipotent actually cares about you
My belief that God cares about humanity stems from theology and Scripture, but I think I can reason to it another way. Start with the basic assumption that whatever God is, He is more than us in every way. I'm not saying that He's only a bigger, better us, I just mean that there is no metric where He is worse/less than us. Building on that assumption, I know that we have the capacity for moral behaviour, therefore He has the capacity for better moral behaviour. Our morality dictates that we care about the welfare of any creature which demonstrate consciousness. We are creatures which have demonstrated consciousness. Even though we're much smaller and very different, God would be able to percieve this, and in His better morality, would care about our welfare.
This is just to say that, as a moral God, I don't believe He could be indifferent. He could care in some empathetic way, and still choose not to act for reasons we can't comprehend, but that's not the same as indifference.

>but I still like the idea
The quote looks similar to something Marcus Aurelius wrote in Medidtations, Book 2.11(pic). But you're right. It doesn't matter who said it, the idea is what matters.
No. 23208
If God was good why does it allow us to suffer in agonizing pain
No. 23215
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Sometimes it is purifying. Sometimes it teaches you lessons, like about humility. And sometimes you just need to be punished, because there needs to be justice according to our kind. And as for the rest which in our case in the modern developed world happens to be most of it, it is because of free will, and that is why God tells us not to sin. If you have been greatly wrong by others then you also now know the importance of not winning, which hurts others, God, and ultimately ourselves.

Sweden is ironically partially right, except he still makes the mistake of assuming it works like us by presuming an egoistic God that once it's powerful and distant enough suddenly stops caring. Even I as a human have at least passing interest in an ant colony that happens to grow upon my front steps and I feed it sugar and try to help it grow. Sadly I haven't the power or authority to smite the other human beings who would have the audacity to mow over this ant colony, whose dominion I have claimed as my own. I need to find a solution to this problem where I can inflict great wrath upon all people who've tried to harm bird nests, wasp pr ant nests, spiders or anything else I've taken an interest in without getting arrested but anyway I'm rambling.

The point is God is not like us. Not even remotely. The whole point of Christ Jesus was not in some dude coming down and then just forgiving our sins by a bloody ritual sacrifice. The other point is to be like us, live like us, show it can empathize with us. Look at the physical descriptions of just the angels. They themselves are lovecraftian horror long before the genre even existed. Pics related are closer to what angels actually look like. Now what does that tell you about God?

The first thing any shadow of God sent to interact with is typically says is "be not afraid" partly out of the message of God to us, and also often partly because their visage and mere presence is utterly terrifying, and these are the beings meant as an interface with man.

None of this means God doesnt care about us. God does not need to be like us to care about us, which is very human thinking. Or rather, the thinking of the worst humans. Some humans care about numerous other species that are utterly unlike them and wholly alien. What too does this tell you about God? It is an eldritch being that shows us a form of itself that's nonthreatening to interface with itself.

I always say that to truly gain an appreciating and understanding of the nature of God, you have to read the Bhagavad Gita. When Krishna explains the nature of itself to Arjuna, then you will have a better understanding of and appreciating for the Jewish& Christian God.

I think that part of the problem is also quite simply white people. Europeans have traditionally had pantheons of gods as basically just being a bunch of utterly trivial and self absorbed people. The Greek and Roman gods were the same. The northern European gods likewise tended to behave in this manner and have these properties, of simply powerful people with petty squabblings, and the paganized Roman Catholic Church maintained this idiocy in the way it treats the saints and keeps a high emphasis on people and human politics. These things are irrelevant to a transcendant being. European mythology seems to be unable to truly grasp or approach the transcendent. Of course at the same time, there's a taint within Judaism that tries to portray the True God as nothing but an egotistical, wrathful, arrogant, materialistic, greedy and petty psychopathic human like deity at times.

Understand God is not a person. God is not even remotely near like being a person. God cares about you despite this barrier, or perhaps because of the fact a transcendantal being can monitor and be aware of everything going on within reality.
No. 23216
>None of this means God doesnt care about us.
None of this means that God cares about you either. You just brought down the God to your (human) level and tried to describe its modus operandi in your (human) terms. It is you who are guilty of human thinking. Try, for example, to explain the human concept of "love" to a dog. Dog wouldn't be able to comprehend that, the best that's available to its intelligence is "affection". Now try to explain it to an ant. Ant is too busy surviving to waste its time on the fancies of your mind. And the gap between you and the God, the omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, infinitely complex being, is much wider than the gap between you and an ant, or even you and a virus. Your assumption that it cares about us is but one of the myriad of other possibilities, the one you chose to believe in.
No. 23221
> presuming an egoistic God that once it's powerful and distant enough suddenly stops caring

And you presume an abusive uncle who likes to whip people for touching themselves.

The nice irony is that norse Gods are way more logical to worship because they will fuck your shit up if you are not careful, or if they are drunk or just because they want to fuck your daughter.

The god you portray is nothing but a petty abusive old man. Who by the way is all knowing and powerful and created you in his image but now he is punishing you for doing exactly what he created you to do. If he needs to care about you, he has done something wrong and that would mean he can fail. If the god exist, it does not care because it knows the end result.
No. 23222
Where did I say God was abusive? Like, anywhere?
>Getting drunk
>ever, or even feeling the need to
This is exactly what I meant actually
>who'll fuck your shit up for any reason of you're not careful
So in other words, your concept of God is an abusive uncle because the false pagan ones are. Okay.
No. 23223
> Sometimes it teaches you lessons, like about humility. And sometimes you just need to be punished, because there needs to be justice according to our kind.

The thing is you claim your god is omnipotent and yet can fail.

You put human traits on it and claim you cannot comprehend it.

My argument is that if there exist an omnipotent being we cannot comprehend it and it is also pointless to care because your path is set and it doesn't matter what ever you do. If it needs to care it isn't omnipotent.

Norse Gods are never said to be that and are closer to what you want in a god.
No. 23225
I don't want my God to be a drunkard; in fact I don't think I actually "want" God to be anything personally except I guess all knowing, but frankly what you want is human and carnal and irrelevant.

>The thing is you claim your god is omnipotent and yet can fail.
I never said such a thing; I said humans can fail specifically because God has given us free will, yet does not allow us to run totally rampant, because we also cry out for justice as well as wanting to not just be slaves (YMMV if you're a Muslim).

>My argument is that if there exist an omnipotent being we cannot comprehend it and it is also pointless to care because your path is set and it doesn't matter what ever you do. If it needs to care it isn't omnipotent.
This is about God in relation to us. What I'm talking about is God needing to be a certain way because we are His creations and God is not cruel or pointless, regardless of His manifestations or long sighted will.

Again, you're mixing up free will and determinism, which is an ages old theological argument and the reason why the sect of Calvinists even exists, who reject the theory of free will as such and instead posit predestination, that is, the idea that some are simply destined to hell because while they can choose differently God already knows they won't and thus doesn't intervene in their own choices. I personally reject that view though because I'm not a Calvinist and don't believe such things about how free will might actually work. Regardless, it is not a free pass to just be a dick and shrug your shoulders saying oh well.

You always have a choice regardless of circumstance, though that may narrow your actual choices and hence put a damper on your free will specifically because it is not physically or even theoretically available to you. Nevertheless, you are given a choice, and what you choose is up to you, regardless of the fact some choices may be easier.
No. 23243 Kontra
You did say that. It is the basis of every shit that came out of the desert. God is omnipotent and cannot fail. Then people just has to make shit up because turns out when you hit your head against it cracks starts to appear.

But in essence >>22964
You created god, now you have to prove it.
No. 23263
Characteristics ascribed to God aren't about the nature of God, but about we perceive It. This is called negative theology, and it's the most basic kind of theology. God is indeed far too big and complex for our heads to grasp and our languages to speak of, but we can grasp and speak of his doings in this world, and this is the whole point of Revelation. Lets put it this way, we cannot grasp the godhead, but we can see the consequences of his hands acting in this world. When Jews call God "Father" or "Lord", they aren't saying that he has testicles or is a landed nobleman, they are giving him the highest human authority that our minds and languages can ascribe. Again this is just basic theology, they are very well aware that our minds and languages can't describe such a supreme being, but our minds and languages are all that we have, so we do it anyway, which goes to remember also that we are mere creatures with very limited powers. This way, the problem of ineligibility of God and God's powers lies in our own limitations, not in his.

And you're wrong in many ways saying that this is a problem of Abrahamic religions only. It is a problem of any metaphysical kind of religion (Hinduism has similar problems) as well as natural theology and even rationalistic philosophy. The whole debate between Idealism and Realism lies on this, it's very typical of idealists such as Kant, for example, to deny that we can have real access to the Reality out of our minds, but that we should try anyway, and that our job is to try to build idealistic models of reality that work well enough through science, but that we should always be aware that they are just scientific attempts, and not actually a description of reality.

I don't know norse mythos well, but your idea that abrahamic religions are somehow wholly different from pagan mythos is a typical protestant belief and I find it unsurprising that you're a swedeball (notice how neopaganism is typical only of protestant countries). Take the epic of Gilgamesh for example, it is a pagan text but also something that influenced the bible, the epic is about the greatest of all kings who's basically a super human, but still mortal in the end, and he wants that last upgrade in power, he wants that which belongs to gods only: immortality. These kinds of tales, of humans having to deal with their mortality no matter how powerful they are, are the basis of many religions. Existence of beauty implies existence of ugliness somewhere, existence of mortality implies immortality somewhere. The things that cause us to die were given the names of spirits, and then of gods, and then of God. Religions are about dealing with the awareness that we are very limited beings susceptible to much greater natural powers, this is why strongly atheistic modes of being, such as Marxism, recognizes that an entirely humanistic atheism must do away with any perceptions of limitations of human powers, which they try to do by preaching technological progress.
No. 23406
> this is a problem of Abrahamic religions only
Never said that. Most holier then though types on the internet comes from this strain of believers though. So it is easier to argue with.

> swedeball
What does that have to do with anything? Also desert religion isn't anything different then norse mythos. The Abrahamic god is just a god who's inventors won a war, real or cultural. There were a lot of gods running around in the desert, most of them are evil spirits or something nowadays. I was refraining from saying that but there you have it. Your whole life perception is based on some dudes in the desert killing some other dudes and raping their women.

> pagan
Who is the pagan? People who string up horses and slaves in trees or people who believes they drink the blood of their god?
No. 23432
>There were a lot of gods running around in the desert, most of them are evil spirits or something nowadays.
That's the point and you still missed it. What I'm saying is that monotheism is just a natural upgrade to polytheism, which is an upgrade to shamanism and animism (and then there are people claiming that rationalistic atheism is an upgrade to monotheism). There's clearly progress in religious belief. Religions are about explaining things that are out of our control but greatly affects us (death being the main thing), advanced forms of polytheism typically have an hierarchy among gods, the higher god typically accumulates a lot of power, specially when it comes to being the creator of things, until other gods lose godhood and become angels, demons, etc. Hierarchy among gods is bound to happen when those believers begin to question what are the relationships among the many gods, because if gods have some kind of absolute authority among humans that we just have to accept (again, death), then it is natural to question which one of them has more authority over the other. Now what some people such as Habermas claim is that enlightened atheism came from christianity/judaism, because worshiping one god only ends up making it so that a lot of earthly things no longer can be explained by the action of gods, spirits, demons and so on; these things are now free to be explained by human reason. During the middle ages catholicism reintroduced ways of attributing earthly things to transcendental powers (Saints, dead people, etc), but protestantism banished all of that. I read this theory through Habermas, but I have an impression that it's Weberian in origin (never bothered to look for it).

You're complaining that an all-powerful God wouldn't bother about us (and if you read the Book of Job, this is basically what God says to Job in the end), and what I remarked is that we indeed have no direct access to God (except through revelation in judaism and christianity), but that we can see the effects of his hands acting on creation. But then came protestantism and its sola-fide sola-scripture theology and changed that: miracles no longer existed, our dead ancestors no longer were a link between us and the transcendental, god no longer could also be found outside the bible (through natural theology) but instead only through Revelation as it was registered in the bible. So we get to this god that looks more like an imposition, a god who revealed himself once and then vanished forever, instead of a god which is still necessary to explain phenomena in the world around us. Religion in this case becomes something completely other from the natural world around us.

Your objections are objections about how we think of god, and what I'm saying is that traditionally we didn't think of god directly, but rather we tried to think of him through things in this world that we thought needed god to be explained, god was an a posteriori thought. You're basically claiming that because time paradoxes can't be solved, then time has got to be an illusion, and Einstein's answer to that was that we shouldn't think of time as something apart from the rest, and this keeps the time paradox problems from arising, and the theist answer to your objections are of the same kind.
No. 23473
Religion is a system that installs a bunch of commandments (up to 613 in some cases), a whole layer of piety and a generic prayer curriculum into the psyche. This is characteristic of every religion save the Ba'hai one (the purest, most exalted and yet underappreciated Abrahamic religion). Religare - something binding. You have to display belief in certain precepts and maintain the required piety.
True esoteric religion is, on the other hand, liberating rather than binding, and instead of a set of dead dogma and teachings it, rather, introduces a connection with the One Living Deity that is everything and active in every moment and manifests itself in absolutely every objective phenomenon as a guiding force and an unseen mover. This is the esoteric doctrine that has been one and the same between Taoism and Rosicrucianism, between Martinism and ancient Sumer. There were never, at any time, two competing esoteric doctrines.