I excerpt a conversation out at Dandelion Salad that illustrates the challenges of engaging dialog with well-meaning people that are scandalized by the things done in God’s name. James was responding to my earlier comment.
James of the Commons offers:
would it not have been possible for at least a portion of humanity to love a perfect creation, the perfect creator of the perfect creation, and the perfect will of that perfect creator ? I would argue that a perfect god would have in fact created a perfect world; a world in which every action ,reaction and phenomenom was in some sense of the word, perfect.
You have stated that love requires an object in order to exist. If this is what you believe then I must assume that you are not a bible believer. The bible clearly states that god is love. From the bible we also learn that god existed before all else. Surely you do not claim to be a bible believer?
You have stated that sin occurs when we oppose our own will upon others. If this is the case, it seems then we are instructed by even the bible to sin. There is a certain bible verse that commands believers to not allow witches to live. Perhaps like the elite of socioeconomic realm, the self prescribed elite of the spirit realm,” the believers,” are not held to the same laws as everyone else? I suppose I should not be asking you, because you after all, as I have already stated, most certainly not, a bible believer. Besides that point, I am fairly confident that you believe that there are times when one individual has a moral obligation to prevent another individual from acting upon their will. Indeed you would agree that it is good for a person to impose their will upon another, when say, the other intends to harm a child, or perhaps commit murder ?
I agree, it is usually unproductive to challenge the faith of the faithful. I have found that the faithful are so insecure in their faith as to often become enraged when reminded of the absurdity of what it is they know deep down inside, is not true.
Thanks for your well thought out comments Brian.
I would agree that my understanding of the Bible is not that of common belief. I have published a book that presents that understanding (See The Soul Comes First on the side-bar of my blog).
The essential distinction is that I do not see love’s perfection manifested in creation, but in healing. The Almighty did not create all the personalities in his realm, but – faced with the evidence of their pain – chose to create this reality in which healing could occur.
To the extent that I would countenance the imposition of will upon others, it would be to separate predators from their prey (I believe that covers your examples). However, that is a strategy favored by people, trapped in our limited, linear view of time. The Divine, perceiving the preconditions that cause the predator to reject the fruits of loving relationships (See Cozolino’s The Neuroscience of Human Relationships) prefers the Law of Natural Consequences. Thus Cain was allowed to live, and Jesus offers this plea at Calvary: “Father, forgive them.”
One of the most significant episodes in the Bible, often overlooked, is the covenant with Noah in which God gives Mankind responsibility for the administration of human justice. Thus the Mosaic Law should be seen as a human construct. Its purpose was to foster the development of reason in the Hebrew people. The Law was deprecated by Jesus in the New Testament. In effect, he encouraged: “You have learned to think. Now think about love.”
Your observation regarding the common reaction to challenges to closely held beliefs is not unique to people of faith. I find that many atheists tend to use linguistic violence, denigrating the intelligence and moral integrity of people of faith, rather than seeking the common ground so essential to marshalling the will to address the enormous problems we face in attempting to avoid destruction of the biosphere that sustains us.