Sonntag, 25. September 2011

UU Theology II - God

Beyond Words: Orthodox Jews do not use the word God. When speaking aloud, they use a description like "the holy one," and when writing, they write G-d. They do that to remind themselves that this word signifies more than a mere word can signify - that we can't ever completely understand the nature of God. For a similar reason, it is often useful to think of "god" - God in quotation marks.
Pagan Ideas of Divinity: Generally speaking pagan theologies such as pantheism, panentheism, and Goddess worship and place special emphasis on this earth, this life, and the sacredness of life, our bodies, and the natural world. Pantheists believe that God is the sum total of everything, material and immaterial, in our universe. Panentheism says that God is in everything, but is also present beyond the material universe. Traditional, indigineous faiths the world over speak of a Great Spirit or a Mother Goddess.
A Higher Power: The term Higher Power denotes a divine force that can be defined in many ways. Many people use this term to express a kind of power that exists outside of us, but mostly manifest within us, and encourages us to become our own higher selves.
Divine Power with Limits: The root cause is the problem of evil. If God is good and all-powerful, why do bad things happen too good people? To resolve this  issue, most religions consider divine power to be limited. Western religions maintain that God's power is limited by human free will. Persons who believe that God's power to control events is limited often take solace in the thought that, while God could not prevent their difficulties, God's comforting spirit is with them in those difficulties. Part of this view is the slogan: "God has only our hands to do good in the world."
The God of Liberation: This is a God who sides with the poor and oppressed wherever they are found and nudges all people toward acting for  justice and making peace.
The Human as the Highest: Humanists believe that the highest and best we can know in this universe is humanity, with our grand ideals, marvelous minds, and great potential. Most humanists don't like to use the word God, but they still have a theology, which is a theory or a blief about the highest and best.
The Unfinised God: In process theology the essence of the divine is creativity. Divinity is that which brings the new into the world, not only through the creation of the universe, but through evolution, new ideas, and greater love of humanity.
Atheists and Agnostics: Some people look as deeply and clearly as they know how into life and its meanings and find no hint of a God by any definition, anywhere. The intricacies of the world provide plenty of discovery and meaning for a richly lived human life. If they are quite sure that there is no God, they are atheists. If they feel they don't know for sure but lean against believing, they are agnostics.
Living with Many Names: Many images and understandings of divinity can be found in the world^s scriptures, poetry, and theologies. How do we all get along? We do that by being always mindful that our images and understandings are at best approximations of an infinite truth that simply cannot be captured by finite beings. When we remember that fact, our regard for persons with visions and words that differ from ours is not grudging tolerance but an open-hearted curiosity about yet another way of understanding the divine.
The name of this infinite and inexhaustible depth and ground of all being is God. That depth is what the word God means. And if that word has not much meaning for you, translate it, and speak of the depths of your life, of the source of your being, of your ultimate concern, of what you take seriously without any reservation. Perhaps, in order to do so, you must forget everyting traditional that you have learned about God, perhaps even the word itself.  Paul Tillich
by Christine Robinson & Alicia Hawkins. 2009. Heart to Heart. Skinner House, Boston, pp. 37-45.
Thinking of God today as creativity (instead of as The Creator) enables us to bring theological values and meanings into significant connection with modern cosmological and evolutionary thinking. This conception connects our understanding of God with today's ideas of the Big Bang; cosmic and biological evolution; the evolutionary emergence of novel complex realities from simpler realities, and the irreducibility of these complex realities to their simpler origins; and so on. It eliminates anthropomorphism and anthropocentrism from the conception of God (…) This mystery of creativity—God—manifest throughout the universe is quite awe-inspiring, calling forth emotions of gratitude, love, peace, fear, and hope, and a sense of the profound meaningfulness of human existence in the world—issues with which faith in God usually has been associated. It is appropriate, therefore, to think of God today as precisely this magnificent panorama of creativity with which our universe and our lives confront us.  Gordon D. Kaufman

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