If God Exists, Worship Is Unnecessary. If There Is No God, Worship Is Pointless.

In deference to my friend, associate, and ally, I have changed the title of the post which may have been unintentionally insensitive or callous.

Inasmuch as my focus was/is the specific behavior associated with the belief in the existence of god, I have altered the title of the post to more accurately reflect that focus.

The discussion continues...

Views: 721

Comment by Zanelle on August 30, 2016 at 12:18am

That was a Richard Dawkins statement about empathy.   I know Kosh, you said you used to be in a chat room with atheists and it was uncomfortable.  I dont want you to feel that I am trying to undermine your ideas.  We all talk about all kinds of things in Our Salon and I like it like I did Open.  I had to leave a lovely site called Community Ware with Howard Reingold because I got in too many religious arguments.  It was uncomfortable.  It happens in real life around the dining table when relatives gather too or in any number of places where tempers can flare and feelings can get hurt.  I am not one to NOT talk about religion, truth, science...well, just about anything.  Empathy...Love.   Universal goodness.  It exists and needs to be honored in everything we do with anyone.

Comment by Zanelle on August 30, 2016 at 12:21am

wow, interesting about empathy and babies, NC.  thanks!

Comment by Zanelle on August 30, 2016 at 12:53am

I think of how happy your community makes you, Kosh and how lonely I am sometimes but that is just the choices we make in this life.  We are all unique and have come to where we are by all sorts of roads.   No reason I can see why we cant all travel together.

Comment by Myriad on August 30, 2016 at 1:55am

Like all other human institutions, religions help some people, hurt some people.  I tend not to blame religion per se for the nastiness of, for example, the Christian politicians who don't want to provide health care and other care, etc.  That's THEM, not their Jesus teachings. Religion is often an excuse for behaving badly...  And can be an organizing principle for acting good.  (And for a lot of people, it doesn't seem to be anything, one way or the other...just a Sunday (or whichever day) activity.

Comment by greenheron on August 30, 2016 at 4:35am

Ron, this comment is response to Kosh's comment to me on the post you closed comments on. It will seem out of context here, so I wanted to explain.

KS, that is absolutely fascinating. Seriously. I’ve never had a Jewish person explain that to me before.

The religion I’m most familiar with is Buddhism. Buddhism attracts a lot of people these days for the meditation/mindfulness aspect, but many don’t know much about the religion itself. I’ve meditated in a secular way for almost twenty years. I also spent three months of a sabbatical in a Zen monastery, working on a drawing project with a monk there who was a poet and painter. It was my crash course on Buddhism. I realized that while I think many Buddhist thoughts, I’m not a Buddhist in purely religious terms.

Something that surprised me was that about half the monastic community was Jewish, and completely comfortable labeling themselves as both. There’s a book called “Funny, You Don’t Look Buddhist”, that offers some insight on the connection between the two religions. From what you said, both hold the view that the central figures, God and Buddha, insist that their followers figure things out for themselves, that questioning is not only invited, it’s part of the practice. Buddha and God left some words, yet also instructed followers that if these teachings aren’t true for you, then figure out what is. “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him” is the Buddhist cliche for that. No other religions that I know of, Quakers maybe, leave beliefs up to the believer.  

Another thing that opened my eyes in the monastery was that real Buddhism, as opposed to new age cherry picked versions of it, is a rigorous ascetic religion with rigid practices: priests in robes, chanting, prostrations, incense, enforced study of the sutras, odd rituals like making food for Buddha and leaving it for his statue on an altar. If you follow a ritual incorrectly, there’s a priest who will bark at you from his cushion. If you fall asleep during meditation, there’s a guy who will whack you with a stick (gently these days, but not so gently in past days). At meals, you get three bowls of three foods offered. No sugar. No caffeine. No meat. No killing stuff, and they mean it. No mouse traps, no ant bait.

Anyhoo, this could get into a whole nuther topic. Thanks for taking the time to explain. It sounds like the awe thing for you lies with the book. I get that. I think many will. The brat in me wants to ask, what took you so long?

Comment by Ron Powell on August 30, 2016 at 5:45am
Worship is predicated on the assumption that God exists AND that GOD is responsive.

We are tauggt/told that God is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, God exists in a state of perfect being and is the essence of perfection.

We are also taught that we are made/created in God's image.

We are also taught/told that we are imperfect, which is why we must manifest our gratitude, seek God's assistance, and forgiveness through worship and prayer.

Imperfection cannot derive or eminate from perfection.

If God exists in a sentient state of perfect being, as we are taught/told, it is not possible for God to contemplate the creation of that which is imperfect.

Humankind is imperfect, either we are not in God's image, because we are not perfect and God didn't create us, or there is no God.

If God exists as the essence of perfection, why/how would God be responsive, in any way, to imperfection?

If we are/were created in God's image, would we not be perfect?

If we were perfect would we NEED to be grateful,or to be forgiven, or require divine assistance?

Our 'free will' is clearly not perfect, given our penchant for bad decisions and poor choices and the complete gamut of mistakes and errors that we make as individuals and collectively.

We are taught/told to seek forgiveness for our errors and mistakes.

But, if we were made in God's image, we'd be perfect. There would be no mistakes, errors, bad decisions, or poor choices.

There would be no criminality, hence no crime.

There would be no wars, no atrocities, no inhumanity or injustice because of our perfection.

Fact is, we know better than to believe that we're perfect.

The totality of the history of the human condition shows that we are not perfect and, in my view, could not possibly have eminated or be derived from anything that is.
Comment by greenheron on August 30, 2016 at 5:54am

Ron, you are talking about the Christian model for god. That perfection concept can really mess people up.

I don’t really know Christian concepts very well. My folks did not go to church and taught me nothing. A Buddhist though would say that everything is already in a state of perfection– people, animal, blades of grass, even murderers. They have the duality/emptiness concept, which honestly, I’m not well enough versed in to explain or fully understand myself, but it goes something like this:

There is no good or bad, no positive or negative, no holy or unholy, no flawed no flawless. Only impermanence, nothingness, emptiness. No self. This is where they start to lose me. Yet I love the perspective that our likes and dislikes are also the same–judgements, thoughts that arise from our minds, and that we don’t have to believe them. We can question. We can observe. We can laugh at our minds for the games it plays. One of the great Buddhist questions is, “are you sure?”  I am in love with that question. As a little mental exercise try asking yourself that for an hour, to every thought your mind spits up. It’s surprisingly tough! We tend to put a lot of ego (self) behind our thoughts.

I need some coffee. Are you sure?
Sally hasn’t called me back. She’s so inconsiderate. Are you sure?
Christianity is for sheeple. Are you sure?

Comment by Ron Powell on August 30, 2016 at 6:02am
@greenhero; "Are you sure?" Is the essence of the purpose of the exercise anticipated by this post.
Comment by Amy Brook Palleson on August 30, 2016 at 6:18am

I'm trying to stay away from OurS because it quickly becomes a time-suck for me bordering on indulgence but it's discussions like this moderated by someone who seems exceedingly fair (Ron) that makes coming here such a pleasure.  Anyways....

Religion is fine for some but for others feels like claustrophobia, and I'll never be able to imagine that a dedicated believer who worships with authentic devotion is somehow more true to the spiritual "dictates" of our human experience than someone like Zanelle, who goes about her day seeing tangible things in our world and processing them through her own mind so as to deliver them back to us in a new light of wonder.  

@greenheron:  I'm going to start doing that "Are you sure?"  That feels so perfect for me right now.

Anyways, if God is the ultimate Truth, then--no worries--everyone will eventually get "there" anyways.

Thanks, Ron! 

Comment by greenheron on August 30, 2016 at 6:19am

Are you sure?

Sorry. Could not resist :)

One of the hardest thoughts to attach that question to is : "I'm right, damn it!"


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