Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
I haven’t been on in quite a while but I am hoping to get feedback on different Friends conceptions of God. I feel God is both male and female. Like ying and yang. The reason I embraced Quakerism was because it let me be free to encounter the Inner Light. Let me know what you think and share how you came to your understanding.
So do you want to ask Quakers what they think about God? -- or ask God how your conception looks to God?
I am curious about both I know from my many years of studies that Quakers have differing conceptions of God. I was also wondering if anyone else thought of a Father/Mother God when they think of the diety.
Mary Baker Eddy of the Christian Science theology.
But I don't know of any Quakers making an issue of it, except for a few people who object to any idea of 'God', because, you know, He's a guy, allegedly. Pushy. Tougher than us, and more so. Creator of This Mess. Many people with experience of Males Behaving Badly get nervous about thinking of God as a Father.
That is, people project their experience with male and female authorities onto their ideas of what a male... or a female... model of God would be like.
But one doesn't need to sex God-concepts like kittens. Avalokitesvara and Kwan Yin both exemplify the same divine quality. And that's the attribute we're most in need of, yes?
Yes I agree. I believe we can be fluid in our conception of our Higher Power. I love Kuan Yin but I also honor and love Jesus. Thank you for all your responses.
Forrest Curo said:
Mary Baker Eddy of the Christian Science theology.
Some Christians try to stick closely to the Biblical concept of God. Of course, we know that the Biblical understanding of God has changed over the centuries. See James Kugel, *The Great Shift*. https://www.amazon.com/Great-Shift-Encountering-Biblical-Times/dp/0... How can you go wrong when the book sells new on Amazon in hardcover for a mere $6.00????
Kugel suggests that Believers, whether Christians or Jews, keep pushing God into a more remote space than the God that the Adam and Eve story depicts. In modern times, we want to deprive Him of His personhood by robbing Him of sexual identity! Whoever heard of a person who didn't have a sexual identity?
Nowadays, we are inclined to render Him mute for fear of anthropomorphizing Him. Rufus Jones sought to locate Him within the natural order! No more supernatural stuff; too primitive. Some Friends have reached the point where they have grown so remote from God that they regard Him as a fiction, not a real human supernatural being! An abstract force called the "Inner Light," not a person at all!
Atheism, here we come!! George Fox, how could you ever think that God might speak to you. We moderns know better than that! George, you need to go to college and wise up!
Enough of this. I need to get back to *The Question of God*, which I am struggling to finish! Too many relatives distracting me. Okay, it's also that long list of unread books. And now, I have ordered Hans Kung, *Paradigm Change in Theology.* What next??
It's probably best to talk about many Biblical concepts of God.
What they have in common is that they mean a real Being, a causally decisive Being, not a figment, not an image constructed by human beings (although people's images of God are certainly constructed as well as inspired -- Something capable of manifesting in personal form creates them for our sake, but they have their limitations.)
Atheism is a corrective for the absurdities of 2nd hand images of God. Many people seek refuge there from their fears of distorted images of God. But as God says in Raymond Smullyan's dialogue :
Are you trying to say that it is not wrong to hate a false conception of you, but that it is wrong to hate you as you really are?]
No, I am not saying that at all; I am saying something far more drastic! What I am saying has absolutely nothing to do with right or wrong. What I am saying is that one who knows me for what I really am would simply find it psychologically impossible to hate me."
back to atheism. I'd say that for anyone who knows God for what God really is, atheism is simply not credible. But seeking God is a bitch! Like looking for your glasses without your glasses. (Or more like looking for your glasses with them on your face, really!) Meanwhile it's a phenomena God has created, and can remove when appropriate.
To hear God referred to in masculine nouns and pronouns feels to me like a slap in the face to the entire female half of humanity.
Moving on, my concept of God is that it is a profound mystery and an ultimate power for good. None of us earthlings understand it, and probably never will. We can only have our own sense of what, and how, it is.
A word like "Godd-ess" would imply that 'God's were normally male, except for some variant which happened to be female.
But 'God' is a word for exactly one being, who doesn't need to reproduce,
Julian of Norwich: "Thus in our creation God almighty is our natural father, and God all-wisdom our natural mother, who together with the love and goodness of the holy ghost are all one God. one lord." [Again, 'lord' isn't necessarily a male word. Females in that role were unusual in Medieval times, but not unheard of.]
Instead of floundering and thrashing around to find a way to conceptualize God, turn to the Bible for inspiration for your conceptual endeavors and as a measuring stick to assess how you are doing. And stop worrying about whose toes you will step on!!! Let God be the judge!! He is waiting on the other end of the line to hear from you!
I'd rather encourage people to examine the Bible sympathetically than discourage them from doing so; however some ways of looking at it work better than others.
As a stick for the blind, it should work as well as any, though seeing is better than groping. As a stick for thumping people, it's been overused.
As a measuring stick for God, it's bound to fall short.
As I understand it, we are to treat other people's toes with the same kindness we'd want for our own. We can't stop anyone from putting their toes in harm's way; but we don't get points for stomping...
God hears us quite well enough; we're the ones who need to be more conscious of what we are saying, and of Who's listening. We be entangled with a far kinder Being than a partial view of the Bible has made people imagine.
Through the immanent appearance of eternal life itself inshining upon me, I am drawn out of the process of the reflective nature and conceptualization in relation to and correspondence with eternal Being or Life. Direct, unmediated, or un-conceptualized being in the Life itself is manifesting an awareness within me a living experience of the corresponding intensity (in a given circumstance or interaction) of the inshining Light itself in itself as sole and sufficient guide in relation to immanent eternal life.. This living awareness is a different faculty than the process of the reflective nature or conceptualization in relation to and correspondence with eternal being.
God is also more than anyone's experience of God. It's not that we can contain God in a concept, but that we can't contain God by eschewing concepts either. The concepts do not contain God, but like our various flavors of experiencing God, point toward God beyond all that.