The Quaker movement had its initial ancestral moment -- in the state religion of a Middle Eastern monarchy -- that traced its legendary origin to a people first enslaved in Egypt, then rescued -- by God's (figurative) outstretched arm to settle in the dry Palestinian hills.

For these people (and their neighbors) there was no distinction between politics and religion. A god was the spiritual head of a people; a people was the human property of its god.

Our civilization drew its formative understanding of God from the traditions of this one people -- who shared and exchanged religious concepts with all the civilizations around them, yet somehow came to realize that their god was also the living Soul of the Universe, the consciousness within each human being, the ultimate power and intention behind all human history.

They came to understand God as being ultimately 'political' as well as 'spiritual' -- because the revelations they received over the centuries emphatically described God as being intensely concerned with the welfare of human beings and with how we treat each other, both individually and collectively.

Jesus, whom most of us claim to follow... drew his emphasis on ethical matters from that same tradition, emphasizing elements of it that many Jews still continue to consider central.

And all of it has its origins in that legendary experience of enslavement and liberation. The slaves of the American South had no trouble finding that connection, though their masters seemed entirely oblivious to it.

This, if you will have it, is "politics." Modern Americans are increasingly ceasing to understand what it has to do with religion. Yet God evidently considered it a necessary starting point.

A question that stuck with me, from the synagogue where I studied briefly: "Why did God harden Pharaoh's heart?" (This doesn't necessarily call for a simple answer, does it?)

But even more to the point, it seems to me tonight: "Why would God need to subject a people to slavery -- to teach them the spiritual meaning of 'politics'?"

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FC:

You change things to suit thy self, and THAT is the problem.

You say the USA wanted into the 2ndWW but the point was that the USA did not START that war - that is a really BIG distinction that you are violating just to suit thy self.

So too - I never said that God was "omniscient and omnipresent" and no one else here said it either, and so you say it to suit thy self.

The Bible never ever says any such things as God being omniscient and omnipresent even though there are fundamentalist Christians who say such claims based on their own interpretations.

So we all have to un-learn the garbage of mainstream Christianity if you want to view God more accurately.

There is a text that declares = God is Love, and another text that declares = God can not lie, and so long as we view God under these two (2) distinct declarations then God does not ever possess any person to sin or to do against the person's own will (that is what Demon possession does), and God does not willfully hurt anyone.

There is no place of Hell, and no place of torment, and that too is just another one of the old fundamentalist fear ideas.

Another guiding principle is here in Luke 6:32-36

Link that Bible text here = "GOD LOVES HIS ENEMIES".

You rightly said that the US 'got itself into' WW II -- and saying 'They started it!' doesn't affect the truth of that.

It's like Mose Allison's song 'Everybody's Crying Mercy!' -- "Everybody's saying, 'Peace on Earth, just as soon as we win this war'!" -- and that's why everyone wants peace [and our way] but nobody gets it.

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The Bible doesn't say 'omnipotent' or 'omnipresent', merely that for God everything is possible and that God is with us everywhere, from Hades on up. It's Berkeley who says that things we can't perceive are able to exist because God perceives them -- and that came to make sense (after a long time thinking about it) to me.

A writer can do anything to the world of her novel; what she can do without ruining the story is more limited. So far as God's power has limits, these would be self-imposed constraints of that sort.

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As for God loving His enemies, He says (in Raymond Smullyan's dialogue here): "I have no enemies."

http://www.mit.edu/people/dpolicar/writing/prose/text/godTaoist.html

Did the actual God who exists -- have anything to do with the character 'God' featured in that dialogue? Any resemblence you may find is... a resemblence, yes?

Okay - that did it for me.

Not playing your game no more.

Bye bye.

With even the most popular, seemingly "Just" wars, it comes down to something Tolstoy said toward the end of _War and Peace_ (which I'm finishing up reading to Anne soon):

"These men, carried away by their passions, were but the blind instruments of the most melancholy law of necessity, but they believed themselves heroes, and imagined that what they were doing was the most worthy and noble work."

Whatever might have been understood through the original discussion, it seems to have been lost in dignation; if anyone wants to get back to it, please do.

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