Nature of God

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Yahweh "a local product"
« on: November 29, 2009, 01:12:07 pm »
Over on the Blog, robaylesbury wrote the following:

"Concerning the geography question, the conduct of Yahweh does seem akin to that of many tribal warlords of the era.
He almost seems to be a local product."

Followed by:

"Regarding Yahweh, I find that many of the things he asked of his devotees reflected the tribal cultures of the time, so in many ways I see a dark anthropomorphism at play."

As the discussion there was principally on a different subject, I have set up this thread to continue this extremely interesting tangent.

My initial response to him is this: I only know of two systems of belief which were contemporaneous to Ancient Judaism as revealed in the Old Testament, e.g. the Egyptian pantheon, incorporating such gods as Ra, Set and Anubis; and the Canaanite/Moabite/Amorite/etc... pantheon, incorporating such gods as Mollech, Chemosh and Baal. I know almost nothing about these systems of belief, so I am ready to be corrected about this (as well as informed of any other systems of which I am unaware), but it does seem to me that they differ from 'Yahweh worship' in a number of highly significant ways, including the following:

1) The 'other' systems are polytheistic, Judaism is monotheistic.

2) The 'other' systems involve the worship of idols, which is expressly forbidden by Judaism.

3) The 'other' systems sometimes involve worship practises which are forbidden by Judaism, such as necromancy, child sacrifice, and temple prostitution.

In fact, I am at a loss to think of any ways in which Yahweh is "a local product". I hope that Rob will join in the discussion so as to clarify his position and offer some argumentation for it, so that we can get going!



Joe Hinman

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Yahweh "a local product"
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2009, 08:18:57 pm »
God is beyond our understanding. We can experience God's reality but we can't understand it. So if we speak of our experiences of God we have to filter them through culture in order to understand them. This means they are going to be incomplete but it also explains why God seems so limited to culture, time, place; because you understanding of God is forever rooted in our own cultural constructs.



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Yahweh "a local product"
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2010, 12:29:59 pm »
Considering Yahweh had established himself from the point of Creation onward, I find it hard to differentiate Him with that of other God's in comparison. Having said that... I think it was appropriate that He would have taken-up a proactive role toward his human creations considering.

N.B. Trolls are neither interested nor committed to the truth!



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Re: Yahweh "a local product"
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2020, 01:55:00 pm »
"Regarding Yahweh, I find that many of the things he asked of his devotees reflected the tribal cultures of the time, so in many ways I see a dark anthropomorphism at play."
What may be meant here is that the God of the Old Testament is portrayed as a racist warmonger, as the various tribes considered victory in war a sign of God’s pleasure and defeat a sign of His displeasure. The suggestion God would justify people by their race and reward them with victory in war is incredible in how it finds a home in human minds, with no one objecting. You only hear preachers pounding about this, never questioning it.

Furthermore the God of the Old Testament produces a long list of inexplicable and arguably trivial demands, and again you hear no preachers complaining although the Jews try to follow these demands whereas Christians mostly do not. These demands have little to do with virtue or goodness, amounting to ritual practices with little inner benefit.

Such a God indeed does look like a product of the human imagination, and a product of the ancient times similar to the ideas of other tribes, even polytheistic idol worshippers, regarding what God might be and what He might expect. Before trying to cancel them out for their violent practices, one should note the Bible too recommends violent practices.