23 Replies to “A Child Wonders What God Must Be Like”

  1. Which makes me glad I’m converting to Judaism …
    My rabbi gave me a warning that still holds true – beware the True Believer such as what the child may have encountered.

    A True Believer can be otherwise described as a zealot who believes they can’t possibly do wrong.
    A True Believer reads the scriptures or their foundational texts as is, no context except their own, and condemns those who don’t agree with *their* Actual True And Nonnegotiable Doctrine.
    A True Believer is either incapable of critically thinking about or refuses to think critically about their own views, and condemns those who even politely suggest they think things through.

    Their god is not a very nice person, so neither are they.

  2. Correction – The True Believer is not a nice person so neither is their god.
    I need to check my work more often.

  3. My first view of God was based on my dad… and determined military man and self-starter.

    Then, I thought of God as a shouting coach….

    And later, as just a friend. Sharing advice, insights, and humor.

    Now… I am persuaded that He is a nice person. 😉

  4. A “True Believer” in Jesus is one who repents. He or she is the very person who is able to think “critically about himself”.

  5. My father was very wonderful, but I never thought of him as God. Maybe because he prayed with me every night TO God.

  6. Brigitte: When I learned German, it was difficult to understand some terms were reserved.

    a “True Believer” in American English is normally a reference back a 1951 book, and when used, is an extension of a very negative term.

    A “True Believer” is offered to be an intellectual discontent ‘man of words’, that sets the stage for the ‘fanatic’ that no longer thinks, but destroys. They may not believe in a god, but do believe in some form of ‘devil’ to hate. Hatred binds together the True Believers which results in a destructive mass movement.

    So, my thought is that Jordan is using the reserved term “True Believer” in the classical negative sense of the term…. and, by extension, discussing the True Believer mindset that may be found in some church/synagogue members.

    You wrote, “A ‘True Believer’ in Jesus is one who repents”…. unfortunately, by definition, a “True Believer” is like Satan, and never repents… if they repent (for real), then they are no longer a “True Believer” (that is, a destroying, non-thinking fanatic, that uses bonds of hatred to create a mass movement).

    You may wish to study the link below, so that you are aware of how the term is used by most Americans.


    Again, it is just a ‘reserved word’ in American English, and is polar opposite of what a believer should be.

  7. Caryn, it is not such a “reserved word”, as Jordan has used it on me before. People speak in similar ways about “fundamentalists”, “bigots”, and many other such Americanisms, lobbing them at whomever they feel like, for their current gratification.

  8. Thank you, Brigitte for explaining.

    Did you notice that you posted two statements as parental corrections without any critical supporting evidences, and one (1) story/insight/history about yourself?

    A personal story needs no critical thinking. Seriously. I love dogs because I always lived with them as a child. And cats. Especially cats. Love the way they purr on my lap, and calm me. Personal histories simply are what they are.

    Certainly, someone can post that they hate cats, and share their personal history (thus making the opposite point). But… nonetheless… a personal history is simply a personal history. Fun to hear. Fun to smile at. And, it is ok, especially the happy memories of our childhood.

    However, Let’s try your first comment, “When you think of God, we should be thinking of Jesus.” Change the “you” to “I” (me, myself, I, etc), and now, it is a much less True Believer statement: “When I think of God, I think of Jesus.”

    Let’s try the second thought you posted, “A ‘True Believer’ in Jesus is one who repents. He or she is the very person who is able to think ‘critically about himself’.”

    Let’s give it some supporting evidence, so that it is much less a True Believer statement: “In my review of the New Testament, I have concluded that a “True Believer in Jesus” is one who repents. I based this on these verses: XX, YY, and ZZ. When I look at those histories – for I do not believe they are stories – I find the person repenting to be showing evidence of thinking critically about himself/herself.”

    I recognize that you are German…. and unfortunately, my former German friends often come across as True Believers when speaking English – fanatics that are bent on controlling others…. and, they do not mean to do so.

    You may wish to continue your approach…. or… think critically about your audience… and modify your approach.

    Cheers! Caryn

  9. Caryn, it’s just one more “how you say it” note. And just one more “how Germans are” note.

    I could simply say that Americans are all nave-gazing and like to have sugar blown up their ass. Same sort of thing.

  10. Maybe, Jesus could have said: “Deep down, I really feel like I am a god. But don’t take offence, it is just my personal experience. Definitely, I am not Yahweh.” Maybe, just maybe, they would have all liked him, and he may not have been given up to crucifixion for blasphemy”. The question for you, Caryn is really “Who is He?” The rest of us are all sinners, including our fathers.

  11. For the other readers who come here to see Christian Orthodoxy, Atheism, Judaism, and even my version of Christianity.

    Especially to those that are deconstructing their Christianity.

    Please notice this particular discourse is not about ‘Germans’. They are human, just like the Americans. This type of accusation by Brigitte is called a deflection. As is her ad lib ‘quote’ by Jesus. As is her question to me, “The question for you, Caryn, is really ‘Who is He?” As is the implied insult, “The rest of us are all sinners…”

    The idea of a deflection is to avoid the subject at hand.

    The discourse was about a True Believer… and communication theory.

    I offer that a True Believer is not able to take even a suggestion, but must derail the conversation and the subject at hand.

    I offer that a True Believer must deflect and attack… rather than focus on the conversation.

    I offered a detailed explanation concerning a communication theory, and a True Believer is one that replies with a comment equating my explanation to ‘sugar blown up their ass’.

    For the readers: Brigitte’s Lutheran Orthodoxy is not the issue. Neither is any non-violent philosophy.

    Rather, the mindset of a True Believer has been shown in this discourse.

    This ‘True Believer’ mindset is, in my opinion, something to consider, observe, and basically ignore during your deconstruction (which is a time of asking questions about what you believe and searching for answers).

    The ‘True Believer’ mindset offers a black or white approach… insults and deflections… and to consider questions, we often have to be willing to stand in the gray, research, and think.

    And we must learn to ignore the True Believer mindset that was perhaps part of our religious training. That voice inside our own head that insults us… and deflects our simple and honest questions.

    To you readers, please continue to press forward.

    God is huge, in my opinion, and He can handle questions. With a smile.

    Peace to you all, during your deconstruction… and reconstruction… of your philosophy.

    Sincerely; Caryn

  12. Caryn tried to shift the communication from “how do we know God” and his attributes, etc. To what she perceives as my personal style, and how it evidences “True Believerism”, lecturing me my boorish and illiterate ways. Making us equal as simply sinners, is not an insult, but the very thing Peter first exclaimed when he got close to Jesus. Going around forgiving sins is exactly what Jesus did and what astounded and offended everyone. This is a thing that has not changed. We are individually called to examine ourselves and come clean with what is wrong. You can slap labels or insult or literature, or call out “insult”, or whatever you like on it. Your and my most pressing need is to receives this offered forgiveness. No amount of sugar coating is going to make us feel better in the long run. It is just an unalterable fact. You can get mad at whomever you like. Your parents, too, may need your forgiveness. Remember, in most cases, no one loves you as much as they do. And God claims that his love for you is similar. He loves you with singular devotion with no effort spared. — And yes, this is on topic. Not a derailment.

  13. I find God’s attributes to be questionable and not endearing at times – a few examples:

    God’s response to the census taken by David:
    “And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly…. So Gad [a prophet of God] came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days’ pestilence in thy land? …. So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men.” —2 Samuel 24:10-15

    Though David had committed a sin (and again, not one that was inherently harmful to anyone; it was only a sin because it displeased God), he realized his mistake, repented and pleaded for forgiveness. Did God respond by showing him mercy? No. Instead, he ignored David’s pleas and sent a plague that killed 70,000 INNOCENT people – so David didn’t even pay the price for his sin, innocent people did.

    Yet this is the God that commands us to forgive our brother seventy times seven times (Matthew 18:21-2).

    The Fall in the Garden of Eden:
    though God could easily have forgiven Adam and Eve for the minor transgression they had committed (eating an apple, after all, is hardly a terrible crime in and of itself), he instead reacted by expelling them from Paradise and condemning them and all their descendants to a life of toil, suffering and death.

    Yet this is the God that commands us to forgive our brother seventy times seven times (Matthew 18:21-2).

    Why didn’t God also reveal himself to the Canaanites as he did to Moses in the burning bush so that the massacre of the Canaanites could have been avoided?

    God could have invited the native Palestinians into his covenant, given them the same laws he had given the Israelites, and established an egalitarian society where people of all races could live together in harmony. Instead, he ordered his people to invade and slaughter the natives, killing them to the last man, woman and child, specifically instructing them to show no mercy to anyone under any circumstances. What followed were a series of terrible, bloody battles in which tens of thousands of people died violently. Finally, God pronounced his campaign of genocide a success (Joshua 11:15) .

  14. There has never been a shift, but many revelations.
    Also, Denise, you’d probably do very well to read Jewish commentaries rather than combining Jewish scripture and Christian to discover a cognitive dissonance. There are many commentaries out there that were written after Ezra’s reading of the Torah to the returning Exiles that have fought with the texts, trying to determine the meaning of the words, the glorification of violence and the various laws. There are even commentaries on this idea of a Chosen People.

  15. Interesting comments Jordan:

    >>>”There has never been a shift, but many revelations.”

    Are these many revelations included in the Bible?

    >>> “……………There are even commentaries on this idea of a Chosen People.”

    So all those Canaanites lost their lives for nothing then?………..not to mention the ongoing land grab and the attendant turmoil and upheaval in the Middle East because of the Chosen People belief, that’s all for nothing/a misconception too?

  16. Jordan: could you recommend a commentary?

    I think you make a valid point that Christian believers may combine scriptures on our own, without necessarily being aware of how various Jewish commentators have viewed their scriptures over the years.

  17. The more recent Jewish Publication Society translation for their Study Bible is a good start, but it’s more of footnotes. Copies of the Torah such as Etz Hayim tend to have accompanying essays to help contextualize and compare parts of scripture to itself or contemporaries (such as W.G. Plaut’s translation and commentary does with other Near Eastern literature).

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