InquiringMind wrote:Wayfarer, what I think I hear you saying is that God is the life-force that permeates the universe rather than an anthropomorphic deity. Your description of God is something like Yoda's description of The Force to Luke Skywalker in the swamp at Degobah. It seems very Stage 5-ish, and rightly so. I've really given up on an anthropomorphic deity, though wiping my mind of it is still not fully accomplished. I still find myself getting angry at or about God and I keep having to remind myself that there's no one to be angry at or about. I keep going through thought processes in my head to demonstrate that an anthropomorphic God is absurd, only to remind myself that I have already reached that conclusion.
Well not quite, but I can see you you can make that conclusion. Words get confused here, because words are insufficiently precise. God is not a life-force, god is a being. the power of god, is a life-force. Where the confusion occurs is because I believe the power of god precedes god, and not the other way around.
The power of god is not god, and indeed it is not power or Force at all. It is the Way things work: the laws and tendencies of things: Nature, without personality, consciousness, or "thing-ness" at all. although Lucas came close, in episodes 1-3, quaigon talks of "the will of the force". Laws and tendencies--nature--do not have "will". the Force seemed to have an aggregate consciousness from all living things -- indeed yoda said that the life-force of living things produces the Force. this is nearly the opposite of the Way/power if God/Nature. Nature--the propensity or tendency for things to operate and to relate to other things in specific Ways, precedes (is prior to) the existence of things, but does not, in and of itself, exist. when we observe the order arising from things as they relate to other things, when we observe the unity and beauty of the way things work together to produce life, we are observing the emergence of the Way, not the Way itself.
Importantly, the Way, God's power itself, is not God, although it's easy to get this confused. scriptures and theologians, even Joseph Smith in early writings such as the Book of Mormon and Sec 88, do and did conflate the power of god with god, assigning to the Way on occasion attributes of will, intention, "Force", and personality. Paul Tillich (source of Spong's influence) defined god not as "a being", but rather the "Ground of Being", the source from which all being arises. This conflating of the Way with God is easy and common, but it nullifies Christian and particularly LDS theology. Moreover, the inanimate 'power of god' has no awareness, consciousness, is impersonal, and has neither will nor intention.
To a precise definition: God is a being in complete harmony with the Way (the Power of God)
. A 'being' has consciousness, awareness, will, and intention: the Way by itself does not. When a being is one with the Way, then it is conscious and aware of it's unity with all that is, and acts in harmony with all that is. Such a being cannot act outside of nature or supernaturally, nor can it will something that cannot be done. Because it is in harmony, and the Way is entirely about tendency rather than determinism, a god-being does not force anything.
This simple definition works at so many levels. in current LDS teaching, we recognize that Our Father in Heaven is an exalted human, the father of our spirits. He, a human being, resurrected and exalted, is in perfect and complete harmony with His power: The Way. That is what makes Heavenly Father God. Jesus Christ is also one with the Way. He said "I am the Way", and he prayed that we could be one with them in the same Way that Jesus is one with the Father. When two beings are one with the Way, then they are One God (hebrew: Echad), united in purpose, will, and intention. When we, in our service to others, or in giving a blessing or teaching, are one with the Way, or as we say, "have the spirit", then in that moment of complete harmony, we, too, are God. our nonconscious selves are far more in tune with Nature than our conscious minds, so in a very real sense, they constitute "the light of Christ", or the Holy Ghost (god) within us. This is entirely consistent with LDS theology and doctrine in scripture--and understood in this way, LDS theology makes more sense than, say, the Trinitarian concept of God.
The idea that a being in harmony with the Way can become aware of people's individual needs and thus deliver answers to prayers when they operate in harmony of the spirit, enables the 'one god' to truly be everywhere people are needed, and to deliver individual attention to people's needs. God's unity becomes reflective of a divine, spiritual network (a term that Sun Tzu used in the "Art of War", by the way), that allows for a collective non-conscious to be operative everwhere. This is neither magic or supernatural: it's the connecting power of what makes everything work everwhere. god's ubiquitous unity is more real, more tangible, more scientific than any myth-based teaching -- it is the very power of the universe. It is the Way things work. To be in tune with it in our very selves -- to be one with it in our awareness, will, and intention, to be saviors on mount zion to our fellow humans -- is to be god in the fullest sense of the word.
Today, in the LDS efforts to be "Christian", we do not teach or preach anything about the multiplicity and unity of gods, nor do we speak of god as being one with and subject to and limited by god's power, nor do we equate god's power with natural law. we prefer to think of god as the supernatural, all powerful, all knowing, all good, all present, able to individually answer each prayer and make supernatural miracles happen. we prefer to imagine a fantasy where this single, smarter-than-everybody god dictates his will and trillion line project plan to the prophet, who then instructs the church in every divine word proceeding from his mouth. this fictional, santa claus of a god does not exist, because he is a logical impossibility.
yet by teaching of the magical, fictional god of Christian creeds, we create all sorts of unfulfilled expectations. we expect that god can do anything, even violate the laws of physics, logic, and nature, to make our problems go away. it doesn't work that way.
I'm sorry but that is not very reassuring to me when trying to justify the total costs the Church is currently asking for in terms of time, money, effort, etc.;
I'm going to be careful not to air too many grievances on this one. I've only recently realized that the Church has asked for nothing less than my whole life,
and until recently, I've given it to them. I've realized that it probably won't do me much good to continue to give my whole life to an organization that doesn't have answers to some age-old riddles about life and the divine.
Personally, i find enough space in LDS theology and scripture that my beliefs in the Way and how it works within people can be accommodated. as well, the concept that the gospel is merely "all truth" allows for being objective in my thinking about the church. besides, it's my tribe and culture, and most of my family members are true believers. i staylds, and in order to do so, i need to find the positive. the church for me today is what i make of it...it doesn't make me any longer.