The vast majority of “monotheists” (particularly “Christians”) are motivated in their professed ‘beliefs” by the tacit assumption that they/their particular “clique” will be “rewarded” for those ‘beliefs” by way of being exempted from what they presume to be the “Default” state (an “eternity of hell-fire”).
(In other words: whether they admit it to themselves or not, their “worship” essentially boils down to EXACTLY the sort of “cost/benefit analysis” they accuse and “situation ethics” they accuse “secular Humanists” of doing.
Here’s a question: would they continue to “believe” the things they think they’re “commanded” to believe/obey the prescriptions/proscriptions etc. if “heave and hell” were taken out of the equation completely?
This is somewhat similar to the Euthyphro dilemma, but from a slightly different angle:.
Here’s the thing:
- If they answer “yes” (IE: if the “carrot and stick” thing is anywhere in their underlying motives), then it (presumably) follows that their “worship” is NOT “unconditional”.
In other words: would a “Christian” continue to worship/obey those CLAIMING TO SPEAK FOR “GOD” , if he was assured BEFORE HAND that he would experience an eternity in hell, either way?
If not, why not?
Again, this ALSO cuts to the heart of the various “Dharmic” religions (Hinduism/Buddhism, etc.): is it “about” scoring a better position during the next incarnation?
In the event that (for example) reincarnation were confirmed to be factual — but it was seemingly ‘random” as to exactly what you were reincarnated AS — would you continue jumping through the prescribed/proscribed “hoops?”
Another nugget for thought:
A story about Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov explains what it means to behave in a loving way toward our neighbor. The rabbi was teaching his students in a public place. He told them: “Every human quality and power was created for a purpose. Even base and corrupt qualities can be uplifted to serve God.”
A bystander challenged him, saying, “You say even base, corrupt qualities can be used to serve God. So tell me, how can the denial of God be used to serve God?”
Rabbi Moshe Leib replied: “If someone comes to you for help, you should not turn that person away with pious words,http://www.rabbilevin.net/love-your-neighb saying, ‘Have faith! Trust God; He will help you!’ No! You should act as if there were no God, as if there were only one person in the world who could help this human being – You!”
At any rate: I was originally going to post about “pantheism”.
Here goes: “Pantheism” strikes me as a crude equivocation, in that it sidesteps the (thorny and bothersome) task of actually defining terms such as “God”, by tacitly — or explicitly — claiming that “God” is merely a word for the sum total of whatever-it-is that exists.
The thing about this is: Both “Mono” and “Poly”-theism tacitly — or explicitly — define “God” as something which is NOT coextensive with “the whole of that which is”.
This is (for example) implicit in any sort of (attempted) distinction between the “Sacred” and the “profane”. Moreover, such a distinction ALSO tacitly “smuggles in” a very definite value-judgment, favoring whatever is proclaimed to be “sacred”, and commensurately DIS-favoring that which is declared to be “profane”.
But, again: back to pantheism:
If “pantheism” dispenses with the “sacred/profane dichotomy” (by regarding “god” as a synonym for “the totality of existence” etc. — then how do pantheists get away with EVALUATING certain specific attributes of their “God” as “better” than others?
For example: a “pantheist” physician is confronted with a patient who is (for example) dying of sepsis. Given that (by the “logic” of pantheism) BOTH the human patient and the infectious pathogens are “parts” of “God” — how could a pantheistic physician EVER choose to favor one “part” of “God” (the human) over the other (the microbes) — or vice versa?