Theological narcissism

god loves all

This comment was given in response to a local news agency reporting on the United Methodist Church formally charging a minister for presiding over his son’s same-sex wedding. Does Catherine really think God is pleased as punch with her every thought and deed?  You know what? I think she does. It’s been my experience that the more accepting of homosexuality and same-sex marriage a person is, the more likely they are to believe that God does not judge or condemn people’s moral behaviors.

What does Catherine think God does exactly, whats his job?

The attitude expressed above is common in people who describe themselves as “spiritual, but not religious”.  Rather than discover God, she has created a god in the image of herself.  She has decided what God is like, how he will be.  But if you have the ability to decide what your ‘higher power’ is like and can do, it can’t exist outside your mind.  Unless of course, you have the power to create God — which I think she believes she can do.

Catherine’s attitude is narcissism at its purist.

Comments

  1. Well said, my friend…..chuq

  2. I don’t see how Catherine’s position is any more narcissistic than the position that God has emotions and feels pleasure and pain like we do is to begin with. The idea that God is, basically, a big man in the sky who has the same emotional makeup as humans do seems anthropomorphic regardless of whether we go on to say that God is pained by homosexual activity or accepting of it.

    • You dont see a differencee between someone looking outside themselves to find out what God is like, and dictating what God is like?

      I may opine how I believe God is, but how I believe God is has nothing to do with me.

  3. paynehollow says:

    John…

    Rather than discover God, she has created a god in the image of herself. She has decided what God is like, how he will be… Catherine’s attitude is narcissism at its purist.

    I would think it would be reasonable and gracious to conclude that you do not know this lady well enough to make these sorts of presumptions. One could argue that making these sorts of unsupported decisions about a stranger’s character based on one quote from them is a way of making one’s own self into a god, or trying to, and I’m sure we can all agree that this is not a good thing.

    John…

    the more likely they are to believe that God does not judge or condemn people’s moral behaviors.

    One could argue that this is not entirely unbiblical or un-Godly, based on how God is described in the Bible.

    To be sure, there are portraits of God in the Bible that do suggest a rather vengeful, punitive sort of God. But there are many portraits of God found in the Bible, and not all are of that sort. Indeed, many would make the argument that the overall case for God in the Bible is that ultimately, God is a God of love and forgiveness and grace, not wanting any to perish, and loving us each so much that God does not want any of us to suffer and engaging in sin is to cause suffering of one sort or another.

    Jesus (who we believe to BE God) was confronted with a blatantly sinful woman, caught IN THE ACT of adultery. What did Jesus (GOD) say to her (after craftily chasing off those who wanted to kill her for her sin)? “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

    I sometimes wonder if we who were raised or who have embrace the notion of a vengeful God can wrap our minds around that.

    “Neither do I condemn you.”

    Was she falsely charged of the sin? No, that does not seem to be the case.

    Was their confusion about the wrong nature of the sin? There is nothing in the text to suggest it.

    Did she even REPENT of the sin, saying she’s sorry and recognizes the error of her way??! No, there is nothing in the text that says so. We might guess she was and we might be right, but it’s not in the text.

    In THAT set of circumstances, what did God-On-Earth say to her?

    “Neither do I condemn you… Go and sin no more.”

    The point of correction of sin appears in this case (and indeed, throughout the Bible overall, especially out of the NT portions) to be coming from a position of love and compassion, not wanting to see harm come. NOT from a place of condemnation.

    Amazing Grace!, some might say.

    So, given that God’s Own Self on Earth said to this sinner, “Neither do I condemn you,” given the wealth of condemnation of wrongful judgmentalism found in the Bible, given the overarching message of salvation by Grace, love and forgiveness, is it a wonder that some people reach the opinion that God is NOT in the harsh judgmentalism and condemnation business and rather in the business of saying, quite literally, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more…”?

    Something to ponder.

    ~Dan

  4. I’m not sure how your view of God could have nothing to do with you. God is angered by homosexual activity, on your view, right? Well, anger has been correlated with increased heart rate, release of adrenaline, and increased activity in the orbitofrontal cortex. Saying that God gets angry is like saying that God has thumbs – in both cases, you’re assuming that God has a human physiological trait simply because you do. It’s not different from Catherine’s assumption that God does not judge or condemn people because she wouldn’t be comfortable with a God who judged and condemned people.

    • You are talking past the issue. To use your example, I do believe God is angered by homosexual sexual relationships. But I dont think God is angered by them because I am angered by them. My view about God’s view of homosexual practices isnt grounded in myself.

      Where did catherines belief about how God is come from?

      • You’re changing the subject. The question is whether you are being narcissistic in the way Catherine is. It seems clear that you are, given that you are projecting human emotions and desires onto God.

  5. paynehollow says:

    WHERE DID Catherine’s believe about how God is come from?

    The fact of the matter is, John, YOU do not know. I do not know. Unless one of us knows Catherine, and more about her than this one quote, we simply factually do not know.

    I respond with this reminder about wrongful judging and condemnation from the words of Our Lord, Jesus Christ:

    “Judge not, lest you be judged. In the way that you judge, you will be judged.

    “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

    ~Jesus.

    Will you let Jesus’ words stand?

    ~Dan

  6. William,

    Have you read the Bible? It clearly states that God DETESTS such behavior.

  7. ” The idea that God is, basically, a big man in the sky who has the same emotional makeup as humans do seems anthropomorphic ”

    You are assuming that humans are projecting their emotionalism on God, which can only be true if God is a creation of humans. As humans are a creation of God, we are reflections of *Him*, not the other way around. God has emotions, therefore we have emotions.

    As for the “big man in the sky” thing, that artists and painters have come up with such images does not magically turn God into a psuedo-human in the manner of Greek and Roman mythology. God is specifically described as NOT being a man, but as invisible, a spirit, unapproachable light, etc. We humans practise what is called anthropopatheia so that we can visual God an ways our limited human minds can understand. Thus can we have God described as having “hands” when, obviously, an immaterial being cannot have physical hands.

    ” Well, anger has been correlated with increased heart rate, release of adrenaline, and increased activity in the orbitofrontal cortex. … you’re assuming that God has a human physiological trait simply because you do.”

    That has got to be the stupidest leap I’ve heard in a while. What you are doing is assuming that we are assuming what you are assuming we assume. Utterly bizarre.

    So what if emotions in humans have a physiological response? We are material beings. God is an immaterial being. He would not have a physiological response (though Jesus, having become fully human, would).

  8. Again Dan exposes himself as one with a poor understanding of Scripture. Aside from his wacky notions that John is “judging” Ms Gordon in a manner that Christ preached against, Dan fully mucks up the story of the accused woman. Jesus wouldn’t condemn her because of several reasons, among which are that He did not witness her adultery Himself, and thus could not accuse or condemn her. All those who attempted to condemn her had left in shame and thus, since there was no one present to condemn her, why would He who wasn’t a witness to her crime? In addition, by law, both “perps” were needed to be charged together (as one cannot commit adultery alone) and so to accuse her alone was foolish and not in accordance with the law.

    At the same time, Jesus made it clear that she was a sinner by saying “Go and sin no more”. Sin how? Likely she indeed was guilty of some sinful behavior, possibly even the adultery of which the conspirators accused her.

    What’s more, Jesus several times mentioned that He was acting on the command of the Father in all His earthly works, and condemnation was likely not on His “to do list”.

  9. vincedeporter says:

    I actually agree with you John that Catherine wants her cake and eat it too.
    A problem with Christians who spin the Bible to fit their wishes.

    This is really about objective moral standards. As an atheist, I do not give any attributes to God because, of course, I believe he is the invention of men. That would explain why he has such human attributes, like jealousy, a spirit of vengeance, not to mention the weakness of needing worship, a show of an excessive ego.

    I’m actually writing a mini-series on Objective Morality and God at this time.
    Much to think about.
    http://vincedeporter.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/objective-moral-values-and-god-part-1/

  10. vincedeporter says:

    I do have children, and I do expect them to respect my authority — to a point.

    First, I must not abuse my authority; like demanding them to follow the career I planned out for them, marry the spouse I have chosen, and to punish them for even thinking of me in an ill manner.
    In other words, it depends on how I treat them. Abuse of our smaller ones is indeed a weakness.

    John, I do refer to your well written articles, because I find your logic to be strong. Your reasons for not being a Mormon or a Muslim is explained with great clarity, making a well articulated case against these Religions. However, you must be consistent in the weighing of your own convictions — for which you, like all of us, have a strong bias.
    Both Mormons and Muslims will call upon Faith for the apparent inconsistencies of their belief that you brilliantly pointed out. How do you react upon the logic I find damning about your Biblical God? Will you also take refuge in translation issues, and that after all, it’s Faith that will take over the inconsistencies?
    It’s with utter respect I ask you this (as I constantly question myself too).

    If your Faith can kick in when exposed to die-hard logic, the kind you have used for other religions, understand that Truth will never be other than a subjective choice for you. Maybe even a need.
    I am particularly interested in the inconsistent moral values of the Biblical God, as you may have read in my new blog. There is no honest way to dismiss my argument without heavily rationalizing. But, as you have seen a few times, I actually DO change my opinion when proven I have not weighed all factors properly.
    An honest quest is never an easy one.

    Just sayin’…

  11. vincedeporter says:

    Yes my friend. Of what do you wish some examples of?
    About the analogous use of logic for judging a religion, applicable to Christianity?
    The inconsistent moral values of the Biblical God?
    Or of my opinion changes?

  12. vincedeporter says:

    I sure hope I have not worded my comment to suggest you are not holding Christianity to the same scrutiny as others — it was a question, as in “do you feel you are holding Christianity to the same scrutiny as others.”

    I ask this because I am trying to make sense of the Biblical God, and the claim that he is indeed the author of objective moral values.
    I wrote an article on those moral inconsistencies, and I apologize for just linking my answer, but you’ll see I put a lot of thought into it… and of course, I’m open to be corrected.

    Here it is:
    http://vincedeporter.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/objective-moral-values-and-god-part-1/

  13. vincedeporter says:

    It’s a discussion, not an accusation.

    I am trying to understand, and I try question bias and conviction with respect.
    My opinion is irrelevant to your belief. But you arguing my opinion will build it or destroy it. I think I have shown you and many others that I’m of good faith.

  14. I don’t often say this, but Dan makes a great point about heeding Christ’s warnings about judging and condemnation.

    I see that in another thread, a really hateful cuss accused people here of being — and I quote — an arrogant coward and a liar.

    “Your actions are a disgrace to the grace of God and to just basic human decency, even outside of Christianity.”

    “You are a coward and a liar and I feel sorry for you and your children that they have such a craven boy for a father. God have mercy on your soul.”

    Dan should reach out to THAT guy and lecture him about being judgmental.

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