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littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 04:37 pm
(over)think

Here's an example. I saw a bumper sticker one day, proclaiming that "GOD IS A GOOD GOD!" (emphasized just so).

A clear, simple sentiment, and likely a Christian one, considering the cross that also decorated the sticker ... but one whose expression unfortunately encumbers it with inconsistencies and unintended implications. For example, the statement necessarily implies a multiplicity of deities, and further implies that there are more than one that exemplify the concept of, or may otherwise be described as, "good." This leads in turn to the implication that there are one or more that exemplify something that is other than good (absence of good? opposite of good? who knows?). The polytheistic nature of the sentiment alone conflicts with a fundamental tenet of most, if not all, Christian faiths.

Ridiculous, of course.

16CommentReply

evilnel
evilnel
Evilnel
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 12:29 am (UTC)

It's common usage in Christian language to refer to God as a ____ God. See the popular charismatic song "Our God is an awesome God." It echoes Old Testament language wherein God is described as "a jealous God" or New Testament language where God is "a loving God." It's not meant to imply multiple gods, but to describe an attribute of God as opposed to other attributes God might possess (like the types of attributes the Romans thought their gods possessed). It's a convention that makes sense within Christianity but I can understand how it might be confusing outside of it.


ReplyThread
adr0ck
adr0ck
So I'm the Grape Ape
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 07:28 pm (UTC)

agreed. moreso a statement saying "actually, god is good, not bad, all you people who think he's bad. you're wrong. he's good!"

better than bad, he's good!

log

ren & stimpy

back to work


ReplyThread Parent
evilnel
evilnel
Evilnel
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 07:50 pm (UTC)

Indeed. I think part of it is a response to the question of suffering. Why do we suffer if God is good? Either God causes suffering and is omnipotent (but not good) or God is good but cannot or does not stop suffering, in which case, God is not omnipotent. I'm sure I'm reading too much into a bumper sticker, but it's a very real question, and one that people feel compelled to respond to. Despite all the crap in the world and all the evil and misfortune around us, we still believe in a good God, rather than a vengeful, spiteful, or just plain apathetic God. We believe in a God that is for us. I value the sentiment, but do think that something is lost in translation.

Pardon my nerdishness about the topic. I'm a seminary student. :)


ReplyThread Parent
adr0ck
adr0ck
So I'm the Grape Ape
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 07:54 pm (UTC)

and, as mentioned below, the definition of "good" comes into play. good may not mean "acts in ways we humans define as good".

funny . . . i've been slowly turning from my christian faith (tim could tell you, i was once devout) but the topic still draws me in.

pastor: god is good . . .
congregation: all the time!
pastor: and all the time . . .
congreation: god is good!


ReplyThread Parent
evilnel
evilnel
Evilnel
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 08:17 pm (UTC)

That's very true. I started reading a book about spiritual listening that talks about John of the Cross' phrase "the dark night of the soul" and the author discusses how we kind of try to define things as good events or bad events instead of looking at the narrative in which those events are placed and just letting them be what they are.

I have a lot of LJ friends who are kind of the same way. They aren't really Christians (some are agnostic, atheist, were once devout, were never devout, some have converted altogether to other religions) but they are still drawn to discussing these questions because they are questions we are all trying to ask in some way. I don't think we would have religion if it didn't fulfill some psychological need in us.

If you are at all interested in these types of discussions, you'd be welcome in my journal. I'd love to hear more of your story as well. :)


ReplyThread Parent
littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC)

Well, the point is that I overthink things, and that my approach of analyzing the meaning of a statement based on how it is phrased (especially one that might not be expressed as clearly as it could, or one that requires a contextual basis to properly understand, etc.), can lead to unintended meanings. Of course the bumper sticker example isn't meant to imply what it does, but that doesn't change that it does imply what it does (a clearer way to express the same sentiment without the unintended implications would be "GOD IS GOOD.").

The "overthink" approach works best with statements that aren't clear, unlike this one. Which is why it's ridiculous in this example.


ReplyThread Parent
adr0ck
adr0ck
So I'm the Grape Ape
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 07:56 pm (UTC)

you could go with "our god, the real one, not the pretend ones you worship" to explain implications of multiple gods. Big G vs. little g. God vs. god.

or the idea that whatever we put our time, effort and money into is our god. exercise, work, sex, etc.


ReplyThread Parent
evilnel
evilnel
Evilnel
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 08:10 pm (UTC)

Oh, I know, I get you there. I am kind of the same way. I find myself arguing with the songs on Christian radio because of what they are implying theologically (but clearly not trying to say). But I just thought I'd offer a bit of context for why it's phrased like it is. I understand, though. Welcome to my life, haha.

But hey, you're a lawyer, right? So you went into the correct profession.


ReplyThread Parent
brucix
brucix
Non-Sequitur Man
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 02:36 am (UTC)

brucix is a thirsty brucix!


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littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 03:47 pm (UTC)

There are many brucii. Some are not-thirsty.


ReplyThread Parent
brucix
brucix
Non-Sequitur Man
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 07:08 pm (UTC)

Imitations. Don't worship false-brucix-idols!


ReplyThread Parent
inkytwist
inkytwist
The Loch Ness Monster
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 03:32 am (UTC)

I'm really bothered by the "My Boss is a Jewish Carpenter" ones. Esp because I come from the Christian faith--there's a lot more to that statement that is left unsaid and it also implies a lot that I don't like.

But then again, most Christians don't overthink. It's a problem.


ReplyThread
thatsassylassie
thatsassylassie
thatsassylassie
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 03:56 am (UTC)

I think it's somehow comforting to be able to describe one's deity with an adjective. Which makes it easier to ascribe ones beliefs to one deity. Yay! Religion is comforting. Or whatever.


ReplyThread
glowing_fish
glowing_fish
Matthew Harris
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 05:10 am (UTC)

On the whole, overthinking is less of a problem than underthinking in the world.

So please go ahead.


ReplyThread
brucix
brucix
Non-Sequitur Man
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 03:12 pm (UTC)

We should work on defining "good".


ReplyThread Parent
littlebluedog
littlebluedog
Tim
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 03:46 pm (UTC)

That was kind of you to say. And I shall, fish!


ReplyThread Parent