"We see things not as they are, but as WE are"


What do you think?

Is this true?

I have little idea who deserves credit for this bit of wisdom but it is at once exhilarating, yet sobering. Surely it’s important to recognize that faith and religion and our ideas about God have some subjectivity, but is it ALL subjective? But who is to be the judge of exactly where subjective and objective part ways? I’m frightened by both the traditionalist who is rather sure the statement applies more to me than to him, as well as the “liberal” (not really good terms to be sure) who holds that all truth is subjective – so why bother even looking for the objective variety? (are these both strawmen?)

So this is yet another one of those lovely paradoxes wherein we live our lives with a sort of tension; yes I believe, help my unbelief. Yes you/we see God – but it’s through a glass darkly. (well, just how dark IS it?) Is any part of our belief then “wish fulfillment”? Do we merely construct the God we’d prefer to worship? Yes, I confess that while I believe in a God who accomplishes Universal Restoration, I also prefer this God to the “hell-for-eternity” God.

More pertinent and direct to this site: Is our common conviction of Universal Restoration merely OUR communal and shared “dark” glass? Is this our shared blind spot? No one here (thank goodness!) seems to believe in any way that this belief makes us more “favored” of God; but if this makes sense to us, are we not compelled (in the good way) to follow this course of belief? But if this bit of wisdom is true (who can prove it’s not?) then certainly it should result in Universalists being some of the most accepting and compassionate folks on earth.

Which might well be the point of the Good News in the first place.


(PS this thread dedicated to my new friend JeffA; who sees things differently from me yet seems to also embrace the Universalist’s accepting and compassionate nature :smiley: :smiley: )

Inspiration (+Infallibility, Inerrancy) and Christian Living
Do we do what he does?


Firstly thank you for your kind words.

I think there is a lot to your point in this thread. We all have only the models that build up over the years in our heads to make sense of whatever it is out there that reaches us through our senses and that we call ‘reality’. These models are not easily changed in any radical way which is I think what underlies our tendency to dismiss what we see as contrary evidence and embrace what we deem supportive evidence.

I also feel that the complexity of these models is grossly underestimated when trying to understand free will (a thorn for believer and non-believer alike). By this statement I mean that if an entity has a large (though finite) number of internal influences leading to different actions (even quite opposite or contradictory actions) then although that will seem like free will (for a given definition of free will - i.e. the ability to make decisions leading to even contradictory actions) it ain’t neccessarily so (as the song says).

If the number of influencing parameters is great enough (that we can never pin them all down) then the results of the system will seem non-deterministic - not because it is but because we don’t have enough information about the initial conditions (and how those parameters change during the process of freely deciding an action) to determine the outcome.

Faiths it seems to me attempt to circumvent this ‘natural’ modelling process by their mystical (or revelatory) aspects - that somehow the cause of the underlying reality can impinge directly on and alter the model and hence the outcome.

One thing on subjective/objective - I have always felt that if there really are no gods and morality is wholly relative and subjective and not a real thing that holds whether or not humans exist; then the morality that does exist in the world is wholly through our own efforts and should be applauded because there is no good reason (well except whatever evolutionary benefit there must be) for us to behave in that way yet the majority of us do.

As an addendum to that statement, however, I can’t help having the thought ‘the kingdom of God is within you’

I didn’t really mean to ramble on like this (I know I say that a lot but it’s true :laughing: )