A God Who Cannot Love

Once, God was a Being. Now God is a concept. UU and other liberal churches have not come to grips with that change

Ecolinda

04/29/2003 10:01:23 PM

I think the problem with this opinion, interesting though it is, is that the writer tends to lump everyone together as if there is one concept of God. This is rather odd, since the complaint is that a group of diverse people cannot decide about what God is (surely echoed here at BeliefNet). If that is so, then how can you argue that God has beome a concept. For me He is VERY personal and knowable. I am sure many other UUs and people of other persuasions feel the same.

linus

02/20/2003 08:37:37 AM

I think that if one truly believes that God is simply a concept or word to describe some of the more ultimate things in life, then this article is right on the money. I do not, however, agree that religious liberals do not believe in God. While some don't, others, myself included, do. What makes me a liberal is not atheism, but rather a way of approaching religion with a desire to avoid the compartmentalization of knowledge that the author found so disturbing in his Moonie friend. Just because I find the Bible stories unworthy of being taken literally, does not mean I reject the notion that the Ultimate does entail a personal dimension.

ElGabilon

01/20/2002 05:11:55 PM

Hogwash! God hasn't changed since the beginning of time and before that. What has changed is mans concepts of God. At the present time there are approximately 10,000 distinct religions in the human community. All of them thinking they are right. As far as humans are concerned, the existence or non existence of God cannot be proven. Religions should be dumped. It is because of them that mankind has been killing themselves in one form or another while claiming that God is on their side for thousands of years. Lets put the preachers down in the Salinas Valley in California picking crops. Bending their backs instead of wagging their tongues would do them a world of good. It is not just the Talibon the world needs to fear.

Mrbill30560

09/20/2001 11:54:42 AM

I believe that anything we can say about God or the divine is limited and imperfect. I think we should have extreme humility with how we use and project our ideas of the Holy. I believe that people matter more than belief, and think we should beware politics and culture cloaking themselves in dogma. I think evil is in the heart of man, not inherent in the universe.

gulajawa

06/20/2001 02:06:38 PM

i completely disagree with loehr's complaint, and the title of the article. God can be a "concept," and still capable of loving, and being love.

Sanat

04/11/2001 02:29:20 AM

I don't think there should be such an issue of whether God is a being or a concept. Clearly, our inner pictures of deity is a purely experiencial phenomenon. These pictures can indeed be 'developed' through adherance to dogma, but dogma that survives usually does so because of the results it imparts to followers. Following any spiritual path should be qualified as to whether it brings enlightenment or mere comfort. In other words, does it eventually cut through the pictures?

NadjaOfNewark

03/29/2001 09:51:34 PM

Sounds to me that a tax status change is in order; after all, this sounds suspicously like a political lobbying group pretending to be a religion to evade taxation.

YRUU

03/16/2001 07:49:52 PM

I am a UU and I would just like to say that we r ANYTHING BUT orthodox and chaotic! we r calm and consistant, thank u very much!

JNoahScott

03/01/2001 05:57:10 PM

This article articulates something fairly well which I have believed for a long time but have been unable to put into words. I think people are embarassed to think of God as a Being because it seems antiintellectual and almost embarassingly old-fashioned. Yet the author points out that considering God to be a concept has its pitfalls as well. Fortunately for us, God is neither one, and both. How to describe it is a little bit beyond the English language, unless someone else surprises me and writes another article which articulates the unarticulatable. I would reassure the author "Don't worry; God still loves you; just don't try to understand Him so much."

john44

02/16/2001 03:50:11 PM

For readers of "A God Who Cannot Love": Please note that this article is actually an excerpt from a paper called "Salvation by Character: How UU's can Find the Religious Center" originally published in "The Journal of Liberal Religion". The original paper, which can be viewed at http://www.meadville.edu/loehr_1_2.html , conveys both a more comprehensive and complete statement of Rev. Loehr's religious views and his very candid and, I believe, very accurate assessment of the current operating reality within the UUA. Whether or not you agree with Rev. Loehr's statements about God and/or his other religious ideas expressed in the excerpt, you should read his original paper. It is uncommonly valuable, both for veteran UU's and for newcomers who are just now exploring the whole concept of Unitarian Universalism.

gailpw

02/15/2001 02:33:30 PM

Away fom the church of my youth fo 27 years, when I returned, I found things greatly changed in just the way described here, i.e.,the shift of UUism from religious to secular, political and from theistic to anti-theistic. I thought it was just my church, but I later found out that my church was directly in keeping with the parent organization. I thought the thing to do was to try to air my concerns, but now I seriously question my judgment here. Recently, concerning my request to President Buehrens to look at the UU Criticism and Critique section here on Beliefnet and offer some advice, President Buehrens e-mailed me to tell me he wanted to remain "spiritually disciplined" to attend to things that "really matter" and not be drawn into a discussion with an "over-sensitive soul" who was creating a "tempest in teapot". I had previously gotten nowhere with my concerns locally with the minister in my own church, who was just as dismissive. Gail

robin_edgar

02/15/2001 11:25:25 AM

As much as I take exception to Davidson Loehr's arrogant and intolerant anti-theistic rhetoric I have to agree with much of his "challenge and critique" of UUism as presented in the rest of his article. Loehr says - Within our movement, there are many religions, each with its own distinctive origin and history. We have Unitarians, Universalists, Christians, theists, Wiccans, humanists, Buddhists, a variety of mystics, and others. But the official group identity known as “Unitarian Universalism” is best understood as representing the social and political ideology shared by most of our members, regardless of their religious beliefs. Amen

robin_edgar

02/15/2001 11:21:15 AM

Davidson Loehr says, "Unitarian Universalism" is primarily a political identity that accepts a wide variety of individual religious beliefs, precisely because the religious beliefs are peripheral and the politics are central to the identity and goals of the UUA. As long as members are pro-choice (for just one example) they can be Christian, Jewish, atheist, Wiccan or Other, because their religious beliefs are irrelevant as long as their social and political identity is in order. But if they are very vocal about being pro-life, they will not be likely to feel very welcome—again, regardless of their religious beliefs. This is the description of a political ideology, not a religion. Amen

gailwardlaw

02/15/2001 09:28:42 AM

It seems to me that Rev. Loehr is a man in search of a new career! Certainly the one he has can be considered a "dead-end"! I personally couldn't deal with the cognitive dissonce he has to face to keep "preaching" (?) under the restrictions he has laid out for us. I kind of insist that my career have some sort of meaning attached to it. BTW, although he is the minister of a UU "church", he is not a Unitarian-Universalist. In fact, he is an extreme critic of UUism. Here is a quote from him: As a religion, "UUism" is, in my opinion, just embarrassing. How were the B/net folks to know? But now you do. See the discussion on UU Criticism and Critique... Gail Wardlaw

robin_edgar

02/12/2001 09:35:10 PM

Davidson Loehr is evidently quite adept at keeping, "what you know and what you believe separated." There's a lot of that going on in UUism, you know... Amen Rev. Loehr, praise the Lord and thanks for passing us God believing UUs the ammunition! Amongst other things it manifests itself as the self-congratulatory, religiously intolerant, brainwashing that Loehr's article so exemplifies. I have also seen plenty of UUs checking their brains at the Doors of Perception...

gailwardlaw

02/11/2001 07:11:33 PM

For my critique of this article, please refer to the UU Criticism and Critique board, to the thread "Unspoken Orthodoxies", #44. Gail Wardlaw

john44

02/05/2001 11:09:37 PM

How disappointing to see the statement "If we're going to check our brains at the church door, almost any faith will do." I suppose this would apply to Judaism, Christianity, Islam or any other faith based religion. Unfortunately typical of UU hubris and religious intolerance.

ddl

10/17/2000 11:11:22 AM

We would be remiss in casting aside more traditional Christian religious ideas such as grace,salvation,resurrection, etc.Although some people may perceive "God" intellectually as a "force," there are some UU's who may simultaneously and comfortably use "God"language to personalize their relationship to the divine.I would caution those who would cast aside trad.language completely.This language, while it has its faults, has sustained many throughout time. Notions like grace, resurrection, salvation, communion, prayer, even the monotheistic spirit of some traditional scriptures can still speak to us "moderns." We can learn from those who affirmed such language throughout the years and struggled with and within it. If we completely cast aside such traditional language or state categorically that "God" exists only in quotations, we are still guilty of limiting God to our "modern" perceptions. Our language and experience with Transcendence is much too dynamic for these kinds of perimeters....

JonathanS

07/22/2000 08:11:22 AM

I have always, instincively, sought a knowledge beyond belief, in the sense of 'gnosis'. This was effectively banned by the mainstream church, ages ago, amidst considerable violence and turmoil. It has been suppressed. This uncertainty is the price you pay for that supression.

Sylvan_Fae

07/21/2000 01:36:38 PM

I had an idea while thinking about this last night. Perhaps there are those of us who love ourselves enough, and are surrounded by loving friends and family, who don't have the driving need for a God who loves us. We've solved that problem, and have moved on to looking for other things offered by the "concept of God." We're looking for peace, justice, ethics, and integrity. (not to mention simple community) I know that I can love God without feeling a need to have God love me back. And I can even feel a different kind of "love" that is not the kind from one being to another...It's hard to explain...that God/Universe/Nature wants me here, that I belong here, that I have a purpose here and that God is supporting me in that purpose. Rooting for me, if you will. Just something to think about. =)

Dave*

07/20/2000 08:55:58 AM

I'm not sure why the author felt the need to write this article. At least from what I see, Unitarianism is thriving, *because* it lacks a "shared religious theme." UUs have been busily shedding the "biases of Western religions" for upwards of 20 years now. There are large numbers of humanists, Buddhists and Wiccans in the UU church. At least here in NE, anyone who claimed the main goal of UUism is "a relationship with "God," mediated through "correct" beliefs, rituals, or behaviors" would be politely shown the door. So who is this call for new ways of religious thinking addressed to? If it's to the author's fellow UUs, they're doing it. If it's to the "mainline churches," I would suggest he try to understand that our God is not as dead as he thinks He is, and we'll stick with Him, thank you.

mormonus

07/19/2000 09:36:03 PM

Yea, he "Jesus"loves us When he comes to take care of us faithful and recieving us in his arms And say welcome home you true and faithful servant.

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