|Aug. 27th, 2012 @ 01:22 pm (no subject)|
|...The God of ethical monotheism is the God first revealed to the world in the Hebrew Bible. Through it, we can establish God’s four primary characteristics:|
1. God is supranatural.
2. God is personal.
3. God is good.
4. God is holy.
Dropping any one of the first three attributes invalidates ethical monotheism (it is possible, though difficult, to ignore holiness and still lead an ethical life).
God is supranatural, meaning “above nature” (I do not use the more common term “supernatural” because it is less precise and conjures up irrationality). This is why Genesis, the Bible’s first book, opens with, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” in a world in which nearly all people worshipped nature, the Bible’s intention was to emphasize that nature is utterly subservient to God who made it. Obviously, therefore, God is not a part of nature, and nature is not God.
It is not possible for God to be part of nature for two reasons.
First, nature is finite and God is infinite. If God were within nature, He would be limited, and God, who is not physical, has no limits ...
Second, and more important, nature is amoral. Nature knows nothing of good and evil. In nature there is one rule—survival of the fittest. There is no right, only might. If a creature is weak, kill it. Only human beings could have moral rules such as, “If it is weak, protect it.” Only human beings can feel themselves ethically obligated to strangers.
Thus, nature worship is very dangerous. When people idolize nature, they can easily arrive at the ethics of Nazism. It was the law of nature that Adolf Hitler sought to emulate—the strong shall conquer the weak. Nazism and other ideologies that are hostile to ethical monotheism and venerate nature are very tempting. Nature allows you to act naturally, i.e., do only what you want you to do, without moral restraints; God does not. Nature lets you act naturally – and it is as natural to kill, rape, and enslave as it is to love.
In light of all this, it is alarming that many people today virtually venerate nature. It can only have terrible moral ramifications.
One of the vital elements in the ethical monotheist revolution was its repudiation of nature as god. The evolution of civilization and morality have depended in large part on desanctifying nature.
Civilizations that equated gods with nature—a characteristic of all primitive societies—or that worshipped nature did not evolve.
If nature is divine, and has a will of its own the only way for human beings to conquer disease or obtain sustenance is to placate it – through witchcraft, magic, voodoo, and/or human sacrifice.
One of ethical monotheism’s greatest battles today is against the increasing deification of nature, movements that are generally led (as were most radical ideologies) by well educated, secularized individuals.
Dennis Prager, Ethical Monotheism