In any case, here are the God personalities that I have encountered both through comments on this blog and the posts and comments to other blogs listed above.
God the Busy CEO
|Please watch Mr. Deity if you haven't already!|
God the Force of Life and Love
undifferentiated, timeless, pure consciousness, irrevocably alone". This very abstract consciousness then becomes concrete: "And yet God's greatest yearning is for connection - for something in which to be in relationship and to experience love." (My inner atheist asks: How can you possibly know what this consciousness wants?). This is Rabbi Lurie's characterization of God, and he points out that this God is quite different from the other versions of Gods who: [are] totally separate from us, who [observe] our behavior, preventing harm from coming to those who follow certain rules (usually written in books), and punishing those who do not.
This is the jealous, vindictive God who yields his authority by wiping out people en masse. The God who after turning water to blood, sends locusts, boils (wouldn't this have sufficed?), and ultimately kills all the enemy's first born living creatures - from human to bovine. This is the God we are to fear because though the display of cruelty was in our interest in the instance above, we have been forewarned that if we do not obey, we too shall be punished. This is God the Big Brother - you must show your love, but that display of love is the product of fear.
God the Godfather
The very concrete last two conceptualizations of God are not accidental. As one commentor pointed out in a post: "Read Leviticus, chapter 26. It goes through how God will punish the Jews in detail. Plenty of things mentioned happened to Jews during the Holocaust". In other words, the Torah is replete with examples of God the controlling overseer capable of extreme retributive punishment. The first two versions of God, soften his role in evil action, by reducing God's direct involvement in the physical world. Thus the very concrete versions of God, are replaced with more abstract - lovable - versions. Some questions: which God are FFB children taught to believe in? Does the conceptualization of God shift from the power of life/love God to be loved/adored, to overseer to be feared as Orthodox streams become more stringent? Or is God never really defined, and my four categories totally a product of my imagination and the random blogs I've been reading?
So, which God does the atheist not believe in? To me each of these four Gods - like the Four Sons we'll read about tonight - is "true" - since they are inventions of man; nevertheless, none of them exist.
*of note for me since the blogs I'm reading are primarily by atheists)