We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I preferred the quote you had earlier this year:
God's goal is not to make you happy. His goal is for you to make others happy.
I think that's a little more to the point. God doesn't "want" or "need" anything. He doesn't have to to make, nor does he want, anyone to be "His". He, most likely, could make everyone His if that's what He truly wanted.
Therefore, He is more likely to be willing to let us create our own way and see what the outcome is. His role? To set the rules and let things happen....with only minor tweaks (which, if you're into quantum physics, probably seem more likely to be statistical aberrations than true miracles or "God" doing anything.
I'm a believer in God, in His power...but I'm not religious. I also happen to embrace evolution, which is clearly God's work - only He could create a life system which allows all things the opportunity to adapt, change and improve.
As my son said to me one day after Mass (the Gospel was the story of the sick man lowered to Jesus, seeking to be healed), "wouldn't you like to be like Jesus?"
His reply: "No"
"I like being me."
At that point, I realized even Jesus would have to agree with his answer - being who you are is FAR more important than being what others think you should be or what they want you to be.
I think along mostly the same lines, Rick, which can get us into difficulty with atheists and Christians on the same day.
I think God created a world in which we can be happy and I think He revels in our happiness. The world does test us and it does tempt us but I don't think God put us here to see if we would screw up if He left something shiny within reach. He KNEW we'd screw up if He left something shiny in reach.
God doesn't have to make us His. One could say (grammar dicey) God makes us, His.
"I also happen to embrace evolution, which is clearly God's work - only He could create a life system which allows all things the opportunity to adapt, change and improve."
What a great line. Therein lies Geoff's idea of a 'shiney' test.
Geoff, I think Rick's comment would make non-believers and believers happy. But Rick, your son said it best: I think that's what God wants - to like being who we are. In order to do the good of human nature, and of God's calling if you wish (the same to me), you must 'like' yourself first.
I've long considered life to be a spark struck off "the eternal flint" which is God. Since there is nothing physical we can do for God, the only possible thing that we can do is offer His gift back to Him willingly.
There is glory in the gift we are given. And we honor the glory when we live well.