God and Anthropomorphism

God and Anthropomorphism November 4, 2011

In discussing Hume’s Dialogue Concerning Natural Religion in my freshman seminar course, one of the major focal points was inevitably whether God can be thought of as in any way analogous to human beings (or in more technical terms anthropomorphically). We also connected this with Tillich’s treatment of myths as expressions of ultimate concern in the form of stories which talk about God or gods as though like human beings.

The ultimate is mysterious, and the mistake is not in talking about our ultimate concern in stories that depict the divine in human terms, but in believing that such stories are true rather than symbolic.

A nice illustration of this (and a great pun to boot) can be found in David Hayward’s cartoon:


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