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Question For The Prairie Muffins


roknrolr
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This is, of course, where we will differ greatly in belief systems. I do believe that Jesus is THE way, THE truth, and THE life. And I believe that it is because of His sacrifice that we do not have to appease God, even if we somehow were able to; but I don't believe it's a matter of needing to appease Him. And I also believe that this is available to all who will receive.
Let's cut to the chase JoyThruChrist .... do you believe someone who is not Christian will go to hell?

 

I can't make a statement like that because of the ambiguous definition of the word Christian. Many people take on that label who don't even know or care what it means.

 

But I would think it would be clear that since I have stated before that I believe the Bible is the Word of God, and that as it says in the Bible Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, it would be clear that I believe that Jesus is the way to heaven.

 

I can feel the rumblings starting; see the danger in the air before I click the "add reply" button. But I implore all of you to remember that I haven't come to evangelize, and just because you may find my beliefs exceedingly offensive, I don't see why it should cause a huge riff. Who am I that my beliefs would even matter to anyone? I am believed to be arrogant by some in this forum, but since none of you know me personally, I choose to not take that personally. I know I'm not arrogant.

 

I find many views extremely offensive as well, but I have no intention of trying to make anyone believe the way I do. If I believe that the Creator of the universe gave humans the choice to believe what they want, why would I think to take said choice away?

 

I find the way that some of you have spoken to me to be somewhat offensive, but I won't pass judgment on anyone here because I do not know any of you, and I don't know many of your personal experiences with Christians. My guess is that many of you have been verbally and mentally abused by legalistic and condemning "Christians". And you may view me as such, but that's not what I'm about. I only came to this forum because the one who started this thread asked a question I probably was unqualified to answer; the topic of this thread no longer seems to be about prairie muffins anyway.

 

I'm serious - you and I are both sincere in our belief systems. We both seem to be basically good and decent people, we both claim to be Christian. In all seriousness JoyThruChrist - how is it humanly possible to know which of our understandings of Christ, of the Bible, and of Christianity are closest to what - as you said earlier - is

 

"the proper interpretation of any given scripture. ... My belief is that God wrote it with His own meaning, and many have twisted His meaning through the ages. And I'm still in process as to learning His meaning"?

How can either of us know this? We are both sincere - we are both doing the best we can with the information we have coming out of the life we've lived - so how can either one of us claim that our particular interpretation is "the proper interpretation"? [/b]

What are your beliefs about Christ? Who is He; what of His claims to be God; what of His resurrection?

JoyThruChrist .... please just answer my original question.....

 

How is it humanly possible to know which of our understandings of Christ, of the Bible, and of Christianity are closest to what - as you said earlier - is

 

"the proper interpretation of any given scripture. ... My belief is that God wrote it with His own meaning, and many have twisted His meaning through the ages. And I'm still in process as to learning His meaning"?

 

HOW... JOY.... HOW do we know which one of us has it right? :shrug:

 

For that matter - HOW do we know which of the millions of differing views on the Bible, Christ and Christianity as a whole are closest to "the proper interpretation" or closest to God's "own meaning"?

 

Yes, my spiritual beliefs do ultimately end up relying to some degree on faith. But then so do yours, wouldn't you agree? What is your conclusive proof that God/I AM/the infinite/the sacred IS wisdom, love, and infinite life?

 

The atheist also goes by faith that there is no God, because there is no way to conclusively prove this.

 

Some things are concrete and knowable; other things are taken by faith. Would you agree with that?

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Joy, I know you don't see yourself as arrogant and would probably be hurt to find that some of your beliefs are, just as I would be. I'm very certain that you are not a purposefully arrogant person. But, that doesn't change the hurt caused to others when they realize how blessed you are and they aren't. Many have cried in emotional and physical pain wondering why they don't have enough to eat or are sleeping in the cold after they have seen someone thanking God for a huge dinner and warm house. They must be thinking that they are not worthy of God's blessings. I know people don't mean any harm to others by this, usually, but that doesn't change what it is. There have been times that I felt like crap because someone has pointed something out to me in my behavior that I thought was innocent. I didn't see the harm in it. I'm not blaming the person because they usually don't know better, but that doesn't change the hurt caused to others.

 

I am generalizing here greatly, so if you don't hold to that understanding then nevermind, but I feel you do when you claim that Jesus is the only way.

 

I think that is why Jesus said, "Forgive them for they know not what they do." That wasn't a boastful comment he made because they were killing the son of God, it was made because he understood that they didn't understand the harm they caused others by their beliefs. Please think about that. He wouldn't want people that followed him to cause other people harm by that belief. This is exactly what is happening and something that he was against.

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HOW CAN ANY HUMAN KNOW FOR SURE (IN A CONCRETE WAY) THAT THERE IS A GOD TO INTERPRET?

 

Excerpt from a website I recently found:

 

Does God Exist - A Philosophical Issue

Before we ask the question "Does God exist?" we first have to deal with our philosophical predispositions. If, for example, I am already dedicated to the philosophical idea that nothing can exist outside of the natural realm (i.e. there can be no supernatural God), no amount of evidence could convince me otherwise. Asking the question "does God exist?" would be pointless. My answer would be "No, He doesn't," regardless of whether God truly exists or not. The question would be impossible to answer from an evidentiary standpoint simply because anything which God might have done (that is, any supernatural act which might serve as evidence for His existence) would have to be explained away in terms of natural causes, not because we know what those natural causes could possibly be, but simply because a supernatural God is not allowed to exist!

 

And I like what these guys say about themselves on the "about us" page:

 

Many people refer to us as “Christians,” but we consider ourselves followers of Jesus. Like Jesus, we reject many of the issues found in “organized religion” (man-made attempts to reach God through rules and rituals). Actually, we believe religion has kept more people from the truth than anything in history. Although we reject man-made religion, we consider the personal pursuit of God as tantamount in each of our personal life journeys.

 

This pretty much sums up my views. It's not about religion; it's about Christ.

 

 

HOW... JOY.... HOW do we know which one of us has it right? :shrug:

 

For that matter - HOW do we know which of the millions of differing views on the Bible, Christ and Christianity as a whole are closest to "the proper interpretation" or closest to God's "own meaning"?

 

If I might interject, it would appear that from the outside looking in, the answers to those questions are unknowable. To know which interpretation of scripture is true over all others would be to know the mind of God.

 

BTW, nice to meet you joythruChrist. Welcome to ex-C. I like your avatar. :grin:

 

 

Like I said, I am in a process, and I would not claim to know the mind of God fully. There is some merit in what you say here. I do believe some things are knowable, and others are taken by faith.

 

And thanks for the welcome and the complement about the avatar. I drew it with a mouse in Microsoft Paint. And yours is cool, too... :grin:

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Joy, I know you don't see yourself as arrogant and would probably be hurt to find that some of your beliefs are, just as I would be. I'm very certain that you are not a purposefully arrogant person. But, that doesn't change the hurt caused to others when they realize how blessed you are and they aren't. Many have cried in emotional and physical pain wondering why they don't have enough to eat or are sleeping in the cold after they have seen someone thanking God for a huge dinner and warm house. They must be thinking that they are not worthy of God's blessings. I know people don't mean any harm to others by this, usually, but that doesn't change what it is. There have been times that I felt like crap because someone has pointed something out to me in my behavior that I thought was innocent. I didn't see the harm in it. I'm not blaming the person because they usually don't know better, but that doesn't change the hurt caused to others.

 

I am generalizing here greatly, so if you don't hold to that understanding then nevermind, but I feel you do when you claim that Jesus is the only way.

 

I think that is why Jesus said, "Forgive them for they know not what they do." That wasn't a boastful comment he made because they were killing the son of God, it was made because he understood that they didn't understand the harm they caused others by their beliefs. Please think about that. He wouldn't want people that followed him to cause other people harm by that belief. This is exactly what is happening and something that he was against.

 

I truly wish I had more time right now to address this issue, but I have to get to work.

 

I believe that it is pathetic to thank God for His blessings, and then go on with your life. The whole point of being given blessings is to share them. The person who is having a big dinner and getting their tummy fed, should be inviting people they know who are without to that dinner, or taking dinner to them. What we have, we share. This should be the way.

 

We can't change the whole world, but we can feed the hungry folks down the street.

 

I'll have to come back to this later...

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Does God Exist - A Philosophical Issue

Before we ask the question "Does God exist?" we first have to deal with our philosophical predispositions. If, for example, I am already dedicated to the philosophical idea that nothing can exist outside of the natural realm (i.e. there can be no supernatural God), no amount of evidence could convince me otherwise.

Actually this is quite similar to how I think except my thought process is a little bit different. The reason I don't believe in God is because he is a supernatural being. But I don't think no amount of evidence could convince me otherwise. I'll explain in a bit.

 

Asking the question "does God exist?" would be pointless. My answer would be "No, He doesn't," regardless of whether God truly exists or not. The question would be impossible to answer from an evidentiary standpoint simply because anything which God might have done (that is, any supernatural act which might serve as evidence for His existence) would have to be explained away in terms of natural causes, not because we know what those natural causes could possibly be, but simply because a supernatural God is not allowed to exist!

This is where the disagreement comes in. I don't believe in a supernatural being because I don't believe in the supernatural but I don't believe that they aren't within the realm of probability. If an event is supernatural it CANNOT merely be explained through natural causes. Example, In the story with Elijah and Baal God send down a fiery chariot and fiery flying horse to scope him up and take him into heaven. The act breaks so many of the natural laws that it could never be explained by natural means. This act also can't be dismissed as an hallucination because a physical human being is now missing from the planet. Therefore it is a supernatural event which is an event that bends or breaks the natural laws of the universe.

 

Now the reason I don't believe in these events happening is because they are not common place. In the bible they happened numerous time. There were many biblical events that break natural laws and that couldn't be explained by natural means. Now if supernatural events were common place (like they are in the bible) I would obviously believe in them and I would find it very probable that their is a supernatural being. But for some reason in this day and age, unlike the bible there aren't any supernatural events. There is no walking on water, no raising those who have been clinically dead for weeks, there are no flying fiery horses picking taking people to heaven, there aren't flying talking clouds that give commands, there are no humans who ascend into heaven. This is not to say that these things could never happen but that these events aren't in the least probable. If supernatural events or beings aren't commonplace I see absolutely no reason to postulate that supernatural beings exist.

 

On a side note, there have been thousands upon thousands of observations where the physical has created the physical. Since no study or finding has ever even view something supernatural create something physical it isn't very probable that the supernatural creates anything. Again this does not prove that the supernatural doesn't exist, but that the probability of a supernatural event or being creating a physical is incredibly small. This is why I don't believe in a creator God. I don't believe it is possible to prove a creator doesn't exist but I am comfortable in resting my belief based on the probability of such event or creature existing.

 

Lastly I'd like to note that in the bible, basically every single character had many supernatural events happen to them. It was happening quite a bit in fact. Even Jesus said that people would do greater works than he. This shows that the bible says there should be supernatural events happening now, and these events should be greater then other supernatural events like the multiplying fish or walking on water. These events have yet to come to past. Supernatural events that can't be explained by the natural laws in the world aren't present. There aren't any prophet performing greater miracles than Jesus. When whatever prophet, or deity shows that he can constantly perform supernatural acts, and it can't be explained by science then I will start to believe. God's prophets got to see the supernatural, all I ask for is the same.

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God is all-powerful, meaning He can accomplish anything that can be accomplished with power. He cannot use power to do “non-power” kinds of things, such as the logically impossible. He cannot make two plus two equal five, violate His unchangeable nature, make Himself go out of existence and come back into existence, and He cannot make morally responsible persons without allowing for the possibility of those persons making wrong choices.

How does curing ills, making sure people have clean water to drink, and feeding people a problem power wise for a being like God?

 

The Bible says that suffering is the consequence of the wrong choice (sin) of morally responsible persons. If God always prevented people from sinning, or always prevented the consequences of sin, then human goodness would be mere programming, not true goodness...

 

We are not talking about human goodness here. We are talking about God's goodness or lack thereof.

 

Why is God always on the side of the sinner? Why does the rapist's will trump a womans will not to be raped? If the woman comes to hate or disbelieve in God because her prayer to be delivered from the rapist was unanswered (oops, I mean answered with a "No!"), why is she bound for hell and the rapist can go to heaven with sinner's prayer and a song?

 

Why does God need to allow the completion of an act against an innocent person? Doesn't God already know the intentions of the heart? Of if he does why doesn't he make it right for the victim? For example the little girl in Rwanda gets her arm and both legs back and the family that she witnessed being hacked to death is restored to her after God lets these things happen so that he find out if those guys with the knives are really assholes after all. For example, the little girls and boys sold into sex slavery get their lives back without PTSD or AIDS after they helped God determine if those rich business men are perverts or not.

 

1.Suffering, the consequence of human sin, is not caused by God, but by the sin of persons with moral responsibility.

 

2. Also, God has not abandoned the world to eternally suffer the consequences of sin. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to provide ultimate freedom from the consequences of sin.

 

3. It is wrong to indict God because suffering is not yet eliminated, just as it would be wrong to indict a doctor who treats a gunshot wound he didn’t cause, simply because the wound is not healed instantly. [/color]

 

1. Everything is caused by God, if God is who you say he is. Nothing can invent itself without a creator and God is the only creator. If I leave bombs around town that will kill or maim anyone who picks them up, who is responsible for the result, me or the picker upper? I say it is me.

 

Jesus gave the parable of the Good Samaritan to show who is a moral person when someone suffers evil from another's hand. The priest and levite are types of God, because God passes by countless persons who have been beaten by robbers and worse without giving aid.

 

Why the being in the flesh test in the first place? If God wants you in heaven as the sort of person he wants in heaven, why doesn't he just create you there? Since you as a Christian cannot stop sinning here, what will make you stop sinning in heaven if not the power of God? If God can make you stop sinning in heaven without turning you into a computer there, why can't he do it now? If God is ok with you being a computer in heaven, why would it bother him to let you be a computer now?

 

Why does God want voluntary love from beings he sees to are tortured both in the here and now and in the after life, and what does that say about God as a moral being?

 

Would you be considered a good parent if you allowed your children to suffer as heinously as many children of God suffer in the here and now? No? Then why do you consider God to be a good father for allowing the same?

 

2. Then why can't the person who stands condemned before God for not giving drink to the thirsty just argue, "well I was going to do it later"? Justice delayed is justice denied. What if an earthly Judge ruled that a man who kept sex slaves for profit would be punished in 50 years, but meanwhile he could go ahead with his business? Would the Judge be considered a "good" judge?

 

3. No it is not wrong to indite God for not eliminating suffering now, since God has made it clear that it is immoral to wait till later to eliminate the suffering of another human. (Matthew 25:31-46) If it is immoral for a puny human to delay help, it is even more immoral for an almighty perfectly moral being to do so.

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... The atheist also goes by faith that there is no God, because there is no way to conclusively prove this. ...

 

I hesitate to butt into this discussion for fear of being accused, again, of being "mean" because I disagree with christian apologetics BUT since joy said she is here to learn I want to point out that she has a great opportunity to clear up some of her obvious misconceptions about what atheism actually means by reading this article in the Main Blog.

 

The following is from it and is pertinent to her misunderstanding that "faith" is required to not believe in the same god she says she believes in.

 

1. Atheism is the belief that no gods exist.

 

This statement's ubiquity is exceeded only by its utter falseness; not only is it misleading, but it is the complete opposite of the truth.

 

The word 'atheism' comes from the Greek prefix 'a', meaning without, and 'theist', meaning having a belief in a supernatural deity. Atheism, therefore, literally means "without theistic belief". Atheism does not positively assert anything; rather, it is a statement of withheld belief.

 

Atheists, therefore, do not positively assert that gods do not exist. Atheists simply withhold belief in said gods because the evidence is not sufficient to warrant the belief. This is not to say that there isn't sufficient reason to believe that certain gods do not exist. There is. But to categorically deny the existence of all gods would require a leap of faith that is anathema to a true atheist. Atheism requires no such leap.

 

2. Atheism requires just as much faith as theism.

 

This misconception arises because of the misunderstanding of the term 'atheism', as described above.

 

If atheism were indeed a positive assertion that no gods exist, then this criticism would be valid. After all, it would take just as much faith to claim that no gods exist as it would to claim that one god or many gods exist. But atheism makes no such claim.

 

Atheism, as noted above, is nothing but withheld belief. It does not take faith to have a non-belief. If I don't believe that Elvis is still alive, I am not practicing an anti-Elvis faith. If I withhold belief in Santa Claus, I am not a member of a Santa-less church. When an atheist says, "I don't believe in the Christian God", she is merely saying that the evidence for belief is insufficient. It is the same type of withheld belief that a Christian practices with regard to the beliefs of Muslims, Jews and other non-Christians.

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Let's cut to the chase JoyThruChrist .... do you believe someone who is not Christian will go to hell?

I can't make a statement like that because of the ambiguous definition of the word Christian. Many people take on that label who don't even know or care what it means.

 

But I would think it would be clear that since I have stated before that I believe the Bible is the Word of God, and that as it says in the Bible Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, it would be clear that I believe that Jesus is the way to heaven.<snip>

 

I find the way that some of you have spoken to me to be somewhat offensive, but I won't pass judgment on anyone here because I do not know any of you, and I don't know many of your personal experiences with Christians.

But, Joy --- you have passed judgment. By your own admission you believe, "the Bible is the Word of God, and that as it says in the Bible Jesus is the way, the truth....the way to heaven".

 

Hence - in your mind (and correct me if I'm wrong) if a person does not interpret Jesus through "the proper interpretation of any given scripture", then that person is going to hell. Can't you see that even if you don't say this - it is still in your heart and mind.

 

And here's the crux of the problem - we've already established that is impossible to know which "interpretation of any given scripture" is "proper". Wars have been fought over such things, untold amounts of violence in the name of "god" throughout human history.

 

Joy - if you can't know for sure which interpretation of any given scripture is "proper" than how can you - even silently within your heart - look at another person and believe that they will go to "hell"?

 

HOW... JOY.... HOW do we know which one of us has it right? :shrug:

 

For that matter - HOW do we know which of the millions of differing views on the Bible, Christ and Christianity as a whole are closest to "the proper interpretation" or closest to God's "own meaning"?

Yes, my spiritual beliefs do ultimately end up relying to some degree on faith. But then so do yours, wouldn't you agree? What is your conclusive proof that God/I AM/the infinite/the sacred IS wisdom, love, and infinite life?

 

I've no conclusive proof for any of my beliefs. And no - my belief system is NOT totally dependent upon "faith". I have faith in such sacred concepts of INFINITE LOVE, INFINITE WISDOM, INFINITE ONENESS (Alpha and Omega). And if a particular belief divides humanity - if it can lead to violence if taken in the extreme - if it causes harm to another person (if only in my heart and thoughts about that person) than that belief needs to be questioned - because it is NOT COMPATABLE with INFINITE LOVE, INFINITE WISDOM AND INFINITE ONENESS. If Christ is the Alpha and the Omega - then Joy that includes all that is, all that ever was and all that ever could be. If God is LOVE and WISDOM then these things pervade the very fabric of the universe, the very soul of humanity. And if my beliefs - even in the quiet spaces of my own heart - put anyone or anything outside this infinite ONENESS then my beliefs are in direct conflict with the idea of Christ as the Alpha and the Omega. It has very little to do with "faith". If there is ONENESS - then everything and everyone is a part of that ONENESS.

 

Since there is ONENESS - even the scientists see ONENESS - then my "faith" is encumpassed in what this ONENESS is about. I believe this ONENESS is LIFE and KNOWLEDGE and LOVE and WISDOM itself. There are those who look at the ultimate ONENESS of everything that is and do NOT see it as the source of LIFE, KNOWLEDGE, LOVE and WISDOM. My leap of faith is in the belief that this ONESS is the source of these things - not in that this ONENESS exists.

 

This may seem like splitting hairs - but it is valid to the degree that every belief I have must be tested against this ONE REALITY. It exists - and it encumpasses all that is or ever could be. That is the one unifying reality of our existence. If a beliefs does violence or wrong to that reality than it must be questioned.

 

What do you test your faith against, Joy? The Bible - a book which can be interpretted in millions of different ways depending on who is doing the reading?

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Yes, my spiritual beliefs do ultimately end up relying to some degree on faith. But then so do yours, wouldn't you agree?

 

I've no conclusive proof for any of my beliefs. And no - my belief system is NOT totally dependent upon "faith".

 

Please notice I didn't say totally dependent.

 

Wow, there's so much here, and I wish I had time for more, but my computer is in the hospital, and I am on a borrowed computer with only a limited timeframe for access --not to mention I hate this keyboard! :vent: I will have to come back later.

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All I have to say is...

 

Being a Prairie Muffin is the easiest and most efficient way to lose your Prairie Dawg to a Prairie ho...

 

My mom was(still is to a certain degree)a Prairie Muffin, and my dad cheated on her seven times.

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I just wanted to pop in and give the update. I'm still on a borrowed computer with limited time. My comp has viruses and I may get it back fixed up, or I may get a new one.

 

But, Joy --- you have passed judgment. By your own admission you believe, "the Bible is the Word of God, and that as it says in the Bible Jesus is the way, the truth....the way to heaven".

 

Hence - in your mind (and correct me if I'm wrong) if a person does not interpret Jesus through "the proper interpretation of any given scripture", then that person is going to hell. Can't you see that even if you don't say this - it is still in your heart and mind.

 

And here's the crux of the problem - we've already established that is impossible to know which "interpretation of any given scripture" is "proper". Wars have been fought over such things, untold amounts of violence in the name of "god" throughout human history.

 

Joy - if you can't know for sure which interpretation of any given scripture is "proper" than how can you - even silently within your heart - look at another person and believe that they will go to "hell"?

Well there's the thing. I don't do that. I don't look at anyone else and judge what their final destiny will be. I am not the judge. The fact that I believe the claims of the Bible hardly equates with making me the judge.

 

I've no conclusive proof for any of my beliefs.

So I would ask: why am I being asked to come up with conclusive proof for any of mine? I've already stated numerous times that God's ways are not my ways, so why would I have answers for everything He does? My husband is a mere human, and I often have absolutely no idea why he does some of the things he does! :scratch:

 

And no - my belief system is NOT totally dependent upon "faith".

Again, I said dependent "to some degree".

 

I have faith in such sacred concepts of INFINITE LOVE, INFINITE WISDOM, INFINITE ONENESS (Alpha and Omega). And if a particular belief divides humanity - if it can lead to violence if taken in the extreme - if it causes harm to another person (if only in my heart and thoughts about that person) than that belief needs to be questioned - because it is NOT COMPATABLE with INFINITE LOVE, INFINITE WISDOM AND INFINITE ONENESS. If Christ is the Alpha and the Omega - then Joy that includes all that is, all that ever was and all that ever could be. If God is LOVE and WISDOM then these things pervade the very fabric of the universe, the very soul of humanity. And if my beliefs - even in the quiet spaces of my own heart - put anyone or anything outside this infinite ONENESS then my beliefs are in direct conflict with the idea of Christ as the Alpha and the Omega. It has very little to do with "faith". If there is ONENESS - then everything and everyone is a part of that ONENESS.

 

Since there is ONENESS - even the scientists see ONENESS - then my "faith" is encumpassed in what this ONENESS is about. I believe this ONENESS is LIFE and KNOWLEDGE and LOVE and WISDOM itself. There are those who look at the ultimate ONENESS of everything that is and do NOT see it as the source of LIFE, KNOWLEDGE, LOVE and WISDOM. My leap of faith is in the belief that this ONESS is the source of these things - not in that this ONENESS exists.

 

This may seem like splitting hairs - but it is valid to the degree that every belief I have must be tested against this ONE REALITY. It exists - and it encumpasses all that is or ever could be. That is the one unifying reality of our existence. If a beliefs does violence or wrong to that reality than it must be questioned.

 

What do you test your faith against, Joy? The Bible - a book which can be interpretted in millions of different ways depending on who is doing the reading?

 

I do put my faith in the Bible. It is a living book, interpreted by the Spirit of God Himself. I believe that He makes the truths it contains understood to the person who seeks to know.

 

I am curious as to how the fact that I do not believe that we are all ONE goes against the concept of Christ as Alpha and Omega. HE is the Alpha and Omega. We are not. It sounds as though in your belief system that ONENESS would mean that we are all God.

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Joy, this is a belief that can truly be called inclusive. There is no certain people being blessed while others suffer under this understanding. This is what I was trying to get at in my previous post to you when you mentioned being thankful for God's grace. That is a dividing concept because to be graced means that there must be those that are not graced. That is a superior attitude, no matter how well disguised as thankfulness. It is divisive and insulting to those that caused the thankful person to be thankful for not being in their position.

 

O_M states my belief better than I can myself. There is no chosen people of God to receive certain blessings while others are left to fend for themselves. God doesn't care if you're a Christian, Jew, Atheist, Muslim or anything else. God just is regardless of what people believe, IMO. :)

 

Like others have stated, I don't see you as someone that holds the bible to be the ultimate truth for everyone while others are **censored**ed, I hope.

 

I just want people to think about what they are actually saying when they say they are blessed or that they are so thankful to God for what they have. Upon furthur inspection, they are saying they are chosen and to be chosen over others is arrogance.

 

My daughter's karate instructor was saying how they should be thankful to God this thanksgiving because they have their health and aren't like the kid in the wheelchair. This hurts me and my daughter when they say things like this as I'm sure it would the kid in the wheelchair if they would have heard him say it.

 

Anyway, welcome.

Thanks for the welcome.

 

In regard to the karate instructor, I would hope that even if it sounded tactless, that his intention was just to remind the kids to be grateful. I'm not sure why the concept of being grateful for anything is problematic. Surely you don't go around hoping to BE poor, or HAVE a terrible disease or disabling thing. Of course we should sympathize and try our best to comfort, love, help, and support those who are suffering in any way.

 

I have a chronic disease, and I am very happy that others don't have it. And I would not really consider it a personal insult if they were glad they didn't have it. I agree that some people should certainly be more tactful in the way that they state things. And I sympathize deeply with those who have even worse situations than I do, such as Thackerie. I have heard that MS can be a seriously painful disease, and I hope that doctors are doing all they can for Thackerie.

 

And I hope that my statements here are tactful. That is my intention.

 

As far as these beliefs being inclusive, perhaps they are. But I didn't write the Bible, so I didn't make the rules. I'm not being grateful for something that I believe is extended only to me. I personally believe His grace is extended to all who will believe. How is that arrogant?

 

I accept that you --and perhaps others-- are determined to perceive me as arrogant, and there is little I can do to change that. For that, I am sorry.

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We are not talking about human goodness here. We are talking about God's goodness or lack thereof.

 

Why is God always on the side of the sinner? Why does the rapist's will trump a womans will not to be raped? If the woman comes to hate or disbelieve in God because her prayer to be delivered from the rapist was unanswered (oops, I mean answered with a "No!"), why is she bound for hell and the rapist can go to heaven with sinner's prayer and a song?

 

The scenario you describe is horrendous to be sure. I don't understand the question about God always being on the side of the sinner. I believe that we are all sinners. I don't see it as a matter of choosing sides. In your scenario, the woman who suffered this injustice is not accepting God's grace. If the rapist repents, which means turning from his sin, God will forgive. This doesn't mean he should get off scot-free. He should be prosecuted and serve his sentence. And the power of God should change his life. Just as the power of God could change her life; heal her.

 

 

Why does God need to allow the completion of an act against an innocent person? Doesn't God already know the intentions of the heart? Of if he does why doesn't he make it right for the victim? For example the little girl in Rwanda gets her arm and both legs back and the family that she witnessed being hacked to death is restored to her after God lets these things happen so that he find out if those guys with the knives are really assholes after all. For example, the little girls and boys sold into sex slavery get their lives back without PTSD or AIDS after they helped God determine if those rich business men are perverts or not.

 

1.Suffering, the consequence of human sin, is not caused by God, but by the sin of persons with moral responsibility.

 

2. Also, God has not abandoned the world to eternally suffer the consequences of sin. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to provide ultimate freedom from the consequences of sin.

 

3. It is wrong to indict God because suffering is not yet eliminated, just as it would be wrong to indict a doctor who treats a gunshot wound he didn’t cause, simply because the wound is not healed instantly.

 

1. Everything is caused by God, if God is who you say he is. Nothing can invent itself without a creator and God is the only creator. If I leave bombs around town that will kill or maim anyone who picks them up, who is responsible for the result, me or the picker upper? I say it is me.

 

Jesus gave the parable of the Good Samaritan to show who is a moral person when someone suffers evil from another's hand. The priest and levite are types of God, because God passes by countless persons who have been beaten by robbers and worse without giving aid.

 

Why the being in the flesh test in the first place? If God wants you in heaven as the sort of person he wants in heaven, why doesn't he just create you there? Since you as a Christian cannot stop sinning here, what will make you stop sinning in heaven if not the power of God? If God can make you stop sinning in heaven without turning you into a computer there, why can't he do it now? If God is ok with you being a computer in heaven, why would it bother him to let you be a computer now?

 

Why does God want voluntary love from beings he sees to are tortured both in the here and now and in the after life, and what does that say about God as a moral being?

 

Would you be considered a good parent if you allowed your children to suffer as heinously as many children of God suffer in the here and now? No? Then why do you consider God to be a good father for allowing the same?

 

2. Then why can't the person who stands condemned before God for not giving drink to the thirsty just argue, "well I was going to do it later"? Justice delayed is justice denied. What if an earthly Judge ruled that a man who kept sex slaves for profit would be punished in 50 years, but meanwhile he could go ahead with his business? Would the Judge be considered a "good" judge?

 

3. No it is not wrong to indite God for not eliminating suffering now, since God has made it clear that it is immoral to wait till later to eliminate the suffering of another human. (Matthew 25:31-46) If it is immoral for a puny human to delay help, it is even more immoral for an almighty perfectly moral being to do so.

 

You obviously raise good questions; most of which I have no answer for, and have asked of God myself many times. I cannot know the mind of God, chefranden. I can't explain how or why He doesn't eradicate all sin right now, or why He ever allowed it in the first place. There are many things in this world I have no answers for, but I don't believe I should give up the relationship just because I don't get it all right now. As I grow "in the grace and knowledge" I will understand more and more as time goes on, and one day I will have an even greater understanding.

 

Can I ask you a couple of questions? How did you become a minister, and what made you decide to leave?

 

Sorry for the faulty formatting. I couldn't figure this one out tonight; it is late, and I am tired. Goodnight.

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Sorry, meant to get to one more...

 

... The atheist also goes by faith that there is no God, because there is no way to conclusively prove this. ...

 

I hesitate to butt into this discussion for fear of being accused, again, of being "mean" because I disagree with christian apologetics

If that was directed at me, I am sorry that I have given you the impression that I thought you are mean. I didn't mean that...

 

 

BUT since joy said she is here to learn

Just curious; when did I say that? Sounds like a good idea though... If I didn't say that, I should have.

 

 

I want to point out that she has a great opportunity to clear up some of her obvious misconceptions about what atheism actually means by reading this article in the Main Blog.

 

This is from the article, which I did read (thanks for linking the article).

 

In summary, then, an atheist rejects belief in God or gods because the evidence does not compel such belief. This does not lead to a lonely and terrifying universe; in fact, it gives life more meaning and more purpose. Atheists aren't angry and resentful; they are thoughtful and caring and respectful of the inherent dignity in all of us. They deserve none of the vitriol that is constantly leveled at them.

 

Interesting article, and I do apologize for my apparent misconceptions. But I think this paragraph carries a bit of a blanket statement. All people are different. Some atheists are angry and resentful, just as some Christians and other religious folks are. Anger and resentment are born out of experiences and not necessarily tied to one's belief system. And I believe that there are Christians who are thoughtful and caring, and respectful of the inherent dignity in all of us. So do Christians deserve the vitriol that is constantly leveled at them?

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But, Joy --- you have passed judgment. <snip>Joy - if you can't know for sure which interpretation of any given scripture is "proper" than how can you - even silently within your heart - look at another person and believe that they will go to "hell"?
Well there's the thing. I don't do that. I don't look at anyone else and judge what their final destiny will be. I am not the judge. The fact that I believe the claims of the Bible hardly equates with making me the judge.

  1. You write, "I believe the claims of the Bible".
  2. The claims of the Bible (read literally) say that anyone who does not profess a "faith" in Jesus Christ is going to hell.
  3. 2/3rd's of the world's population is something other than Christian.
  4. Then there are the heretics like myself - who do NOT read the Bible literally.
  5. Then we must count up all the non-believers who have lived and died in the past 2000 years. (The list of people going to hell just got a lot larger, Joy).
  6. So - in your mind (whether you like to admit it or not) the majority of the world's population is going to hell.

You don't have to actually send them there yourself, Joy. Your belief system does. You are by extension judging these people. You accept your belief system without question - without judgment - and in the process judge millions upon millions upon millions of people. You can rationalize your thought processes until the end of your own time on this earth, but the fact remains you literally "believe the claims of the Bible" and in doing so you believe the majority of the human population will spend eternity in a torment called hell. Call it want you want - it may not be intentional - but it sure sounds judgmental to me. :shrug:

 

I've no conclusive proof for any of my beliefs.
So I would ask: why am I being asked to come up with conclusive proof for any of mine? I've already stated numerous times that God's ways are not my ways, so why would I have answers for everything He does? :scratch:
You're not being asked to come up with conclusive proof for any of your beliefs - you're being asked to THINK ABOUT YOUR BELIEFS. There is a difference. What impact does the belief system you adhere to have on this world? You live in a world where people from different belief systems are willing to kill each other, to go to war over whether their particular version of "god" is "proper". One look at Ireland, one look at the middle east, one look at 9/11 should be enough reason for you to THINK ABOUT YOUR BELIEF SYSTEM.For a list of wars/genocides/conflicts in the name of religion see this link: http://www.religioustolerance.org/curr_war.htm

 

Religious conflict is not limited to Muslims and Jews, Joy. Christianity has a long - horrid history - of forcing their belief systems on others. If you live in the United States all you have to do is read the history of Christianity's impact on the Native populations of this country.

 

I'm not asking you to come up with "conclusive proof" - I'm asking you to test your beliefs against reality. Does the belief system you adhere to live up to LOVE - INFINITE LOVE? Does it live up to the idea that GOD IS LOVE?

 

 

What do you test your faith against, Joy? The Bible - a book which can be interpretted in millions of different ways depending on who is doing the reading?
I do put my faith in the Bible. It is a living book, interpreted by the Spirit of God Himself. I believe that He makes the truths it contains understood to the person who seeks to know. Joy, just THINK about that statement. LOOK AT IT - READ IT AND THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE WRITING.

 

I read the Bible too, Joy - I SEEK TO KNOW - and I come up with different answers than you. How come He makes the truths it contains understood to me differently than he makes the truths it contains understood to you. Then multiply this dynamic times the number of ways the Bible is read within the Christian tradition.

 

Your statement doesn't hold up against reality. Are those Christians who SEEK TO KNOW with a sincere heart - yet given different answers than you - somehow out of God's willingness (or ability) to "make the truth it contains understood"? And back to a question I've asked before, who are you to say which way of understanding the Bible is "proper"?

 

Bottom line: NO ONE CAN EVER KNOW WHICH WAY OF READING AND INTERPRETTING THE BIBLE IS "PROPER".

 

 

 

I am curious as to how the fact that I do not believe that we are all ONE goes against the concept of Christ as Alpha and Omega. HE is the Alpha and Omega. We are not. It sounds as though in your belief system that ONENESS would mean that we are all God.

 

HE IS THE ALPHA AND OMEGA - He is the beginning and the end - what can exist outside of that, Joy? :shrug:

 

Where do you exist - if not WITHIN the Alpha and the Omega? :shrug:

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So do Christians deserve the vitriol that is constantly leveled at them?

 

I would personally say that it depends on the Christian and how they behave. If they act like a fundy, judging everyone and condemning everyone to hell, then yes. If they are like Open Minded and non-judgemental, then no.

 

On this site, when someone comes in claiming to be a Christian, people jump on them because of their prior experiences. You have to realize that a lot of people here have suffered physical and emotional abuse because of Christians in their lives. So they are not going to act kindly toward someone who they perceive as being like their abuser(s). Especially not in a thread like this in which the main topic is women who have been emotionally abused and manipulated because of fundy religious beliefs. And when someone comes in essentially saying, at least at first, that it is a good thing that women are emotionally abused and controlled because of these beliefs, those who have been abused are not going to take kindly to that.

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  1. You write, "I believe the claims of the Bible".
  2. The claims of the Bible (read literally) say that anyone who does not profess a "faith" in Jesus Christ is going to hell.
  3. 2/3rd's of the world's population is something other than Christian.
  4. Then there are the heretics like myself - who do NOT read the Bible literally.
  5. Then we must count up all the non-believers who have lived and died in the past 2000 years. (The list of people going to hell just got a lot larger, Joy).
  6. So - in your mind (whether you like to admit it or not) the majority of the world's population is going to hell.

You don't have to actually send them there yourself, Joy. Your belief system does. You are by extension judging these people. You accept your belief system without question - without judgment - and in the process judge millions upon millions upon millions of people. You can rationalize your thought processes until the end of your own time on this earth, but the fact remains you literally "believe the claims of the Bible" and in doing so you believe the majority of the human population will spend eternity in a torment called hell. Call it want you want - it may not be intentional - but it sure sounds judgmental to me. :shrug:

I maintain that I am not the judge. If you choose to view me as judgmental, there is little I can do about it.

 

 

You're not being asked to come up with conclusive proof for any of your beliefs - you're being asked to THINK ABOUT YOUR BELIEFS. There is a difference. What impact does the belief system you adhere to have on this world? You live in a world where people from different belief systems are willing to kill each other, to go to war over whether their particular version of "god" is "proper". One look at Ireland, one look at the middle east, one look at 9/11 should be enough reason for you to THINK ABOUT YOUR BELIEF SYSTEM.For a list of wars/genocides/conflicts in the name of religion see this link: http://www.religioustolerance.org/curr_war.htm

 

Religious conflict is not limited to Muslims and Jews, Joy. Christianity has a long - horrid history - of forcing their belief systems on others. If you live in the United States all you have to do is read the history of Christianity's impact on the Native populations of this country.

 

I'm not asking you to come up with "conclusive proof" - I'm asking you to test your beliefs against reality. Does the belief system you adhere to live up to LOVE - INFINITE LOVE? Does it live up to the idea that GOD IS LOVE?

O_M, I think about my beliefs all the time. It's like I told chefranden, the questions he's asking? I ask them all the time. My belief system does not support violent takeovers of native peoples, or wars in Jesus name. Just because people who have called themselves Christians have done this, why would you assume that I agree with them? I don't believe they were/are practicing true Christianity. How could I support the crusades? The kkk? That stuff is pure evil and not the type of thing God requires. Muslims state that their god requires the death of those who will not submit to their allah. Where in anything I've written do you hear me saying that you must submit to my God? How can you equate my beliefs to such violence just because some horribly violent people have done so in the name of God? There is a serious distinction here.

 

 

I am curious as to how the fact that I do not believe that we are all ONE goes against the concept of Christ as Alpha and Omega. HE is the Alpha and Omega. We are not. It sounds as though in your belief system that ONENESS would mean that we are all God.

 

HE IS THE ALPHA AND OMEGA - He is the beginning and the end - what can exist outside of that, Joy? :shrug:

 

Where do you exist - if not WITHIN the Alpha and the Omega? :shrug:

 

Christ is God, and God is infinite. He is the Alpha and Omega. Humans had a beginning. We are not infinite beings. This is the distinction.

 

I have to get off for now; I'll have to come back to the other question later...

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You don't have to actually send them there yourself, Joy. Your belief system does. You are by extension judging these people. You accept your belief system without question - without judgment - and in the process judge millions upon millions upon millions of people. You can rationalize your thought processes until the end of your own time on this earth, but the fact remains you literally "believe the claims of the Bible" and in doing so you believe the majority of the human population will spend eternity in a torment called hell. Call it want you want - it may not be intentional - but it sure sounds judgmental to me. :shrug:
I maintain that I am not the judge. If you choose to view me as judgmental, there is little I can do about it.

  • First - it isn't about how I view you. I don't know you well enough to view you as anything.
  • Second - this is about your belief system. By your own admission you believe in hell.
  • By your own admission you believe literally that Jesus is the "way the truth and the life and NO-ONE comes to the Father but through me."

Your belief system assigns people to hell for the simple crime of not believing in Jesus. If your belief system assigns people to hell - then your beliefs do as well. You believe it, Joy - not me. If your belief system states that some-one will go to hell then by extension YOU BELIEVE IT YOURSELF. You cannot separate yourself from your belief system when it is not a convient system to explain. It is YOUR belief system - you have claimed it.

 

 

O_M, I think about my beliefs all the time. It's like I told chefranden, the questions he's asking? I ask them all the time. My belief system does not support violent takeovers of native peoples, or wars in Jesus name. Just because people who have called themselves Christians have done this, why would you assume that I agree with them? I don't believe they were/are practicing trueChristianity.
I did not say you personally would do those violent things - I said your belief system contributes to the violence in the world. Belief in hell, belief in ONLY one TRUE Faith contributes to the kind of violence I was pointing out. You don't have to agree with the actions of those people - but they are operating from an exclusivistic mindset - driven by religious dogma. They do believe they are TRUE Christians, or TRUE Muslims, or TRUE Whatever. The very idea that there could be a TRUE anything opens one up to the idea that someone else can be approached violently because they are not TRUE.

 

I'm not saying you would - I'm saying look around and check out the larger consequences of a belief system that would send people to hell just because they don't believe the TRUE interpretation of holy scripture. If a belief (any belief) can be taken to violent extremes then the belief itself needs to be questioned.

 

 

How can you equate my beliefs to such violence just because some horribly violent people have done so in the name of God? There is a serious distinction here.
I am NOT equating your beliefs to such violence - you are. YOU CLAIM THE BELIEFS - the beliefs send people to hell. Tell me Joy - how violent is it to send the greatest majority of humans who have ever lived to hell? All the wars that have ever been fought wouldn't come close to the literal violence of hell. YOU CLAIM THE BELIEF. I'm just calling you on it. :shrug:

 

Either you believe in hell - or you don't.... :shrug:

 

If you believe in hell .... then you accept the horrid violence of hell.... :shrug:

 

If you believe in hell ... then you accept that a supposedly loving God would send people to such violence for the mere crime of not believing the right religious dogma... :shrug:

 

If you adhere to such a belief system - then you adhere to a system in which one of the by-products is extremists using that very same system to cause wars and untold amounts of personal violence in the name of God.... :shrug:

 

As I said earlier - YOU CLAIM THE BELIEF SYSTEM - I'm just calling you out on it.

 

 

 

HE IS THE ALPHA AND OMEGA - He is the beginning and the end - what can exist outside of that, Joy? :shrug:

 

Where do you exist - if not WITHIN the Alpha and the Omega? :shrug:

Christ is God, and God is infinite. He is the Alpha and Omega. Humans had a beginning. We are not infinite beings. This is the distinction.

 

Once again, Joy.... "where do you exist - if not WITHIN the Alpha and Omega"? I didn't say human beings were infinite - I said if Christ is the Alpha and Omega What can exist outside of the Beginning and the End?

 

Seriously Joy - how is it physically possible for anything or anyone to exist outside the Beginning and the End - it's the BEGINNING AND THE END. Is there a pre-beginnning that one can exist in? Is there a sub-End that one can exist in? If Christ is THE BEGINNING AND THE END then Christ is the ALL and we live and breathe and have our very substance in the BEGINNING AND THE END. We (no-one) can be separated from the Beginning and the End.

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Joy, this is a belief that can truly be called inclusive.

 

As far as these beliefs being inclusive, perhaps they are.

 

Ummm... I think we meant exclusive...

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So do Christians deserve the vitriol that is constantly leveled at them?

 

I would personally say that it depends on the Christian and how they behave. If they act like a fundy, judging everyone and condemning everyone to hell, then yes. If they are like Open Minded and non-judgemental, then no.

 

On this site, when someone comes in claiming to be a Christian, people jump on them because of their prior experiences. You have to realize that a lot of people here have suffered physical and emotional abuse because of Christians in their lives. So they are not going to act kindly toward someone who they perceive as being like their abuser(s). Especially not in a thread like this in which the main topic is women who have been emotionally abused and manipulated because of fundy religious beliefs. And when someone comes in essentially saying, at least at first, that it is a good thing that women are emotionally abused and controlled because of these beliefs, those who have been abused are not going to take kindly to that.

 

I never said or even implied that it was a good thing for women to be emotionally (or physically) abused or controlled because of their beliefs. I thought I had made it pretty clear that the men who do such need to learn the truth about how to be husbands and love their wives. Nor do I judge or condemn any one of you.

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What do you test your faith against, Joy? The Bible - a book which can be interpretted in millions of different ways depending on who is doing the reading?
I do put my faith in the Bible. It is a living book, interpreted by the Spirit of God Himself. I believe that He makes the truths it contains understood to the person who seeks to know. Joy, just THINK about that statement. LOOK AT IT - READ IT AND THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE WRITING.

 

I read the Bible too, Joy - I SEEK TO KNOW - and I come up with different answers than you. How come He makes the truths it contains understood to me differently than he makes the truths it contains understood to you. Then multiply this dynamic times the number of ways the Bible is read within the Christian tradition.

 

Your statement doesn't hold up against reality. Are those Christians who SEEK TO KNOW with a sincere heart - yet given different answers than you - somehow out of God's willingness (or ability) to "make the truth it contains understood"? And back to a question I've asked before, who are you to say which way of understanding the Bible is "proper"?

 

Bottom line: NO ONE CAN EVER KNOW WHICH WAY OF READING AND INTERPRETTING THE BIBLE IS "PROPER".

 

What is it that you are seeking to know, O_M? You do not accept the Bible as the literal Word of God, which it clearly claims to be. And you do not accept Christ as the only way, which is one of the claims He made regarding Himself. If you do not accept these basic claims God made as truth, just what truths are you seeking?

 

And I never said I was anyone special; I clearly stated that I don't have answers for everything. But I choose to take God at His written word.

 

And I do not believe that no one can know which way of reading and interpretting the Bible is the proper way. Just because I don't know it all doesn't mean I believe it is unknowable.

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As I said earlier - YOU CLAIM THE BELIEF SYSTEM - I'm just calling you out on it.

 

You're callin' me out? Is this where I'm supposed to put up my dukes and say "let's step outside"? :twitch: Just kidding, of course.

 

Yes, my belief system includes a hell, created for satan and his angels. BUT I AM NOT THE JUDGE. Everyone stands or falls individually before God. Jesus said He is the only way to heaven. The "crime" is rejecting the sacrifice Christ made for all who would believe. I don't have to like it, but as I've said so many times before, I don't know the mind of God, or why He does things the way He does. But I trust Him.

 

I don't know what country you live in, but do you agree with everything the government does? Do you understand everything the gov't does? Are you responsible for everything the gov't does? I realize this is a loose analogy and the gov't hardly compares to God, but my point is that I am not responsible for God's way of doing things. I don't enjoy suffering, and I would love to eradicate it all myself if I could, but I do see in suffering opportunities. To learn, to grow, to become stronger... And I believe that God allows it for these reasons.

 

What is it you hope to accomplish in calling me out?

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Hell was created for Satan and his angels? You should really think about that staement. Wasn't 1/3 of the angels? Were they not supposed to be the most pure and perfect beings yet a third of them thought god was full of shit. If a war in heaven happened once, what makes you think it couldnt happen again? Your trying your hardest to get into heaven but obviously it isnt all it's cracked up to be or there wouldnt be a rebellion. There is no rebellion were there is perfect contentment. If you dont eternally kiss gods ass while your there, you get cast down. Your stay in heaven could be short huh?

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What is it that you are seeking to know, O_M? You do not accept the Bible as the literal Word of God, which it clearly claims to be. And you do not accept Christ as the only way, which is one of the claims He made regarding Himself. If you do not accept these basic claims God made as truth, just what truths are you seeking?
Right here and now, Joy, in this conversation? I'm not seeking any truths. Right here and now, in this conversation, I'm seeking one thing - to challenge you. To challenge you to see your belief system in the larger context of a pluralistic world, a pluralistic world that YOU BELIEVE YOUR LOVING GOD MADE. :shrug:

 

And I never said I was anyone special; I clearly stated that I don't have answers for everything. But I choose to take God at His written word.
Please go to the Bible and pull the verses out of the Bible spoken by Jesus &/or God saying that the Bible (as it is written today) is God's "written word". I'm specifically interested in concrete proof that the New Testament Gospel writings are called God's "written word" by God/Jesus himself.

 

And I do not believe that no one can know which way of reading and interpretting the Bible is the proper way. Just because I don't know it all doesn't mean I believe it is unknowable.
Then please point out one wise person in the entire history of Christianity that does know "which way of reading and interpretting the Bible is the proper way"?

 

You're callin' me out? Is this where I'm supposed to put up my dukes and say "let's step outside"? Just kidding, of course.
Believe it - or not - Joy, I'm not angry here. I'm not trying to get a rise out of you, I'm just asking you to really look at your belief system - really look at the implications of that belief system in a world in which so much violence done in the name of "GOD","Allah", whatever.

 

Yes, my belief system includes a hell, created for satan and his angels. BUT I AM NOT THE JUDGE. Everyone stands or falls individually before God. Jesus said He is the only way to heaven. The "crime" is rejecting the sacrifice Christ made for all who would believe. I don't have to like it, but as I've said so many times before, I don't know the mind of God, or why He does things the way He does. But I trust Him.
"I don't know the mind of God" is a cop-out Joy. It releases you from the responsibility of having to THINK about what you believe. There isn't a humane and loving reason to have created a hell - and YOU KNOW IT - you just don't want to deal with all the implications of questioning such a theology.

 

my point is that I am not responsible for God's way of doing things.
No... but you are responsible for accepting a belief system without really thinking through the impact that belief system has on creation as a whole. You are responsible for that, Joy.

 

I don't enjoy suffering, and I would love to eradicate it all myself if I could, but I do see in suffering opportunities. To learn, to grow, to become stronger... And I believe that God allows it for these reasons.
You - imperfect and small human that you are - would eradicate it all if you could. And GOD - whom YOU BELIEVE - is All LOVING allows something as horrendous as hell. It's not reconciable, Joy. It isn't - if humans - who are not able to be infinitely loving would do away with the suffering of hell, then why wouldn't an infinitely loving GOD?

 

You can't believe in an infinitely loving God and hell both - the concepts are in complete opposition to each other. :shrug:

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As far as these beliefs being inclusive, perhaps they are. But I didn't write the Bible, so I didn't make the rules. I'm not being grateful for something that I believe is extended only to me. I personally believe His grace is extended to all who will believe. How is that arrogant?

Because it is dismissing those that don't believe as you do. I don't see you as being arrogant on purpose, it has more to do with feeding one's ego than arrogance I suppose. I don't believe as you do, so in your belief, I am not extended God's grace. That is an egoic belief to assume that God plays favorites and being a believer of that mindset, you are a favorite. Not just you, but anyone that believes in this type of exclusive God.

 

If the rules are exclusive, then what is written about God cannot be true.

 

In order to understand where many of us are coming from, you have to separate God from the stories. God doesn't belong to Christianity or any other religion. God doesn't care whether you believe in it or not and God isn't going to choose one religion over the other. That comes from the minds/egos of the writers and believers.

 

So whether it be arrogance or egoic, any understanding that excludes others is one of the two or both.

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