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Howdy folks,

 

Well, it's been a quite a while since I have been to these parts.

 

Since I was last here, I have spent a good deal of time considering a lot of the things I read while frequenting this site in earlier times. (I don't know if the history of many of those threads is still kept here - but I suppose new folks here could do a search to learn that (at least in the past) I have actually read some of what has been said at this site.

 

I still consider myself to be a Christian.

 

As some of you long-timers will remember, when I posted in days gone by I often included some link to content about which I want to hear opinions.

 

Well - perhaps as one way to let you know I am not someone just impersonating "SOIL" ... here I go again.

 

Undoing the Destruction of Pleasure

 

If you are willing (and able - being blessed with access to a relatively fast internet connection) - I would like for anyone interested to listen to (hopefully to ALL of) the "talk" (pointed to by the page at the link above ) - and then please post some of your comments about the subject of "PLEASURE and the individual CHRISTIAN" here in this thread.

 

...

 

Just like in former days - I always feel "time challenged" - probably one reason is because sometimes I would get so carried away with interest sparked here, that I would sometimes steal time from my employer (certainly not a very "Christian" thing to do). I say this just to let you know, I may not be responding very quickly - but I do pledge to put a significant effort into at least eventually getting back here and reading what you have said (I hope to make some comments back as well). I respect that each of us only has so much time - and if you decide to use over an hour of yours to listen to that talk and then even more to put your comments here ... then I should really feel guilty if I don't at least read your comments and say a few things (using my own words, in addition to just pointing at someone else's).

 

Who knows? - Maybe even - I might decide to become blatant and actually even overtly try to do some re-evangelizing of any of you guys and gals (that is, if there are still folks fiesty enough and willing to put up with such in these locales .... but I guess I would first need to learn the "appropriate way" to do that - that is, if there is actually any of that type of thing still allowed here these days).

 

I haven't read a single post yet (I just re- showed up and started this thread) - but I suppose I will likely be doing a lot of that - when I return here after giving you some time to hear what it is that I am "pushing" these days.

 

-Dennis

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Soil! How the heck have you been? How's the family?

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Soil! How the heck have you been? How's the family?

 

Hi NotBlind !

 

Actually I'm doing pretty well (heck or no heck).

 

And the family is doing really good, thanks.

 

One of my daughters and her family is heading overseas in less than than a month from now. They are going to start (and manage) a school for poor folks who can't afford such (and/or for those who just want to learn English (as they learn their core subjects)... more jobs are available in that area for kids who learn to communicate in English) - also they wil be providing some "modernized" medical help for the folks in their immediate neighborhood.

 

We have welcomed a couple more grandchildren (from a couple of our children) since I have been around these parts.

 

I am learning just because the kids are becoming adults, that doesn't mean I spend any less time communicating with them - actually, in many ways the relationship with my kids has been just as vibrant as when they were young.

 

Well - I better be careful here or I will start bringing out the photos of the grandkids and bragging on 'em.

 

-Dennis

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YOU AGAIN! I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but I'm still here. :fdevil:

 

Dhampir!

 

I'm glad to see you are still here.

 

Hey, this simply wouldn't be the same place without you.

 

You kept reading my posts - even when the way I wrote was so difficult for so many others - that they just couldn't "deal with it".

 

(Maybe I should try to use a whole lot of extra formating again - so thngs can feel more like old times).

 

-Dennis

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Welcome back. Maybe this time you break the chains and no longer need the imaginary friend. Lot of new people and a lot of the old ones gone but a few of us die-hards still here.

Hi Vixentrox,

 

"die-hards" - Hey, now there's an interesting term.

 

I guess my faith in Jesus has a hard time dying - even though I grant you it has been under attack.

 

In one sense "chains" are not always bad - (for instance, when I really want to stay where I am, but I'm not certain I will trustworthy enough - at all times in the future - to make the decision to stay where I now believe I should remain).

 

[ Maybe getting a marriage license is a voluntarily request to be chained. ]

 

I just had a mental flash-back from one of the Old Yeller books (at least I think that is where this scene is from). --- A ?dad? was concerned he might have been infected with rabies after being bitten by an apparently crazed wild animal. He chained himself to a tree, and told his family - for the next so many hours - they were most emphatically NOT to release him, regardless of how much he might plead to be released.

 

Sometimes a person may realize that there are times he might become temporarily insane. When one is insane, he is absolutely sure he is actually the mentally sound one, and everybody else are the ones who need "help".

 

I guess (for myself anyway) - in the times when I like myself most - I consider my sane-self as the one who trusts in Jesus - the one I learn about when I read the Gospels and throughout the New Testament.

 

Bob Dylan said it well in Gotta Serve Somebody.

 

( So Viventrox, I respect die-hards ... I think some things are worth living for!).

 

-Dennis

 

1 Corinthians 6:12

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Great to see you back, SOIL, and I celebrate your happiness in your new grandchildren (and your children's ongoing growth). Cheers from wintry NYC

Thanks ficino,

 

I wish similar for you - there is life in NYC (wintry or no).

 

It's cool to recognize the handles on these posts!

 

Real People are associated with these names - and people are cool !

 

-Dennis

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...

... I respect that each of us only has so much time - and if you decide to use over an hour of yours to listen to that talk and then even more to put your comments here ...

...

-Dennis

Maybe such a time commitment needs some kind of "teaser" to encourage takers to listen to more -- So attached is an MP3 file containing a 27 second excerpt.

 

-Dennis

John_Piper_5_excerpt_2001_04_10.mp3

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...

... I respect that each of us only has so much time - and if you decide to use over an hour of yours to listen to that talk and then even more to put your comments here ...

...

-Dennis

Maybe such a time commitment needs some kind of "teaser" to encourage takers to listen to more -- So attached is an MP3 file containing a 27 second excerpt.

 

-Dennis

 

How long is the entire sermon? I tried listening to it, but turned it off within a minute when it was too christian-y for me, and I'm Christian! :HaHa:

 

-CC in MA

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Maybe such a time commitment needs some kind of "teaser" to encourage takers to listen to more -- So attached is an MP3 file containing a 27 second excerpt.
How about you just put the argument in your own words?
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Since this god doesn't exist, it's a waste of time to try and figure out what it wants.
I exist, seems like what I want is in many respects the kind of being the Bible speaks of - Jesus fits what I want. I believe He exists. I say he fits what I want, however in some respects he is the opposite. Actually it doesn't seem likely (to me), he could be only the figment of someone's imagination. He does "fit", yet he's more than a figment.

 

Howdy Dave ! - nice to meet 'ya

 

-Dennis

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How about you just put the argument in your own words?
Wow, I think if you listen to the full talk, you will probably get the best answer to your question.

 

Here's a couple from me first though.

 

A. Time constraints,

B. Folks would complain about the length of my post.

C. And (probably the most important reason) - Though I agree with most of what he says, I am not as capable of expressing myself as he is.

e.g. If you type in the URL: "
" (as I did when trying to remember how to get to this site) - you will not see a long post by Dave (
in his own words
). Rather, (if things havent' changed yet) you will likely see what amounts to a "reading list" of various books ... I assume written by folks he may think have expressed opinions he shares perhaps better than he could (given
his
time constraints) ?

 

-Dennis

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Ok, I listened to most of this sermon and I have "few" responses to his statments.

 

I'll let you know from the start that don't believe in any personal god so this is mostly an academic exercise for me.

 

First, I have to wonder what he thinks god's primary goal is? Our happiness or his glory...he talks about both but even the bible says one cannot serve two masters,

 

if god is focusing on his glory then our pleasure is just an afterthought...but, I think if I understand the guy what he is saying is that god primarily cares about our pleasure and the reason he wants us to glorify him is that it will bring us the most pleasure..

 

I'm not convinced this is actually the idea taught in the bible, but leaving that alone for the moment, consider myself...Christianity quite literally made me miserable. The religion, the people, the churches, even the theology, which I spent hours obsessing over, almost drove me to have a mental break down...

 

this being the case, I find it hard to understand why, if god is primarily concerned about my pleasure, God would be angry that I am an atheist...I mean if I am happier this way then why does it bother him?

 

Of course he talks about magnifying god, and leaving his woefully poor understanding of how telescopes and magnifying glasses work, if god is really concerned about himself being glorified then my happiness is just secondary.

 

He says that magnifying himself is part of God's nature and for him to not do so would violate some sense of justice ( he seems to have a strange definition of justice) I just don't understand this way of thinking at all, he seems to contradict himself at every turn. He never will pin himself down to what he is claiming is gods primary concern.

 

Of course he talks about deceitful pleasures...and makes the assumption that every non-Christian is some horrible hedonist who parties drinks and has lots of sex....well I find that bit offensive and highly misinformed since I hardly drink, I've been to one party in the last year, and I've had sex a grand total of 2 times in my entire life, which is pretty pathetic for a 28 year old... ( the sad thing is that if I had remained a Christian I would probably have gotten married by now and would be having crazy missionary position sex right now) In any case, I hardly left Christianity so I could go on a rampage of pleasure

 

In any case, I just don't get the fascination Christians have with eternity and things lasting for a long time. Maybe its the Taoist in me, but things just don't last forever, I enjoy my life right now because I know it won't go on forever. I'm not deceived by pleasure because I never thought it would last forever in the first place.

 

The thing is, that this idea he puts forward often translates into be miserable now in hopes that you might be happy when you die if all these crazy beliefs I have turn out to be true. A person who is gay might find someone they love and live the next 40 or 50 years happily with that person, but according to this guy that person just followed a "deceitful pleasure"

 

Even if I WAS a totally hedonist, I would need proof that life after death exists before I would give up my current happiness to ensure happiness after death, and life after death seems a very remote and absurd concept to me. Even as a Christian I spent as little time as possible thinking about things like that, and found other christians who did kind of morbid and creepy.

 

Lastly, towards the end, he starts sounding very Calvinist, by saying that his own son might be sent to hell and if so he wouldn't question gods goodness or justice (again, a very weird sense of what justice is) This actually hurts me quite a lot when I hear this. You see, I have fundy parents and I see them do the same thing all the time...that is, they choose their religion over me. And it hurts like hell, I don't mind telling you. They don't trust me anymore, I'm not even allowed to babysit my sisters anymore because they are afraid I'll influence them with my "evil atheism"

 

I'm sorry, but any god who intentionally creates this kind of situation is not working for my pleasure

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I exist
So? You're not a god.
seems like what I want is in many respects the kind of being the Bible speaks of - Jesus fits what I want.
I don't want to be anything like that guy. I can do better.
I believe He exists. I say he fits what I want, however in some respects he is the opposite. Actually it doesn't seem likely (to me), he could be only the figment of someone's imagination. He does "fit", yet he's more than a figment.
Just because you like him does not mean he exists or existed or was a god/son-of-a-god. A question I've asked quite a bit is; why bother? If he fits in some areas, but doesn't in others, or is the opposite, then why bother? You don't need to believe in anything in the bible to be a good person.
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How about you just put the argument in your own words?
Wow, I think if you listen to the full talk, you will probably get the best answer to your question.
Well.... that ain't gonna happen. I've heard all the christian stuff before. They've come up with no new arguments in over a thousand years.
Here's a couple from me first though.

 

A. Time constraints,

Which I why I won't listen to such things or go read long tirades somewhere else.
B. Folks would complain about the length of my post.
Most likely it wouldn't get read. Learn to be more precise in your arguments.
C. And (probably the most important reason) - Though I agree with most of what he says, I am not as capable of expressing myself as he is.
Something you can learn. If you waste space with flowery prose or meaningless musings, you'll not get your point across.
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You don't need to believe in anything in the bible to be a good person.

 

I agree.

 

-CC in MA

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Wow Kuroikaze,

 

Now that is the kind of post I was hoping to see!

 

Thank You for spending your time in listening to so much of the talk!

 

First, I have to wonder what he thinks god's primary goal is? Our happiness or his glory...he talks about both but even the bible says one cannot serve two masters,

Good question. I have listened to various sermons by John Piper and I have read some parts of a couple of his books - so maybe I can shed some additional light on the general area you ask about (but of course it would be better if we could hear directly from him - since sometimes I don't do a very good job speaking for others).

 

The general idea I get is this : One of the best ways for God to increase his glory, happens when we discover we get the most pleasure from knowing Him. So if we truly do find the most possible joy through esteeming a relationship with God as the most productive soil in which to root our search for highest quality pleasure -- then it works out so God's seeking His own glory also fulfills his desire for his creation to to enjoy maximum pleasure.

 

Maybe I can say - God can kill two birds with one stone (as the saying goes).

 

Of course he talks about deceitful pleasures...and makes the assumption that every non-Christian is some horrible hedonist ....

I'm not certain, but I think you may be a bit off here. Actually one of the identifying phrases Piper uses to describe himself is "Christian hedonist", so I don't think he considers the term to be synonymous with something bad. I think he considers that each of us, not only will, but should seek pleasure - now, he may be a bit different from a "normal" understanding of a hedonist, since he says he expects to find the most possible pleasure by following Jesus' example of losing himself in order to gain himself.

 

What you said about your parents priorities does get my attention.

 

I'll think some more on that one before speaking directly to that.

 

Man, I really do appreciate hearing from you.

 

I hope you got far enough into the talk to hear his response to the question referring to the quote from Nietzsche about the potter being angry with the pot he created. I guess the thing I like most about that talk is that he deals with some of the hardest questions (there toward the end) without "wimping out" (or at least that is what I think a lot of folks do with some of those kinds of questions).

 

-Dennis

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You don't need to believe in anything in the bible to be a good person.

 

I agree.

 

-CC in MA

CC and Dave,

 

I think the point is not so much about being a good person - rather enjoying the most pleasure.

 

Perhaps there was an implied claim that maximum pleasure for a human being is made more possible via a knowledge of things the Bible claims to be true. This would involve a belief that the Bible contains more than only what can be "made up" by people without any help from God. I think the idea is that it's more possible to have an enduring sense of pleasure (even during the many painful times that occur in most everyone's lives) when we have an assurance about better times to come because someone who cares about us is ultimately in control.

 

-Dennis

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I think the point is not so much about being a good person - rather enjoying the most pleasure.
You cannot do that with a god belief.
Perhaps there was an implied claim that maximum pleasure for a human being is made more possible via a knowledge of things the Bible claims to be true. This would involve a belief that the Bible contains more than only what can be "made up" by people without any help from God.
Since these gods do not exist the only explanation left is that the bible was made up by humans without any help from a god.
I think the idea is that it's more possible to have an enduring sense of pleasure (even during the many painful times that occur in most everyone's lives) when we have an assurance about better times to come because someone who cares about us is ultimately in control.
I don't see that as possible. One, that god does not exist. Two, you'd be so worried about offending this vengeful, controlling, god that you would have no pleasure but terror.

 

You, along with all other believers, are skipping the first step; you need to prove the god exists BEFORE you make any claims about what it wants or what it says or what it did.

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Jebus said we are to love the Lard Gawd with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. Then are we to love our neighbors as ourselves.

 

If he wants us to seek other pleasures, he sure didn't seem to leave room for it. Unless, of course, we are to unlearn the natural definition of "pleasure" and re-learn it as "serving Jebus like a blind slave."

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Jebus said we are to love the Lard Gawd with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. Then are we to love our neighbors as ourselves.

 

If he wants us to seek other pleasures, he sure didn't seem to leave room for it. Unless, of course, we are to unlearn the natural definition of "pleasure" and re-learn it as "serving Jebus like a blind slave."

 

Jesus wants those who choose to follow him to enjoy abundant life and joy unspeakable! Whatever those are, is open to interpretation. :shrug:

 

-CC in MA

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You don't need to believe in anything in the bible to be a good person.

 

I agree.

 

-CC in MA

 

Hey CC, I'm derailing the thread for a sec, but are you Catholic? Are you gay? I gathered from some of your recent posts that you have a same-sex partner, but maybe I misread you. Anyway, I'm an ex-Catholic gay person, so I'm curious about someone's reasons for being Catholic and in a gay or lesbian relationship - I am really sorry if I am getting the facts wrong about you.

 

Kuroikaze, I really loved your response above. I hear you. Despite all the studying I did, in the end I came down to not believing in a mean god, and it seemed the god of scripture is mean.

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