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God Works In Mysteious Ways!


garrisonjj
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I've always hated this term. What is the motivation behind it? When many unnamed, seemingly meaningless deaths, diseases or accidents occur, "god works in myserious ways."

I alway wanted to answer, "Why the FUCK is that?"

Why does mystery have to surround god? Is it perhaps, that he isn't there in the first place?

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I've always hated this term. What is the motivation behind it? When many unnamed, seemingly meaningless deaths, diseases or accidents occur, "god works in myserious ways."

I alway wanted to answer, "Why the FUCK is that?"

Why does mystery have to surround god? Is it perhaps, that he isn't there in the first place?

 

As I see it, there are three possibilities:

 

1. There is no god and this phrase is used to explain the unexplainable, to offer solace and psychological comfort.

 

2. There is a god and this god does work in mysterious ways that we simply are not privy to at this time.

 

3. There is a god and this god is limited in the capacity to act and orchestrate, for many cosmic reasons we know nothing of, and people employ "god works in mysterious ways" to explain what's going on.

 

I choose #3 generally and #2 occasionally.

 

-CC in MA

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1. There is no god and this phrase is used to explain the unexplainable, to offer solace and psychological comfort.

 

What about when it doesn't offer solace or comfort? Like after the death of a child. Is there anything more callous than telling a deeply grieving parent that this was somehow god's will, and "who can understand the mind of God" ? Yet, christians spew out this kind of answer all the time. At least they ought to be honest and just say "I don't know why this happened. Perhaps there is no why"

 

I'd say #1 should be:

 

1. There is no god, and this phrase provides cover for that fact, in providing an answer that cannot be questioned or broken down any further.

 

"Shit happens" is actually much more accurate. Once you deconvert from thinking that this is all one big puppet show, you understand that there are coincidences in life. Lots of them.

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Well, I'd say most religious people actually really mean this: mysteries works in god's way.

 

Meaning, anything that is a mystery - or unexplained - is caused by god. (argument from ignorance)

 

They just turn the phrase to make it sound more convincing.

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I agree, Mythra.

 

One should never, ever, ever talk about God "needing an angel in heaven" or "calling a child home" or other such vulgar nonsense.

Ever. If God needs an angel, let him make one, I'd say back if someone said something like this to me.

 

This is not a puppet show. God is up there, as I see it, but we are the agents of our lives and, yes, as you so aptly put it Mythra, "Shit happens." It just does. God is with us when shit happens (my view), but God is not the author of the shit. As I see it.

 

-CC in MA

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...but God is not the author of the shit. As I see it.

Shit has to come from somebody. "...so the LORD will bring on you all the evil he has threatened,.." (Joshua 23:15) Threatened, then delivered by God. "The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul." (I Samuel 18:10 ) Yes, the spirit was evil, but God sent it; evil came with His permission. And don't forget about poor old Job, who did nothing but honor God, and for his troubles was sent ...you guessed it...multiple evils from God. And don't argue that it's Satan's fault when God allowed it! As I see it. ;)

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...but God is not the author of the shit. As I see it.

Shit has to come from somebody. "...so the LORD will bring on you all the evil he has threatened,.." (Joshua 23:15) Threatened, then delivered by God. "The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul." (I Samuel 18:10 ) Yes, the spirit was evil, but God sent it; evil came with His permission. And don't forget about poor old Job, who did nothing but honor God, and for his troubles was sent ...you guessed it...multiple evils from God. And don't argue that it's Satan's fault when God allowed it! As I see it. ;)

 

Good points, Ex-COG.

 

A few things:

 

The words from Joshua 23.15 are Joshua's words to the Israelites as he was about to die. These are his words, not God's. His opinions. Joshua's theology.

 

The evil spirit afflicting Saul was attributed to God by the author of Samuel, after Saul embarked upon a jealous campaign to eradicate David. Was this evil spirit from God? Maybe. But perhaps the author of Samuel had it wrong?

 

Job is taken by most to be fiction, not literal. It's a morality tale. Certainly, the author believed that God and Satan got together now and then and talked things over and made deals to see what was really going on down below. But this is what the author believed. Is it true? Do God and Satan have lunch once a month? I don't know.

 

Still, your point is well taken, Ex-COG. And there is so much we don't know -- much more than we do know -- that it is impossible to really, really, really know most of these things. That's why I try to always say "as I see it" or "seems to me" or "it may be..."

 

CYA, so to speak. :grin:

 

-CC in MA

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And there is so much we don't know -- much more than we do know -- that it is impossible to really, really, really know most of these things.

Which is why I'm an agnostic. :grin:

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Good points, Ex-COG.

 

A few things:

 

The words from Joshua 23.15 are Joshua's words to the Israelites as he was about to die. These are his words, not God's. His opinions. Joshua's theology.

 

The evil spirit afflicting Saul was attributed to God by the author of Samuel, after Saul embarked upon a jealous campaign to eradicate David. Was this evil spirit from God? Maybe. But perhaps the author of Samuel had it wrong?

 

Job is taken by most to be fiction, not literal. It's a morality tale. Certainly, the author believed that God and Satan got together now and then and talked things over and made deals to see what was really going on down below. But this is what the author believed. Is it true? Do God and Satan have lunch once a month? I don't know.

 

Still, your point is well taken, Ex-COG. And there is so much we don't know -- much more than we do know -- that it is impossible to really, really, really know most of these things. That's why I try to always say "as I see it" or "seems to me" or "it may be..."

 

CYA, so to speak. :grin:

 

-CC in MA

 

 

One thing I would mention is that the character of Satan in Job is not the same as the character of Satan in modern Christian theology. In Hebrew the word actually means something like "accuser" He was like a tester for god to make sure people were as faithful as they claimed to be. You will also noticed if you read between the lines that god is not omniscient in this story.

 

The modern concept of Satan didn't begin to develop until after the Babylonian exile.

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...but God is not the author of the shit. As I see it.

Shit has to come from somebody. "...so the LORD will bring on you all the evil he has threatened,.." (Joshua 23:15) Threatened, then delivered by God. "The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul." (I Samuel 18:10 ) Yes, the spirit was evil, but God sent it; evil came with His permission. And don't forget about poor old Job, who did nothing but honor God, and for his troubles was sent ...you guessed it...multiple evils from God. And don't argue that it's Satan's fault when God allowed it! As I see it. ;)

Is that a Kalam argument from Shit? :HaHa:

 

1) Shit must come from somebody

2) Only God can make great shit

C) God made all this shit.

 

:fdevil:

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God is up there, as I see it, but we are the agents of our lives and, yes, as you so aptly put it Mythra, "Shit happens." It just does. God is with us when shit happens (my view), but God is not the author of the shit. As I see it.

But the OT clearly states the evil was sent by God. It states God creates evil. Are you saying the bible is false? It states God makes the shit happen, and then you say God is with us (presumably in support) while creating evil in the first place? I don't get it.

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And there is so much we don't know -- much more than we do know -- that it is impossible to really, really, really know most of these things.

Which is why I'm an agnostic. :grin:

 

After I get past the existence of God and mission of Jesus questions, I'm agnostic about most of the details.

 

-CC in MA

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God is up there, as I see it, but we are the agents of our lives and, yes, as you so aptly put it Mythra, "Shit happens." It just does. God is with us when shit happens (my view), but God is not the author of the shit. As I see it.

But the OT clearly states the evil was sent by God. It states God creates evil. Are you saying the bible is false? It states God makes the shit happen, and then you say God is with us (presumably in support) while creating evil in the first place? I don't get it.

 

I claim agnosticism on this. I don't know.

 

On one hand, God is all good and every good and perfect gift is from above. On the other hand, he can tempt: Why else would Jesus instruct his followers to pray that they not be led into temptation?

 

These inconsistencies do not trouble me, in the least. Nothing in life is without inconsistencies and exceptions (ever study English grammar?)and contradictions.

 

I fall back on "God is love" and "love is from God" and we are to "love one another" as the Prime Directives. I certainly don't have all the answers about sub-Prime Directives.

 

Faith provides for me the confidence to say "I don't know, I don't know, I don't know" about a lot of things.

 

-CC in MA

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After I get past the existence of God and mission of Jesus questions, I'm agnostic about most of the details.

 

I bet your ideas float like a lead boat in the christian forums... :HaHa:

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God is up there, as I see it, but we are the agents of our lives and, yes, as you so aptly put it Mythra, "Shit happens." It just does. God is with us when shit happens (my view), but God is not the author of the shit. As I see it.

But the OT clearly states the evil was sent by God. It states God creates evil. Are you saying the bible is false? It states God makes the shit happen, and then you say God is with us (presumably in support) while creating evil in the first place? I don't get it.

 

I claim agnosticism on this. I don't know.

 

On one hand, God is all good and every good and perfect gift is from above. On the other hand, he can tempt: Why else would Jesus instruct his followers to pray that they not be led into temptation?

 

These inconsistencies do not trouble me, in the least. Nothing in life is without inconsistencies and exceptions (ever study English grammar?)and contradictions.

 

I fall back on "God is love" and "love is from God" and we are to "love one another" as the Prime Directives. I certainly don't have all the answers about sub-Prime Directives.

 

Faith provides for me the confidence to say "I don't know, I don't know, I don't know" about a lot of things.

 

-CC in MA

Well, those inconsistencies trouble me, CC.

If God is all good, bestowing gifts, why then the need to set up a world filled with constant stumbling blocks? Why tempt us, knowing we'll fail? Your fallback position is that God is love (presumably, unconditional love) but the bible clearly states that is not the case. I have no argument with your prime directive of loving one another, but that is an ancient wisdom not confined to christianity or judaism.

It seems the more logical approach, if one is to retain a theist belief, is the deist one. That the creator (God) created all that is, not knowing what would transpire, and simply stood aside letting the creation unfold on its own. No love, no gifts, no personal interventions, just life and the universe and what you see is what you get.

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There is nothing mysterious about god's ways, at least within the context of believing that a god exists.

 

If you know "god" well enough, and are honest enough with yourself about this, you realise that God is, in fact, utterly predictable. Everything he does and has done, everything his followers do and have done all make sense. There are no inconsistencies, and there are no more contradictions, no more mysteries.

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After I get past the existence of God and mission of Jesus questions, I'm agnostic about most of the details.

 

I bet your ideas float like a lead boat in the christian forums... :HaHa:

 

I was in a Christian forum once. You know how sometimes around here everyone "attacks" the lone person who says something like the ex-Mennonite the other day in Rants and Replies who wrote something about "examining your hearts" to discover why there is "hatred" on this forum? Well, I was that ex-Mennonite at that forum but my issue was the gay thingy. They don't like to hear that the Holy Spirit has descended upon gay people, too. So I left.

 

I started to join another one, but it was too sweet and praisethelordish and jesuslovesmeandyouish and I couldn't take it.

 

So for now I'll just hang out with my brothers and sisters in humanity here at ex-C.

 

-CC

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Well, those inconsistencies trouble me, CC.

If God is all good, bestowing gifts, why then the need to set up a world filled with constant stumbling blocks? Why tempt us, knowing we'll fail? Your fallback position is that God is love (presumably, unconditional love) but the bible clearly states that is not the case. I have no argument with your prime directive of loving one another, but that is an ancient wisdom not confined to christianity or judaism.

It seems the more logical approach, if one is to retain a theist belief, is the deist one. That the creator (God) created all that is, not knowing what would transpire, and simply stood aside letting the creation unfold on its own. No love, no gifts, no personal interventions, just life and the universe and what you see is what you get.

 

The Deist view is understandable. I can definitely see how one can embrace it.

 

I have no answers, but I do have a thought.

 

If we take the big picture of the Bible it seems that it started out with God with the progenitors of all flesh, a god for all human kind. This didn't work and a flood wiped the board clean.

 

God tried again to be a worldwide God with the Noah story; all Noah's descendants would be god's special group. Didn't work.

 

Then God parochialized himself with Abraham; now he would be the God of one small ethnic group. Surely things would go as planned now. They did not. That didn't work very well, either.

 

Finally, he became the god of all again with the advent of Jesus, a universal christos, savior, redeemer. (As Xtians see it.) Well, that's not working very well, either, frankly.

 

So I don't know. If I were God, I'd probably have given up by now and just moved on to another planet and started over. Probably there are many planet-laboratories in which this same experiment is running. I hope one day we get a peak into all of that and zoom around the universe with Einstein and Galileo! :magic:

 

-CC

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If we take the big picture of the Bible it seems that it started out with God with the progenitors of all flesh, a god for all human kind. This didn't work and a flood wiped the board clean.

 

God tried again to be a worldwide God with the Noah story; all Noah's descendants would be god's special group. Didn't work.

 

Then God parochialized himself with Abraham; now he would be the God of one small ethnic group. Surely things would go as planned now. They did not. That didn't work very well, either.

 

Finally, he became the god of all again with the advent of Jesus, a universal christos, savior, redeemer. (As Xtians see it.) Well, that's not working very well, either, frankly.

Well, doesn't it imply that God isn't such good at "knowing everything"? Wouldn't he know with his omniscience attribute? Or maybe he got a selective prophetic vision. :) In any case, like I've said many times before, god would make a crappy investor.

 

Wait a second here... Bush is the returned Jesus!!! I can see it now!

 

If one of gods attributes is to constantly fail in his endeavours, well, Bush fits perfectly. :HaHa:

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So for now I'll just hang out with my brothers and sisters in humanity here at ex-C.
I certainly hope so, CC. Your posts add interesting perspective.

 

If I were God, I'd probably have given up by now and just moved on to another planet and started over. Probably there are many planet-laboratories in which this same experiment is running.

Oh come on now...that's not being very omnipresent.

 

Seriously, though, to tie this back to garrisonjj's original OP. God's "mysterious ways" as an explanation at best are just a cop-out. Either he does exist but can't or won't intervene, he does exist but brings evil upon us for his own malicious or capricious reasons, or he doesn't exist. Epicurean, I know.

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Seriously, though, to tie this back to garrisonjj's original OP. God's "mysterious ways" as an explanation at best are just a cop-out. Either he does exist but can't or won't intervene, he does exist but brings evil upon us for his own malicious or capricious reasons, or he doesn't exist. Epicurean, I know.

 

Piprus, my favorite author is Rabbi Harold Kushner.

 

In When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Kushner offers his readers a chapter called "The Story of a Man Named Job." Here are two excerpts:

 

"The Book of Job is probably the greatest, fullest, most profound discussion of the subject of good people suffering ever written. Part of its greatness lies in the fact that the author was scrupulously fair to all points of view, even those he did not accept....

 

"Let me suggest that the author of the Book of Job takes the position which neither Job nor his friends take. He believes in God's goodness and in Job's goodness, and is prepared to give up his belief in proposition (A): that God is all-powerful. Bad things happen to good people in this world, but it is not God who wills it. God would like people to get what they deserve in life, but He cannot always arrange it. Forced to choose between a good God who is not totally powerful, or a powerful God who is not totally good, the author of the Book of Job chooses to believe in God's goodness."

 

I go along with this wise Rabbi.

 

-CC

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Piprus, here's more from Rabbi Kushner:

 

"If we have grown up, as Job and his friends did, believing in an all-wise, all-powerful, all-knowing God, it will be hard for us, as it was hard for them, to change our way of thinking about Him (as it was hard for us, when we were children, to realize that our parents were not all-powerful, that a broken toy had to be thrown out because they could not fix it, not because they did not want to). But if we can bring ourselves to acknowledge that there are some things God does not control, many good things become possible....

 

"I believe in God. But I do not believe the same things about Him that I did years ago, when I was growing up or when I was a theological student. I recognize His limitations. He is limited in what He can do by laws of nature and by the evolution of human nature and human moral freedom. I no longer hold God responsible for illnesses, accidents, and natural disasters, because I realize that I gain little and I lose so much when I blame God for those things. I can worship a God who hates suffering but cannot eliminate it, more easily than I can worship a God who chooses to make children suffer and die, for whatever exalted reason."

 

-CC

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CC,

 

Yet it doesn't match the dialogue between God and Satan, when God allows Satan through a bet (God the gambler) to hurt and even kill people. It might be argued that God is only a passive participant in the event, but even in court today, it is not accepted as an excuse. It would be called something like conspiracy to murder, and is punishable just as much as the one holding the knife (or gun etc). And again we touch upon God's omniscience, if God knew Satan would lose eventually, then why would God go through with letting the innocent be hurt? He could have told Satan "you're stupid, you know I win so give it up." And the next problem too with the story of Job is that Satan supposedly was thrown out of Heaven, so what is he doing there?

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Hans beat me to the reply button, CC, but my sentiments are the same.

I have a lot of respect for Rabbis. They often bring a bright perspective to theological thinking, and I've always seen judaism as a more down to earth, humanistic religion than the fantasies of fundamentalist christianity.

 

Rabbi Kushner's conclusion in your excerpt is compelling if not inspirational, but here again. God was not without the power to prevent Job's disaster. In fact, he allowed it. As it was taught to me as a fundie baptist, God allowed Satan to smite Job to test his faith, and only restored Job when he passed the test. It's an archetype for Jesus' teaching for christians to hold fast despite persecution and suffering. God bears ultimate responsibility, if he is indeed God. Why cannot God be totally powerful AND totally good?

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Piprus, here's more from Rabbi Kushner:

 

"If we have grown up, as Job and his friends did, believing in an all-wise, all-powerful, all-knowing God, it will be hard for us, as it was hard for them, to change our way of thinking about Him (as it was hard for us, when we were children, to realize that our parents were not all-powerful, that a broken toy had to be thrown out because they could not fix it, not because they did not want to). But if we can bring ourselves to acknowledge that there are some things God does not control, many good things become possible....

 

"I believe in God. But I do not believe the same things about Him that I did years ago, when I was growing up or when I was a theological student. I recognize His limitations. He is limited in what He can do by laws of nature and by the evolution of human nature and human moral freedom. I no longer hold God responsible for illnesses, accidents, and natural disasters, because I realize that I gain little and I lose so much when I blame God for those things. I can worship a God who hates suffering but cannot eliminate it, more easily than I can worship a God who chooses to make children suffer and die, for whatever exalted reason."

 

-CC

Then by this assessment God is not omnipotent. A minor spirit then, perhaps. At best worthy only of recognition, but not of worship. If he's limited in redeeming us from disasters and illnesses, is he equally limited in his "blessings"? In my view, not a good case to present in defending the existence of God. Why believe in a weak God?

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