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Tysyacha
02-13-2011, 04:27 PM
(NOTE: This is an open letter that I first wrote to one of my best LF friends.)

I went to church this morning, mainly to spend time with my mom and dad and to cry out for help to the higher power/God in which I believe. However, the time in which I thought I'd be free to do so without fear, guilt, or condemnation was poisoned--ruined--by a rather Orwellian sermon. What I mean is this: In his novel 1984, George Orwell talked about the concepts of doublethink and doublespeak--thinking and saying two completely opposite things while believing in them both, completely. As a teenager and young adult, I didn't understand this at all, but now that I've experienced a bit more of life, I feel I have a good grasp of it. Again, let me explain. This whole THING is hard to explain, as shown by my use of the word "thing"!!!

Our church's pastor is doing a sermon series entitled "Losing My Religion". He's encouraging us, meaning the church congregation, to have a genuine relationship with God instead of focusing on "religion"--the do's and dont's, the rituals and prohibitions, the doing of specific things to win God's love instead of being--living--in God's light and love. Granted, I don't really know what it means to "live in God's light and love" anymore, but our pastor kind of takes it for granted that since we're all Christians and have been to church for years, we do--or should, at least--know what this means. Anyway, that's the point of his sermon series on the surface. However, at least in my mind, if a sermon provokes far more questions, objections, and fear in me than peace and understanding, then something's wrong with it. Something's wrong with its premises.

1) On the ONE hand, my pastor talked about love--specifically how (God's) love is sacrificial and unconditional. This is consistent with what I've been (doctrinally) taught about God's love.

-1) On the OTHER hand, along with this message of love, he talked about the bad news--what I call "the catch": "Some people are condemned already, because they don't believe in Jesus."

If God's love is supposed to be unconditional, and "condemnation" means an eternal withdrawal of God's love--that's what I believe that Hell is--then isn't "belief in Jesus" a condition of God's love? If you don't believe in Jesus, say my pastor and church, then you will be judged guilty and separated forever from God and His love. How, then, can they honestly say that God's love is unconditional? To me, this is a crystal-clear example of what Orwell called doublethink.

2) On the ONE hand, my pastor talked about the very beginning of John 3:16. It says, "For God so loved the world..." Meaning, God loved all the people in the world, from the beginning of time until the end of time. Fair enough, say I, because as my pastor also exclaimed, "God IS love!"

-2) On the OTHER hand, he talked about how WE, as HUMANS, not just as Christians, are "born bad". If God despises evil--things that are bad--which I'm sure my pastor and I both agree that He does, then how can God love US if we're BORN bad/evil? If God loves all the people in the world, from the beginning of time until the end of time, and yet such people are every-single-one-of-them BORN evil, then the concept of God's love makes no sense at all. It's utterly contradictory, and another brilliant example of what Orwell deemed doublethink.

This next example might be the most insidious of all.

3) On the ONE hand, my pastor talked about how living in God's grace and mercy means "you have nothing to lose (because you've gained salvation through Christ) and nothing to prove (because you don't have to try and win God's love anymore. Jesus did all the 'proving' for you)."

-3) On the OTHER hand, his view on salvation is called the "perseverance of the saints," meaning that if you not only continue having faith, but also if "your life reflects your faith in Jesus" (meaning you do enough good deeds and don't swear/don't drink/don't slander or gossip/don't cheat, etc.) THEN you will be saved. He made the point that "you can't just pray a prayer that invites Jesus into your heart and then live your life sinning all you want." Fair enough--I hate hypocrisy anyway. However, isn't this another condition of God's supposedly unconditional salvation? I'd hate to be on my deathbed worrying if I'd been pure enough, and done enough good deeds, to be authentically saved. Underneath all of my pastor and church's pious words and rhetoric, is it REALLY the truth that I have everything to lose (my salvation) and everything to prove (myself and my "genuine relationship with God") through my good deeds? I was wrong--there is a fourth example that blows the previous three away:

4) On the ONE hand, my pastor made the point that God wants a real relationship with us.

-4) On the OTHER hand, he also made the point that "our response, and our relationship with God, must be genuine (in order for all of this to work)." However, he never told us who decides what is and is not a "genuine" relationship with God. Supposedly, God should and does, but he never said that explicitly. That worries me. Thoughts? I have a knot in the pit of my stomach...

Note: Why have I done the 1) -1), 2) -2) enumeration that way? As you can probably tell, it wasn't just to list my points, one by one. What is 1 + -1, 2 + -2, etc.? That's right, zero, and that's why I feel so empty inside instead of full right now. I don't really understand--about God's love, about Jesus, about salvation and condemnation/going to Hell, and especially about what a "genuine relationship with God" is. I also don't understand what "losing my religion" would free me from--at least as much as my pastor understands the concept of "losing my religion". Do I make any sense at all? Perhaps not, but that's about as much as I can explain it.

Right now, I feel lost. Used up. Discarded. Thrown away like trash. I lost my job--I was used and expended as any "human resource" would be, and then laid off when there was no longer any money to pay for my continued usefulness as an employee of my workplace. I was forced to move back home, which I did NOT want, because I'm running out of money and my parents are the ones supporting me right now (along with unemployment and government charity). I have no right on Earth to ask such questions, and no right to feel this way, because of my circumstances and my supposed status as a Christian. At least, that's how I feel right now.

I feel abandoned, and like no one understands. I feel like if the people around me knew what I really thought, and how I really felt, then they would judge me negatively, and condemn me (withdraw their friendship/love/etc. from me, because I'm "supposed to be a Christian" and not the way I am right now). Am I an ungrateful--er, female dog in heat? Perhaps, but I keep feeling guilty because I KNOW I shouldn't feel this way, and yet I do. I also feel guilty because I keep suspecting that the "love" I'm experiencing from others comes with strings attached.

If my pastor wants me to "lose my religion", then I have good news for him: I already have.

I've lost a lot more than that, too, and I find it absolutely impossible to "get over it" and "deal with it" like every good Christian should. I feel a void inside of me, a "zero". This is MY truth.

Sincerely,
Tysyacha

Pho3nix
02-13-2011, 04:46 PM
I think your problem is that you're trying to be logical with something that is inherently not.

Tysyacha
02-13-2011, 05:11 PM
^^^ This. However, another problem that I have is that I find it difficult to turn off my brain and just go with my emotions when it comes to this sort of thing. I find it hard to just BELIEVE something without wondering WHY or IF it should be believed. I'm weird! :P

jonathan7
02-13-2011, 05:16 PM
(NOTE: This is an open letter that I first wrote to one of my best LF friends.)

I went to church this morning, mainly to spend time with my mom and dad and to cry out for help to the higher power/God in which I believe. However, the time in which I thought I'd be free to do so without fear, guilt, or condemnation was poisoned--ruined--by a rather Orwellian sermon. What I mean is this: In his novel 1984, George Orwell talked about the concepts of doublethink and doublespeak--thinking and saying two completely opposite things while believing in them both, completely. As a teenager and young adult, I didn't understand this at all, but now that I've experienced a bit more of life, I feel I have a good grasp of it. Again, let me explain. This whole THING is hard to explain, as shown by my use of the word "thing"!!!

Hey Tysyacha I'm sorry to hear this, and I will respond, I hope what I say will be helpful.

Our church's pastor is doing a sermon series entitled "Losing My Religion". He's encouraging us, meaning the church congregation, to have a genuine relationship with God instead of focusing on "religion"--the do's and dont's, the rituals and prohibitions, the doing of specific things to win God's love instead of being--living--in God's light and love. Granted, I don't really know what it means to "live in God's light and love" anymore, but our pastor kind of takes it for granted that since we're all Christians and have been to church for years, we do--or should, at least--know what this means.

The statement "I'm in a relationship not a religion" is actually an idiom, I am a Christian, but being a Christian means I am "religious". I hear a lot of Christians say that "Christianity is a relationship and not a religion" but in truth I think they haven't really thought about what the statement entails and are just parroting what others have heard. I am a Christian, I have a relationship with Jesus, and that means I am part of a religion; belief in God is a religious belief, despite what others may try and say to the contrary.

Anyway, that's the point of his sermon series on the surface. However, at least in my mind, if a sermon provokes far more questions, objections, and fear in me than peace and understanding, then something's wrong with it. Something's wrong with its premises.

Please feel free to forward the contents of this to your "pastor" should you wish... You may also wish to think about discussing it with him, I can't say if he would be helpful or unhelpful or if he is a "good" pastor or not.

1) On the ONE hand, my pastor talked about love--specifically how (God's) love is sacrificial and unconditional. This is consistent with what I've been (doctrinally) taught about God's love.

-1) On the OTHER hand, along with this message of love, he talked about the bad news--what I call "the catch": "Some people are condemned already, because they don't believe in Jesus."

If God's love is supposed to be unconditional, and "condemnation" means an eternal withdrawal of God's love--that's what I believe that Hell is--then isn't "belief in Jesus" a condition of God's love? If you don't believe in Jesus, say my pastor and church, then you will be judged guilty and separated forever from God and His love. How, then, can they honestly say that God's love is unconditional? To me, this is a crystal-clear example of what Orwell called doublethink.

In any discussion it is helpful to clarify terms, in this case what does your pastor and you think the phrase "unconditional love" mean? For me, I don't think "unconditional love" exists, in fact I think it a meaningless phrase.

A couple of observations, firstly Jesus said not to judge, while I would say there is both heaven and hell, it is not mine, or any other humans place to say who will be in either. If you believe in a loving God, then it is far more traumatic to the said deity that some of the beings he created are going to hell. What is the need for hell?

But, I ask you, you have a criminal who has committed a crime, lets say any of armed robbery, rape or murder; what do you do with the said individual? Do you leave them among the said populace? Lets say you have a serial rapist or a serial killer; what do you do with them? Lets say its a serial killer that psychologists say has a 100% re-offendal rate (most serial killers have a 99% re-offendal should you think this unrealistic). It would seem to me if you apply what your saying here, then they said above individuals should be allowed to continue in the general populace...

So I also ask you a simple question; where should individuals like Hitler go when they die? It's upto you, if you were God, what would you do with them? I mean should he be in the same place as the millions he killed?

It would also seem to me that if we are going to account for what is known as "Sin" in Church circles or more commonly "Evil" then it would seem to me God thought our freedom of choice was so important that he would no stop it, even if the consequences are drastic; see the state of the world, with millions dying etc etc.

2) On the ONE hand, my pastor talked about the very beginning of John 3:16. It says, "For God so loved the world..." Meaning, God loved all the people in the world, from the beginning of time until the end of time. Fair enough, say I, because as my pastor also exclaimed, "God IS love!"

-2) On the OTHER hand, he talked about how WE, as HUMANS, not just as Christians, are "born bad". If God despises evil--things that are bad--which I'm sure my pastor and I both agree that He does, then how can God love US if we're BORN bad/evil? If God loves all the people in the world, from the beginning of time until the end of time, and yet such people are every-single-one-of-them BORN evil, then the concept of God's love makes no sense at all. It's utterly contradictory, and another brilliant example of what Orwell deemed doublethink.

Is the above actually an accurate summation of the truth, or what some standard doctrines are? Another question can also be asked can two seemingly contradictory things be true at once would be my first question? I would dispute that all individuals are born evil, there seems to be a great over-emphasis in certain Christian circles on the "evil" of man, which seemingly forgets we are also made in the image of God. The said above also ignores that certain individuals such as Abraham, Moses and various others where seen to be "righteous" in the eyes of the Lord. I cannot know where others stand with God; it's upto Jesus, but will there be Muslims in Heaven? I don't know that's upto Jesus; I certainly hope so!

This next example might be the most insidious of all.

3) On the ONE hand, my pastor talked about how living in God's grace and mercy means "you have nothing to lose (because you've gained salvation through Christ) and nothing to prove (because you don't have to try and win God's love anymore. Jesus did all the 'proving' for you)."

-3) On the OTHER hand, his view on salvation is called the "perseverance of the saints," meaning that if you not only continue having faith, but also if "your life reflects your faith in Jesus" (meaning you do enough good deeds and don't swear/don't drink/don't slander or gossip/don't cheat, etc.) THEN you will be saved. He made the point that "you can't just pray a prayer that invites Jesus into your heart and then live your life sinning all you want." Fair enough--I hate hypocrisy anyway. However, isn't this another condition of God's supposedly unconditional salvation? I'd hate to be on my deathbed worrying if I'd been pure enough, and done enough good deeds, to be authentically saved. Underneath all of my pastor and church's pious words and rhetoric, is it REALLY the truth that I have everything to lose (my salvation) and everything to prove (myself and my "genuine relationship with God") through my good deeds? I was wrong--there is a fourth example that blows the previous three away:

Lets swap this point around though, I have friends who were drug addicts and gang members, and having become Christians, they have totally turned their lives around. They don't do good because they have to, or that they are force or to prove themselves. They do good, because they are thankful for what has been done for them, and they want to make a difference to others. It would seem to me that is very different to having to do something for Salvation.

4) On the ONE hand, my pastor made the point that God wants a real relationship with us.

-4) On the OTHER hand, he also made the point that "our response, and our relationship with God, must be genuine (in order for all of this to work)." However, he never told us who decides what is and is not a "genuine" relationship with God. Supposedly, God should and does, but he never said that explicitly. That worries me. Thoughts? I have a knot in the pit of my stomach...

I think it another meaningless statement myself, what is a genuine relationship? Is the relationship between a loving father and a loving daughter any more "genuine" than the relationship between an abusive father and a fearful daughter? In my experience God is faithful regardless of the way we act, and there are various examples in the Bible of God being faithful to those who are acting very differently towards him.

Note: Why have I done the 1) -1), 2) -2) enumeration that way? As you can probably tell, it wasn't just to list my points, one by one. What is 1 + -1, 2 + -2, etc.? That's right, zero, and that's why I feel so empty inside instead of full right now. I don't really understand--about God's love, about Jesus, about salvation and condemnation/going to Hell, and especially about what a "genuine relationship with God" is. I also don't understand what "losing my religion" would free me from--at least as much as my pastor understands the concept of "losing my religion". Do I make any sense at all? Perhaps not, but that's about as much as I can explain it.

Forget all of this discussion; Jesus loves you, right now, he loves you if you are a Christian or not. Now many Christians to me, do not actually really soul search and evaluate their lives or what they believe. I think you are doing that right now, with regards Jesus, do I think I am deserving of his love? The answer to that is complex; as I think it both yes and no. No because I sin, and am deserving of punishment, indeed, I think I am more guilty as I am far more aware of my actions as I am a Christian, than those who do not know what they are doing. (Think about Jesus statement on the Cross "Forgive them farther for they do not know what they are doing). I also think yes I do deserve love for a variety of reasons not least because I am a Child of God and made in HIS image.

Right now, I feel lost. Used up. Discarded. Thrown away like trash. I lost my job--I was used and expended as any "human resource" would be, and then laid off when there was no longer any money to pay for my continued usefulness as an employee of my workplace. I was forced to move back home, which I did NOT want, because I'm running out of money and my parents are the ones supporting me right now (along with unemployment and government charity). I have no right on Earth to ask such questions, and no right to feel this way, because of my circumstances and my supposed status as a Christian. At least, that's how I feel right now.

You have every right to question and think things through, the Bible speaks of people "wrestling" with God. And I think this is far more honest than a lot of so called Christians I know who have never dealt with such questions. At the Churches I have attended I have often been told that I should read Nietzsche, and other atheists as I would loose my faith. However I want to believe what is true and as such if what I believe is true I shouldn't fear anything else, if that is true then I should want to know it.

I feel abandoned, and like no one understands. I feel like if the people around me knew what I really thought, and how I really felt, then they would judge me negatively, and condemn me (withdraw their friendship/love/etc. from me, because I'm "supposed to be a Christian" and not the way I am right now). Am I an ungrateful--er, female dog in heat? Perhaps, but I keep feeling guilty because I KNOW I shouldn't feel this way, and yet I do. I also feel guilty because I keep suspecting that the "love" I'm experiencing from others comes with strings attached.

I think that if people really love you then they won't withdraw from you for being honest, I can only speak of my dads love, but his love doesn't come with strings attached; with my mum it is far more complex. A problem that I think exists in the Church is people being unable to be honest, for my, I would not judge or condemn, it is not my place but I would help where I can. If that is the case where you go I don't know.

If my pastor wants me to "lose my religion", then I have good news for him: I already have.

I've lost a lot more than that, too, and I find it absolutely impossible to "get over it" and "deal with it" like every good Christian should. I feel a void inside of me, a "zero". This is MY truth.

Sincerely,
Tysyacha

I don't think real Christians ever "get over it", "deal with it" - I don't think those are actual tenants of the Christian faith, they may well be tenants of the west and the so called protestant work ethic. But I don't think they are something Jesus would ever teach - where do you see him saying to people "get over it" or "deal with it"? He doesn't as ultimately I don't think that is a loving response.

I hope that this has been helpful! :)

GB j7

I think your problem is that you're trying to be logical with something that is inherently not.

^^^ This. However, another problem that I have is that I find it difficult to turn off my brain and just go with my emotions when it comes to this sort of thing. I find it hard to just BELIEVE something without wondering WHY or IF it should be believed. I'm weird! :P

Are any of us entirely logical, I try to be logical but we all have our cultural biases, utlimately perhaps Darwin expressed it best; “Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”

Tysyacha, I think you should be encouraged to always thinking about the WHY and IF of any belief. It maybe not the norm, but individuals such as yourself do not commit acts like the Holocaust, to many individuals go about their lives without questioning. And if God exists do you think he wants mindless followers? I think not, especially when you consider the disciples Jesus chose, think of Peter, he continually got it wrong.

Perhaps I should leave you with a quote;

"While spiritual insight or faith is one valid measure in spiritual matters, true spiritual insight never directly contradicts valid intellectual insight or facts in the physical world. Faith may go beyond reason, but does not go against it. It never blatantly contradicts the facts which we perceive with our God-given common sense. Faith and fact point in a single direction. Whey they do not, something is seriously wrong…A willingness to accept facts as they exist, and to learn to use them to test the views one holds rather than falling back on subjective experience or rationalizations, is the first step towards discovering genuine truth." (Charles Larson, By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus, pp. 177-178)

Alkonium
02-13-2011, 05:35 PM
^^^ This. However, another problem that I have is that I find it difficult to turn off my brain and just go with my emotions when it comes to this sort of thing. I find it hard to just BELIEVE something without wondering WHY or IF it should be believed. I'm weird! :P

I don't know if I'm helping or not, but I don't think it's your brain you should be turning off. J7's right, you should be questioning your religion. If the only logical conclusion is that your religion isn't for you, you're not helping anyone by knowingly living a lie.

Qui-Gon Glenn
02-13-2011, 07:59 PM
I have this to add.... the topic of the sermon was a good one, that I wish more Christian's would follow - lose your church but keep your religion. It is your relationship with God, and since it is all in your own mind, why not keep it there?

I am not saying that God does not exist (although I have my own opinion) but I am saying that organized religion quite often does a disservice to their patrons, by feeding them a bunch of contradictory crap. That, and you get to sit next to a bunch of once-a-week Christians, who are "saving themselves" by going to Church, like a drone bee called by the queen.

Critical thinking is a skill you obviously have Tysy, otherwise you wouldn't have had such an awful experience that day. You can believe in God and not believe in your pastor, or your church.

As to where Hitler and his ilk should go.... as j7 noted, not our place to call it, but I tend to think that if "hell" exists, heaven is empty.

Tysyacha
02-13-2011, 08:16 PM
jonathan7,

I must say that you've helped me out a GREAT deal here! As for Hitler, I don't quite know what to say about where his soul should go now that he is dead, but I do agree that his soul should be separated from others--especially the ones whom he slaughtered. The problem that I have with Hell, however, has three components:

1) All who fall short of (God's) standard of absolute perfection--flawlessness, if you will--shall go to Hell after they die. Since none of us humans have ever reached, or even come close to reaching, this standard of perfection, then it follows that every single one of us will be condemned to this particular place. We will experience a permanent separation from God and His love. God's plan, according to Christianity, was to solve this problem through sending and sacrificing Jesus, but there still remains a counterpoint. A -1 to this point, if you will. In short, it goes like this:

-1) If God did not want to create beings who were equal to Himself--and, if God Himself is perfect--then, NATURALLY, the beings he created would be IMPERFECT(or at least weaker or less powerful than He). So, how can He condemn every single one of his imperfect creatures to Hell right from the very beginning? Some would say that since Adam and Eve were at first without sin in the Garden of Eden, then they WERE perfect. However, I don't believe this is true. If Adam and Eve were perfect beings, then they wouldn't have listened to Satan and yielded to his temptation. They would have told him to "go to Hell," so to speak, and made the right choice instead of the wrong one. If Adam and Eve were perfect humans in the Garden of Eden, they would have known and done better because it was their NATURE. I know that my explanation here might be confusing as heck, but my ultimate point is this:

How can God demand perfection of us (humans) if He created us as lesser, that is to say imperfect, beings? Right now, I'd like to ask another question:

DOES HITLER GO TO HELL? On this point, most definitely yes, because Hitler was far, far, FAR from it. I disagree, however, that we ALL should be where Hitler is because of our own weakness and flaws. Now, on to Hell Problem 2:

2) There is absolutely NO HOPE in Hell, and no chance of redemption.

-2) If you compare Hell to a prison here on Earth, then that's really an unfair comparison because, at least to my knowledge, Earth's prison should be a "rehabilitative" place as well as one in which you are punished. In Hell, though, this is a no-go. The purpose of Hell is, in my opinion, also threefold: 1) to punish humans for their sins 2) to separate them fully from God, who cannot tolerate sin or evil and 3) to make sure there is no possibility of lost souls ever returning or being raised so that they can sin some more.

DOES HITLER GO TO HELL? Again, on this point, yes, but there's a glitch: If Hitler was THE worst person on Earth, let's say, and if Hitler was cast into a place where there is no more hope, EVER, then what hope do the rest of us have? Sure, we may not have engineered the Holocaust or murdered millions, but still--in Hell, there is no hope for Hitler, and no hope for us. I consider it a shame that if everything about Hell and Heaven is true, we only have about seventy to one hundred years to "get it right" and believe (in Jesus) before we are separated from God for an INFINITE amount of time. Hence point 3:

3) Man and Man's deeds are finite, and yet Hell is an infinite punishment.

-3) Some would say that Man's sins, flaws, weaknesses and disobedience infinitely offend God and make Him angry. Man has, in essence, betrayed and committed "cosmic treason" against God. Thus, every man, woman and child on Earth--each one a sinner--should be infinitely separated from God and cast into Hell, where they will be infinitely punished. However, if this is true, then where does forgiveness come in? Some would say that if you didn't accept God's forgiveness on earth, during the finite time in which you were physically alive, then you SHOULD never have another chance to do so.

DOES HITLER GO TO HELL? Here's where I have no idea, honestly. I do not know whether Hitler deserves to suffer INFINITELY for what he did, and NEVER be forgiven, even by God.

So, I have a serious problem with Hell, and the premises upon which it's based. As for the Christian former gang members and drug dealers, it gladdens my heart to hear that they do these things because, as you said, "they want to make a difference to others/are thankful for what's been given to them." In my opinion, that's the way it should be, but my pastor made it sound like "If you're REALLY saved, then you WILL do X, Y, Z."

Tysyacha
02-13-2011, 08:22 PM
Qui-Gon Glenn:

Thank you! :)

Darth InSidious
02-13-2011, 08:50 PM
(NOTE: This is an open letter that I first wrote to one of my best LF friends.)

I went to church this morning, mainly to spend time with my mom and dad and to cry out for help to the higher power/God in which I believe. However, the time in which I thought I'd be free to do so without fear, guilt, or condemnation was poisoned--ruined--by a rather Orwellian sermon. What I mean is this: In his novel 1984, George Orwell talked about the concepts of doublethink and doublespeak--thinking and saying two completely opposite things while believing in them both, completely. As a teenager and young adult, I didn't understand this at all, but now that I've experienced a bit more of life, I feel I have a good grasp of it. Again, let me explain. This whole THING is hard to explain, as shown by my use of the word "thing"!!!

Our church's pastor is doing a sermon series entitled "Losing My Religion". He's encouraging us, meaning the church congregation, to have a genuine relationship with God instead of focusing on "religion"--the do's and dont's, the rituals and prohibitions, the doing of specific things to win God's love instead of being--living--in God's light and love. Granted, I don't really know what it means to "live in God's light and love" anymore, but our pastor kind of takes it for granted that since we're all Christians and have been to church for years, we do--or should, at least--know what this means.
My first reaction to this: surely, "living in God's light and love", focussing on one's relation with God, requires keeping God's commandments? John 14:15 comes to mind here: "If you love me, keep my commandments".

Christianity is not a static religion of sitting chanting to ourselves and congratulating one another on being enlightened while we munch oatcakes. "Faith without good works is dead", St James tells us (James 2:20-26):

You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

That's not to say that prayer is unimportant, or that we should forget giving what is due to God - far from it. But that must complement good works, and keeping God's commandments. Love of God, surely, means a desire to be obedient to His will? So far as I can see, you can't separate 'being in a relationship with God' from 'keeping God's laws', any more than you can be in a healthy relationship with a spouse while secretly betraying their trust.

Anyway, that's the point of his sermon series on the surface. However, at least in my mind, if a sermon provokes far more questions, objections, and fear in me than peace and understanding, then something's wrong with it. Something's wrong with its premises.
I don't want to disagree exactly here, but it seems to me that maybe sermons should bring fear and confusion rather than peace. Christ didn't come to make us feel good about ourselves, and He upset a lot of people in His own time.

1) On the ONE hand, my pastor talked about love--specifically how (God's) love is sacrificial and unconditional. This is consistent with what I've been (doctrinally) taught about God's love.

-1) On the OTHER hand, along with this message of love, he talked about the bad news--what I call "the catch": "Some people are condemned already, because they don't believe in Jesus."

If God's love is supposed to be unconditional, and "condemnation" means an eternal withdrawal of God's love--that's what I believe that Hell is--then isn't "belief in Jesus" a condition of God's love? If you don't believe in Jesus, say my pastor and church, then you will be judged guilty and separated forever from God and His love. How, then, can they honestly say that God's love is unconditional? To me, this is a crystal-clear example of what Orwell called doublethink.
That's a good question. Not only is it a good question, it's a difficult one, and one which Christians have struggled with for a long, long time. And to be honest, there's no easy answer. Some of the Church Fathers suggest that for those who die unrepentent, the presence of God is painful by virtue of their being.

For myself, I think it's not that, exactly. Rather, I think it's a case of God's commandments being those things that will draw you closer to him by the effect they have on you.

Because our actions affect us just as they affect others. If you think murderous thoughts all day long, you're going to have a harder time constraining that desire. If you are constantly uncharitable about others, it's that much harder to be charitable. And so on.

Sin is not a law, as such, to me; God doesn't see our sins and say "naughty you, for that I'm not speaking to you!" Rather, 'sin' is an action (or even a thought) which orients us away from God. Ultimately, I think all sin is egocentric - it's about me, and that means, inevitably, turning away from the Other. Sin is a choice, and a pushing-away of God. To me, it seems God does not reject people but they reject Him.

If you are so unfortunate that you have never heard of God, or of Christ, if you've never met a Christian, if you live somewhere so remote or so secular that no missionary has ever reached you, how can you be condmned? Again, I don't think you can. If you seek what is good, and if you seek what is true with a sincere heart, surely you can't. But a lot of people I think do reject God, and I believe will reap the reward for that, which is not dealing with him after death, either.

I also don't think anyone is necessarily condemned. We can say "if you believe, are baptised, and follow God's commandments, you will be saved", because Our Lord said as much. What we cannot say is, "you are going to hell."

Or to put it differently: I know where Christ's Church is; I'm not too certain where it isn't.

Indeed, my own Church teaches that hell could be completely empty, though it's not a generally accepted position, for reasons jonathan outlines.

2) On the ONE hand, my pastor talked about the very beginning of John 3:16. It says, "For God so loved the world..." Meaning, God loved all the people in the world, from the beginning of time until the end of time. Fair enough, say I, because as my pastor also exclaimed, "God IS love!"

-2) On the OTHER hand, he talked about how WE, as HUMANS, not just as Christians, are "born bad". If God despises evil--things that are bad--which I'm sure my pastor and I both agree that He does, then how can God love US if we're BORN bad/evil? If God loves all the people in the world, from the beginning of time until the end of time, and yet such people are every-single-one-of-them BORN evil, then the concept of God's love makes no sense at all. It's utterly contradictory, and another brilliant example of what Orwell deemed doublethink.

First of all, I can't commend what jonathan says on this enough, because he's got it in one. I don't believe people are born evil, and are inherently evil. What we are, however, is flawed. Original Sin didn't destroy our connexion with God, or our hope of salvation. Damage it, certainly. Make us more distant from God, certainly. Make it more difficult for us to get close to God, certainly. But make us 'evil'? No. Make us capable, make us find it easy, sometimes even desirable to do evil? Yes. That is why we needed the Covenants, Old and New, that God made with us.

I'm not a fan of CS Lewis' writings, but there's a line of his from one of his books, which jonathan used to have in his signature:

Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal.


This next example might be the most insidious of all.

3) On the ONE hand, my pastor talked about how living in God's grace and mercy means "you have nothing to lose (because you've gained salvation through Christ) and nothing to prove (because you don't have to try and win God's love anymore. Jesus did all the 'proving' for you)."

-3) On the OTHER hand, his view on salvation is called the "perseverance of the saints," meaning that if you not only continue having faith, but also if "your life reflects your faith in Jesus" (meaning you do enough good deeds and don't swear/don't drink/don't slander or gossip/don't cheat, etc.) THEN you will be saved. He made the point that "you can't just pray a prayer that invites Jesus into your heart and then live your life sinning all you want." Fair enough--I hate hypocrisy anyway. However, isn't this another condition of God's supposedly unconditional salvation? I'd hate to be on my deathbed worrying if I'd been pure enough, and done enough good deeds, to be authentically saved. Underneath all of my pastor and church's pious words and rhetoric, is it REALLY the truth that I have everything to lose (my salvation) and everything to prove (myself and my "genuine relationship with God") through my good deeds?
Well, that's the problem with believing in justification by faith alone, I think. Christ, in this way of thinking, opened the road: it's up to you to walk it. And part of walking it is doing good works, and praying, and desiring (and working) to conform yourself totally to Christ.

Being baptised and then sitting and twiddling your thumbs and feeling pleased with yourself just isn't going to cut it.

The truth, as you put it, seems to me to be this: you've got the chance at salvation and eternal life. Grab it!

You don't have to 'prove' it, though, so much as make it happen yourself. God has agreed to meet you halfway: he has become human, and suffered and died as a human. You have to try to become more God-like, to make yourself like Christ, or, in the words of the Gospel, to "be perfect, like your Father in heaven is perfect".

"I'd hate to be on my deathbed worrying if I'd been pure enough, and done enough good deeds, to be authentically saved."
In my Church, we administer the Last Rites for this - to help someone die at peace and in closeness to God. But we also believe that if there are little sins on your conscience at death, your soul can be purified afterwards.

But that's also why we examine our consciences, and ask, "what sins have I committed recently", or today, and make a firm resolve not to commit them again. Not that we necessarily succeed, but we may inch a little forward. There's a line from a play by Beckett: "No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

Always failing better at perfection seems to me to sum up what a Christian life should be. :)

I was wrong--there is a fourth example that blows the previous three away:

4) On the ONE hand, my pastor made the point that God wants a real relationship with us.

-4) On the OTHER hand, he also made the point that "our response, and our relationship with God, must be genuine (in order for all of this to work)." However, he never told us who decides what is and is not a "genuine" relationship with God. Supposedly, God should and does, but he never said that explicitly. That worries me. Thoughts? I have a knot in the pit of my stomach...
I disgree that God never told us what is a genuine relationship with Him. In the Gospels, Christ tells us exactly that, I think. This is what I've been trying to say: God's commandments aren't a list of 'do's and don'ts', legalistic rules for a bureaucrat Deity. They are what will allow us to draw closer to Him, to become more like him.

Note: Why have I done the 1) -1), 2) -2) enumeration that way? As you can probably tell, it wasn't just to list my points, one by one. What is 1 + -1, 2 + -2, etc.? That's right, zero, and that's why I feel so empty inside instead of full right now. I don't really understand--about God's love, about Jesus, about salvation and condemnation/going to Hell, and especially about what a "genuine relationship with God" is.
That's understandable. From what I can see, your pastor said something highly confused and not very sensible.

I also don't understand what "losing my religion" would free me from--at least as much as my pastor understands the concept of "losing my religion". Do I make any sense at all? Perhaps not, but that's about as much as I can explain it.
You make lots of sense. I think the problem is that your pastor preaches an incomplete doctrine. And so it's no wonder he ties himself in knots. But I wouldn't panic. Pray, ask God's guidance, trust in the Lord.

Right now, I feel lost. Used up. Discarded. Thrown away like trash. I lost my job--I was used and expended as any "human resource" would be, and then laid off when there was no longer any money to pay for my continued usefulness as an employee of my workplace. I was forced to move back home, which I did NOT want, because I'm running out of money and my parents are the ones supporting me right now (along with unemployment and government charity).
God values you. And that is why Christ's message was necessary, because it's about (in part) not treating people like another resource.

Of course under these circumstances you feel stressed and exhausted, and worried. But you absolutely must not feel unloved or unvalued.

I have no right on Earth to ask such questions, and no right to feel this way, because of my circumstances and my supposed status as a Christian. At least, that's how I feel right now.
Why should your circumstances or your status as a Christian deny you the right to feel awful, or to doubt? How could you have faith if you did not have doubt? That would be like light without darkness (and notice St John didn't say, "light shines in light"!).

I feel abandoned, and like no one understands.
There are two passages I would suggest you read, both too long to post here, but not terribly long. One is Psalm 130 (129 in the Septuagint). It begins "out of the depths". The other is Psalm 22.

Believe me, everyone has been through something like this. Some people call it the dark night of the soul. Consider Atris, in KotOR II (a slightly prosaic example, but still), when she says "I... sometimes feel as if things are collapsing... all around us. It is just at the edge of perceptions, waiting. I fear... "

I don't know, but from what you're saying, I get the impression that's sort of how you feel?

I feel like if the people around me knew what I really thought, and how I really felt, then they would judge me negatively, and condemn me (withdraw their friendship/love/etc. from me, because I'm "supposed to be a Christian" and not the way I am right now).
If people withdraw their love and support because you're in a rough patch, they're ****ty Christians and ****ty people. You don't give poisons to an ill man, or send a doctor to the healthy. I'm sorry, but smug, self-congratulatory Christianity of the cake-sales-and-tea-with-the-vicar kind, full of propriety and empty of good charity really riles me. Luke 18:9-14.


Am I an ungrateful--er, female dog in heat? Perhaps, but I keep feeling guilty because I KNOW I shouldn't feel this way, and yet I do. I also feel guilty because I keep suspecting that the "love" I'm experiencing from others comes with strings attached.
People always disappoint us.We will always disappoint others, I fear. It's part of being, as I said, flawed.

You should stop beating yourself up about this. It's natural to feel down when you've had a string of bad luck, and it's natural sometimes to doubt God.

It's also natural to sometimes find your friends and family are more hindrance than help when it comes to spiritual matters - after all, Job's friends all told him to 'curse God and die'. My advice would be not to tie yourself in knots over this, because I'm firmly of the belief that once self-examination becomes self-doubt it is the work of the Enemy. The question is not, "am I evil?", it's "how do I become better?"

If my pastor wants me to "lose my religion", then I have good news for him: I already have.
I don't think you have really, Tysy. You can't doubt something you already disbelieve, any more than I can doubt Father Christmas if I already know he's not real.

The impression I get here is that your pastor gave a stupid and waffly sermon which was no help at all, and has added a spiritual quandary to a period in your life which was already trying. Losing your job, losing your independence, being supported by your parents (living with them after being away), all of these are very difficult.

It seems to me that you've actually been bottling up a lot of feelings of anxiety for a while, and your pastor just tipped the scale and it's all come out at once.

Seeing your later posts, I think you've also been given some frankly slightly distorted doctrines from your church (although, [probably] not belonging to the same one, I would say that), which you're now finding the flaws in.

I've lost a lot more than that, too, and I find it absolutely impossible to "get over it" and "deal with it" like every good Christian should. I feel a void inside of me, a "zero". This is MY truth.

Sincerely,
Tysyacha
That void sounds to me like despair. And again, we've all been there. And you're right, you can't just jump up and stick a smile on your face while the world kicks you in the teeth. Being a Christian doesn't mandate that you have to be a giggling, smiling ultra-nice person. Partly because that person is bloody annoying.

And being a Christian doesn't mean never doubting. We call that fanaticism. Even great Christians doubt sometimes. As I said, we tend to call it the 'dark night of the soul' (a term coined by the mystic St John of the Cross), or 'spiritual dryness'. You're not alone in feeling this. And people who have never doubted, or who pretend not to, are either fanatics or disingenuous. Therese of Lisieux wrote of this, but she is now considered a saint.

Being Christian isn't - and shouldn't - be easy. "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it."

It takes work, it's bloody hard, and you sometimes do indeed wonder what it's all for, why you bother, and whether you couldn't have more fun without it. For me, though, the answer is that it's true. And you have to find that truth to follow. But it isn't easy.

On hell and damnation, again, I think you have it a bit skewed. I don't think we have to be absolutely perfect. But it's about putting in the effort, striving to be like God, seeking Him with a sincere heart. It's your intent that matters in this.

And when it comes to hell, I don't really think it's a 'punishment' or a place. It's the absence of God, and the natural result of pushing Him away, or denying him in life. It is, in other words, the result of our own deeds, just as getting to heaven is. In short, the ball's in your court.

I hope things look up for you soon. :)

I'm sorry, I really should go now; it's nearly one o'clock in the morning here, and I have work tomorrow. I'll try to respond again soon.

jonathan7
02-13-2011, 09:15 PM
jonathan7,

I must say that you've helped me out a GREAT deal here! As for Hitler, I don't quite know what to say about where his soul should go now that he is dead, but I do agree that his soul should be separated from others--especially the ones whom he slaughtered. The problem that I have with Hell, however, has three components:

Hey, well I'm glad I was able to be of some help! =) If I make a number of comments on the subject of hell (somewhat strange as generally I've have little to say on it). There are various Christian doctrines about the nature of hell which I think are wrong, and indeed you won't actually find them in the Bible. Generally with both Heaven and Hell most things said about them are mere hypothesis and baseless subjection at worse.

I shall elaborate, firstly I can find no scriptural basis for Hell being infinite, the person who actually mentions it most is quotations of Jesus, where he generally says it is a "wailing and knashing of teeth" other scriptural references say it is a place where everything good from God is absent; which I would suppose is where the doctrine of some Christian sects of there not being a hell comes from.

I would observe that, it would seem from my review of scripture we can say only a few things about Hell; 1. It exsists 2. It is a place people are sent after they have been Judged; however little else is really said on the subject, nor is any time period put on it.

1) All who fall short of (God's) standard of absolute perfection--flawlessness, if you will--shall go to Hell after they die. Since none of us humans have ever reached, or even come close to reaching, this standard of perfection, then it follows that every single one of us will be condemned to this particular place.

Firstly let me say this, I'm generally of the opinion that all Children will go to heaven, up until a point of knowing right from wrong. But what happens to a theoretical individual who never hears of Jesus but always does the right thing? I think the problem of Evil is an important thing within the discussion we are having... Should you be interested here is something I wrote a few years ago, others may have read which you may find of interest;

This note will start unhappily and end with hope, it is something I think many would benefit from reading; while the more philosophical of you will probably appreciate the first half the most, while the end is probably more helpful for everyone.

Evil, it surrounds us, you only have to look at a Newspaper to see its effects everywhere; from genocides to rape, from mass starvation to child abuse. Perhaps one of the most common questions I am asked is why would a loving God allow evil? This is a question I will go onto attempt to answer; however I would first like to pose a question back; if there is no God is there evil?

I think the answer to my question is no, as with no ultimate authority on evil, who is to decide what is evil? You? Is the paedophile evil? Does the paedophile think he is evil? If moral relativism reigns; then there can be no such thing as evil. It is where post modernism falls down. It is also a place where I think many atheists become logically incoherent when attempting to argue that evil exists if atheism is true. If Atheism is true why abide rules that make your life more difficult? If I were an atheist I think Nietzsche is one of the few atheists who are logical, although there are criticisms of him that are beyond the scope of this note.

Returning to the original question why would a loving God allow evil? I will go a bit Matrixey on you and say that the problem is choice! See if we presume there is a God, but that he has given us the freedom to choose how we act; God can’t interfere every time we make a bad choice as this would negate our freedom of choice as well as our autonomy. So for example, let’s presume I’m going to drink and drive tonight and run over a little girl. If God were to say intervene at any point he stops me of having the freedom to choose. I am forced to act correctly, now it would seem to me that the overriding problem is still there (the will to drink and drive despite knowing it is dangerous). I think the problem would remain our choices, but that the effects of our actions would be taken away so we would spiral more and more out of control.

As Saint Augustine pointed out; “Passion is the evil in adultery. If a man has no opportunity of living with another man's wife, but if it is obvious for some reason that he would like to do so, and would do so if he could, he is no less guilty than if he was caught in the act.”

Even if we are to presume that Atheism is true, why is the world such a horrible place? I would suggest at its most charitable the conclusion is most people are inherently selfish. Why is the world a horrible place? May I suggest that it is because we continually make the wrong choices and walk around in our own small bubbles not realising how we are affecting the world around us. After all if you asked every person in the world the following question; is it your fault the world is a horrible place? Do you think they would answer yes?

There is a very funny thing about Prison, it would appear that an awful lot of innocent people are locked up in their; as if you ask most prisoners if they are guilty they will answer no. That’s a lot of miscarriages of justice!

I said I would end with hope and I will. Love is the most powerful force in the world, Evil maybe everywhere but love can counter it. If there is a God or not, and even if all I believe of Jesus proves to be incorrect. Love and forgiveness are still tools with which would solve so many of world’s problems. Evil only triumphs because of a lack of love; if more people properly loved many of the worlds problems would disappear.

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing*" I think this quote has a lot of truth to it, however I have often remarked before that; Forgiveness is vital as the alternative is hate and consider what that does; Bitterness, blame anger and hatred; for humans hatred only destroys the hater; the object of their hatred is either unaware or doesn’t care that they are hated. People should let go of negative emotions such as these; it will only lead down a dark path, as the hater will only become the hated after they do that which caused them to hate in the first place. It only forms a destructive circle.

Hollywood has done much to destroy what love really is, many people think love is how someone makes you feel; and once someone stops making you feel ‘good’ you dump them and move on. May I venture people are not products to be consumed, they are soo much more! Now I’m not saying someone making you feel special is bad; this can be one aspect of romantic love; true love is shown by sticking by someone when there are their most unlovable. True love is shown by sacrifice. Perhaps the risks taken by Rob for Beth in Cloverfield is a good example of what true love is about. Now, I’m sure everyone would like a friend or spouse who would do anything for them; would you do anything for a friend or spouse?

My favourite quote on love was written by C.S. Lewis in the Problem of Pain; "Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal." It is my opinion that this is the best summing up of exactly what love entails. So for example, let’s presume we have two parents as they should be and a rebellious teenager. No matter how much a teenager may rebel against their parents, the parents love them despite all the swearing, loud music and smoking. Nothing the teenager ever does will be too much for the parents; but the parents can never hope for their Child to grow out of it.

Anyways I don’t know how clear I have been in conveying my thoughts on this, but I think this is too long already so I shall bring to a close my thoughts.

First question; how do you know none have reached this standard? This I think is an important point, since in the Old Testament, God was with individuals such as Noah, Abraham, Moses etc, they were from a historical time orientated point of you before Jesus. Indeed there are two individuals who did not die in the OT; Enoch and Elijah, the latter is written to have ascended to heaven.

Regardless, if we move onto the problem of evil, Adam and Eve were created perfect, but God gave them free choice. He gave them only one instruction and they choose to disobey it, they also believed the lies of the snake and ultimately believed ill of God.

We will experience a permanent separation from God and His love. God's plan, according to Christianity, was to solve this problem through sending and sacrificing Jesus, but there still remains a counterpoint. A -1 to this point, if you will. In short, it goes like this:

-1) If God did not want to create beings who were equal to Himself--and, if God Himself is perfect--then, NATURALLY, the beings he created would be IMPERFECT(or at least weaker or less powerful than He). So, how can He condemn every single one of his imperfect creatures to Hell right from the very beginning? Some would say that since Adam and Eve were at first without sin in the Garden of Eden, then they WERE perfect.

Well, what do you mean by perfect? You seem to be saying perfect beings is the same as being God, which I don't think go hand in hand. Lets say I make a perfect mug, is it imperfect because it not like me?

However, I don't believe this is true. If Adam and Eve were perfect beings, then they wouldn't have listened to Satan and yielded to his temptation.

Well, God gave the ability to choose... Is the ability to choose what makes them imperfect?

They would have told him to "go to Hell," so to speak, and made the right choice instead of the wrong one. If Adam and Eve were perfect humans in the Garden of Eden, they would have known and done better because it was their NATURE. I know that my explanation here might be confusing as heck, but my ultimate point is this:

Personally I disagree with your reasoning, however this is your journey and not mine :)

How can God demand perfection of us (humans) if He created us as lesser, that is to say imperfect, beings?

Well, in what sense do you think God demands perfection of us?

Quick story, an angel is giving an individual a tour of heaven and hell, in hell he saw a table full of food, the tables were set and everyone had really long spoons, yet all the individuals were starving they couldn't eat. He then went upto heaven, where he saw the same table, with the same long spoons but all the individuals were well-fed and healthy. He asked the angel what's the difference? The angel answered, everyone has to eat with a spoon far to long to feed themselves, in hell no-one will feed each other, where as in heaven the individuals feed each other.

Right now, I'd like to ask another question:

DOES HITLER GO TO HELL? On this point, most definitely yes, because Hitler was far, far, FAR from it. I disagree, however, that we ALL should be where Hitler is because of our own weakness and flaws.

I don't know where Hitler is :xp: It was more a question for you, I have my suspicions as to where he will have gone however it isn't my place to judge.

Now, on to Hell Problem 2:

2) There is absolutely NO HOPE in Hell, and no chance of redemption.

How do you know that?

Couple of scriptural quotes for you*;

1 Peter 3:19 "After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits"

1 Peter 4:6 "For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit".

* Be sure to read the quotations in the context of the chapter, I have seen a lot of people use lots of books and even the Bible, by selectively quoting things to twist and change meaning. But in any respect, I think the above are interesting, and are where the Catholic teaching on Purgatory originates.

-2) If you compare Hell to a prison here on Earth, then that's really an unfair comparison because, at least to my knowledge, Earth's prison should be a "rehabilitative" place as well as one in which you are punished. In Hell, though, this is a no-go. The purpose of Hell is, in my opinion, also threefold: 1) to punish humans for their sins 2) to separate them fully from God, who cannot tolerate sin or evil and 3) to make sure there is no possibility of lost souls ever returning or being raised so that they can sin some more.

This depends somewhat on your the dogma you adhere to, there is a lot of doctrinal variation in Christianity, and to me, a lot of "standard" doctrines are the work of arrogant and stupid men, rather than actually being the truth. Hint, I greatly dislike both Calvin and Luther.

DOES HITLER GO TO HELL? Again, on this point, yes, but there's a glitch: If Hitler was THE worst person on Earth, let's say, and if Hitler was cast into a place where there is no more hope, EVER, then what hope do the rest of us have? Sure, we may not have engineered the Holocaust or murdered millions, but still--in Hell, there is no hope for Hitler, and no hope for us. I consider it a shame that if everything about Hell and Heaven is true, we only have about seventy to one hundred years to "get it right" and believe (in Jesus) before we are separated from God for an INFINITE amount of time. Hence point 3:

3) Man and Man's deeds are finite, and yet Hell is an infinite punishment.


I think I have offered sufficient counter arguments to this now? Though please let me know if you would like me to elaborate :)

-3) Some would say that Man's sins, flaws, weaknesses and disobedience infinitely offend God and make Him angry. Man has, in essence, betrayed and committed "cosmic treason" against God. Thus, every man, woman and child on Earth--each one a sinner--should be infinitely separated from God and cast into Hell, where they will be infinitely punished. However, if this is true, then where does forgiveness come in? Some would say that if you didn't accept God's forgiveness on earth, during the finite time in which you were physically alive, then you SHOULD never have another chance to do so.

It's not their place to say or know what God will do, I do not think enough is written on Hell for us to say much at all about it, though I think God powerful enough to save men even from the grips of hell.

DOES HITLER GO TO HELL? Here's where I have no idea, honestly. I do not know whether Hitler deserves to suffer INFINITELY for what he did, and NEVER be forgiven, even by God.

Just to re-iterate their is no scriptuaral basis I know of that an individual going to hell suffer infinitely. Fundamentalists will insist on it, but I have yet to experience one beating me in a debate on the subject, the Bible even says man is not to judge Satan....

So, I have a serious problem with Hell, and the premises upon which it's based.

Fair enough, I hope I have however given you reason to doubt some of the things you have been taught on it. I am happy to go over any scriptures with regards hell if you would like to bring them up.

As for the Christian former gang members and drug dealers, it gladdens my heart to hear that they do these things because, as you said, "they want to make a difference to others/are thankful for what's been given to them." In my opinion, that's the way it should be, but my pastor made it sound like "If you're REALLY saved, then you WILL do X, Y, Z."

I like the picture of a small child doing their best to please a parent because they love their father or mother rather than having to do anything to earn their love.

DI was replying as I was writing mine, so my apologies to him for not having responded to any of the points he made in what I think is an excellent post. I also like it as I think it shows that despite what some "Protestants" would claim their is a lot more similarity between Catholicism and Protestantism; given that DI and me are on either side of that. I hope one day to see the two Churches re-united! :)

This did stick out to me;

And being a Christian doesn't mean never doubting. We call that fanaticism. Even great Christians doubt sometimes. As I said, we tend to call it the 'dark night of the soul' (a term coined by the mystic St John of the Cross), or 'spiritual dryness'. You're not alone in feeling this. And people who have never doubted, or who pretend not to, are either fanatics or disingenuous. Therese of Lisieux wrote of this, but she is now considered a saint.

There is a book called "The Dark night of the Soul" by St John of the Cross (the version I have also has assorted writings of his). It is an excellent book, and I think you may well enjoy it, though the language used is of the older kind (at least in my version), but a great work none the less. You may also find the book of Job a helpful book at this time to!

Samuel Dravis
02-13-2011, 09:58 PM
Note: I'm not a christian but I've put some thought into it the past few years so take from this what you will. My personal reason for leaving the fold is that I intellectualized my beliefs. Interestingly, this is exactly what Kierkegaard warns against in the second quote below.

All the talk about hell as something forced on a person is pretty strange to me. I suppose it must be a protestant thing. The way I think of it is simply that certain actions are incompatible with God and therefore if you do them you separate yourself from him willingly. Hence, the separation of Hell is not a punishment decreed by Judge Jesus but simply the consequence of an action, in the same way that you get wet as a consequence of diving into a pool. Additionally, the idea of "unforgivable sin" is simply the idea that, if you don't get out of the pool you won't get dry. There's nothing stopping anyone from getting out of the pool.

As for whether there actually is anyone in hell or not, well, as far as I can tell it isn't said one way or another. The idea that there some people who are certainly condemned is unsustainable even for egregious examples like Hitler. No one knows who God forgives or who has asked for forgiveness.

On the subject of faith and works, Kierkegaard has some interesting things to say:

... You cannot worship God with good deeds, even less with misdeeds, and just as little by sinking into a flabby comatose state and doing nothing at all. No, in order to worship God properly and have the proper joy from worshiping, a person must conduct himself in this way: he must strive with all his might, spare himself neither night nor day; he must accummulate, and the more the better, what people of integrity, speaking humanly, would call good deeds. And when he then takes them and deeply humbled before God sees them transformed into something miserable and base--- this is what it is to worship God-- and this is a lifting up.

On genuine belief:

Imitation, the imitation of Christ, is really the point from which the human race shrinks. The main difficulty lies here; here it is really decided whether or not one accepts Christianity. If there is an emphasis on this point, the stronger the emphasis the fewer the Christians. If there is a scaling down at this point (so that Christianity becomes, intellectually, a doctrine) more people enter into Christianity. If it is abolished completely (so that Christianity becomes, existentially, as easy as mythology and poety and imitation an exaggeration), then Christianity spreads to such a degree that Christendom and the world and almost indistinguishable, or all become Christians; Christianity has completely conquered; that is to say, abolished!

edit:
There is a book called "The Dark night of the Soul" by St John of the Cross (the version I have also has assorted writings of his). It is an excellent book, and I think you may well enjoy it, though the language used is of the older kind (at least in my version), but a great work none the less. You may also find the book of Job a helpful book at this time to!I did find this book fascinating also, I recommend it as well as Ascent Of Mount Carmel.

Tysyacha
02-13-2011, 10:17 PM
I guess that what I'm really trying to say is that I feel scared, confused, lost and broken. My life has fallen apart, and not for the first time. Along come some people, and a sermon, which made me feel even more so. I'm wondering whether I should just give up on God/Christianity/whatever, because it's too bloody (excuse my language) hard. Everyone around me thinks it's great--the circumstances I'm in--and only I seem to disagree. I had dreams, and my biggest one just died. I wonder why I bother trying to get to know God, if the real truth is that I should have "moved on" past all this doubting and questioning crap years ago. My sister has. Her faith is so strong that I can't even talk to her about Christianity without her preaching some mini-sermons to me. She doesn't really understand where I'm coming from, faith-wise (or, so to say, doubtwise?)

I don't know what's going to happen to me, or how I'm ever going to make it out of this situation anytime soon. All I know is that I've been nearly driven to suicide by social and spiritual abuse in the past, and this isn't helping. I may not be a Christian anymore. I may not be saved anymore. I don't know WHAT I am anymore. All I know is that this flood of doubts and questions still remains in my mind, and I don't know how to get rid of it. This may sound strange, but someone telling me what to do, think and believe in this situation really doesn't help, or make me feel comforted. It just makes me feel dumber.

jonathan7
02-13-2011, 10:36 PM
I guess that what I'm really trying to say is that I feel scared, confused, lost and broken. My life has fallen apart, and not for the first time. Along come some people, and a sermon, which made me feel even more so.

Those people are wrong for having made you feel even more so.

I'm wondering whether I should just give up on God/Christianity/whatever, because it's too bloody (excuse my language) hard.

That is of course entirely your prerogative, but I think that the immitation of Christ is exceptionally hard, and that those who claim it is easy are not actually immitating Christ.

Everyone around me thinks it's great--the circumstances I'm in--and only I seem to disagree. I had dreams, and my biggest one just died.

We all have emotional ups and downs, even those who never frown, eventually break down... Indeed I think in reality, that it is periods like the one your going through now that I got to know God a lot better, from crying out to him...

I wonder why I bother trying to get to know God, if the real truth is that I should have "moved on" past all this doubting and questioning crap years ago.

Ty, I haven't "moved" on from the doubting and questioning "crap" and I hope I never move on from it. Those who never doubt and never question are stupid, and I think real faith requires their to be an element of doubt rather than its absence.

My sister has. Her faith is so strong that I can't even talk to her about Christianity without her preaching some mini-sermons to me.

May I suggest that if here faith was really strong, you would be able to talk to her about Christianity? I don't mean to offend or cast aspersions on your sister, but if the aim of Christianity is to imitate Christ, he was the most approachable of people. In my experience those who have "strong faith" and rant sermons at others are really those who are most insecure about their beliefs, but don't have the courage to confront the doubts they have.

She doesn't really understand where I'm coming from, faith-wise (or, so to say, doubtwise?)

To me that would suggest she hasn't confronted her doubts.

I don't know what's going to happen to me, or how I'm ever going to make it out of this situation anytime soon.

We have all gone through dark periods, I shall be praying for you.

All I know is that I've been nearly driven to suicide by social and spiritual abuse in the past, and this isn't helping. I may not be a Christian anymore.

I am very sorry to hear this!

I may not be saved anymore. I don't know WHAT I am anymore. All I know is that this flood of doubts and questions still remains in my mind, and I don't know how to get rid of it. This may sound strange, but someone telling me what to do, think and believe in this situation really doesn't help, or make me feel comforted. It just makes me feel dumber.

I hope I haven't told you what to think or believe, my aim was not to do so. I was just trying to ask questions and make points I thought you may find helpful, and question some of the doctrines which are causing issue.

Tysyacha
02-13-2011, 10:43 PM
jonathan7,

*HUG* Whatever happens with me, thank YOU for being so patient and understanding and NOT telling me to "pull myself together" or whatever. In trying to act and behave like everything's fine, I find myself dying a little bit more every day, because it's not.

EDIT: I just remembered something. My pastor said something like, "Maybe you lost your home or your job, and you feel like God doesn't love you, but it's not all ABOUT you. You're just putting God into your box, but if you put yourself into HIS box..."

Could that have been the emotional trigger that I've suppressed until now? I think THAT'S what set me off, more than anything.

jonathan7
02-13-2011, 10:55 PM
jonathan7,

*HUG* Whatever happens with me, thank YOU for being so patient and understanding and NOT telling me to "pull myself together" or whatever.

My pleasure, if I can be of any further help on this subject please let me know I'm only sorry that I can be of so little service and that events have conspired this way! It also makes me sad that your Church and some of those close to you are being a hindrance rather than a help.

In trying to act and behave like everything's fine, I find myself dying a little bit more every day, because it's not.

I very much hope you have some friends near you who you can confide in, as to how you really feel. Though I would like to add, that if any of my friends were upset I'd rather they said so they could help. I don't know your parents, but at least for me if I expressed what you have they would want to help me, and wouldn't lecture me. Its 3am, and I have to get up for language learning in 5 hours so gonna have to go to bed, will respond when I can!

EDIT: I just remembered something. My pastor said something like, "Maybe you lost your home or your job, and you feel like God doesn't love you, but it's not all ABOUT you. You're just putting God into your box, but if you put yourself into HIS box..."

Could that have been the emotional trigger that I've suppressed until now? I think THAT'S what set me off, more than anything.

Frankly, your pastor is talking ****. Nor do I know what box your in has to do with feeling down. Let me slightly edit what your Pastor said, in place of my cousin loosing his battle against cancer 3 years ago to point out the absurdity of his statement;

"Maybe you lost your son, and you feel like God doesn't love you, but it's not all ABOUT you. You're just putting God into your box, but if you put yourself into HIS box..."

It's utter crap, Jesus was upset with people, when Lazarus died, he was upset and was upset with those who mourned; Jesus spent his time with the broken hearted and wanted to console them, he didn't say to the widows, the orphans, the poor etc "It's not about you, your just putting the father in a box, put yourself in his".

I'll write more tomorrow, I've gotta go to bed now....

Alkonium
02-13-2011, 11:30 PM
I can't pretend to know the first thing about Christianity, but one thing I know for a fact is that you are better and smarter than blind faith, and you deserve better than all the crap you've had to put up with. Like I said before, you shouldn't even try to live a lie for the sake of others. It hurts them just as much as it hurts you. The only difference is that they don't know it.

Tysyacha
02-13-2011, 11:38 PM
On Hell: This is what I was taught about Hell in my church, at least.

http://www.losingmyreligion.com/essays/realityofhell.html

Sabretooth
02-14-2011, 01:20 AM
I find it hard to just BELIEVE something without wondering WHY or IF it should be believed. I'm weird! :P

http://enlightenyourday.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/The-Buddha-illustrated-quote-Believe-Nothing-300x300.jpg

If you keep saying stuff like that, I will be forced to Buddha you further.

5_Etw_BwRoY

stingerhs
02-14-2011, 01:59 AM
well, the topic of religion is something that i've avoided talking about for a very long time on these forums mostly because i hate debating people about whether or not God even exists and so on and so forth. however, i would like to just put in my two cents about all of this.

it all starts with the simple question: what is religion? i believe that religion is all about two things: power and purpose. one thing that every religion on this earth has in common is man's search for power over their everyday situations and a reason for existence. in that sense, every religion on this earth is the same, and they're all competing with each other. religion has been the source of countless deaths and wars over the years, and it all comes down to the fact that every religion promotes a very dogmatic stance on everything. in every sense, religion seems to accomplish the opposite of its intended function of power and purpose and more for division and destruction.

that said, i fully and completely believe that the Bible is not a religious document. throughout the scriptures, there are numerous references to the establishment and reigning of a kingdom, not a religion. if that is the case, then the Bible should instead be viewed as a political book about the establishment of a form of government in the earth.

it all starts in the very beginning. in Genesis 1:26, God created man to have dominion over the earth and everything within it. in other words, God's original intent was for man to automatically have both power and purpose from the very start over the Kingdom of the earth under his own authority. however, with the fall of man came a loss of both the power and purpose, and from that point until Jesus arrived on the earth, the Old Testament chronicles multiple attempts by God's people, the Hebrews, to re-establish a Kingdom of God on the earth.

When Jesus arrived, he was obsessed with teaching the fundamentals of a Kingdom. in the book of Matthew alone, the term "kingdom" is mentioned over 55 times. Jesus began his ministry saying "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4:17). just a few scriptures later, "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people." (Matthew 4:23) and i could go on and on (i have plenty of references), but you get the idea: Jesus did not just come to the earth so that we could go to heaven when we die. Jesus came to re-establish the kingdom of heaven on the earth.

that said, i think that this whole preoccupation with religion vs relationship is preposterous. yes, God wants us to have a personal relationship with him, but he also wants the relationship to be more than just a means of guiding our lives. God's intent was for man to rule and reign in the earth. having a relationship with God is the way for us to know how we're supposed to accomplish his will in the earth, and his will is to establish a kingdom. most people just want to focus in on how much God loves us and how much he longs for us to know him, but they're omitting the fact that God wants us to know him for a reason beyond us going to heaven instead of hell.

all that said, (and i could say a whole lot more), i very much think that you're on the right track, Tysyacha. what you're going through is similar to what i've gone through in the past, and its never easy when so many around you (particularly loved ones) are content to just accept things at face value. discovering yourself and discovering the purpose that God has created for all of us is so much more important than anything else. you're on the right track by asking questions, and i encourage you to dig deeper.

if anything that i've said has made you curious, there are a number of books that i can recommend that can explain this whole kingdom concept in much further detail than this. i really hope that you find answers that make sense to you. i very honestly believe that there is nothing more important on the earth than understanding yourself and what you have found to be true. in that, we all find our identity and our true purpose.

take care, and God bless. ~stingerhs

purifier
02-14-2011, 08:53 AM
http://enlightenyourday.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/The-Buddha-illustrated-quote-Believe-Nothing-300x300.jpg]

Years ago I had these two hardcore baptist church members come to my house. They were going from house to house, handing out pamphlets and preaching the good word. I got into a heated discussion with them about the bible. I was just starting to get into philosophy back then, and I was quoting philosophical statements and they were quoting scripture back to me. As the arguments got more dramatic, I quoted that statement from Buddha to them. As soon as I said that, one of them, the youngest one, couldn't have been any older than 19, blurted out the words..."HA! We don't BELIEVE none of that!"

(:dozey: Now does anybody see the irony in that statement?) I just stood there, staring at both of them, confused, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Then I slammed the door shut, before either one of them could utter another word.


@Tysyacha - seems like your soul searching right now, been there, done that, so I just wanted to dedicate this to you......

LOSING MY RELIGION - R.E.M.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y5p7qQZLH8


Good luck and I hope you figure it out, one way or the other. :)

Tysyacha
02-14-2011, 04:34 PM
Thank you, purifier. As I told the person to whom I originally wrote the open letter, last night a very creepy poem popped into my head. It's by Shel Silverstein, and it's haunted me for YEARS--even before I started doubting and questioning my faith for the first time. I find it fitting now:

THE ONE WHO STAYED
by Shel Silverstein, on his album "Where the Sidewalk Ends"

You should have heard the old men cry.
You should have heard the biddies,
When that sad stranger raised his flute and piped away the kiddies.
Katie, Tommy, Meg and Bob
Followed, skipping gaily, red-haired Ruth and my brother Rob,
Little crippled Bailey,
John and Nils and Cousin Claire,
Dancing, spinning, turning, across the hills to God knows where--
They never came returning.

Across the hills to God knows where,
The Piper pranced, a-leading
Each child in Hamelin town--but me.
And I stayed home, unheeding.
My papa says that I was blessed,
For if that music found me, I'd be witch-cast
Like all the rest.

This town grows old around me.
I cannot say I did not hear that sound,
So haunting and hollow...
I heard. I heard.
I heard it clear...
But I was AFRAID to follow...

Tysyacha
02-14-2011, 05:06 PM
To me, that poem is a WARNING, not just a harmless bit of children's verse. It always has been--about NOT following other people or a creed without knowing what the music is REALLY trying to say, if you get my meaning.

Would you believe that ever since I was an older child, about 9 or so, I've had doubts about Christianity in particular and God/religion in general? It was difficult for me (if not impossible) to just BELIEVE, like my friends at church and at school did (and like my adult church friends did, too) without worrying about the basics that I'd been taught. More than anything, I got the strong impression that once you first accepted the faith, you were supposed to believe these "basics" (salvation, sin, God and Jesus) as given truths and then move ONWARD and UPWARD. You weren't supposed to revisit the facts of the Plan of Salvation more than once--and that "once" was when you first invited Christ to come into your heart. It's like being in school. Once you had mastered the alphabet and were learning how to write (said my faith and church doctrine) it was absolutely ridiculous to go over the ABC's again.

The thing was, the "basics", the truths that were SUPPOSED to be simple and believable by all people for all time, were actually very hard and complicated for me (and not only as a child, either). My friends in Sunday School and at Youth Group didn't ask too many questions because THEY believed, and wholeheartedly. What was wrong with ME, I asked myself? Many people told me I thought too much and overanalyzed things. That may have been true, but then again, I've always been a deep thinker and an analyst (even of the "simple" things that 95% of the population has already dealt with and mastered). I TRIED to believe, JUST believe, and have a "childlike faith." That was what my church promoted as the best sort of faith, not the kind that ruminated over the "given" truths as well as the "higher" ones of the Bible.

During the day, I tried to believe and obey. At night, that poem haunted me.

Believe. Obey. Believe. Obey. These were the two core values that my church (and, I thought, Christianity in general) stuck to, hard and fast, like epoxy glue sticks to skin. Meanwhile, I struggled inwardly with romantic and sexual (lustful, my church and Christianity would say) feelings. I also scorned and laughed at those who did not believe as I did. The people who partied, and who sat at my lunch table? I sneered at them and what they did, while secretly wanting to be invited. I scoffed at the pregnant girls at my high school, priding myself on the fact that I was still a virgin while ignoring a very basic Christian concept: HUMILITY. This continued all the way through college, where I believed and obeyed, believed and obeyed, nothing more.

Until everything fell apart, and my doubts exploded right out of my chest.

(P.S. How do I know that epoxy glue sticks to skin? Painful experiences. :P )

Darth InSidious
02-14-2011, 06:11 PM
To me, that poem is a WARNING, not just a harmless bit of children's verse. It always has been--about NOT following other people or a creed without knowing what the music is REALLY trying to say, if you get my meaning.

Would you believe that ever since I was an older child, about 9 or so, I've had doubts about Christianity in particular and God/religion in general? It was difficult for me (if not impossible) to just BELIEVE, like my friends at church and at school did (and like my adult church friends did, too) without worrying about the basics that I'd been taught. More than anything, I got the strong impression that once you first accepted the faith, you were supposed to believe these "basics" (salvation, sin, God and Jesus) as given truths and then move ONWARD and UPWARD. You weren't supposed to revisit the facts of the Plan of Salvation more than once--and that "once" was when you first invited Christ to come into your heart. It's like being in school. Once you had mastered the alphabet and were learning how to write (said my faith and church doctrine) it was absolutely ridiculous to go over the ABC's again.

The thing was, the "basics", the truths that were SUPPOSED to be simple and believable by all people for all time, were actually very hard and complicated for me (and not only as a child, either). My friends in Sunday School and at Youth Group didn't ask too many questions because THEY believed, and wholeheartedly. What was wrong with ME, I asked myself? Many people told me I thought too much and overanalyzed things. That may have been true, but then again, I've always been a deep thinker and an analyst (even of the "simple" things that 95% of the population has already dealt with and mastered). I TRIED to believe, JUST believe, and have a "childlike faith." That was what my church promoted as the best sort of faith, not the kind that ruminated over the "given" truths as well as the "higher" ones of the Bible.

During the day, I tried to believe and obey. At night, that poem haunted me.

Believe. Obey. Believe. Obey. These were the two core values that my church (and, I thought, Christianity in general) stuck to, hard and fast, like epoxy glue sticks to skin. Meanwhile, I struggled inwardly with romantic and sexual (lustful, my church and Christianity would say) feelings. I also scorned and laughed at those who did not believe as I did. The people who partied, and who sat at my lunch table? I sneered at them and what they did, while secretly wanting to be invited. I scoffed at the pregnant girls at my high school, priding myself on the fact that I was still a virgin while ignoring a very basic Christian concept: HUMILITY. This continued all the way through college, where I believed and obeyed, believed and obeyed, nothing more.

Until everything fell apart, and my doubts exploded right out of my chest.

(P.S. How do I know that epoxy glue sticks to skin? Painful experiences. :P )
If I can ask, by "the basics", do you mean things like the veracity of the Gospels, or do you mean things like how the doctrine of salvation works? I suppose what I'm asking is, is the problem a crisis of belief in God-in-general, or in the doctrines of Christianity? Or both?

Tysyacha
02-14-2011, 06:38 PM
Both, and by "the basics", you definitely hit the nail on the head.

urluckyday
02-14-2011, 06:58 PM
I don't know if you said or not, but I couldn't find it...what denomination of Christianity are/were you?

Alkonium
02-14-2011, 07:28 PM
Both, and by "the basics", you definitely hit the nail on the head.

I'm starting to think the problem isn't you, as much as it is your church. It seems to be that it's trying to stifle critical thinking, which is tantamount to anti-intellectualism. Are you certain that Christianity, or at the very least, your denomination of Christianity, is really right for you?

stingerhs
02-14-2011, 07:58 PM
Would you believe that ever since I was an older child, about 9 or so, I've had doubts about Christianity in particular and God/religion in general? It was difficult for me (if not impossible) to just BELIEVE, like my friends at church and at school did (and like my adult church friends did, too) without worrying about the basics that I'd been taught. More than anything, I got the strong impression that once you first accepted the faith, you were supposed to believe these "basics" (salvation, sin, God and Jesus) as given truths and then move ONWARD and UPWARD. You weren't supposed to revisit the facts of the Plan of Salvation more than once--and that "once" was when you first invited Christ to come into your heart. It's like being in school. Once you had mastered the alphabet and were learning how to write (said my faith and church doctrine) it was absolutely ridiculous to go over the ABC's again.

The thing was, the "basics", the truths that were SUPPOSED to be simple and believable by all people for all time, were actually very hard and complicated for me (and not only as a child, either). My friends in Sunday School and at Youth Group didn't ask too many questions because THEY believed, and wholeheartedly. What was wrong with ME, I asked myself? Many people told me I thought too much and overanalyzed things. That may have been true, but then again, I've always been a deep thinker and an analyst (even of the "simple" things that 95% of the population has already dealt with and mastered). I TRIED to believe, JUST believe, and have a "childlike faith." That was what my church promoted as the best sort of faith, not the kind that ruminated over the "given" truths as well as the "higher" ones of the Bible.

During the day, I tried to believe and obey. At night, that poem haunted me.

Believe. Obey. Believe. Obey. These were the two core values that my church (and, I thought, Christianity in general) stuck to, hard and fast, like epoxy glue sticks to skin. Meanwhile, I struggled inwardly with romantic and sexual (lustful, my church and Christianity would say) feelings. I also scorned and laughed at those who did not believe as I did. The people who partied, and who sat at my lunch table? I sneered at them and what they did, while secretly wanting to be invited. I scoffed at the pregnant girls at my high school, priding myself on the fact that I was still a virgin while ignoring a very basic Christian concept: HUMILITY. This continued all the way through college, where I believed and obeyed, believed and obeyed, nothing more.

Until everything fell apart, and my doubts exploded right out of my chest.

(P.S. How do I know that epoxy glue sticks to skin? Painful experiences. :P )you're not alone on that one. trying to understand the so-called basics is actually far more complicated than what most Christians would have you believe. i've found that a lot of Christians like to give you the "selling points" of the concepts and leave it at that. there's just so much more to salvation, sin, and who God is than you've probably been exposed to.

i'm not sure if you're actually looking for answers or if you're upset that you've had to put up with such ignorance for so long. however, if you are indeed looking for answers, i would highly recommend that you check out at least one of these three books:

Mere Christianity by CS Lewis
More Than a Carpenter by Josh and Sean McDowell
Kingdom Principles by Dr. Myles Monroe

the first two in particular were written by former atheists, and like you, they had to find God in their own way. those might be better choices to start with, but the last one can take you a lot deeper in terms of understanding how God relates to our world today.

hope that helps.

jonathan7
02-14-2011, 08:11 PM
I will start with a quote from Ghandi...

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Think about that, as I think it a very sad but accurate observation of a lot of the Church, which is not the way it should be....

On Hell: This is what I was taught about Hell in my church, at least.

http://www.losingmyreligion.com/essays/realityofhell.html

Well that was a stinking pile of poo, for starters how many times did he actual relate his various claims back to the Bible? It contains a lot of taught doctrine, all of which I think is erroneous. If you would really like me to dissect it I can, but if that is the general quality of sermon, I think finding a better pastor would be a good start; that whole thing was Conservative Evangelical Propaganda, and propaganda is usually used by fundamentalists...

I TRIED to believe, JUST believe, and have a "childlike faith." That was what my church promoted as the best sort of faith, not the kind that ruminated over the "given" truths as well as the "higher" ones of the Bible.

Paul also tells us to grow into faith and consider things, a couple of observations the Church has often been anti-intellectual and there is nothing wrong with the process you are going through, questions are GOOD.

Believe. Obey. Believe. Obey. These were the two core values that my church (and, I thought, Christianity in general) stuck to, hard and fast, like epoxy glue sticks to skin. Meanwhile, I struggled inwardly with romantic and sexual (lustful, my church and Christianity would say) feelings.

Everyone struggles with things such as this...

I also scorned and laughed at those who did not believe as I did. The people who partied, and who sat at my lunch table? I sneered at them and what they did, while secretly wanting to be invited. I scoffed at the pregnant girls at my high school, priding myself on the fact that I was still a virgin while ignoring a very basic Christian concept: HUMILITY. This continued all the way through college, where I believed and obeyed, believed and obeyed, nothing more.

More than humility, you lacked loved in the way you reacted to the above... Would Jesus of acted in that manner? No... It is also all to familiar in the way a lot of Christians relate to "non-Christians". In truth, back at school the two of us would not of got on... I have always been seen by other Christians as the "bad boy" Christian, in so far as I always hung around with the people most of the other people in the CU etc did the above to. But scoffing and looking down at people is not imitating Christ, it is acting like the Pharisees - and what did Jesus say about them? You have moved beyond that, which is good, but may I suggest not to judge Jesus by the way Christians act, or the doctrines they try say are from Jesus.


Until everything fell apart, and my doubts exploded right out of my chest.

My life has fell apart on a couple of occasions, but I have also found that I have grown most as a person in those times, and my faith has grown also.

I remember during the worst period of my life that Psalm 88 struck a particular cord with me;

1 LORD, you are the God who saves me;
day and night I cry out to you.
2 May my prayer come before you;
turn your ear to my cry.

3 I am overwhelmed with troubles
and my life draws near to death.
4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am like one without strength.
5 I am set apart with the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom you remember no more,
who are cut off from your care.

6 You have put me in the lowest pit,
in the darkest depths.
7 Your wrath lies heavily on me;
you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.[d]
8 You have taken from me my closest friends
and have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape;
9 my eyes are dim with grief.

I call to you, LORD, every day;
I spread out my hands to you.
10 Do you show your wonders to the dead?
Do their spirits rise up and praise you?
11 Is your love declared in the grave,
your faithfulness in Destruction[e]?
12 Are your wonders known in the place of darkness,
or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?

13 But I cry to you for help, LORD;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14 Why, LORD, do you reject me
and hide your face from me?

15 From my youth I have suffered and been close to death;
I have borne your terrors and am in despair.
16 Your wrath has swept over me;
your terrors have destroyed me.
17 All day long they surround me like a flood;
they have completely engulfed me.
18 You have taken from me friend and neighbor—
darkness is my closest friend.

Both, and by "the basics", you definitely hit the nail on the head.

I think "Christianity" is simple, and it has been made far to complex, in essence, love the Lord your God, with all your heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbour as yourself. I don't think that your pastor and some members of your church are doing the latter, I can't comment on the former.

Here is something I wrote a few years back you may additionally find helpful;

Why I am a Christian...

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous fictional detective; Sherlock Holmes said "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?" The Athiest Philosopher David Hume said "A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence." Have you examined the evidence for the most important event in human history? Christianity has had a major impact on the world, both good and bad. Is Jesus just a big hoax or could the seemingly improbable be true?

Put simply the reason I am a Christian is because following the Sherlock Holmes quote I have eliminated all the impossible factors; the one improbable factor remaing must be the truth. This improbable factor is that Jesus did rise from the dead. It seems to me that no other conclusion from evidence can be the logical solution. Both Christian, Jewish and Roman sources agree on a few facts;

1. There was a man named Jesus performing a reported ministry of teaching, healing and miracles in first century Isreal.
2. That this man was crucified and that people reported seeing him after his death.
3. Then that the Church quickly grew even after their leaders death.
4. That diciples who had previously denied they followed Jesus then died for their belief that he had risen again.
5. Paul a man charged with murdering Christians, a man who hated them as fanatics, and was hunting them down suddenly became a Christian himself and a founding father of the Church.
(5a. and many theologians consider that Paul was most likely martyred for his belief in Jesus.) - What could cause Pauls dramatic turn-around?

These are facts that are reliable from Christian and non-Christian sources. If you were a disciple would you die for a lie? As if they hadn't seen him after death thats what they would be doing. What caused Paul to so dramatically change his ways? I would encourage you read a book by Lee Strobel called 'The Case for Christ' (http://www.amazon.com/Case-Christ-Journalists-Personal-Investigation/dp/0310209307). It is by a law journalist who was an athiest and he puts the evidence through tests and ask many questions you may have. He talks to many foremost authorities on the various areas of Jesus life. His conclusion is improbable... caused him to become a Christian having examined all the evidence! I would encourage any who truly seek knowledge to read it for yourselves and see what you think! I do however have a slight criticism of the book, as I don't think he allows the atheists experts enough time in the book.

I hope that is helpful.

Sabretooth
02-14-2011, 10:22 PM
Would you believe that ever since I was an older child, about 9 or so, I've had doubts about Christianity in particular and God/religion in general?

There's plenty of 9-year old or younger kids who've realised through observation and rational deduction that God is about as real as Santa Claus. I'm sorry to say, Tysy, but you're by no means the first person to doubt whether Christianity makes sense or no. :p

Qui-Gon Glenn
02-15-2011, 04:52 AM
I do not wish to offend the Christians in the room, several of whom I have a great deal of respect and admiration for.

However, I find it hard to swallow when in response to inquiries of faith that you would respond with letter and verse.

Who wrote this stuff? Really? A man did. A FLAWED man, if you believe in Original Sin.... (I could go on and on on that topic, if you like). Assuming that the writings are the true representation of God's will is not only not logical, it ignores history. Faith in God, a higher power, whatever, is not crazy, but taking the great religious texts of the world as anything more than food for thought is turning off your brain.

@stingerhs - excellent points about power and purpose. Control.

There are no chosen people. The Jews are not better than the Buddhists. Christians are not entitled to more than a Hindi. How could a Jain possibly go to hell?!?!?!?!?
Any pastor that tells you otherwise has an express ticket to HE-double-hockey-sticks. If God really felt that way, he would be imperfect. And a remarkable jackass.

Sabretooth
02-15-2011, 05:49 AM
Christians are not entitled to more than a Hindi.

Yes, they are not entitled to more than a language, the scrawny little varmints. :carms:

Tysyacha
02-15-2011, 08:12 PM
*snort* It took me a while to get that little joke, but I finally did. *LOL*

*snips the rest of the post* Whew. I got a load off my mind, or at least my emotions. However, I decided to clean up my Internet equivalent of puking--or weeping--or both.

Today was a hard day.

jonathan7
02-15-2011, 08:46 PM
If you want to ban me for this post, go ahead. It's just that with everybody else around me, EVERYBODY else, wanting me to live the "I'm completely happy and absolutely nothing's wrong in my life" way, especially with Jesus
Christianity/God/religion and church doctrine, I have nowhere else to turn.

Tysyacha

Ty, why on earth would you get banned for this? I'm just very sad that things have reached this point, and I'm sorry that there is little I can say to console you on everything that has taken place.

1) "Man, Tys, your theories are all wrong and false. You're messed up, too."
-1) You may be right on both counts, but that brings me no comfort now.

I don't think there is any correlation between theories being wrong and and an individual being "messed up" - though I would ask which of us isn't messed up? Regardless some of the individuals I've counciled with depression see the world most clearly.

2) "Quit your b*tching."
-2) I've tried. I can't fake being happy anymore, or saying everything's fine.

From a psychological stand point the release is a must, bottling is bad for an individual, I'm sorry you can't express this to individuals in the flesh.

3) "It's not God's fault all this crap has happened to you. It's your fault."
-3) If it's my fault, then how can I fix it? I've been trying to for 8 mo. now.

Ty, none of this is your fault, in the book of Job none of what happens to him is his fault. Is the murder victim at fault for being murdered? The answer is un-equivocally no.


4) "You suck."

You really don't...

5) "Why are you so depressed?"
-5) You just skipped to the end of this outpouring of pain, didn't you?

Theres nothing wrong with being upset....

Tysyacha
02-15-2011, 09:40 PM
*hug* Thanks. I'll most probably come up with more coherent-sounding questions later. :)

Jae Onasi
02-15-2011, 10:28 PM
Would you believe that ever since I was an older child, about 9 or so, I've had doubts about Christianity in particular and God/religion in general?Every reasonable person has doubts from time to time.

It was difficult for me (if not impossible) to just BELIEVE, like my friends at church and at school did (and like my adult church friends did, too) without worrying about the basics that I'd been taught.A lot of those people had doubts, too--they just never expressed it to anyone else. :)

More than anything, I got the strong impression that once you first accepted the faith, you were supposed to believe these "basics" (salvation, sin, God and Jesus) as given truths and then move ONWARD and UPWARD. You weren't supposed to revisit the facts of the Plan of Salvation more than once--and that "once" was when you first invited Christ to come into your heart. It's like being in school. Once you had mastered the alphabet and were learning how to write (said my faith and church doctrine) it was absolutely ridiculous to go over the ABC's again.Well, I can see building on the basics, but why quit studying Jesus? He's kind of the guy that put 'Christ' into 'Christianity', after all. :)


The thing was, the "basics", the truths that were SUPPOSED to be simple and believable by all people for all time, were actually very hard and complicated for me (and not only as a child, either). The events and basics are pretty basic. The underlying theology is extremely complex--so much so that many, many books have been written on it. Some things are harder for some people to grasp than others. People who have a loving father 'get' the concept of the Loving Father far more easily than someone with an abusive or absent father. Also, don't confuse 'feeling' faith with 'having' faith. Too many people think "I don't feel my faith, therefore I don't have faith."

My friends in Sunday School and at Youth Group didn't ask too many questions because THEY believed, and wholeheartedly. What was wrong with ME, I asked myself? Well, first of all, not too many teens have matured physically and mentally enough to have completely developed critical thinking skills, so I expect teens to kind of go along with whatever's said.

Some people 'get' faith easier. I have to work at it.

Also, why is it wrong to ask questions? Why would God not want you to find out more about Him? Job had lots of questions for God, and some very hard ones. The disciples asked Jesus questions all the time. Christ even asked God why He had forsaken him while on the cross. There's no 11th Commandment called "Thou shalt not ask questions". A church that actively suppresses questioning is a church I avoid like the plague.

Many people told me I thought too much and overanalyzed things. That may have been true, but then again, I've always been a deep thinker and an analyst (even of the "simple" things that 95% of the population has already dealt with and mastered).
That's because they either didn't know the answer themselves, were too uncomfortable to explore the answer with you, or just didn't want to deal with it.



I TRIED to believe, JUST believe, and have a "childlike faith." That was what my church promoted as the best sort of faith, not the kind that ruminated over the "given" truths as well as the "higher" ones of the Bible.Did Augustine avoid ruminating over the given/higher truths in the Bible? No. Did C. S. Lewis avoid ruminating over given/higher truths? No. Did Christ avoid ruminating over higher truths? No, in fact He forced His disciples to think about some very hard truths with His parables and stories.



Believe. Obey. Believe. Obey. These were the two core values that my church (and, I thought, Christianity in general) stuck to, hard and fast, like epoxy glue sticks to skin. They left out the love part, which is kind of depressing.

Meanwhile, I struggled inwardly with romantic and sexual (lustful, my church and Christianity would say) feelings. Well, welcome to the land of hormonal teen (and not so teen) horny feelings. God doesn't say "Don't have those feelings!" God says "Don't screw around". There's a difference. The first is part of the hormone makeup God made that allows us to procreate. The action (screwing around) is a problem because it spreads sexually transmitted disease (particularly at a time when there were no antibiotics or anti-virals to treat those diseases) and causes pregnancy outside of the intended setting. And on a slightly irreverent note, thank God for masturbation.

I also scorned and laughed at those who did not believe as I did. The people who partied, and who sat at my lunch table? I sneered at them and what they did, while secretly wanting to be invited. I scoffed at the pregnant girls at my high school, priding myself on the fact that I was still a virgin while ignoring a very basic Christian concept: HUMILITY.Welcome to the imperfection club. I have a piece of humble pie to share with you. It's pretty tasty, fortunately, because I've had to eat a lot of it myself.

This continued all the way through college, where I believed and obeyed, believed and obeyed, nothing more.
Until everything fell apart, and my doubts exploded right out of my chest.Yeah, that happened to me in college. It took me awhile to get it all sorted again.

(P.S. How do I know that epoxy glue sticks to skin? Painful experiences. :P )I managed to glue my fingers together one time when I was a kid. :lol:
One of my patients tried to use epoxy glue to glue on her false eyelashes. This was not a wise move on her part.

Darth Avlectus
02-16-2011, 01:12 AM
I'm not sure how to specifically respond to this OP. I have let go most of bible passages I have read.

Yes, I know one of the troubling things about religion is that there are things that contradict such as you pointed out.

Sometimes the best way to go about your faith is to find the answers for yourself. If you cannot find them in a church, maybe somewhere else?

Everyone goes through doubts. People question faith more than you might imagine.

It's difficult to develop one's sense of self sustaining while reliant on something else like a church--just my opinion. However, if church is all you know, I can only suggest you maybe see what it's like without church. For a time at least. Being alone, you will have the chance to examine and search within and without. However, I am not you, so I can't tell you the way. You must decide for yourself.

Recognize that this a a chance to develop your character. You must ask yourself what it means to be true to yourself.

I did. I went away from faith because I wanted answers.

After my time of no faith, I eventually came back to faith in something more because although there is no 'proof' that is scientifically testable, when I see things accomplished that are improbable if not otherwise impossible, it does seem to imply that there is still something to be drawn upon. Given that some will argue for the idea that nothing more exists, they're still arguing for it when it is/should be ultimately nothing. To me that implies something more is there. "No proof for it, therefore it must be false" is the fallacy called argument from ignorance. It cuts both ways and ultimately goes nowhere.

Personally I could not forgive myself. For Things that had happened, as well as things I had done. So I needed to find a way to learn how. Let's just say the alternative if I didn't was the ultimate of grim consequences if I did not change. This is simplifying things, perhaps cryptically so, but it is the ultimate point of all that.

Since then I've seen and done many things, much I regret. However I am not making the same mistakes that I once did--even if some of those things were not entirely my fault. This is an important lesson to learn. To truly be a changed person you act upon what you learn from mistakes.

I did indulge. Much. You know what? Nearly all of it has left a bitter taste in my mouth one way or another.

If there is any one thing relevant to your conundrum: Being faithful does not necessarily mean you follow unquestioningly. Be true and find the answers. Nobody else can do that for you in your life but you.

We are our own worst enemies. In so many ways. Just living life day to day is a challenge. Finding one's way, drive and purpose is something essential. Even if you struggle with what that is. Some can sit idly by because they don't care too much--just cruising by because that works for them. Others find their purpose and live it proudly. I'm in between these, personally. So are many people.

There is nothing wrong with it that you have not found your way in the church. Just remain true to yourself and try to enjoy life's adventure any way you can.


EDIT: OK, I see where the above could be misinterpreted or where I maybe could have been clearer. I'll try my best.

1) Learning for yourself: Be honest with yourself and others in your dealings. I am not saying by that one ought to become self righteous or self vindicating. There are things you must learn on your own (and I, and everyone else).

Insofar as your dilemma where "having a relationship with God" may be pitted against your religion or particular sect of it...in that case if you're asking which side to choose, go and be with God, always. The religion is about God and Jesus in the first place; should you find that your religion is ever at odds with that in some way then that's probably a hint.

2) Being away from the church. I guess in this what I am saying here is it never hurts to get out once in awhile off the beaten path.

While some problems can only be solved by constant diligence and pursuit (career, savings, changing your current ways and habits of living, etc.), not everything works that way for everyone. Obviously you ought to be concerned with the big things in life and I am not telling you to be otherwise. Just saying once in awhile taking that breath of fresh air (whatever context, metaphorically or literally) is good.

Who knows? Maybe by not concentrating so hard on what troubles you so, while you're away, something in your mind will simply click ant suddenly it will make sense because you've allowed a different point of view. Different set of eyes on the same problem. In these situations worries are lessened or at least clarity and perhaps enlightenment is attained. On troubling matters, troubles seem to fade away or at least they...sort of unlock and begin to unravel.

That's a fool's point of view, anyways. :p I know I am a fool and I am not so ignorant of that fact. Frankly so is everyone when you think about it. That's what's so great about it all. Actually I take heart in it because it means I'm just as human as anyone else!

As one of my favorite comic series "The Dilbert Principle" says (off memory or lack thereof): "We're all idiots. There is no avoiding it. In some way shape or form, we are all idiots. You. Me. The other people. You can have a doctorate in whatever subject, that doesn't mean you can fix your tires."

Also in terms of the whole "Deal with it" angle Jon raised...this is so often applied where it shouldn't be as a means to sweep a matter under the rug.
The original rationale behind it (I suspect) was that we all have small things in day to day life that we must do, even if they happen to be (mostly) inconsequential or unpleasant. Sometimes the only way to handle these small affairs is to simply do it because we must. Examples: clean the yard, clearing the snow, handling the misbehaving pet, organizing the kitchen, etc. The only way to do these things is simply to do them, obviously.
That DOES NOT MEAN if someone you love has a serious problem and needs help, that you simply turn them away by telling then to "just deal with it". Where somebody has a serious problem that actively needs addressing, then by all means it should be addressed. Tough love at the end of the day is still love. Turning away a legitimate issue is not a loving thing to do.

Qui-Gon Glenn
02-19-2011, 04:47 PM
Yes, they are not entitled to more than a language, the scrawny little varmints. :carms:
Uh..... giggle.... sabre, it is not my fault that "i" and "u" are next to each other on the keyboard.

It is my fault that I didn't read my own post!!!

Since we are discussing religion, I have another quirky tidbit from my (wacky) mother to share with the forum:

Maitreya is on Earth right now, conducting interviews and coming out of secrecy. This means that if you have a beef with Jesus, you can bitch at his teacher right now, here on Earth, if you can find him.... Maitreya seems to be quite slippery though, and highly mobile.

Frankly, I shrug this off as further proof that my mother is sad and desperate. However, it would be quite interesting to have a Deity running around to talk to.

Tysyacha
02-19-2011, 09:42 PM
Thank you, so much, to everyone who has given me advice so far. The outpouring of support I've received is far greater than I ever dreamed it would be, and has brought me far more comfort than I ever imagined.

As I continue on this journey, unraveling the mysteries of faith, I hope that it will all be worth the pain I'm now experiencing. Two setbacks came today:

THE BOOK

I got a Christian book today from my sister and her husband called "Always True: God's Promises when Life is Hard." Right away I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Skimming through a few pages confirmed my suspicion, down in my gut as well as my heart, about a few things:

The book is written for people who are already strong Christians, and who just need a reminder that "God is sovereign over sin," "God is sovereign over our rebellion," and Why fear is not okay: Fear is the exact opposite of what Christianity is supposed to be." The thing is, I'm not even sure I want to be a Christian anymore. For me, this was like receiving a book about chess with a chapter (or at least a section) entitled "Why losing is not okay: Losing is the complete opposite of the aim of chess, which is to win." It is filled with tons of bolded Bible verses, one after the other, and very little explanation from the author about if and why they should be believed (especially in the face of dire situations that can make life a living hell). I get the very strong sense that the book is written that way because it was intended for people whose trust in literal Scripture is absolute, and who receive comfort from verses because they already know what they mean...

THE UNSETTLING DREAM

I had this one last night. I'm a big fan of fairy tales/fantasy, and also chess, so it's no wonder these two themes combined so vividly in my subconscious. I was a beautiful princess, although a very haughty one, who was the best chess player in my entire kingdom (and NOT just because I was the princess and people let me win, either). I just kept on winning, winning, winning...

Along came a handsome prince (seriously. You may be thinking, "Oh, brother!" but in the dream he was HOT). He said he wanted to challenge me to a chess game. I smirked and said, "All right. You must know that you're going to lose, but if I do instead, I'll marry you. You'll get me as a prize!" So we play, I lose (!!!!!), and the handsome prince and I get married. We should be living happily ever after, right? Wrong. I refuse to declare that our wedding was valid, because our chess game ended in a stalemate--a draw. Deep down in my heart, I know it wasn't a draw, but I won't admit it.

Every day the handsome prince asks me if I lost the game, and I keep telling him no. I keep telling the prince that at the chessboard, he played me to a draw and thus married me under false pretenses. He never gets mad at me or makes any other demands of me. The prince just keeps waiting, staring at me with this look of complete love/adoration on his face, hoping I'll concede at last. In the meantime, I enter dozens of chess tournaments throughout the kingdom, hoping to (reclaim) win the title. The Prince enters none. Odd...

Anyway, I play in these dozen tournaments, and lose EVERY. SINGLE. GAME. All my opponents just point and laugh at me, because they know I'm getting what I deserve: their scorn and condemnation. I'm getting my just deserts.

I come home from the final one, and the prince (still smiling) says, "How did the tournaments go?" I break down weeping. "Je perdu, perdu, perdu..."

As the refrain of "I lost, lost, lost!" echoed in my mind, a stupid dog started barking (in real life) outside my bedroom window and I woke up. Darn it!!!

***************

Anyway, I know at least partially what the dream means. The princess, obviously, is me, and the handsome prince represents God. The thing is, in real life I don't think I'm that much of a "witch" (although maybe I am).

My opponents in the chess tournament, as represented in the dream, are things like unemployment, being denied job opportunities, and being almost totally broke. These circumstances seem to be laughing at me in my losing state, and it's not funny at all. Maybe I was too proud of the job I did have, when I did have it. I know I rejoiced that I was finally "going somewhere" and "being somebody" in the world. I don't know. That dream was hard to have, and even harder to wake up from without knowing how it ended. I told the handsome prince the truth about how I did in the tournaments, but was I also conceding he'd won our game? I hope I dream the end of it soon...

Sabretooth
02-19-2011, 11:41 PM
http://www.old-wizard.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Seventh-Seal2.jpg

You aren't a witch. You are death.

Tysyacha
02-19-2011, 11:56 PM
*LOL* :) You make me sound like the Jedi Exile, or Kreia. :D

Jadolerr
02-20-2011, 12:22 AM
Hello,

I am a student of the bible, I would like to try and offer some comfort and perhaps offer satisfying answers to your questions from the bible.

It is written in John 17:3 This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.

Have you ever wondered why God allows so much suffering in the world today, and what his purpose is for mankind?

Tysyacha
02-20-2011, 12:45 AM
Indeed. I've pondered the notion, posted earlier, that God allows so much human suffering because He values the power of humans to make choices: either the right ones or the wrong ones. He doesn't like to restrict human freedom because He doesn't want robots. That makes sense to me, although all the suffering in the world breaks my heart. Many times, people suffer because someone else did all the hurting beforehand (murder, rape, financial fraud, genocide).

As for God's purpose for mankind? Other than "to rule and reign over all the earth," as has been mentioned before, and to worship Him for all eternity, I really don't know.

Welcome to the forums, by the way! I'm Tysyacha. :)

Working Class Hero
02-20-2011, 04:30 AM
That's one of the reasons I lost my faith. Either God doesn't have the power to stop suffering or he doesn't care, so **** him.

Alkonium
02-20-2011, 09:18 AM
That's one of the reasons I lost my faith. Either God doesn't have the power to stop suffering or he doesn't care, so **** him.

Which bring me to another point. What makes a god worthy of worship? Their power, or how they use it? Such power is so easily abused. And what makes their followers worthy of reverence? History is filled with people twisting religious texts to suit their own ends.

Mind you, I'm an atheist who disagrees with the whole idea of worship, but my point is still valid.

Samuel Dravis
02-20-2011, 11:29 AM
According to Kierkegaard (or anyway, at least my poor understanding of him), the essence of Christianity lies in the affirmation of the existing subject that they will, continuously, strive to imitate Christ. Hence, any reasons given for why God is "worthy" of worship, whether the Bible is true, or even whether God exists or not, is at best irrelevant and at worst downright disingenuous. Those types of issues only arise in an objective worldview, which is obviously not the case with any human being who has ever lived. Someone may be convinced that Christianity is completely true historically, and yet not be Christian.

Presumably, one can object to this on the basis that plenty of people believe based on such reasons. But in that case, he says, they are absurd because they are resting their supposedly eternal happiness on something which can and does change easily, and this contradicts their existential status as subjective individuals. According to K, this is one of the causes of fanaticism: placing an infinite reliance on a finite piece of evidence or reasoning leads directly to irreligion. Cf. the Danish state church of Kierkegaard's time, in which theologians would endlessly debate details about the historicity of Jesus but didn't have any time to consider whether their lives reflected the affirmation of Christ characteristic of Christianity. Because of this Kierkegaard didn't consider them Christians, even though persons such as Bishop Mynster preached about it every Sunday, they had all been baptized and they all lived in a supposedly Christian state.

However, this doesn't mean that K thought reasons like this unimportant or that they served no purpose. They were just no good for founding an authentic faith.

Sabretooth
02-20-2011, 12:55 PM
Which bring me to another point. What makes a god worthy of worship?

The fact that if you don't, he will **** everything on this planet and flood you and make you suffer all hell.

Convinces a lot of people. :)

Tysyacha
02-20-2011, 03:55 PM
Not me--at least, not anymore. I don't want to be afraid of God, or worship Him because if I don't, I'll go to hell or "suffer all hell," as Sabretooth puts it. Fear, especially fear of condemnation and punishment, sucks. I know this firsthand. It eats me up inside and prevents me from savoring the joy of my existence, whether earthly or supernaturally. To this day, I am very scared of/intimidated by certain people because they held--and, in some cases, still hold--the power of punishment over my head. If they can withdraw/have withdrawn their love and support from me if I don't do what they say, then why wouldn't I fear such people? I have not yet learned to tell them, both in my mind and heart, to go away and "F off." I haven't gotten to the point yet where I need only myself--and confidence in myself--to survive and be the master of my own destiny. I may be weak for NOT having reached that point, but at least I feel strong enough to admit my weakness here. Yes, I have struggled. Yes, I have fought to the point of exhaustion in order to achieve my dreams. That's why it's so heartbreaking that those dreams have died.

There's a song that goes, "People...people who need people/Are the luckiest people in the world." I've never understood why the singer thinks that's true. SOME people exact a high price in exchange for their love and support, and if you haven't learned to live without it, it's even harder to earn it. Have you ever seen the movie "Black Swan"? I have (and it's a fabulous film, IMO).

Even as I "recoiled from what''s going on in (ballerina Nina's) head", as TIME puts it, I still completely sympathized with the character. Nina Sayers, if you haven't seen the movie, is a fantastic ballerina who is chosen to play the lead in a performance of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake". It's the opportunity of a lifetime, right? Right, except for Nina there's an enormous catch, an absolutely insidious exchange of power (her own) for perfection in the role.

Her mother insists that she be "sweet" and obedient; her ballet director urges her to "live a little" and dance with the verve and carefree luminosity that her understudy (and polar opposite) Lily possesses. Both of them demand that Nina please them, and become perfect in the ways THEY mean and that THEY desire. As she so tragically discovers, however, she can please neither person because neither of them will EVER be satisfied. Not completely, at least. Nina loses her mind in the film because she's never felt free enough to listen to her heart. She is driven, and driven, in the end, to...*spoiler off*

I almost wept during the credits. I feel like I AM NINA right now, in a spiritual sense. I know EXACTLY what she's going through (minus the self-mutilation and hallucinations). I can neither please God nor the people I love on this earth, and I feel like an utter failure for it. Why? Because according to where I SHOULD be, say my faith and the people I love despite fearing them, I should be "on a different page". I'll tell you what this means down below:

It means I should accept (as today's sermon title stated) "more Jesus and less me", forgetting and FORFEITING my pain and struggle because it's not important (what is important is JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, nothing else).

It means I should "endure it for love's sake" instead of "doing what feels good." In my own opinion, what is IT--that which I should endure? Perpetual celibacy, the perpetual denial and suppression of my own desires, etc. Notice the word "perpetual" here, in both cases. I did not type that word lightly. That word means not just "for time", here on this earth, but for eternity.

Am I proud? Yes. Am I haughty, like the Princess in my dreams? Also yes. However, beneath my pride lies FEAR. I am willing to lose my pride and admit that I am afraid, and admit that this fear still remains. I'm afraid of God, who appears as the "handsome prince" in my dreams but who could, in actuality, be a cruel and punishing taskmaster who wishes and demands the forfeiture of my very "psikheia"--my soul, in other words, who I am as a SELF.

All for Jesus' sake, of course.

To Christians, that should be comforting. For me, it's absolutely terrifying.

THAT is why I'm losing my religion, and not merely because I hate rules and regulations that make no sense in my own life--rules and regulations that I've been conditioned to follow without thinking, without questioning. Only belief.

At the end of the service, my pastor prayed, "I thank You, Heavenly Father, for every person that's here." I don't think that my pastor really thought through what that meant, and what he was really saying. IF he was really thankful for every person attending church today, THEN he was thankful for ME being there. He has absolutely no idea of my struggle right now, and if he did know, I don't think he would be so thankful. I think he'd gladly exchange me for a true believer, who is absolutely delighted to "decrease as Jesus increases" and so on. Who'd want ME instead of a true believer, anyway?

Hey, I know! You humans would, and that's why you're still sticking with me.

*HUG* And for that, I thank you.

Alkonium
02-20-2011, 05:26 PM
The fact that if you don't, he will **** everything on this planet and flood you and make you suffer all hell.

Convinces a lot of people. :)

That doesn't make God worthy of worship, it makes him/her/it worthy of deposition, if you consider him/her/it real. To say that is enough to me, is essentially saying that "Might makes right" and that God can do no wrong because noone can stop Him. But if might makes right, then the greatest injustices in human history can be justified.

Qui-Gon Glenn
02-20-2011, 07:06 PM
^^^ I assumed sabretooth was stating the general interpretation, not a POV... I could be wrong.

The Incarnations of Immortality series by Piers Anthony is an interesting read on this subject, especially books 6 and 7 dealing with the "big" movers and shakers... The idea of deposition is what reminded me of it. Anthony takes on the big subjects with his typical punniness, but some quite profound (IMO) ideas.

Justification of Belief is always a problem when talking about God's existence, and is a subject worthy of its own thread (and/or a semester at University) - and slightly off-topic here.

Thinking about your title, Ty, I think you should do as you titled. Lose your Religion... and keep your God if you want to! It is a personal relationship that is most important, after all. I find organized religion to be an excuse for people to think less.

Darth Avlectus
02-20-2011, 08:31 PM
Not me--at least, not anymore. I don't want to be afraid of God, or worship Him because if I don't, I'll go to hell or "suffer all hell," as Sabretooth puts it.

This is a problem my father had with the whole "God fearing" thing. And in that same way, so do I.

Personally, I think better terms are God respecting (which needn't have fear in it), and God loving (also needn't have fear).

The only thing you need fear is yourself consciously making bad decisions at peril of others. Which is more rational. To fear all the time is not living.


To this day, I am very scared of/intimidated by certain people because they held--and, in some cases, still hold--the power of punishment over my head. If they can withdraw/have withdrawn their love and support from me if I don't do what they say, then why wouldn't I fear such people? I have not yet learned to tell them, both in my mind and heart, to go away and "F off." Well, it's fair that if the best guidance "they" can give for their satisfaction is vague, then "they" really don't have much ground to stand on and still call their ire justifiable for their expectations not being met. In other words, you can't be more specific with what you want, then don't complain when you get generalized results. Is that not a fair point?


I haven't gotten to the point yet where I need only myself--and confidence in myself--to survive and be the master of my own destiny. I may be weak for NOT having reached that point, but at least I feel strong enough to admit my weakness here. Yes, I have struggled. Yes, I have fought to the point of exhaustion in order to achieve my dreams. That's why it's so heartbreaking that those dreams have died.

While an individualist at heart, there comes a point other people are needed. It all matters how you utilize that presence of others that tells what kind of person you are. Sometimes action speaks louder than words ever will.

There's a song that goes, "People...people who need people/Are the luckiest people in the world." I've never understood why the singer thinks that's true. Possibly speaking from a perspective that others will gladly come to the aid of the needy. Sometimes sacrificing much in their own lives to at least make the living of the one in need that much easier/more comfortable.

SOME people exact a high price in exchange for their love and support, and if you haven't learned to live without it, it's even harder to earn it. Well just because you're without a church does not mean you're without people necessarily. Besides, it isn't always possible to be on your own; whether you want to or not, whether you like it or not. Tried being a hermit. Didn't work.

To be the one in charge means a great deal of responsibility. Tormenting those you take care of does not sound responsible. Sounds tyrannous. Are people you know treating you this way? Lording 'power' over you?

*brevity*
Her mother insists that she be "sweet" and obedient; her ballet director urges her to "live a little" and dance with the verve and carefree luminosity that her understudy (and polar opposite) Lily possesses.

This is all too reminiscent of times in past in parts of the world where if you did not exhibit certain personality traits, and did not have audacity enough to attack the pecking order to try to become one of those on top of it, you were discouraged from any kind of self esteem or taking charge in your life.

Reminds me of Franz Kafka's metamorphosis.

Both of them demand that Nina please them, and become perfect in the ways THEY mean and that THEY desire. As she so tragically discovers, however, she can please neither person because neither of them will EVER be satisfied. Not completely, at least. Nina loses her mind in the film because she's never felt free enough to listen to her heart. She is driven, and driven, in the end, to...*spoiler off*
It's tragedy like that which woke people up out of conformity. People woke up and realized climbing to the top of a heap is not always the ticket to happiness.

Yeah, that is what I'm talking about: The un-pleaseable character in charge of just about any kind of situation. Does not treasure excellence but merely expects it. Totally warped view on what it means to, for example "give it your best always".

These are folks I would ask: "Just what makes YOU so deserving of everyone else's best efforts?" Usually gets the reaction like "I'm the boss/leader" "because I said so" and all that crap. Overwhelming majority of cases the person is a complete hypocrite--or perhaps a tool to someone else but this is a discussion for another time.
The ones that are not hypocrites...are slave driving, self injuring massochists who never end up being around long anyways (except when finally seeing reason).

I do have to respect the latter, though, for living up to their own demands and expectations; workaholics. Usually when brought back down to earth and made to be reasonable instead of self destructive...they yield excellent performance and results.

Actually there was a reality show (undercover boss) about CEO's who went undercover and applied as grunts to their own business to get a glimpse of the real world and how it is really like to work for their own company. Enlightening and amazing.

I almost wept during the credits. I feel like I AM NINA right now, in a spiritual sense. I know EXACTLY what she's going through (minus the self-mutilation and hallucinations). I can neither please God nor the people I love on this earth, and I feel like an utter failure for it. Why? Because according to where I SHOULD be, say my faith and the people I love despite fearing them, I should be "on a different page".

You don't know if God is displeased or not--who is another to judge that for you? Just another human being. Another merely annoying, idiotic, foolish human being. No you have not displeased anyone because they said so. They are about as qualified as you are to speak for God.

I may presume to know God, but at the end of the day I consider that I may not know anything of God at all. That does not frighten me in the least. Personally I think you are doing fine. You seem to care genuinely about others. IMO that's what God wanted for His own creations. More than I can say for some people.

I'll tell you what this means down below:

It means I should accept (as today's sermon title stated) "more Jesus and less me", forgetting and FORFEITING my pain and struggle because it's not important (what is important is JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, nothing else).
I think the point of this is simply to not become self-absorbed, and consider "WWJD?" when it comes to other people. I'm not Jesus, but I do think he'd be generous, especially to those in need. Do not be drawn into worshiping at your peril. Think of it this way: if you aren't around to be generous and kind to, say, less fortunate passers by, then who will? You can't help someone else if you yourself are unwell or, God forbid, not alive.

For example, I come across Snow Boarders who basically gave it their all just to have a wonderful day on the slopes. They have no transportation nor do they expect any--and broke. They choose to walk in fact. But they do get hungry. I figure, hey, why not have one as a guest if, for example, I'm going to a restaurant like Jack in the Box? So I pull one aside and ask "Need some food?" I buy them a meal. If they want company, I talk to them too. They're the happiest people I ever seen. That joy, even if they never express gratitude, is worth more than buying two meals and pigging out on two meals by myself. Though I have yet to meet a snow bum that didn't thank me.

I can't do it for everyone but if I do it for someone here and there I can at least make a small difference, one at a time. Better than no difference at all. If I wasn't here, then I wouldn't be able to make that small difference.

It means I should "endure it for love's sake" instead of "doing what feels good." In my own opinion, what is IT--that which I should endure? This sounds like loving others despite their imperfections. Put another way to my example above: I'm enduring not getting any material nor monitary payback for buying a meal so another person can eat scott-free--but I go into doing this deed knowing that. I could maybe have used the additional money for gasoline. In the long run, though, it isn't that big a detriment to me and it made that person's day. It was not the money that bought that joy, it was the act of generosity.

At the end of the service, my pastor prayed, "I thank You, Heavenly Father, for every person that's here." I don't think that my pastor really thought through what that meant, and what he was really saying. IF he was really thankful for every person attending church today, THEN he was thankful for ME being there. He has absolutely no idea of my struggle right now, and if he did know, I don't think he would be so thankful. I think he'd gladly exchange me for a true believer, who is absolutely delighted to "decrease as Jesus increases" and so on. Who'd want ME instead of a true believer, anyway?

Hey, I know! You humans would, and that's why you're still sticking with me.

*HUG* And for that, I thank you.

I do not fancy myself a revrend, no. Still, it sounds like the particular religious structure you attend is actually the one failing. Not you. Also I think that Someone is very happy you are a generous caring person. And BTW you're welcome. :)

stingerhs
02-20-2011, 11:05 PM
Which bring me to another point. What makes a god worthy of worship? Their power, or how they use it? Such power is so easily abused. And what makes their followers worthy of reverence? History is filled with people twisting religious texts to suit their own ends.

Mind you, I'm an atheist who disagrees with the whole idea of worship, but my point is still valid.i actually don't see your point for a single second, although i can entirely understand your reasoning. how could anybody be so powerful and not abuse that power, right?? then again, that's under the assumption that God has all of the attributes of a human, of course.

if we use mankind as a reference for what power does to a human, then, yes, your logic is sound. i haven't even reached the ripe age of 30, and i've seen enough with my own two eyes to convince me that a man with power is easily corrupted.

just consider the atheist regimes that have come to power in the 20th century such as those headed by Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. all three of those men wielded unrivaled power within their own states and were responsible for the deaths of over 20 million innocents. technically, you could say that they were responsible for even more deaths due to the number of soldiers and other military personnel that lost their lives due to their desire for more power.

but if God is all-powerful as he says he is, then why would he need more power? part of mankind's destructive quest for power is, in part, due to the belief that he doesn't have enough power. for a God that does indeed have everything, what does he gain from your recognition and acceptance of his power? conversely, what does he lose if you choose not to recognize or accept him? if he's already all-powerful, then your decision not to recognize or accept him does not diminish his power.

that said, the real issue here is what God's motivations are and why he even needs all of that power. your argument is that an all-powerful God is likely corrupt and self-serving. however, this is where your logic fails. as earlier stated, for a God that already has everything, in what way would his power be self-serving? you can't add something to everything. everything is all-inclusive, and the only way everything fails to be everything is when something is taken away from it. to take something away from an all-powerful being would be to remove its status as all-powerful.

if God has nothing to gain from our recognition and acceptance of his power, then what remains of his motivations? if he needs nothing from us, then its no longer a matter of power. in that case, it must be a matter of what God wants to do to us. when you move on to that, then understanding God is much more black and white. God must then either be extremely evil, extremely good, or profoundly apathetic.

the question then simply becomes this: what kind of god would you rather believe in? if God is extremely evil, then his power would only work towards absolute destruction. if God is profoundly apathetic, then why would he create us in the first place?

i think the part that's difficult to grasp is trying to accept that God is extremely good when there's so much corruption and evil in the world that he created. i just compare it to how i found my future wife. to be honest, i don't think i would be as happy and satisfied with myself if i had just simply created a woman to be my wife. to know that she chose to accept me and love me for who i am is much more satisfying on a much deeper level. i can imagine that God is much the same way. why create something to just simply love you when you can create something that has the choice to love you?

Jadolerr
02-20-2011, 11:52 PM
Faithful people recorded in the bible also asked such questions. The prophet Habakkuk wrote in Habakkuk 1:3 "Why is it that you make me see what is hurtful, and you keep looking upon mere trouble? And why are despoiling and violence in front of me, and why does quarreling occur, and why is strife carried?"

God helped him to get a clearer understanding of matters, and God wants to do the same for us. This is because he cares for us as written in 1 Peter 5:7 "while you throw all your anxiety upon him, because he cares for you."

In 2 Peter 3:9 it says "Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance."

So why is there suffering? Often the response you hear from religious leaders and teachers is that suffering is God's will and the he long ago determined everything that would ever happen, including tragic events. Many are told that God's ways are mysterious or that he brings death upon people, even children, so that he can have them in heaven with him.

In the bible however Jehovah God never causes what is bad. Job 34:10 "Therefore, you men of heart, listen to me. Far be it from the true God to act wickedly, And the Almighty to act unjustly!"

People may blame God because they think that he is the real ruler of this world. The simple but important truth the bible teaches is that Satan the Devil is the real ruler of this world. 1 John 5:19 says "We know we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one." The world reflects the personality of the invisible spirit creature who is misleading the entire earth. Revelation 12:9 "So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him."

This is why there is so much suffering in the world we live in today, yet what was the cause? What is the reason God allows this to take place? Why does he hold back when has the power to stop this?

Sabretooth
02-21-2011, 07:12 AM
That doesn't make God worthy of worship, it makes him/her/it worthy of deposition, if you consider him/her/it real. To say that is enough to me, is essentially saying that "Might makes right" and that God can do no wrong because noone can stop Him. But if might makes right, then the greatest injustices in human history can be justified.

I didn't say it means God is right or that everything is justified. To worship is to love submissively and show one's utmost devotion to someone (or something). This draws the most parallels to the parent-child relation, clearly. In 9 cases out of 10, a parent loves their child unconditionally. The child however, need not have any such obligation to their parent. Therefore, they are more or less made to believe that life without their parent is impossible, and that if you love and stay devoted to your parents, you'll get everything you want.

The problem is, grown-up kids don't have parents to look up to and answer their questions (especially the tricky ones like "WHY THE HELL ARE LARGE SHAFTS OF LIGHT FALLING FROM THE SKY THEY SCARE THE **** OUT OF ME"). Ergo, a God is formed, the overparent, the supreme person whom you should love and respect unconditionally, because He made you and gives you everything you want (just like your parents did). He will get cross at you if you misbehave, but he still loves you.

The God-Worshipper relation is really a step-up from the parent-child relationship. Obviously, that doesn't stop your elder brothers from telling you "OMG you totally broke the vase! Hmm, I think Mom and Dad need to know about this... unless you give me your lunch money."

You can guess what happens after that.

Qui-Gon Glenn
02-21-2011, 08:42 AM
People may blame God because they think that he is the real ruler of this world. The simple but important truth the bible teaches is that Satan the Devil is the real ruler of this world. 1 John 5:19 says "We know we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one." The world reflects the personality of the invisible spirit creature who is misleading the entire earth. Revelation 12:9 "So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him."

This is why there is so much suffering in the world we live in today, yet what was the cause? What is the reason God allows this to take place? Why does he hold back when has the power to stop this?
I am not one for quoting scripture, as there are many here more capable such as yourself, Jadolerr.

However, I have one for you: "I am the alpha and the omega."

God "made" Satan... and loved him best IIRC. Why is s/he not one in the same?

The fallacy of religion is that it places human conceptions on the unknowable. If God exists, how could we possibly fathom any Godly reasoning? Why would God create a world and then hand it to a liar and deceiver? Unless..... it were necessary.

If it is necessary, then is there really any separation between the two entities? Are they not the deepest of partners.... or just two faces of the same being?

Why would a creator on such a grand scale be concerned so much about any individual life, when the responsibility (again, a human conception) or the realm of liege, is the whole danged everything?

@GTASWC: well stated most recent post.... And quite personal.

Jadolerr
02-24-2011, 08:50 PM
This all began back when Satan led Adam and Eve into disobeying Jehovah. Satan called into question Jehovah's right to rule. By calling God a liar who withholds good from his subjects, Satan charged that Jehovah is a bad ruler.

Genesis 3:2-5 "2 At this the woman said to the serpent: "Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat. 3 But as for eating of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'YOU must not eat from it, no, you must not touch it that YOU do not die.'" 4 At this the serpent said to the woman: "YOU positively will not die. 5 For God knows that in the very day of YOUR eating from it YOUR eyes are bound to be opened and YOU are bound to be like God, KNOWING good and bad."

Adam and Eve rebelled against Jehovah, in effect they said "we do not need Jehovah as our Ruler. We can decide for ourselves what is right and what is wrong."

How would Jehovah handle this? Why were they not simply just destroyed and just start over? Jehovah had stated his purpose to fill the world with the offspring of Adam and Eve, and he wanted them to live in an earthly paradise. In Genesis 1:28" Further, God blessed them and God said to them: "Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it..."


Jehovah always fulfills his purposes as written in Isaiah 55:10,11 "For just as the pouring rain descends, and the snow, from the heavens and does not return to that place, unless it actually saturates the earth and makes it produce and sprout, and seed is actually given to the sower and bread to the eater, so my word that goes forth from my mouth will proves to be.; It will not return to me with out results, but it will certainly do that in which I have delighted, and it will have certain success in that for which I have sent it."


How Jehovah handles this situation is very important, it would affect not only humans but also the millions of angels who were watching since the rebels in Eden were not the only ones involved.

What Jehovah has done is allowed Satan to show how he would rule mankind. God has also allowed humans to govern themselves under Satan's guidance.

To illustrate this, picture a teacher teaching a class how to solve a difficult problem. One of the students claims that the teacher's way of solving the problem is wrong and implies that the teacher is not capable. This student insists that he knows a much better way to solve the problem. Some of the other students think he is right as well and they join him. Now if the teacher removed the student from that class, wouldn't other students perhaps believe he is right? What if they lose respect and think the teacher fears being proved wrong? Then suppose that the teacher lets this student show the class how he would solve this problem. This would be a benefit to the class if the student was allowed to prove his point. When the student fails, all honest students will see that the teacher is the only one qualified to teach the class.

Similarly, Jehovah knows that all honest hearted humans and angels will benefit from seeing that Satan and his fellow rebels have failed and that humans cannot govern themselves.

Like Jeremiah they will learn this vital truth. Jeremiah 10:23 " I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step."

Then, you may ask, why has Jehovah allowed this to go on for so long? Also why doesn't God prevent such things like horrible crimes from happening?

Working Class Hero
02-25-2011, 06:21 AM
Genesis 3:2-5 "2 At this the woman said to the serpent: "Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat. 3 But as for eating of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'YOU must not eat from it, no, you must not touch it that YOU do not die.'" 4 At this the serpent said to the woman: "YOU positively will not die. 5 For God knows that in the very day of YOUR eating from it YOUR eyes are bound to be opened and YOU are bound to be like God, KNOWING good and bad."
Are you ****ing serious right now? Genesis is the biggest joke book in the bible. It's just a mix of 2 documents, one Sumerian and one Babylonian (often just called the J and P documents, if you care)

If God is so omniscient, why did he give all the animals to Adam and think they would provide company? Answer: because it was written by Sumerians that believed gods were not omniscient, they were merely supermen.

What does it say for the reason God banished them? Oh right, because he says if humans eat from the tree they could gain immortality and become "one of us."
Does this make any sense in modern Christian theology? Nope, because once again, it was written by Sumerians who believed they could ascend to godhood.

Also why doesn't God prevent such things like horrible crimes from happening?Because he either doesn't care or he's too weak to do anything. Or maybe...he doesn't exist. :dev14:

Pho3nix
02-25-2011, 06:36 AM
Wow you guys really take the bible literally

jonathan7
02-25-2011, 07:28 AM
Hmmm, I haven't replied for a while more due to Sam posting Kierkegaard who closely represents my own views I haven't felt the need.

I am not one for quoting scripture, as there are many here more capable such as yourself, Jadolerr.

However, I have one for you: "I am the alpha and the omega."

God "made" Satan... and loved him best IIRC. Why is s/he not one in the same?

The fallacy of religion is that it places human conceptions on the unknowable. If God exists, how could we possibly fathom any Godly reasoning? Why would God create a world and then hand it to a liar and deceiver? Unless..... it were necessary.

It's an interesting question, I did post earlier my essay on the problem of evil, which I think partly accounts for an answer; that the freedom to choose was so important that God allowed what happened. I'd argue from a Judeo-Christian standpoint that we are created in Gods image so we can partly understand him if you believe that, however your other point also stands in that an eternal omniscient God is very far away from us, and as such may well be unfathomable, but that is different to be unknowable. Take into account say a hamster and its owner, the human is knowable to the hamster, but the owner may not be fathomable.

If it is necessary, then is there really any separation between the two entities? Are they not the deepest of partners.... or just two faces of the same being?

I'm not quite sure if I understand the point here...

Why would a creator on such a grand scale be concerned so much about any individual life, when the responsibility (again, a human conception) or the realm of liege, is the whole danged everything?

Well, I could swing the question back, why wouldn't he be? Also are you then not, going back on your own previous statement, by having stated God is so far removed from us we cannot "know" him, then how do you know he wouldn't care about us?

Anyways a couple of you have irked me into a reply :xp:

This all began back when Satan led Adam and Eve into disobeying Jehovah. Satan called into question Jehovah's right to rule. By calling God a liar who withholds good from his subjects, Satan charged that Jehovah is a bad ruler.

Are you even involved in this discussion? You don't seem to be replying to anyone who replies to you, and then seem to be going off on a tangent but answering only your own questions. Whats the point in asking questions if your just going to answer them?

To illustrate this, picture a teacher teaching a class how to solve a difficult problem. One of the students claims that the teacher's way of solving the problem is wrong and implies that the teacher is not capable. This student insists that he knows a much better way to solve the problem. Some of the other students think he is right as well and they join him. Now if the teacher removed the student from that class, wouldn't other students perhaps believe he is right? What if they lose respect and think the teacher fears being proved wrong? Then suppose that the teacher lets this student show the class how he would solve this problem. This would be a benefit to the class if the student was allowed to prove his point. When the student fails, all honest students will see that the teacher is the only one qualified to teach the class.

Do you have any idea how flawed this example is? I've been in classes where the teacher would admit I know more on the subject than them...


Are you ****ing serious right now? Genesis is the biggest joke book in the bible. It's just a mix of 2 documents, one Sumerian and one Babylonian (often just called the J and P documents, if you care)

Actually there is absolutely no scholarly consensus on who wrote Genesis, and the method it was put together. The above is a popular 20th Century theory which has since been discredited. Which I think also disproves the rest of your point about supermen Gods. However I'm happy to discuss the point further if you wish. I'm not sure if you want me to go into philosophical discourse with the regards of God, choice and time?

adamqd
02-25-2011, 11:07 AM
RE: Jadolerr... Is there such thing as a Christian Spam-bot?

Working Class Hero
02-25-2011, 08:46 PM
Actually there is absolutely no scholarly consensus on who wrote Genesis, and the method it was put together. The above is a popular 20th Century theory which has since been discredited. Which I think also disproves the rest of your point about supermen Gods. However I'm happy to discuss the point further if you wish. I'm not sure if you want me to go into philosophical discourse with the regards of God, choice and time?If you can prove how it was discredited, I'd be happy to discuss it.

Darth Avlectus
02-25-2011, 08:56 PM
Don't people know the bible is a sham cuz it wuz wrote buy hoomans? I demand you all to stop believing in God! Right now!!!!!!!!!!!!111!!1!!!!1!!!1!1!!!!!11 :swear:

jonathan7
02-25-2011, 09:13 PM
If you can prove how it was discredited, I'd be happy to discuss it.

Erm, the British Museum (http://www.britishmuseum.org/) as I recall, but the issue of burden of proof resides with you my friend. I have made no claims as to who wrote Genesis, or why, or what "influenced" it. However Wikipedia that source of all useless information after my lazy 5 minute search shall do me in good enough stead :xp:

There is currently no consensus on the process by which Genesis came to be written. The documentary hypothesis (which sees Genesis the product of the editorial weaving of a number of originally independent and complete accounts of the same material), which did enjoy the status of a consensus among many Western scholars for most of the 20th century, no longer enjoys the support it once did, and rival theories have been advanced using fragmentary models (composition by an author from various "fragments") or supplementary models (an original text later expanded and edited), or combinations of these.[13] An alternative approach regards perceived difficulties in the integral text as we have it as opportunities to rise to a challenge in interpretation, and admit "interpolations" or possible mis-transmissions only when every other avenue of investigation has been exhausted.[14] It is asserted that there are many anachronisms (which must often in the absence of detailed history be a matter of interpretation) and that these point to a date of reaching its "final form" in the 1st millennium B.C.[13] and the same recent proposals attempt to place it in the 5th century when, as the argument runs, the post-Exilic Jewish community was seen as trying to adapt itself to life under the Persian empire.[15]

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Genesis

Working Class Hero
02-25-2011, 09:31 PM
but the issue of burden of proof resides with you my friend.Nicely done. You charge me with having a bogus theory, then say that. :thmbup1:

By the way, your link doesn't support your point that: "The above is a popular 20th Century theory which has since been discredited." at all. All it says is that different theories are being considered (that are very similar to the one I posted)...so I'm not sure where you were going with that.

My proof is the book Sir His Greatness Isaac Asimov did on his research in Genesis (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0759298815/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0450055078&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1MJJET1EW1TXTVDYD6GH). If Isaac says it, therefore it is. :xp:

jonathan7
02-25-2011, 09:48 PM
Nicely done. You charge me with having a bogus theory, then say that. :thmbup1:

Wow, if I'm detecting your tone right, chill. Just to point out, I haven't claimed anything for who wrote Genesis or what it's influences were, however as far as my reading on the subject goes there isn't a consensus on Genesis. I wasn't really charging you with anything, merely noting that as far as I know there is no agreed reasoning on who wrote Genesis or its influences. At least as far as my limited knowledge on this particular subject goes what I know of Babalonyian Creation stories I'm sceptical of their influence (of the Babalonyian stories I recall one holds that one of the Gods ejaculated the world into being). There is of course the question as to when Genesis was originally written, and given we don't have any remaining old texts ascertaining that is difficult.

By the way, your link doesn't support your point that: "The above is a popular 20th Century theory which has since been discredited." at all. All it says is that different theories are being considered (that are very similar to the one I posted)...so I'm not sure where you were going with that.

I'm pretty sure that backs up my points

"There is currently no consensus on the process by which Genesis came to be written."

Follow my reasoning, if we have no way of ascertaining the original date of Genesis it's impossible to know what "documents" (if any) influenced it; As such if there is no consensus on the process by which Genesis came to be, how do you know that for example Genesis is not older than the aforementioned Babylonian accounts, and if there is any similarity documents how do you know it's not because the Babylonian accounts copied Genesis.

My proof is the book Sir His Greatness Isaac Asimov did on his research in Genesis (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0759298815/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0450055078&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1MJJET1EW1TXTVDYD6GH). If Isaac says it, therefore it is. :xp:[/QUOTE]

I'll see if I can track down a copy, however much as I respect Asimov, I'm not aware he is of any scholarly repute within this particular field, and given the time of his death (1992) and the speed at which a field such as this can move on, how sure are you that what he says is still relevant?

Tysyacha
02-27-2011, 10:46 PM
((Paragon Interrupt)) I have a question for all of you: Must all of the Bible--every story, every account, every word and syllable--be LITERALLY true in order for it to be true? I personally do not believe so. If there was no literal Noah's Ark, and if the sun did not literally stand still, I would still believe that Jesus loved me and that He wanted to pay the price for our sins. I've never believed that the Bible was meant to be a science or history textbook, even though many of the events in it did actually occur (such as the Babylonian exile). To me, the Bible was chiefly meant to inspire people to come to the Christian faith, and live out their lives in love for God and His Son.

Why must I think that the Earth is only a few thousand years old, as some say because they believe in the Genesis account literally, in order to come to faith (or continue in faith)? I have a point/counterpoint for you to consider:

1) "If all of the Bible isn't LITERALLY true, then none of it must be true."

-1) Some people like to compare the Bible to a math book, so I'll run with that analogy. If there is a mistake in my math book, does that make the entire text garbage? Are all of the problems mistakenly construed or wrong? Are the theories presented a bunch of hogwash? Of course not. In a math book, one "bad apple" (error) does not "spoil the whole barrel". If some of the Bible isn't literally true, that doesn't make God's love any less valid. Right?

TKA-001
02-27-2011, 11:04 PM
(referring to the above post) A sensible conclusion. No Christians I know assert a literal-truth interpretation of scripture (at least, when it comes to the more famously-debated events like the flood).

mimartin
02-28-2011, 12:37 AM
be LITERALLY true in order for it to be true?Nope

If there is a mistake in my math book, does that make the entire text garbage? I would say it would depend on the mistake. If it were a simple math error to a single question then it would not make the entire text garbage. If the mistake was something material that instructed the reader an incorrect way to solve math problems such as add/subtract before multiplying/dividing then it could make the entire text garbage.

That is about as deep as I get into a religious thread. :)

Qui-Gon Glenn
02-28-2011, 01:44 AM
@j7 - I cannot know anything about God, and certainly cannot trust anything written about him by mere mortal men who know him no better than myself. If I am to experience and feel "God" it will have to be by direct contact. To me, that is the end of the story, but I am not everyone, and I do not wish to push my views on the forum or anyone else for that matter.

As to my mysterious line: If God exists, then Satan exists... But Satan works for God, not against him, as there was a necessity in allowing free choice, AND God does not make mistakes. Therefore, Satan ruling the netherworld is no mistake, and is necessary. They sit on different thrones, both doing God's work... an infinite God contains Satan.

This is a big run-on thought, and I need to go to sleep, so if you like I will try to give you a better and more logically sound conception. It is not easy, when talking about the Big Guy in the Sky :) That is a deep pool, way deeper than I am!!!

@adamqd: Thank you for posting the spam-bot idea... It phrased what I was thinking quite succinctly :)

@GTA:SWC - really, yeah you got the jester badge, but I think you know this isn't really the place, and you are attempting an Appeal to Ridicule in my argument, which is fine on the funny farm but not very Kavar's. That, and your point is silly, not helpful, actually in my opinion the stupidest thing you have ever posted :carms:
I am not trying to tell anyone what to believe, the point that the Bible was written by Man cannot be disputed, and is therefore a source that must be held under at least some scrutiny. And, to answer your current sig.... WHAT!!!

@Ty and TKA: There are big-time Priests and Pastors who are quite serious scientists, and look at a great deal of the Bible as simple storytelling. Yet they have deep faith... proof positive of my point that GTA made into a joke. Thank you for your posts!

@Working Class Hero: You are passionate about your position, that is commendable. Finger wagging will not help your point get across, and is needlessly disrespectful. When discussing these things, please remember that your position is in the great minority, and is less trusted in the US and most countries than newly immigrated Muslims, illegal aliens, or people of any faith. Fighting with fire can be your undoing, it is better to discuss than argue. Just something to consider, my friend.

Darth Avlectus
02-28-2011, 02:37 AM
@GTA:SWC - really, yeah you got the jester badge, but I think you know this isn't really the place, and you are attempting an Appeal to Ridicule in my argument, which is fine on the funny farm but not very Kavar's. That, and your point is silly, not helpful, actually in my opinion the stupidest thing you have ever posted :carms:
Ok mister logical point taken. We gotta be serious business now. Hear that kids? Seriously. Serious.

I was actually trying to amuse everyone on WCH's point (including himself) to get him to stop and think how he sounds...but without a direct indictment. Though I suppose not helpful.

I couldn't resist. :dev9:

I am not trying to tell anyone what to believe, the point that the Bible was written by Man cannot be disputed, and is therefore a source that must be held under at least some scrutiny. True. There are multiple versions even. Though I find it interesting that while Urantia and such take information roughly circa that time period, a good portion which related to the Bible on some fronts (different views), and not only is it considered blasphemy to the highly religious Christians but also cast off as irrelevant by just about everyone else.

And, to answer your current sig.... WHAT!!!
I'm a jerk, and you don't have it together. http://guildwars.incgamers.com/forums/images/smilies/large/smiley_smug.gif

Samuel Dravis
02-28-2011, 10:40 AM
As to my mysterious line: If God exists, then Satan exists... But Satan works for God, not against him, as there was a necessity in allowing free choice, AND God does not make mistakes.Just as something interesting to read in a similar spirit, try Borges' Three Versions Of Judas (http://www.hccp.org/borges-judas.html). The only reason I know about it is because Sabre forced me to read one of his collections. :p

Sabretooth
02-28-2011, 11:04 AM
((Paragon Interrupt)) I have a question for all of you: Must all of the Bible--every story, every account, every word and syllable--be LITERALLY true in order for it to be true? I personally do not believe so. If there was no literal Noah's Ark, and if the sun did not literally stand still, I would still believe that Jesus loved me and that He wanted to pay the price for our sins. I've never believed that the Bible was meant to be a science or history textbook, even though many of the events in it did actually occur (such as the Babylonian exile). To me, the Bible was chiefly meant to inspire people to come to the Christian faith, and live out their lives in love for God and His Son.

Why must I think that the Earth is only a few thousand years old, as some say because they believe in the Genesis account literally, in order to come to faith (or continue in faith)? I have a point/counterpoint for you to consider:

1) "If all of the Bible isn't LITERALLY true, then none of it must be true."

-1) Some people like to compare the Bible to a math book, so I'll run with that analogy. If there is a mistake in my math book, does that make the entire text garbage? Are all of the problems mistakenly construed or wrong? Are the theories presented a bunch of hogwash? Of course not. In a math book, one "bad apple" (error) does not "spoil the whole barrel". If some of the Bible isn't literally true, that doesn't make God's love any less valid. Right?

The Torah, and its sequel the Bible were written to inspire and teach a bunch of medieval/pre-medieval tribals, nomads and other communities about the joys of coming together under a single religion, by the means of metaphors and parables. It's only rational to believe that the book can no longer be taken seriously, or even in its whole (one might especially want to skip the genealogy bits that are liberally sprinkled in the OT).

Tysy, you quite frankly happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time right now, because this fundamentalist mindset seems to be gripping conservative America like... like.. whatever it is that grips things forcefully. Pack your belongings and get to Canada or Hawaii or Mexico or something. I'm sure you'll look splendid in a sombrero.

JediMaster12
02-28-2011, 12:26 PM
Indeed. I've pondered the notion, posted earlier, that God allows so much human suffering because He values the power of humans to make choices: either the right ones or the wrong ones. He doesn't like to restrict human freedom because He doesn't want robots. That makes sense to me, although all the suffering in the world breaks my heart. Many times, people suffer because someone else did all the hurting beforehand (murder, rape, financial fraud, genocide).

God gave us free choice yes. I am paraphrasing a quote from the Bible where God says, "Let us create man in our own image" and he goes on to say something along the lines about man having dominion over the creatures of the earth. You can tell I am not a Bible student...lol.

Anyway, I am in a similar boat as you Tsy. I go to mass mainly out of obligation to my father and participate in his family's rosary sessions for the same reason. I began questioning things because they didn't make sense to me. One of the interesting secrets is that the current Bible is based upon a revisionist history that was written during Israel's captivity in Babylon and for the most part, the writers were inconsistent in their writing style and patterns. Plus it doesn't help that good ole Constatine's Council of Nicea just xnayed some 40 generations of writings that would probably have answered some of the great mysterys that enthusiasts have been trying to solve ie the Holy Grail, etc.



As for God's purpose for mankind? Other than "to rule and reign over all the earth," as has been mentioned before, and to worship Him for all eternity, I really don't know.



My thing is that yes there is a purpose for everyone and everything. Not knowing is part of the adventure of living. Do I believe that there is God? I like to think so. I also believe that God loves us unconditionally. If he didn't, why would he give us freedom of choice? The prodigal son tale comes to mind.

In your first post, you spoke of a genuine relationship with God. That may be true but also you have to consider your definition of genuine. If you truly believe that it is so, then it is so. Then agains I am probably stepping in on too much faith rather than logic but there are some things you have to fgure out for yourself.


Tysy, you quite frankly happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time right now, because this fundamentalist mindset seems to be gripping conservative America like... like.. whatever it is that grips things forcefully. Pack your belongings and get to Canada or Hawaii or Mexico or something. I'm sure you'll look splendid in a sombrero.

I agree that a fundamentalist mindset has gripped this country that I love but it takes true courage to stand up for the doubts that you have. However I wouldn't consider Mexico since besides cartels, there is an obsession with Catholicism there.

mimartin
02-28-2011, 01:24 PM
@GTA:SWC - really, yeah you got the jester badge, but I think you know this isn't really the place, and you are attempting an Appeal to Ridicule in my argument, which is fine on the funny farm but not very Kavar's. Just want to be clear, you cannot get a Jesters Badge for a post in Kavars.


I have no problem with humor or trying to lighten up a subject, just remember that religion is an extremely personal subject so others may be offended by your attempt at levity. No rule against attempts at humor in posts; but please take into consideration that this is an extremely personal subject.


Please do not take this as a warning, this is merely a reminder that the subject matter is sensitive and to let members know that are after the Jesters Badge that they should save the best lines for other sections of the forum as they don’t count for that purpose here. :)

jonathan7
02-28-2011, 02:00 PM
((Paragon Interrupt)) I have a question for all of you: Must all of the Bible--every story, every account, every word and syllable--be LITERALLY true in order for it to be true? I personally do not believe so. If there was no literal Noah's Ark, and if the sun did not literally stand still, I would still believe that Jesus loved me and that He wanted to pay the price for our sins. I've never believed that the Bible was meant to be a science or history textbook, even though many of the events in it did actually occur (such as the Babylonian exile). To me, the Bible was chiefly meant to inspire people to come to the Christian faith, and live out their lives in love for God and His Son.

Actually no Christian (unless they are reading the Greek or Aramaic) can claim to have read the "literal Bible" as translation is never 100% meaning is lost, so the English Bible (or any other translations) are never literal in any respect. You may also wish to think over this quote by the great theological scholar;

"There is, then, no absolute proof that our Canon is precisely the true Canon and no absolute proof that any one word of the text is exactly as God gave it. But the quest for absolute proofs, whether historical or theological, is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of history, theology and the human mind. History is at best an approximation to truth based upon incomplete induction of the facts. Theology is a fallible human attempt to co-ordinate the data of revelation. The human intellect, even when renewed by the Holy Spirit, cannot know absolute certainty. In his inmost being the Christian believer has an absolute assurance (that is, an assurance which comes from God's direct witness within him), that he has heard the voice of God and that he is a child of God. But when he puts his beliefs into his own words the absoluteness of the truth of his statements vanishes." – John Wenham

For me I believe all the evidence points towards in a 14-15 billion year old universe, and a 6 billion year old earth, I'm unsure on the story of Noah, I haven't done enough research on it to be able to say particularly much definitively.

Why must I think that the Earth is only a few thousand years old, as some say because they believe in the Genesis account literally, in order to come to faith (or continue in faith)? I have a point/counterpoint for you to consider:

Ty, many Christians believe in a 6 billion year old over, and any Christian claiming that the earth being 6,000 years old is of fundamental importance to the faith needs to point me exactly to where Jesus says that (hint he doesn't).

1) "If all of the Bible isn't LITERALLY true, then none of it must be true."

Thats bull-**** and utter idiocy from anyone that says it, none of Jesus parables are literally true....

-1) Some people like to compare the Bible to a math book, so I'll run with that analogy. If there is a mistake in my math book, does that make the entire text garbage? Are all of the problems mistakenly construed or wrong? Are the theories presented a bunch of hogwash? Of course not. In a math book, one "bad apple" (error) does not "spoil the whole barrel". If some of the Bible isn't literally true, that doesn't make God's love any less valid. Right?

Right, but the above argument only works if you believe the Bible is infallible, I don't believe the Bible is infallible (partly as I think that the world "infallible" is meanignless), but given the complications of translation and that humans wrote the Bible (while being inspired, if you believe what the Bible says), I think claims that the Bible are infallible are at best naive, and at worse Kavars rules means I can't call it for what it is, in any respect they involve the twisting of words.

@j7 - I cannot know anything about God, and certainly cannot trust anything written about him by mere mortal men who know him no better than myself.

How do you know they don't know God better than yourself? :xp: Just an observation, but I don't think any of us can really state how well anyone else knows God.

If I am to experience and feel "God" it will have to be by direct contact. To me, that is the end of the story, but I am not everyone, and I do not wish to push my views on the forum or anyone else for that matter.

Kavars is as much a place for the exchange of idea's so feel free, I don't think its really possible to force your ideas on others in an internet forum unless your name is Garfield.

The Torah, and its sequel the Bible were written to inspire and teach a bunch of medieval/pre-medieval tribals, nomads and other communities about the joys of coming together under a single religion, by the means of metaphors and parables. It's only rational to believe that the book can no longer be taken seriously, or even in its whole (one might especially want to skip the genealogy bits that are liberally sprinkled in the OT).

Out of interest Sabre, how much of the Bible have you read, specifically the New Testament?

stingerhs
02-28-2011, 06:25 PM
((Paragon Interrupt)) I have a question for all of you: Must all of the Bible--every story, every account, every word and syllable--be LITERALLY true in order for it to be true? I personally do not believe so. If there was no literal Noah's Ark, and if the sun did not literally stand still, I would still believe that Jesus loved me and that He wanted to pay the price for our sins. I've never believed that the Bible was meant to be a science or history textbook, even though many of the events in it did actually occur (such as the Babylonian exile). To me, the Bible was chiefly meant to inspire people to come to the Christian faith, and live out their lives in love for God and His Son.i'm actually somewhat confused. by literal, do you mean word-for-word true? if that's the case, then i doubt it as there is a lot more to the Bible than the various translations. the word "love" alone can be translated into over 4 different Greek words that actually describe multiple kinds of love (ie, the love of God vs brotherly love and so on). there's a reason why most biblical scholars and teachers recommend that you use a concordance if you're going to do an in-depth study of particular scriptures in addition to reference points for the translation that you're using.

of course if you're referring to specific stories like Noah's Ark, Jonah and the Whale, Daniel and the Lion's Den, etc, then i would have to say that the stories are more than just stories. if they were there for inspirational purposes only, then what possible purpose would they serve today? those stories no longer have any direct context with today's daily life, and that greatly diminishes their impact. if those stories are true, however, they then serve not only to inspire faith but also to remind us that our God is capable of much more than providing us with our next paycheck.Why must I think that the Earth is only a few thousand years old, as some say because they believe in the Genesis account literally, in order to come to faith (or continue in faith)? I have a point/counterpoint for you to consider:

1) "If all of the Bible isn't LITERALLY true, then none of it must be true."

-1) Some people like to compare the Bible to a math book, so I'll run with that analogy. If there is a mistake in my math book, does that make the entire text garbage? Are all of the problems mistakenly construed or wrong? Are the theories presented a bunch of hogwash? Of course not. In a math book, one "bad apple" (error) does not "spoil the whole barrel". If some of the Bible isn't literally true, that doesn't make God's love any less valid. Right?well, you're argument here relies heavily on one simple statement: if part of it isn't true, then can the rest of it be considered as reliable? to this, i have one simple counter-point: if one part of it is true, then can the rest of it be considered as reliable?

in both cases, i would have to argue that you can't just look at one part and immediately establish its validity (or lack thereof). given the importance of the validity of the Bible, i think that you would have to put the full text into question and look at every part. to only focus on one part and none of the others to base your argument would be foolhardy at best.

JediMaster12
02-28-2011, 06:52 PM
Why must I think that the Earth is only a few thousand years old, as some say because they believe in the Genesis account literally, in order to come to faith (or continue in faith)? I have a point/counterpoint for you to consider:

1) "If all of the Bible isn't LITERALLY true, then none of it must be true."

-1) Some people like to compare the Bible to a math book, so I'll run with that analogy. If there is a mistake in my math book, does that make the entire text garbage? Are all of the problems mistakenly construed or wrong? Are the theories presented a bunch of hogwash? Of course not. In a math book, one "bad apple" (error) does not "spoil the whole barrel". If some of the Bible isn't literally true, that doesn't make God's love any less valid. Right?

The cynic in me says that the Bible was created by man and therefore is a product of man even though several books and the faith itself claim that it is spoken by God. However stingerhs makes a valid point in that you have to look at the Bible as a whole and that to focus on only a part of it is foolhardy. Of course there are instances where the fundamentals latch only on to certain parts to make their case...

To me, the Bible is one history text that has been shredded up, case in point, it is missing some 40 generations and in the Bible's sense, a generation is 40 years. If you want a somewhat complete history, you would have to go beyond the officially recognized text. I've read pieces of the gnostic and the apocrypha, etc and I have even read stuff that would have gotten me thrown out for heresy but I wanted a complete picture. Of course it isn't a discussion you would hear at the dinner table as my folks would have lined up to tar and feather me. My point is though that you have to go beyond what is accepted and find your own answers.

purifier
02-28-2011, 07:32 PM
My point is though that you have to go beyond what is accepted and find your own answers.


^Good point, well said. And no one in this godforsaken world can really tell you exactly what your suppose to believe and what your not suppose to believe. We're all in the same boat and it's up to each individual to find his/her own truth.




@Tysyacha: I've learned over the years that if you want to know the real truth and you continuously seek for the real answers about mankind, god, spirituality, whatever it is you really want to know, the truth will eventually find you.

And what's that old saying we often hear?......."The truth shall set you free."

Just something to think about. :)

Tysyacha
02-28-2011, 07:40 PM
I guess the problem that I have with sticking to a completely-literal view of, and interpretation of, the Bible is that I once DID that, and I'm not going down that road again. If I'm supposed to believe the Bible in a literal sense, that leaves me no room for "finding my own answers" as you put it, JM12. Once upon a time, not so very long ago, I believed the Bible far, FAR more than I believed in science, philosophy, or anything that "flawed humanity" created. It saved me the trouble of doubting, and of asking questions.

The more I clung to a literal interpretation of the Bible, and to its absolute infallibility, the guiltier and more ashamed I felt when I DID start doubting and asking questions. After all, as a fundamentalist saying goes, "God said it. I read it. That settles it." Why torture my puny little human mind, which was considered worthless next to God and Jesus, with petty little doubts? The Bible was there to be trusted more than one's family, one's country, one's self. If the Bible wasn't God Himself, it almost could have been--according to what I once believed. I fell into a downward spiral of doubting, confessing, and repenting only to doubt again--with even harder questions to consider.

I kept thinking of myself, despairingly, as "two-faced" and "lukewarm"--to be spat straight out of God's mouth in the End of Days. That might still happen to me. However, I'd rather ask the questions and doubt than believe without knowing why, or without understanding what it is that God really wants. I find it creepy, the way I was back then when I never doubted. I marched on resolutely, but toward WHAT? I never wanted to ask that, because I felt I never needed to or would need to in the future. Now that I have, I find a sense of inner peace within myself in the midst of all this chaos. It's just a little tiny MUSTARD SEED of peace, but it is there. Especially when I'm not at church. That may sound awful, and completely un-Christian, but I don't care.

If I'm going to go to Hell because of all this, so be it, but I'd rather do that than be a Robot for Jesus (tm). Some people actually call themselves that...

jonathan7
02-28-2011, 08:13 PM
I guess the problem that I have with sticking to a completely-literal view of, and interpretation of, the Bible is that I once DID that, and I'm not going down that road again. If I'm supposed to believe the Bible in a literal sense, that leaves me no room for "finding my own answers" as you put it, JM12. Once upon a time, not so very long ago, I believed the Bible far, FAR more than I believed in science, philosophy, or anything that "flawed humanity" created. It saved me the trouble of doubting, and of asking questions.

Ty, just to make an observation, but when does Jesus ever teach from a "literal" point of view? He tells stories and parables which cause people to think for themselves. People want things to be black and white, but the world isn't just different shades of grey but multi-coloured.

I'm going to pull no punches here, one of the biggest problems the Church faces is it is full of Pharisees which is ironic considering these are the very people Jesus fought against. The Church however exsists for a reason, perhaps I can best illustrate this with a quote from Dan Browns: Angels and Demons (any books denounced by Christians I generally automatically read). It is as a warning a little long, but WELL WORTH THE READ. With relation to the book let me give you a brief overview;

So this is all a little far fetched but there is a secret group called the Illuminati who are out to destroy the Catholic Church and have put a secret anti-matter bomb in the Vatican, they have assassinated various members of the Church up until this point. A new Pope is about to be chosen, however during a press statement the guy in charge of the office between Popes and voting has the following to say:

To the Illuminati, and to those of science, let me say this. You have won the war.

The wheels have been in motion for a long time. Your victory has been inevitable. Never before has it been as obvious as it is at this moment. Science is the new god.

Medicine, electronic communications, space travel, genetic manipulation… these are the miracles about which we now tell our children. These are the miracles we herald as proof that science will bring us the answers. The ancient stories of immaculate conceptions, burning bushes, and parting seas are no longer relevant. God has become obsolete. Science has won the battle. We concede.

But science’s victory has cost every one of us. And it has cost us deeply.

Science may have alleviated the miseries of disease and drudgery and provided an array of gadgetry for our entertainment and convenience, but is has left us in a world with out wonder. Our sunsets have been reduced to wavelengths and frequencies. The complexities of the universe have been shredded into mathematical equations. Even our self-worth as human beings has been destroyed. Science proclaims that Planet Earth and its inhabitants are a meaningless speck in the grand scheme. A cosmic accident. Even the technology that promises to unite us, divides us. Each of us is now electronically connected to the globe, and yet we feel utterly alone. We are bombarded with violence, division, fracture, and betrayal. Skepticism has become a virtue. Cynicism and demand for proof has become enlightened thought. Is it any wonder that humans now feel more depressed and defeated than they have at any point in human history? Does science hold anything sacred? Science looks for answers by probing our unborn fetuses. Science even presumes to rearrange our own DNA. It shatters God’s world into smaller and smaller pieces in quest of meaning… and all it finds is more questions.

The ancient war between science and religion as over. You have won. But you have not won fairly. You have not won by providing answers. You have won by so radically reorienting our society that the truths we once saw as signposts now seem inapplicable. Religion cannot keep up. Scientific growth is exponential. It feeds on itself like a virus. Every new breakthrough opens doors for new breakthroughs. Mankind took thousands of years to progress from the wheel to the car. Yet only decades from the car into space. Now we measure scientific progress in weeks. We are spinning out of control. The rift between us grows deeper and deeper, and as religion is left behind, people find themselves in a spiritual void. We cry out for meaning. And believe me, we do cry out. WE see UFOs, engage in channeling, spirit contact, out-of-body experiences, mindquests — all these eccentric ideas have a scientific veneer, but they are unashamedly irrational. They are the desperate cry of the modern soul, lonely and tormented, crippled by its own enlightenment and its inability to accept meaning in anything removed from technology.

Science, you say, will save us. Science, I say, has destroyed us. Since the days of Galileo, the church has tried to slow the relentless march of science, sometimes with misguided means, but always with benevolent intention. Even so, the temptations are too great for man to resist. I warn you, look around yourselves. The promises of science have not been kept. Promises of efficiency and simplicity have bred nothing but pollution and chaos. We are a fractured and frantic species… moving down a path of destruction.

Who is this God science? Who is the God who offers his people power but no moral framework to tell you how to use that power? What kind of God gives a child fire but does not warn the child of its dangers? The language of science comes with no signposts about good and bad. Science textbooks tell us how to create a nuclear reaction, and yet they contain no chapter asking us if it is a good or a bad idea.

To science, I say this. The church is tired. We are exhausted from trying to be your sign posts. Our resources are drying up from our campaign to be the voice of balance as you plow blindly on in your quest for smaller chips and larger profits. We ask not why you will not govern yourselves, but how can you? Your world moves so fast that if you stop even for an instant to consider the implications of your actions, someone more efficient will whip past you in a blur. So you move on. You proliferate weapons of mass destruction, but it is the Pope who travels the world beseeching leaders to use restraint. You clone living creatures, but it is the church reminding us to consider the moral implications of our actions. You encourage people to interact on phones, video screens, and computers, but it is the church who opens its doors and reminds us to commune in person as we were meant to do. You even murder unborn babies in the name of research that will save lives. Again, it is the church who points the fallacy of that reasoning.

And all the while, you proclaim the church is ignorant. But who is more ignorant? The man who cannot define lightning, or the man who does not respect its awesome power? This church is reaching out to you. Reaching out to everyone. And yet the more we reach, the more you push us away. Show me proof there is a God, you say. I say use your telescopes to look to the heavens, and tell me how there could not be a God! You ask what does God look like. I say, where does that question come from? The answers are one and the same. Do you not see God in you science? How can you miss Him! You proclaim that even the slightest change in the force of gravity or the weight of an atom would have rendered our universe a lifeless mist rather than our magnificent sea of heavenly bodies, and yet you fail to see God’s hand in this? Is it really so much easier to believe that we simply chose the right card from a deck of billions? Have we become so spiritually bankrupt that we would rather believe in mathematical impossibility than in a power greater than us?

Whether or not you believe in God, you must believe this. When we as a species abandon our trust in the power greater than us, we abandon our sense of accountability. Faith… all faiths… are admonitions that there is something we cannot understand, something to which we are accountable… With faith we are accountable to each other, to ourselves, and to a higher truth. Religion is flawed, but only because man is flawed. If the outside world could see this church as I do… looking beyond the ritual of these walls… they would see a modern miracle… a brotherhood of imperfect, simple souls wanting only to be a voice of compassion in a world spinning out of control.

Are we obsolete? Are these men dinosaurs? Am I? Does the world really need a voice for the poor, the weak, the oppressed, the unborn child? Do we really need souls like these who, though imperfect, spend their lives imploring each of us to read the signposts of morality and not lose our way?

Tonight we are perched on a precipice. None of us can afford to be apathetic. Whether you see this evil as Satan, corruption, or immorality, the dark force is alive and growing every day. Do not ignore it. The force, though mighty, is not invincible. Goodness can prevail. Listen to your hearts. Listen to God. Together we can step back from this abyss.

Pray with me.

Suffice to say I wish those Christians who criticised Dan Browns books would offer such an articulate response to others, unfortunately I think they maybe too busy wanting to burn others religious texts.

If you believe that we live in a universe created by a God, then the Bible cannot be any more important (or convey Gods message) any more or less than the created world we live in. That is to say that the reality we exsist in is on the same level as the Bible about what it conveys... Generally when they contradict it is because someone places one over the other.

The more I clung to a literal interpretation of the Bible, and to its absolute infallibility, the guiltier and more ashamed I felt when I DID start doubting and asking questions. After all, as a fundamentalist saying goes, "God said it. I read it. That settles it." Why torture my puny little human mind, which was considered worthless next to God and Jesus, with petty little doubts? The Bible was there to be trusted more than one's family, one's country, one's self. If the Bible wasn't God Himself, it almost could have been--according to what I once believed. I fell into a downward spiral of doubting, confessing, and repenting only to doubt again--with even harder questions to consider.

Just an observation, but after Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus that was not enough, he then had to be healed of blindness by a believer and then sought out the disciples to here what they had to say about Jesus and his life before he became the man who wrote the gospels. Paul would give a right bollocking to a lot of the American (Western) Church, I'm sure if he was alive today!

I kept thinking of myself, despairingly, as "two-faced" and "lukewarm"--to be spat straight out of God's mouth in the End of Days. That might still happen to me. However, I'd rather ask the questions and doubt than believe without knowing why, or without understanding what it is that God really wants. I find it creepy, the way I was back then when I never doubted. I marched on resolutely, but toward WHAT? I never wanted to ask that, because I felt I never needed to or would need to in the future. Now that I have, I find a sense of inner peace within myself in the midst of all this chaos. It's just a little tiny MUSTARD SEED of peace, but it is there. Especially when I'm not at church. That may sound awful, and completely un-Christian, but I don't care.

Ty, again I re-iterate Paul doubted, heck Mother Teresa doubted, not that I'm in their league but I doubt... Mother Teresa doubted her faith so much she feared being a hypocrite, as revealed by letters found/released after her death.

If I'm going to go to Hell because of all this, so be it, but I'd rather do that than be a Robot for Jesus (tm). Some people actually call themselves that...

The kind of people who are "Robots for Jesus" are far futher from the kingdom that pretty much anyone else as by all accounts they will be Pharisees.

Can't remember if I left you with this quote before but I'll give it again;

"While spiritual insight or faith is one valid measure in spiritual matters, true spiritual insight never directly contradicts valid intellectual insight or facts in the physical world. Faith may go beyond reason, but does not go against it. It never blatantly contradicts the facts which we perceive with our God-given common sense. Faith and fact point in a single direction. Whey they do not, something is seriously wrong…A willingness to accept facts as they exist, and to learn to use them to test the views one holds rather than falling back on subjective experience or rationalizations, is the first step towards discovering genuine truth." (Charles Larson, By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus, pp. 177-178)

Qui-Gon Glenn
02-28-2011, 08:59 PM
How do you know they don't know God better than yourself? :xp: Just an observation, but I don't think any of us can really state how well anyone else knows God.I think I can actually state quite frankly that nobody knows God better than anybody knows God, and those that really think they know God have deceived themselves a great deal. Which God are you speaking of jonathan? There are many legitimate and "believable" Gods for the peoples of our planet... If someone claims to know "Jesus" but God is actually JVHV, or Krishna, or Bahá'u'lláh, where does that put us? If a Christian claims he knows God better than a Shinto, I will argue that Christian is self-deceived, or being misled by Natasha (spell it drawkcab).

I will say that no one knows God. This can be argued, but convincingly??????

It is all well and good to be a Christian scholar. You can know your religion quite well and potentially not know a single correct thing about God. Same goes for any scholar of any other religion. There is nothing concrete! There are no scientific examples! There is conjecture, and there is intuition, and those are valuable individually but prove nothing.
Kavars is as much a place for the exchange of idea's so feel free, I don't think its really possible to force your ideas on others in an internet forum unless your name is Garfield.
Don't say that name two more times or we are all in trouble :S

Logic.... reminds me of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. "What are they teaching kids these days?"

Jae Onasi
02-28-2011, 09:18 PM
((Paragon Interrupt)) I have a question for all of you: Must all of the Bible--every story, every account, every word and syllable--be LITERALLY true in order for it to be true? I personally do not believe so.
Depends on if you're using an English interpretation or going with the original Hebrew/Greek. For instance, in the Hebrew in Genesis, 'day' can mean a literal 24 hour day, or a long 'age', as in the wording used "back in my grandfather's day". So, I have no issues as a result with the wording of Genesis having things created in 6 days or 6 'ages', and God using the process described (if a bit crudely) by evolutionary science.

Who cares if it was done in 6 days or 6 billion years, anyway, when there's so much work to do down here on earth for people who are hurting or need help NOW? Jesus didn't debate creationism, He stayed busy healing sick hearts and sick bodies, feeding the poor, and talking about how to relate to our fellow people God with love.


If there was no literal Noah's Ark, and if the sun did not literally stand still,
Well, if God can create an entire universe, I suppose He can stop the sun for a few hours, or protect an ark if He wanted to, or create a flood if He wanted to. He made the rules, He can break them every now and then. :D That being said, I don't get hung up on it. The core message is still 'Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself'. For those who get weirded out by the 2 apparently differing accounts of creation in Genesis, first, look at the Hebrew and get the more exact wording (the differences are subtle, but important), and second, understand the intent. The account in Genesis 1 is designed to portray the awesome power of God, a God that can speak a single phrase and has the power to bring into being an entire universe. The other account a couple chapters later is far more anthropomorphic, and shows God's interactions with His created beings--we humans. It is designed to show His much more personal, loving aspect.

I would still believe that Jesus loved me and that He wanted to pay the price for our sins. I've never believed that the Bible was meant to be a science or history textbook, even though many of the events in it did actually occur (such as the Babylonian exile). To me, the Bible was chiefly meant to inspire people to come to the Christian faith, and live out their lives in love for God and His Son.
That's pretty much how I feel, too. How many wonderful things have come out of showing love for humanity? Innumerable things.

Why must I think that the Earth is only a few thousand years old, as some say because they believe in the Genesis account literally, in order to come to faith (or continue in faith)? I have a point/counterpoint for you to consider:There are a lot of different views on the Creationism debate, not just 'literal 6 days vs. evolution', all-or-nothing idea. There's progressive creationism (creationism done over a hundreds of thousands of years), theistic evolution (God directed the evolutionary process), and various shades in between. I think fundamentalists have done themselves a bit of a disservice by not appreciating that God created science as well as religion, and that science and religion both can and do exist in harmony.

1) "If all of the Bible isn't LITERALLY true, then none of it must be true."
Not necessarily. One mistake doesn't invalidate an entire document. If it did, all of ancient history would be tossed completely out the window, as would all of Dawkins' books on atheism.

-1) Some people like to compare the Bible to a math book, so I'll run with that analogy. If there is a mistake in my math book, does that make the entire text garbage? Are all of the problems mistakenly construed or wrong? Are the theories presented a bunch of hogwash? Of course not. In a math book, one "bad apple" (error) does not "spoil the whole barrel". If some of the Bible isn't literally true, that doesn't make God's love any less valid. Right?
If your initial equation is wrong in a series of equations, that error is likely going to continue throughout the entire series and mess up the entire thing. Other mistakes may not make any difference whatsoever.

I think the Bible was written as a guidebook to a. Discover God b. Discover love c. learn how to relate to other people in society in a positive, meaningful way. The rules are there to help us, not screw us over. Why do we have rules on avoiding adultery? Because it can spread sexually transmitted diseases and ruin the family unit by creating mistrust in a situation that requires tremendous trust. Why do we have rules against stealing? Because it damages those who are stolen from. Why do we not murder? Because aside from giving the victim a really bad day, it cheapens life all around us. Is God going to punish us? Well, in a sense, yes, by letting us experience the consequences of our mistakes. If we get an STD, it may not kill us these days, but it would have even 100 years ago.

That's not even addressing the many aspects of good things that come to us by sharing love with those around us. Studies are showing that married people live longer and are happier than those couples who just live together, being involved in a faith community leads to less depression (probably because we have a support system then). Staying on the 'light side'/good side of the law is healthier for us. There's just plain less risk of getting shot or killed if you're not breaking into someone's house, for instance, and no chance of being Bubba's lover in jail if you never get arrested.

jonathan7
02-28-2011, 09:20 PM
I think I can actually state quite frankly that nobody knows God better than anybody knows God, and those that really think they know God have deceived themselves a great deal. Which God are you speaking of jonathan? There are many legitimate and "believable" Gods for the peoples of our planet... If someone claims to know "Jesus" but God is actually JVHV, or Krishna, or Bahá'u'lláh, where does that put us? If a Christian claims he knows God better than a Shinto, I will argue that Christian is self-deceived, or being misled by Natasha (spell it drawkcab).

I will say that no one knows God. This can be argued, but convincingly??????

Actually you seem to have missed my point, apologies perhaps my articulation was not good. My point was if there is a God, then he would know who knows him, and indeed who knows him better than others. As such I was not making claims as to which human can say they know God better, just that to quote Bertrand Russell "Since all the worlds great religions disagree, no more than one can be true" (from 'Why I am not a Christian). As such given the very different opinions on said deity it follows that some peoples conceptions of God are more (or less) accurate as to what said God is like. Or to put it differently, two people see the moon, they both believe in the moon, but one knows it is made of rock and the other knows it is made of cheese. Who knows the moon more accurately?

Tommycat
03-01-2011, 10:23 AM
My saying on that is beware those who claim to know God and tell you what he wants. Chances are they know neither.

Tysyacha
03-01-2011, 04:01 PM
You know what? I've concluded, after participating in this thread for quite a few posts, that even if God doesn't exist, there are PLENTY of supportive, caring, and understanding humans out there. *HUGS* to all of you! It makes me inclined to believe that someone (even with a capital S!) is willing to put it all "out on the line" for someone else who feels lost, and that's awesome!

None of you have judged me or told me I'm completely messed up. That's a lot more than I've gotten from some people--basically a harsh rebuttal: "Why don't you believe anymore, or at least why are you having trouble believing?" You guys really understand, even though we disagree on some points.

You know what all of you have proven--and I mean that sincerely? You've proven that no matter what each one of us professes as our faith, we all share a common humanity--respect for one another, no matter what.

I'll take that over blind faith any day, no matter what anybody says.

adamqd
03-01-2011, 04:48 PM
I am neither an Intellectual nor a Christian, but sometimes you have to look inside yourself to find Happiness and Meaning in life. This is not directed at the Religious members of this Forum, as the ones I've had dealings with are level headed and caring people... But when I was "Forced" to go to Church, Sunday School and Boys Brigade as a Child, the Kids and Adults I was surrounded by were some of the Nastiest, close-minded Bullies I've ever met.

I Hope you feel your family will be understanding of your problems, as they should be your third leg no questions asked.

I sincerely hope you find peace with your self and any decisions you make, and I hope your family and friends are there for you :)

Qui-Gon Glenn
03-02-2011, 03:02 PM
You know what? I've concluded, after participating in this thread for quite a few posts, that even if God doesn't exist, there are PLENTY of supportive, caring, and understanding humans out there. *HUGS* to all of you! It makes me inclined to believe that someone (even with a capital S!) is willing to put it all "out on the line" for someone else who feels lost, and that's awesome!

None of you have judged me or told me I'm completely messed up. That's a lot more than I've gotten from some people--basically a harsh rebuttal: "Why don't you believe anymore, or at least why are you having trouble believing?" You guys really understand, even though we disagree on some points.

You know what all of you have proven--and I mean that sincerely? You've proven that no matter what each one of us professes as our faith, we all share a common humanity--respect for one another, no matter what.

I'll take that over blind faith any day, no matter what anybody says.
Amen!!!
That is as good a prayer as any I can think of :)

@j7: There you go, quoting my favorite philosopher :D Perhaps I did misunderstand your post. I echo the sentiment of Tommycat... I specialized in Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind while getting my BA in Phil, and questions pertaining to "knowledge" always get my attention, as it is a daunting task to prove to me that humans actually know, uh, anything :lol:

DeathScepter
09-26-2011, 10:23 AM
This is my advice only:
1)Love God
2)Read Scripture
3)Serve your fellow man
4)If you can or want too, find a church and pray about it
5)Be honest with yourself

Trench
09-26-2011, 11:37 AM
This is my advice only:
1)Love God
2)Read Scripture
3)Serve your fellow man
4)If you can or want too, find a church and pray about it
5)Be honest with yourself

Thread necromancy is frowned upon here lad. Not really, if you see an older topic that you believe you can constructively add to the topic, then no thread necromancy is not frowned upon. However, that does mean you would have add some real information, or present your opinion in a somewhat intelligent matter. “I agree” or “No it isn’t” are not what I would consider intelligently adding to the conversation. I also think it matters how old the thread is, but again a lot of that is subjective.

I direct you to the Forum Rules (http://lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=169078) for more information. Check out the section on general posting habits. Thanks, but you may want to read the section on spam yourself. Should you see a post that needs moderating please use the report button. ~ mimartin :D

Edit-- Aww. I never get to play moderator. :xp:

Sabretooth
09-26-2011, 03:00 PM
4)If you can or want too, find a church and pray about it

Alternately, find a quiet spot and meditate over it.

Qui-Gon Glenn
09-26-2011, 11:24 PM
Om





Om

Totenkopf
09-26-2011, 11:31 PM
Ohm


Ohm


Corrected. :D

Sabretooth
09-27-2011, 08:08 AM








Correctly corrected. :p

Al_Ciao
09-27-2011, 11:18 AM
Me





Me

Incorrectly corrected.

mimartin
09-27-2011, 01:13 PM
ENOUGH!

Don't make be give my ban/infraction finger a workout. :snear:

R2-X2
10-19-2011, 05:27 PM
I stopped believing in religion when I was 13. I've never been the one to believe in miracles, but this "god" thingy misses all logic and reason... at least I think so... :/ But I don't want to offend anyone's thoughts about that and just thought to add my opinion here ;)

Q
11-07-2011, 05:43 PM
After six years of being drug-free and living in reality I've come to the conclusion that the only real purpose that religion serves is to provide those who do not possess a conscience with a convenient way to manipulate those who do. I didn't realize this much earlier in life due to being brainwashed by my reliotarded parents as a child and the aforementioned drug use in my early adulthood.

It is now my firm belief that religion is just another form of politics and that it's every bit as worthless.

Pho3nix
11-07-2011, 07:55 PM
It is now my firm belief that religion is just another form of politics and that it's every bit as worthless.
Indeed. Only problem is that religion is (in my opinion) formed by two different things;

1) Personal experiences.

2) The need for security and comfort via spiritual fulfillment and "answers/truth".

For the record, I don't believe religious people are stupid. It's just that most people gladly choose the blue pill over the red pill, if you've seen The Matrix you'll now what I mean. It's just easier for people to focus on shallow things in life like the wedding of Prince William instead of pondering deep, philosophic questions about the universe and life in general. This means that they wont effectively come to the conclusion that religious institutions are a bad thing and will instead embrace them even with their faults. I'm pretty sure the average Joe would become extremely depressed if he suddenly realized the true nature of things in life, they way we live, how our society works, what really goes on behind the curtains so to speak and so forth. And again, people are not stupid - they all have the potential to realize the bigger truth but will instead opt to the safe cushion of ignorance.

For this reason I don't believe the human race will ever steer away from some form of religion, be it spiritual or totalitarian in the form of a country or state. At least not unless something radical happens with the human consciousness, possibly aided by technology in the future which will guide us away from our animalistic nature toward something very different.

Oh and congratulations on your sobriety Q, I'm well on my way myself. *fingers crossed*

Alexrd
11-08-2011, 06:07 AM
And what is the bigger truth exactly? And can't it be said that the blue pill is the lack of any belief, since people accept only what they can see and touch and not what's behind the curtain?

mur'phon
11-08-2011, 08:35 PM
Pho3nix:
It's just easier for people to focus on shallow things in life like the wedding of Prince William instead of pondering deep, philosophic questions about the universe and life in general. This means that they wont effectively come to the conclusion that religious institutions are a bad thing and will instead embrace them even with their faults.

It should be mentioned that it's remarkably dificult to find corelation between (more or less) accepted negative effects and religion. I have tried and failed to find it, so if you have some good data I'd be interested.

I'm pretty sure the average Joe would become extremely depressed if he suddenly realized the true nature of things in life, they way we live, how our society works, what really goes on behind the curtains so to speak and so forth. And again, people are not stupid - they all have the potential to realize the bigger truth but will instead opt to the safe cushion of ignorance.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. More spesifically what you mean by "true nature of things in life", is it strictly what can be observed/measured? If yes, then I'd argue that we don't know everything of what is behind the curtain, yet.

Alex: To run with the curtain analogy: the unbeliever is the guy who is trying to get the limited amount of info he can about what is behind the curtain, by doing everything from listening to making theories of what the shadows on the curtain could be. The religious guy is the one who either claims that someone else have peeked behind the curtain and told them what is there, despite no one else being able to peek behind the curtain.

Kelvin
11-09-2011, 11:36 AM
After six years of being drug-free and living in reality I've come to the conclusion that the only real purpose that religion serves is to provide those who do not possess a conscience with a convenient way to manipulate those who do. I didn't realize this much earlier in life due to being brainwashed by my reliotarded parents as a child and the aforementioned drug use in my early adulthood.

It is now my firm belief that religion is just another form of politics and that it's every bit as worthless.

To be fully sincere, i don't exactly agree with you. Yes, religion has been used to control people throughout the ages. Yes.. The most powerful way to control people is through their minds and thoughts, yes... But religion hides something more, not only stories, about this and the other, but a truly whole philosophy. Also, not all the religions are like that, in fact, religions from Asia, such as Buddhism, Confucianism and so on... They center they're beliefs in thinking and meditating about everything that surrounds them. In that part, i agree with them, occidental religions have always imposed things as impossible to evolve or change.

You don't have to "hate" or ignore totally, because the one who hears is as wise as the one who speaks.

You can have you're own beliefs, but they don't need to be the whole inverse of the ones from christian or jewish or whatever religion, just because they have done bad things before.

The problem is that religions, or, to be more accurate, communities of religions, are formed by people, people that have their pros and cons, and, well, somehow, you cannot blame them for what they did after all, who are we to blame people?, and even more important, would he act the same, if his life would have been like yours?

Alexrd
11-09-2011, 12:02 PM
I always laugh when people blame religion for wars and the like. Not only it's an innacurate generalization, but they fail to see that people are the problem, not religion.

Kelvin
11-09-2011, 03:25 PM
I always laugh when people blame religion for wars and the like. Not only it's an innacurate generalization, but they fail to see that people are the problem, not religion.


That is something i tried to say. The problem is people, in fact, if we followed the philosophy from any religion ( excepting those about satanism and so on ) there would be no need to have weapons, as we would not kill each other, we would just forgive and apologize, it would be a great world.. The problem is that people isn't so, but the question is.. Are you so? Now that you have read this... Are you going or try to be like this?

(NOTE: This is an open letter that I first wrote to one of my best LF friends.)

I went to church this morning, mainly to spend time with my mom and dad and to cry out for help to the higher power/God in which I believe. However, the time in which I thought I'd be free to do so without fear, guilt, or condemnation was poisoned--ruined--by a rather Orwellian sermon. What I mean is this: In his novel 1984, George Orwell talked about the concepts of doublethink and doublespeak--thinking and saying two completely opposite things while believing in them both, completely. As a teenager and young adult, I didn't understand this at all, but now that I've experienced a bit more of life, I feel I have a good grasp of it. Again, let me explain. This whole THING is hard to explain, as shown by my use of the word "thing"!!!

Our church's pastor is doing a sermon series entitled "Losing My Religion". He's encouraging us, meaning the church congregation, to have a genuine relationship with God instead of focusing on "religion"--the do's and dont's, the rituals and prohibitions, the doing of specific things to win God's love instead of being--living--in God's light and love. Granted, I don't really know what it means to "live in God's light and love" anymore, but our pastor kind of takes it for granted that since we're all Christians and have been to church for years, we do--or should, at least--know what this means. Anyway, that's the point of his sermon series on the surface. However, at least in my mind, if a sermon provokes far more questions, objections, and fear in me than peace and understanding, then something's wrong with it. Something's wrong with its premises.

1) On the ONE hand, my pastor talked about love--specifically how (God's) love is sacrificial and unconditional. This is consistent with what I've been (doctrinally) taught about God's love.

-1) On the OTHER hand, along with this message of love, he talked about the bad news--what I call "the catch": "Some people are condemned already, because they don't believe in Jesus."

If God's love is supposed to be unconditional, and "condemnation" means an eternal withdrawal of God's love--that's what I believe that Hell is--then isn't "belief in Jesus" a condition of God's love? If you don't believe in Jesus, say my pastor and church, then you will be judged guilty and separated forever from God and His love. How, then, can they honestly say that God's love is unconditional? To me, this is a crystal-clear example of what Orwell called doublethink.

2) On the ONE hand, my pastor talked about the very beginning of John 3:16. It says, "For God so loved the world..." Meaning, God loved all the people in the world, from the beginning of time until the end of time. Fair enough, say I, because as my pastor also exclaimed, "God IS love!"

-2) On the OTHER hand, he talked about how WE, as HUMANS, not just as Christians, are "born bad". If God despises evil--things that are bad--which I'm sure my pastor and I both agree that He does, then how can God love US if we're BORN bad/evil? If God loves all the people in the world, from the beginning of time until the end of time, and yet such people are every-single-one-of-them BORN evil, then the concept of God's love makes no sense at all. It's utterly contradictory, and another brilliant example of what Orwell deemed doublethink.

This next example might be the most insidious of all.

3) On the ONE hand, my pastor talked about how living in God's grace and mercy means "you have nothing to lose (because you've gained salvation through Christ) and nothing to prove (because you don't have to try and win God's love anymore. Jesus did all the 'proving' for you)."

-3) On the OTHER hand, his view on salvation is called the "perseverance of the saints," meaning that if you not only continue having faith, but also if "your life reflects your faith in Jesus" (meaning you do enough good deeds and don't swear/don't drink/don't slander or gossip/don't cheat, etc.) THEN you will be saved. He made the point that "you can't just pray a prayer that invites Jesus into your heart and then live your life sinning all you want." Fair enough--I hate hypocrisy anyway. However, isn't this another condition of God's supposedly unconditional salvation? I'd hate to be on my deathbed worrying if I'd been pure enough, and done enough good deeds, to be authentically saved. Underneath all of my pastor and church's pious words and rhetoric, is it REALLY the truth that I have everything to lose (my salvation) and everything to prove (myself and my "genuine relationship with God") through my good deeds? I was wrong--there is a fourth example that blows the previous three away:

4) On the ONE hand, my pastor made the point that God wants a real relationship with us.

-4) On the OTHER hand, he also made the point that "our response, and our relationship with God, must be genuine (in order for all of this to work)." However, he never told us who decides what is and is not a "genuine" relationship with God. Supposedly, God should and does, but he never said that explicitly. That worries me. Thoughts? I have a knot in the pit of my stomach...

Note: Why have I done the 1) -1), 2) -2) enumeration that way? As you can probably tell, it wasn't just to list my points, one by one. What is 1 + -1, 2 + -2, etc.? That's right, zero, and that's why I feel so empty inside instead of full right now. I don't really understand--about God's love, about Jesus, about salvation and condemnation/going to Hell, and especially about what a "genuine relationship with God" is. I also don't understand what "losing my religion" would free me from--at least as much as my pastor understands the concept of "losing my religion". Do I make any sense at all? Perhaps not, but that's about as much as I can explain it.

Right now, I feel lost. Used up. Discarded. Thrown away like trash. I lost my job--I was used and expended as any "human resource" would be, and then laid off when there was no longer any money to pay for my continued usefulness as an employee of my workplace. I was forced to move back home, which I did NOT want, because I'm running out of money and my parents are the ones supporting me right now (along with unemployment and government charity). I have no right on Earth to ask such questions, and no right to feel this way, because of my circumstances and my supposed status as a Christian. At least, that's how I feel right now.

I feel abandoned, and like no one understands. I feel like if the people around me knew what I really thought, and how I really felt, then they would judge me negatively, and condemn me (withdraw their friendship/love/etc. from me, because I'm "supposed to be a Christian" and not the way I am right now). Am I an ungrateful--er, female dog in heat? Perhaps, but I keep feeling guilty because I KNOW I shouldn't feel this way, and yet I do. I also feel guilty because I keep suspecting that the "love" I'm experiencing from others comes with strings attached.

If my pastor wants me to "lose my religion", then I have good news for him: I already have.

I've lost a lot more than that, too, and I find it absolutely impossible to "get over it" and "deal with it" like every good Christian should. I feel a void inside of me, a "zero". This is MY truth.

Sincerely,
Tysyacha

Ok... Everything you are saying, as i see, has been worked and has kind of a base but, i must say that, many things in bible are kind of mixed, because it was made by people of different thoughts, so you cannot blame anybody because it is sometimes contradictory, the case is that, you should believe what is more logical from your perspective.

And about the bad luck you had... Don't feel offended it's not my goal right now... That's kinda egoist, in theory, you are christian, or you claim to be one, being christian is not being perfect, is having some beliefs and fighting for them, there are people that are even worse than you and they still stare at people with peaceful eyes and smile. Don't think about how desperate you are, that is magnifying the problem, and we don't want that right?

And, PLEASE I WANT YOU TO READ THIS, you will probably say it's not true but it is.

You had bad luck in your life, and instead of searching a way to get what you want, you start crying and asking why god didn't give you the job you want. Do you think that someone who loves you would let you do nothing in life by yourself?

Also you gave too much importance to what surrounds you, rather than improving yourself, instead of thinking who's doing bad things, ask yourself what are you doing wrong.


All my wishes to help you

Kelvin

Q
11-10-2011, 06:29 AM
For the record, I don't believe religious people are stupid.
Neither do I. I just think that they're brainwashed, as I was.
For this reason I don't believe the human race will ever steer away from some form of religion, be it spiritual or totalitarian in the form of a country or state. At least not unless something radical happens with the human consciousness, possibly aided by technology in the future which will guide us away from our animalistic nature toward something very different.
Looks like we're just going to have to evolve beyond our need for it.
Oh and congratulations on your sobriety Q, I'm well on my way myself. *fingers crossed*
Thanks for the kind words. For the record, I still drink, but not very often and it doesn't alter my perception to the point where I think that fairies are real.
You don't have to "hate" or ignore totally, because the one who hears is as wise as the one who speaks.

You can have you're own beliefs, but they don't need to be the whole inverse of the ones from christian or jewish or whatever religion, just because they have done bad things before.
I'm fairly certain that I'm not going to devolve into an amoral savage simply because I've stopped believing in a deity.
The problem is that religions, or, to be more accurate, communities of religions, are formed by people, people that have their pros and cons, and, well, somehow, you cannot blame them for what they did after all, who are we to blame people?
Are you saying that we shouldn't hold people responsible for their actions? Seriously?
I always laugh when people blame religion for wars and the like. Not only it's an innacurate generalization, but they fail to see that people are the problem, not religion.
In a way you're right since it was people who invented religion in the first place.

Kelvin
11-10-2011, 11:23 AM
I'm fairly certain that I'm not going to devolve into an amoral savage simply because I've stopped believing in a deity.

Are you saying that we shouldn't hold people responsible for their actions? Seriously?



Noooooo, you misunderstood what i tried to say, Q. Possibly my fault, i didn't say everything with enough accuracy. I didn't mean he has to turn into an "amoral savage", don't be an extremist, come on... I meant that he should become an anti-religious people, just critizising every step they do. Also, religion is not based in a deity, not all of them, as i said, there are religions that are based in thinking about things that surround them, more like a phylosohpical way to live.


About the other thing... people are responsible of their actions, YES, but YOU ARE ALSO RESPONSIBLE OF YOURS, i think you should look at yourself first, not just once, or twice, always. You wouldn't have the need of critizising people if you were entirely perfect. The problem is that we all want the universe to be like we want, but we aren't like we should. We think the whole universe just works because of us, not literally, in a methaphorical way.


Also, i think the problem is NOT religion, most religions are based in a more intelligent phylosophy than what we just read. No offense for those that believe that the first 2 people in the world were Adam and Eve.. But, these things are stories, but what is hidden within them is what we don't see. When you see 2 friends fighting for something, you only see the fight and say, ¡Oh, my God!! (lol) but only some people see that is within that fight, feelings.... When we argue, we think we are so reasonable, we never look at ourselves correctly... Believe me, it is very hard for people to change their minds when they think something is as they think.

Well that was kinda an example...


Hope i am not misunderstood again.

Kelvin

Working Class Hero
11-14-2011, 11:05 PM
I'm poking in here now.

in fact, if we followed the philosophy from any religion ( excepting those about satanism and so on )Do you have any specific reasons to exclude satanic philosophies like LaVeyan Satanism other than they're anti-christian?
there would be no need to have weapons, as we would not kill each other, we would just forgive and apologize, it would be a great world.. Have you ever read any religious book besides a whitewashed account of the new testament? I have never read books that justify incredibly immoral actions so cheerfully, because after all, they're on a mission for God.
don't be an extremist, come on... I meant that he should become an anti-religious people, just critizising every step they do.This is a bad thing?
You wouldn't have the need of critizising people if you were entirely perfect.If i had perfect eyesight, i wouldn't need glasses.....but unfortunately, i do. Regardless, whose definition of a perfect being would you choose to use? Yours?
Also, i think the problem is NOT religion, most religions are based in a more intelligent phylosophy than what we just read.No offense for those that believe that the first 2 people in the world were Adam and Eve.. But, these things are stories, but what is hidden within them is what we don't see.How is presenting metaphors as literal and factual stories in any way intelligent?

Kelvin
11-15-2011, 11:10 AM
I'm poking in here now.

1.Do you have any specific reasons to exclude satanic philosophies like LaVeyan Satanism other than they're anti-christian?
2.Have you ever read any religious book besides a whitewashed account of the new testament? I have never read books that justify incredibly immoral actions so cheerfully, because after all, they're on a mission for God.
3-This is a bad thing?
4-If i had perfect eyesight, i wouldn't need glasses.....but unfortunately, i do. Regardless, whose definition of a perfect being would you choose to use? Yours?
5.How is presenting metaphors as literal and factual stories in any way intelligent?

First of all, as i read your comment, i noticed that you're getting on the defensive. I didn't do that to any other one, i merely gave my opinion about this thread, but you're trying to be right, always, you know what i mean right? You , man, woman or zoidberg... are just questioning my answers just because you want to get better than me... Maybe not in a conscious way, and i know you'll be saying it's not true. Now that i explained how you felt inside when you read my comment i'll start to tell you what i think about your answers.


1. To be fully sincere, i have nothing to say about satanic followers, i just said that because many people would say, what about satanism? and start being annoying just like you now. I've been reading about LaVeyan, and i have to say that i don't fully agree with them, also i agree in some parts...

I agree with them in this: When in another’s home, show them respect or else do not go there. (Ok)

I don't agree with them in most of them, but i want to highlight this:
Stupidity -- It’s too bad that stupidity isn’t painful. Ignorance is one thing, but our society thrives increasingly on stupidity. It depends on people going along with whatever they are told. The media promotes a cultivated stupidity as a posture that is not only acceptable but laudable. Satanists must learn to see through the tricks and cannot afford to be stupid

- Ehem... What? So, if you're a satanic follower then you have commited one sin, stupidity, people going along with whatever they are told, come on, if so, that means you shouldn't change your mind, not even if you are wrong, so satanism goes just down.. You can never be a good satanic follower then...

Also Lack of Perspective, well, satanic people just joined that religion, and made it because they were angry of christianity, and they don't really know, they just follow this stuff as blind people. So that's the second sin.. Brainwashing is also another sin, so third auto-sin...

Ok i think it is obvious that LaVeyan satanism, no offense for him, is totally nonsense, if not, tell me what they meant when they did this, and i'll try to understand. ( Unlike many that hear, don't like, and ignore )

(all taken from wikipedia)

2. If we were perfect we would know, (tell me if i am wrong) what's better for everybody and ourselves, right? I have read other books, yes, and if you didn't notice, i am not christian, i'm just telling that you just start criticizing others and you don't look at yourself first. Tell me, are you good enough to stop looking at yourself and improving yourself..... and start looking at others?Why does the whole universe have to be the way you want, and not you being like you want first?


3. It is, i'm sorry that you don't agree with me, but after all... To be fully sincere you would prove to be better if you just ignored it, you would look quite more mature, rather that being so childish. Also about being an anti-religious.... What the heck did they do to you? They just created some beliefs to follow, and many people took these beliefs and used them to manipulate people.Not all the religious people are like that. If you just skipped that "page" of your life, and you don't care anymore about that, why are those things in your mind? If those thoughts are wandering in your head, it is because they are important to you, if not you would ignore it.

4. See? You are getting on the defensive. You start criticizing things that maybe aren't that weird if you think a little.

In a logic way, if you are perfect, your thoughts tend to be perfect, and you tend to think about things that lead to at least, useful things. Thinking about how bad he is, this and the other, just proves you aren't perfect, i'm not saying you should be perfect, but that should be something you always tried to achieve. Also... What's up with your eyes? Do you think people with glasses are inferior? ( See, now i'm getting on the defensive ) if you don't like your eyes it is your problem.

I can also take things out of proportion :P. Answer me what you think about people with glasses...

5. Methapors is an intelligent way to say something, reading beneath texts is an intelligent way to read.

Did i offend you in any of my comments? Please tell me if i did. It was not my intention.

PD: Really, do you think satanism is ok? Do you think that if someone annoys you he must die? "nonsense"

Alexrd
11-15-2011, 04:08 PM
a whitewashed account of the new testament?

Care to explain that?

Q
11-15-2011, 08:12 PM
First of all, as i read your comment, i noticed that you're getting on the defensive. I didn't do that to any other group, i merely gave my opinion about this thread, but you're trying to have all the reason, you know what i mean right? You , man, woman or zoidberg... are just questioning my answers just because you want to get better than me... Maybe not in a conscious way, and i know you'll be saying it's not true. Now that i explained how you felt inside when you read my comment i'll start to tell you what i think about your answers.
http://homepage.mac.com/dunestrider/Adventure/troll.jpg

At first I merely suspected, mainly due to the language barrier, but this latest post pretty much confirms it.

Working Class Hero
11-16-2011, 11:30 AM
Care to explain that?That was referring to Kelvin's statement of if everyone followed religions, the world would be filled with puppies and chocolate. (I paraphrased a bit)

To give the first example I can think of: When Fuhrer Christ tries to get food from a fig tree and fails, he decides to make the tree wither. So, since Jesus couldn't sin, I suppose the moral of the story was it's fine to harm living organisms for no reason other than if they don't give you want you want.

So, I think it's obvious that Kelvin's statement of "we would just forgive and apologize, it would be a great world.." is not backed up with this passage.

(Now, obviously this doesn't seem quite that bad because it was "only" a plant, but consider: I would not want to make a defense based around that supposition, because as God incarnate Jesus should have an unusually high moral sense, and, I would argue, should not curse anything.)

Kelvin
11-16-2011, 01:24 PM
http://homepage.mac.com/dunestrider/Adventure/troll.jpg

At first I merely suspected, mainly due to the language barrier, but this latest post pretty much confirms it.

Confirm... What? And what do you mean with that picture... Is that you? Ahhh.. Sorry, but since this comment seems to contribute to this thread, and you are just trying to annoy me... I'll just ask you... How did you feel when you sent that comment? Did you feel fine? Better than before writing? Let's just say, we Agree to Disagree, you all have different thoughts, i tried to make you see w hat i saw, and chose between both... but i see people are more stubborn than a donkey.


That was referring to Kelvin's statement of if everyone followed religions, the world would be filled with puppies and chocolate. (I paraphrased a bit)

Hhahahah, well that might have been a little weird... What i tried to explain, is, for instance, most religions talk about "sins" right? such as proud and so on. Well, if we didn't have any problem with ourselves, we wouldn't have problems with others, and yes, we all have problems with ourselves, we are stubborn, greedy or whatever. You may say no, but can you tell me a case, which people argue or fight or anything, without having personal problems?

You just don't get that the bird is the word. xD. I mean uhhh!! We all try to change things from the outside, but we cannot change them if we dont change us first, improve ourselves, if you are so stubborn and blind to think you are the best, and perfect, then, that is your problem. If i gave you and advice and you threw it, you wouldn't be as perfect as you might think, because intelligent people are those who listen, and think, not those that listen what they think. :)

PD: By the way, i think i'll show you an example of what is reading smartly.

Do you know Islam? Do you think all those crazy guys that kill others because they're not islamic did read correctly?

Nobody said these stories were factual, and people tend to misunderstand everything, because people tend to spend just a little, little amount of energy, and just think enough to undestand the tales.

Yihad means spiritual fight with oneself, to finally become someone better, but all the people just read this and think it is about military fighting.

mimartin
11-16-2011, 05:50 PM
Alright everyone calm down and take a deep breath before posting. If you believe a post violates the rules then please use the report post button and do not resort to name calling or other rules violations.

Religion or that lack thereof can be deeply personal so please treat it with some respect. If you don’t like someone’s belief or opinion, then feel free to ignore their post or even them.

Shem
12-08-2011, 09:49 AM
Okay, I read your original post and if someone else has said anything similar, than I apologize in advance for being redundant as this is a long thread.

1) On the ONE hand, my pastor talked about love--specifically how (God's) love is sacrificial and unconditional. This is consistent with what I've been (doctrinally) taught about God's love.

-1) On the OTHER hand, along with this message of love, he talked about the bad news--what I call "the catch": "Some people are condemned already, because they don't believe in Jesus."

If God's love is supposed to be unconditional, and "condemnation" means an eternal withdrawal of God's love--that's what I believe that Hell is--then isn't "belief in Jesus" a condition of God's love? If you don't believe in Jesus, say my pastor and church, then you will be judged guilty and separated forever from God and His love. How, then, can they honestly say that God's love is unconditional? To me, this is a crystal-clear example of what Orwell called doublethink.
This is where man and God conflict, hence why there are so many religions in the world. Where in the Bible does it say you have to believe in Jesus in order to be loved by God? If it exists, I want someone to point that out. Keep in mind I said love, not saved. There is a difference.


2) On the ONE hand, my pastor talked about the very beginning of John 3:16. It says, "For God so loved the world..." Meaning, God loved all the people in the world, from the beginning of time until the end of time. Fair enough, say I, because as my pastor also exclaimed, "God IS love!"

-2) On the OTHER hand, he talked about how WE, as HUMANS, not just as Christians, are "born bad". If God despises evil--things that are bad--which I'm sure my pastor and I both agree that He does, then how can God love US if we're BORN bad/evil? If God loves all the people in the world, from the beginning of time until the end of time, and yet such people are every-single-one-of-them BORN evil, then the concept of God's love makes no sense at all. It's utterly contradictory, and another brilliant example of what Orwell deemed doublethink.
Again, this is a man taught belief and your pastor isn't the first one to teach such crap. Where in the Bible does it say that we are born bad? If I missed where it said that, please point that out.

I believe that children are innocent and are automatically saved until there are old enough to understand the choices they make. That makes more sense to me.

Let's say a child is born and let's say the child dies like 2 hours later because of a complication or something. Are you really going to tell me that this child who died shortly after being born is going to hell? Bull crap. That child is innocent and has not nothing wrong yet and never had the mental capability to make right or wrong decisions.


This next example might be the most insidious of all.

3) On the ONE hand, my pastor talked about how living in God's grace and mercy means "you have nothing to lose (because you've gained salvation through Christ) and nothing to prove (because you don't have to try and win God's love anymore. Jesus did all the 'proving' for you)."

-3) On the OTHER hand, his view on salvation is called the "perseverance of the saints," meaning that if you not only continue having faith, but also if "your life reflects your faith in Jesus" (meaning you do enough good deeds and don't swear/don't drink/don't slander or gossip/don't cheat, etc.) THEN you will be saved. He made the point that "you can't just pray a prayer that invites Jesus into your heart and then live your life sinning all you want." Fair enough--I hate hypocrisy anyway. However, isn't this another condition of God's supposedly unconditional salvation? I'd hate to be on my deathbed worrying if I'd been pure enough, and done enough good deeds, to be authentically saved. Underneath all of my pastor and church's pious words and rhetoric, is it REALLY the truth that I have everything to lose (my salvation) and everything to prove (myself and my "genuine relationship with God") through my good deeds? I was wrong--there is a fourth example that blows the previous three away:
Sounds like your pastor hasn't through what he says before he says it. Though he isn't the first to do so about this topic.

I believe we are accountable for our choices and if we make good choices we will be saved. And those who never had the opportunity to learn of God and Jesus will so in the afterlife. And I'm also including those who have been turned off to religion because of some man taught beliefs and learning of history of man where religion was forced on people and turned them off to it. Believe me, man has corrupted many things taught by God and they will be held accountable for those they have turned away from God for their actions.

The point I'm trying to make is if you're a good person, you will be saved. It doesn't make sense for a good person to not be saved.


4) On the ONE hand, my pastor made the point that God wants a real relationship with us.

-4) On the OTHER hand, he also made the point that "our response, and our relationship with God, must be genuine (in order for all of this to work)." However, he never told us who decides what is and is not a "genuine" relationship with God. Supposedly, God should and does, but he never said that explicitly. That worries me. Thoughts? I have a knot in the pit of my stomach...
Sounds more like a personal insecurity to me. Just try to be as genuine as possible. Remember we're human beings and we won't be perfect about what we do and I'm sure God will forgive all your shortcomings if you truly did the best you could have done.

Q
01-06-2012, 04:45 PM
http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o268/qliveur/religiotard_flowchart.jpg

Titanius Anglesmith
05-27-2012, 04:53 AM
(NOTE: This is an open letter that I first wrote to one of my best LF friends.)

******

I feel like if the people around me knew what I really thought, and how I really felt, then they would judge me negatively, and condemn me (withdraw their friendship/love/etc. from me, because I'm "supposed to be a Christian" and not the way I am right now).

******

Sincerely,
Tysyacha
I realize this thread is rather old, but I don't see why the topic should stay dead forever just because no one has discussed it recently.

I just wanted to say that I've gone through something similar to your experience over the last few years, especially the part I quoted. 5 years ago, I was about as "Christian" as they come, or at least I thought I was. Since then, I've spent countless hours going back over things that preachers, youth leaders, parents, and friends have told me about god and the consequences of "leaving" him, analyzing it to death from every direction. Because of these "consequences" I had nailed into my brain over the years, I was honestly too scared to fully admit to myself that I didn't believe any of it anymore until about 2 or 3 months ago.

At this point, I guess I would describe myself as atheist, and I'm now fully comfortable with that, though none of my friends or family know yet. I haven't decided when or how I'm going to tell them (oddly enough, I think it will be my friends who are more upset than my family), but I should hope they would be mature enough to show the level of civility to calmly discuss the matter that the people in this thread have shown.

Shem
05-30-2012, 05:42 AM
What a lot of people who claim to be good Christians forget is this scripture in Matthew: Chapter 7: Versus 1-2.

1. Judge not, that ye be not judged.

2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Yet, a lot of people out there pass judgement quickly on people who seem to not understand something taught on the Sermon on the Mount.