about ourselves than about Him, attributed to Thomas Merton.
A rather thought provoking quotation. What does it tell us about the person who:
Knows and understands the evil their god did or does, but writes it off to "God's ways are inscrutable" or "God can do whatever He wants and we should still worship Him" without becoming like Him?
Knows the evil their God did or does, but ignores it in the pretense it didn't happen?
Declares they are "God fearing" but also that they love their God? Or does that common phrase actually free of any real meaning?
Knows the evil their God did or does, accepts it as good and repeats it?
Does not know the evil their God did or does - when seen refuses to accept or makes excuses that it wasn't as portrayed? Changes the evil, in other words, to something more palatable?
Or does what a person believes about their god say anything at all about them as a person?
Well I believe God is just and merciful and I like most do not ignore the parts in the bible that speak of his wrath, or should I say deny it.
I know what God can do and since he created the world I guess he can do what he sees fit. I do not have a problem with that. I believe that a criminal getting caught may be in the hands of God. He allows us our free will however we suffer the consequences at his hand.
We may not even realize that our consequences may be at the hands of God, as some may not believe in it. Take OJ for example. He literally was acquitted for the murder of his wife and her boyfriend. He laughed, however look at him now, he dug his own hole and fell in it.
So we may have law (which most of the time is unfair and unjust) however God sees all so he may be leading those that deserve it into the right hands.
He is justified what he does and vengeance is the Lords and he will repay as said in the scriptures.
So what do you feel it says about you personally that you will look at the terrible, evil deeds of your god and decide that he can do whatever he wishes; that the knowledge of right and wrong we call "morality" does not apply to him? But that you still have to worship and love him?
This is a very good question, Wilderness and not one that as easily explained as it appears to be. The reason I say this is because the first thing I must always note is that the bible is sold as one book, but it is actually a collection of several books with several writers (hence why it is separated into books then each book into chapters). As a result of this, God is broken down and limited to at least 40 perspectives of who and what he is and does. With this in mind, it is easy for some people to find what they are looking for in the bible as dependent on what they feel they need in their own lives ( I know the popular term for this is cherry picking, but it is more of finding the author that resonates best for what we are looking for and our own perspectives). Now of course, given how the bible has been reinterpreted over the course of several hundred years as well as people's individual understanding of the bible in regards to context (since words have more than one definition and as such can mean different things in different books depending on culture and context as well as the desires of the writer) the bible has split down even more. With this being said, it is true that some Christians ignore the parts of the bible that contradict what they believe, but this is not the same as someone that recognizes the deeds of God (OT lat and punishment) but have been taught that Christ fulfilled the law and now we are living under grace. This also causes contention because there are some that still try to apply fulfilled (and thus completed law) as an overruling factor over grace..
I understand what you're saying, but have a little different take on the subject. I don't speak of "impressions" or "beliefs" of God's attributes: I speak of the actions and instructions actually witnessed by our ancient ancestors that wrote those books. In that light, it's not so much looking for viewpoints that "resonate" with the reader, it is ignoring the reported facts that they don't understand. It doesn't resonate? You don't understand how such evil actions came from your god? Ignore it and move on to the next book, which you might understand better.
So what does that say about the people that take that tack? Those that read of those unacceptable actions but ignore them because they don't fit with what they want to believe really happened?
It's not always that cut and dry. Yes, there are some that totally ignore the parts that don't agree with what they need, but at the same time, there are those that also reconcile the two. It's not ignoring it, it is understanding for some that the old stuff was completed with the death of Christ. Then again there are those who still try to apply the hardcore dogmatic judgment to today's time as a measure of scaring others into getting right just like they operate out of fear. Then there are those that need that interference.
Come, come, Deepes. The genocide of Sodom and Gomorroh, including the innocent lives there, are NOT "completed with the death of Christ". Neither is the death and condemnation of all first born Egyptian children and infants.
Those were direct actions of God; Christ's death had no effect on them and didn't change one thing about them.
Now it's true that the faithful can "reconcile" them. They can decide there were no poor people in Sodom and Gomorrah to be part of the evil ones suffering genocide. They can decide that the Egyptian children will be welcomed into heaven. They can make up lots of stories that have no basis in the bible, but again, what does that say about them? That they will rationalize what they don't like with spin and imaginative stories until it's OK once more?
With Sodom and Gomorroh, Egypt.. etc and all of the old testament atrocities (yes I said it) were destroyed during the period where they were considered under the law of Judgment (or the time where God was more hands on with dispensation of said justice.. so to speak). when Christ dies, it was for future generations to be under grace. I by no means am ignoring nor downplaying any of this (and I also am more speaking on what the bible states because I have no evidence to support the fact that all of this ever happened. I simply am quoting the bible and giving an idea of how some interpret the bible as a means of bridging the two testaments rather than throwing all of it out)
To me, that is a good example of reconciling. God did terribly evil things in the past; by giving his son up he promises not to do it to us any more. What that perfect being did in the past is therefore OK - it wasn't a mistake and anyone doing those kinds of things while demanding worship and telling us he loves us is NOT to be trusted, but it's OK.
Like you, I accept the biblical description and interpretation thereof. What does it then say about someone that will believe, worship and love a being whose actions have plainly shown them no better than Satan himself but now promises to be good? They're not stupid, certainly, but what simple term might fit? Gullible? Desperate? Uncaring? Deceived?
What does it say about someone who forms their belief around a rationalization of evil to make it acceptable?
Well, (and we may have to agree to disagree on this next point), This is similar to politics and following the laws here in the states. We may not totally agree with every law nor the punishments that fit the crimes (so to speak), But at the end of the day, we still understand that although we may be able to influence the laws and changing thereof to suit our perfect idea of what should be done, but ultimately, we cannot control or change them directly. (yes I know the difference between politics and religion, as it related to the existence thereof, but when you look at both philosophically they relate somewhat)
Umm. Yes and no. Yes, I agree with most of what you say, but think there is a different "problem" with religious belief in this matter.
I see our ancient beliefs starting the religion, whichever one it is. People at that time had a vastly different moral structure and it was very definitely reflected in their religion. Of primary importance may be that violence, raw naked violence, was not only accepted it was the norm. There are other things as well (slavery, child and female ownership, etc.) but violence is a huge one.
Since that time our moral structure has changed (for the better, I believe) but the old stories and writings haven't. You can't rewrite the genocide of Sodom, the murder of the Egyptians or the children by bears as anything but what it was; evil, pure and simple, by our standards today. It might have been possible when the bible was written 1600 years ago, but it cannot truly be rewritten now. The Book of Mormon might be considered such an effort, but percentage wise the following is tiny after 100 years. Changes to holy scripture are not generally well accepted.
So. The religion changes, the morals and ethics of the believers change, but they are stuck with the original writings that very plainly illustrate the mores of the particular god involved as barbaric and evil. How that conundrum is resolved can, indeed, say something about the person doing the resolving.
The person that accepts that evil as a part of themselves and continues it is a barbarian (probably a better word than evil as motive does count and they are, after all, doing the will of their god) and unwilling to grow morally. Who is a very different person than the one that sees the evil and wrestles it somehow into something acceptable in their civilized world. Who is, in turn a very different person than someone that sees it and simply pretends the words weren't there by ignoring it altogether.
All of these reflect very different personalities and outlooks on life in general and I strongly suspect that the attitudes and reactions will carry over into their daily life.
I agree with this. The bible was written as a part of what was considered the norm at that time, which is why some merely view the OT from a historical perspective because it reflects what the culture was during the time.
I agree here as well. The biggest issue here isn't necessarily rewriting the scripture. The biggest issue here is that a majority of the OT laws applied to Jews and was not meant for the Christians. Also, Christ completed the law and as such some of the old laws no longer apply. Unfortunately, there are some churches and denominations that use those laws as if they still apply and as a measure of instilling fear into some that may not know better as a means of gaining control. We cannot rewrite history, but we can work for and live for the future.
Which I again agree with because we do all have different outlooks. and there are those who must match scripture to their outlook.
Amen to that (yes, I said it ).
We cannot rewrite history, we cannot change the Christian image of an early but never changing God as a barbarian, but we can work to a better future.
With (hopefully) increasing tolerance and acceptance of others, it would be fascinating to see what such morality concepts as "decent" do over the span of the next several centuries. The little things that we consider "right" - respect for others, the way we dress, our table manners - how will they change?
Will we again go full circle, passing through the excesses of the Roman empire and returning to the Victorian culture? Will we still kneel before someone or simply shake their hand as equals regardless of "status"? Will we lose our reverence for the rich or powerful, the leaders we follow, or elevate them to Godhood? Man's morality is ever changing, and many aspects there is no right or wrong - that should be left to considerations of harm, not a 2,000 year old book.
I agree to an extent. I really don't see the total book (or collection of books) as the total issue because there are some fairly decent principles in the book. The main issue is the reasoning for the application of those principles. If more people would apply those principles as good BECAUSE they are good rather than desire for reward or avoidance of punishment, then they will be closer to following the examples of Christ. But the key is living with ethics and morality because the behavior is ethical and moral.
You'll get no argument from me, because there are a lot of good principles in the bible. Principles that would make the world a lot better place if people followed them.
Unfortunately there is a lot of scare tactics, too, and even more "bad" in the form of examples that God found to be good. It is the unscrupulous (or the barbarians among us) that pick up on these and promote them.
*sigh* If only we could change what is written there - take out the immorality, the evil and mistreatment that is so common throughout the OT - we'd have something really worthwhile. It's just too hard for some people to separate out as it is - they want to take the whole thing as gospel (pun intended ) instead of cherry picking their way, not to what they want to read, but to what is actually good in the book.
You and I are in agreement regarding the things in the bible and how we feel about them, but considering that most of those good principles are in the NT, some people need to change their mindset and stop living in fear. The way I did it was to take the OT for what it is (to me). I use it as a historical reference point that has the myths of bible stories (which are a reductionist explanation describing something more complex) as well as the other stories that describe the culture at a time when God was more hands on when dispensing punishment. I personally do not think that he is as hands on as some need him to be because these days we have the principles that we should live by. I believe that the more we operate in principles the less we need miracles
You take the OT stories as myth; stories and tales of something that did happen but not as the witnesses and reporters describe? Am I understanding right?
Example of Sodom and Gomorrah: They were destroyed, perhaps by an asteroid strike, yes, but not by any action of God. Just from an unusual but completely possible natural event. The angels never visited (pure fabrication) saying that God would do the deed. Lots wife never turned into salt - just more fabrication.
Now, I'm not asking if that is the answer to what happened to the twin cities, just if that is the kind of reasoning you apply to the question. Or do you accept that God really did that ugly deed as punishment, punishment that we no longer need today because we have principles we operate with and no longer need such miracles?
Because unless you accept the reports as factual you are changing the reports of what happened into something else, something more palatable to your modern and civilized morality structure. At the same time, if you do accept the report as factual you are accepting that God does not operate with the same (or anywhere near) set of morals as we do. Ours are much better, more civilized and closer to being "right". Which road to you follow, Deepes?
Please do not misunderstand what I wrote. I didn't say that ALL of the stories were myths.. Note i said that the OT contains myths as well as stories that describe the culture at a time that God was more hands on. The twin cities are an example of the latter. Examples of the former include the stories of creation, the fall of man (Adam and EVE), and Noah's flood. In retrospect, my wording was not the best because I didn't add the examples of which I consider myth and what I considered history of God being more hands on (hopefully I clarified that better)
In the case of whether I believe and accept that these things did happen, the answer is yes, They absolutely did happen and yes I think they were awful. But yes, we (or at least I because I'm not going to speak for my fellow Christians) do have principles that I operate in that lessens the need for direct divine intervention by God. This doesn't mean that I do not believe he exists. Simply that the principles contained in the Bible (NT) are there for us to live the best life that we can and help others because it is helpful instead of out of fear of going to hell.
Truly I am trying hard to understand. While I sometimes have trouble (often in religious discussions because of the jargon I don't understand) I think I'm getting what you're putting down. I understand, I think, what you're saying here - that there are some myths and there is some truth. Specifically that the flood is a myth, that the cities are truth and that God did kill two entire cities full of men, women, children and infants because Lot and the angels could not find even 10 infants that were not exceedingly sinful.
Back to the original topic, then, does it bother you that God did these things (specifically the cities, but there are other "atrocities" as well)? If it does not, why not, and if it does how do you reconcile those actions with your own morals? Do you ignore it? Do you excuse it as God's prerogative? Do you decide that His actions were right, because every person was sinful and just forget that you know that to be false? How do you handle this in your own mind?
You actually have a pretty good grasp on it. The difference between the myth and historical truth is that there is eyewitness account of one but not the other.
I did say that these things were awful. But I also stated (if you recall) that i simply try to live the best life that I can with tolerance and understanding of differences because It is good to do. I'm trying to live the best possible life that I can while here on earth.. Especially since I have no real evidence for my beliefs other than the principles contained in the bible.
I do have to add, though, that I sometimes wonder about you, Deepes. Baby oil and skittles, indeed!
I haven't read every post.
I just wanna interject here about what you said about God giving up his Son........
It wasn't as a promise that He wouldn't punish us ever again. (And honestly, most of the things we do, we reap the consequences naturally anyway. We can't blame God for every "evil" that befalls us; lots of times we do it to ourselves or other people perpetuate evil upon us.
It was a promise that if we accept the Son, we don't have to face eternal consequences for the sins we do (if we truly repent). And it was a way of telling us that we can endure temptation; and the temptations that we cannot avoid, the Lord can help us with those. Jesus endured every temptation known to mankind (the Bible says), so He is the perfect example for us to follow.
As far as God being evil or doing evil things..............that is just not possible. Whatever He did, does, or will do, is...........His business. But if you'll notice in the Bible, in those days (and even in these days) his followers' fervent petitions to Him do affect Him. He loves mankind.
As far as what that belief says about me..........yes, I think it says a lot. I have no qualms saying that I follow Someone who's omnipotent, all-powerful, omniscient, and cannot imagine why everyone else wouldn't want to follow a Being like that. Sure seems way smarter than following anyone or anything else..........
any being that is omnicsent, omnipotent, and omnipresent is self-contradictory, and if something is self-contradictory then it is logically impossible. I've never had a christian - professor or layperson reconcile the omni's and explain them in a way that makes logical sense.
thanks JMcFarland for posting, since it leads me to correct something.......
Omnipotent would actually mean all-powerful, and omniscient means all-knowing....so maybe I left out omnipresent.........I know that He can be omnipresent if He wants to, but I'm not sure the Bible says He is omnipresent.....
Actually, I'm gonna do a little searching on that last one.
But not for any contradiction as to the attributes of God! Because who and what He is.....is the only logical explanation that does make logical sense!
Perhaps I was a little sloppy here, but then again, perhaps not.
Many people believe that Christ fulfilled the OT laws; laws that had caused God to punish severely. When Christ came, those laws became a dead issue and presumably that means that we will not be punished for not obeying them. Christs death is why we can eat pork, don't stone adulterers, wear multi cloth clothing, etc. We aren't punished for those things any more because of Christ.
Does that make sense - do you have a better understanding of what I was trying to say? It is only a part of Christ accomplished, but it is there along with the "saving" you point out.
But God absolutely DID do evil things - by our modern standards of morality. It isn't reasonable, not even a tiny amount, to kill an infant for the sins of the father, but that's exactly what God did to Egyptian children.
You resolve that conundrum by saying God is outside our morals; that He has his own (or none at all) but that's OK because He is God. He needn't follow man's sense of morality. That goes back, it seems, to the first choice in the OP, and you are not alone in making that call.
Thank you for the answer.
It goes a little further than that to an extent. In addition to those things you mentioned, it also (to my understanding) basically means that we are not immediately judged and punished for our mistakes. God basically evaluates the overall course of our lives before rendering judgment after we pass away. Being under grace means that we have our whole lives at this point to get it right (so to speak) and even though we still may slip and do some things that are considered sinful, all we have to do is sincerely apologize for our mistakes (repent) and try our best to get it right next time.
This is something of a slippery slope here. You are correct that there are some who resolve those things by stating that God is outside of our thinking. That doesn't mean that it is okay because He is God though. It means that in looking at the bigger picture of who God is and what he is supposed to do, we cannot limit him solely to what we would want him to be for us. If we did this, then this takes away from his power as well as his objectivity. (**NOTE** I have a tendency to try to apply a natural comparison when discussing religious things as a measure of respect for lack of belief for those who are willing to accept the connotation.) It's like the government. There is a lot that the government does that I do not agree with by my own personal standards, but it is supposed to be equal across the board so I cannot limit the Government to what I would have it to do regarding laws.
Did that make sense?
It does make sense, I just don't agree.
Specifically, I cannot worship and certainly can't love anything with the morals of a wild animal, that goes around killing people because somebody else pi***d them off. Just not my style.
Others do - Brenda makes it plain that that's fine with her - and that's OK, too. It's just not for me.
Attack? Why would you say that?
Obviously the bible needs interpretation, and just as obviously everyone reads and interprets it differently. I merely comment that how that interpretation is done reveals something about the interpreter and ask for your take on that. I don't even limit it to the bible and Christianity, but include all religions and all theists as they all have a different idea of what their god is and what it has done.
Or are you one of the ones that declare your god, your holy scriptures and your interpretation of those scriptures is the ONLY valid and correct concept in the world?
How do you deal with the evil things your god has done, and what does it say about your personality and attitude you face the world with?
I disagree. I don't view this as an attack against anyone. Wilderness was asking a question as it relates to how people interpret the bible and what it says about them in general. Wilderness didn't actually state what he thought of those people himself. Wilderness isn't like some of the others here.
SOM, What is it about this forum that you feel was an attack?
Are you that blind that you cannot see what is going on here Deeps? It is just another attempt to promote atheism by mocking my Father. They are not here to seek truth, they think they already know it with their atheist views and your presence encourages them. Ponder on this.
Blind? You do realize that you have actually just attacked me more with that one sentence than wilderness has done in this whole conversation? I was merely asking a question in an effort to understand why you see it as an attack as in specifically what part of it was attacking or mocking and why it is mocking (other than your apparent overall over sensitivity and defensiveness) You say my presence encourages them. Your presence here does no less than mine, especially considering that if what you say is true about them mocking and promoting atheism that you are taking the bait by being offended and responding in a manner that reflects anger, at which point you actually reflect what they think of most Christians.
I didn"t mean to offend you Deeps, you are one of the very few clear headed Christians that I know on these hubs. My point is that it is a waste of time saying anything to an atheist when they makes hubs or forums like this. Don't get me wrong. I have atheist friends who love talking to me about God, but never in this manner. What I am saying is that I know what the agenda is when it comes to those who ask such questions as this forum one. I would give them the shirt on my back if they were naked. I would feed them if they were hungry. Shelter them if they were caught in bad weather, but never would I answer any of their questions about God once I have come to the realization of their intentions.
Not a lot of offense taken. I was more confused as to why you would reply in that manner when I was trying to understand your perspective on the topic's offensiveness..
I'm not sure how much of our actual conversation you read, but Wilderness (from what I could tell) was actually asking questions trying to understand what I was really stating. He also was making statements that you and I both have stated as well.
I agree with you regarding having discussions with certain atheists, but at the same time, it is never a waste of time discussing things with someone that is seeking understanding. Wilderness has only mocked me once, but that was before he actually engaged me in conversation (which is no different from some of the others). Now, there are only two that are the same way still (one of whom i don't even engage anymore and the other one that I actually do have some fairly decent conversation with up to a point where i can see where I've reached the end of it and the ridicule comes back to the forefront)
SOM, you could not be more wrong. I have no interest in mocking your God. And while you may feel I'm mocking the Christian philosophy and rationale, I'm not interested in that either, and have no intention of doing so. I'm not even particularly interested in your concept in what God is - I already have a pretty good understanding of the Christian viewpoint in that He is omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, unchanging and loves people more than we can understand.
What I am interested in is people. How they think, how they come to conclusions, and what place does rationalization vs truth occupy in their mind.
When I read the Christian scriptures, however, I read of an unspeakably evil god; one whose actions clearly show the Christian God to be one so far removed from my ideas on morality that I wouldn't worship him for anything and that I could never, ever love at all.
You, reading the exact same words, very obviously see something entirely different but I have zero idea as to how you get there. As the version I see of the Christian god is a major stumbling block for me in either understanding and accepting Him as something to love and worship OR in understanding the Christian person at all, I seek information. I really am interested in the reasoning of how you go from an evil creature fit only to reside in Hell to a loving God that takes care of us and wants our presence in heaven.
So, please, back off. Either put up or shut up; either join the quest for knowledge or accept you neither have nor want any and keep your hate based opinions and insults to yourself.
Since you put it that way, I would rather shut up. Btw, You dont know my belief in God and His eternal, and I dont hate you, nor have I insulted you. Your tone says alot. Peace
No, I don't know the specifics of your beliefs of God - just those generally accepted by mainstream Christianity.
No, you have no reason to hate me personally, but you surely do hate the atheists that mock you or your God and have lumped me in with them.
By lumping me in with the mockers, you have indeed insulted me. While I have indeed been known to scorn completely illogical thought, the presentation of opinion as fact or a complete ignorance of common scientific knowledge, it is an insult to put me in the group that automatically mocks a belief system.
Tone? I have tried very hard NOT to be offensive here. I realize that many Christians take offense very easily - they have been mocked too much - but I have tried. The topic and subject are sensitive, but I have tried hard not to offend, and anyone actually reading the posts with a desire to understand instead of a chip on their shoulder should understand that.
So, SwordofManticorE, go in peace. I neither have nor had a desire to mock you OR your God.
These statements are so profound in the sense that both sides have a tendency to fall into that same cycle of lumping together. your understanding (by your words) appear (to me) that your understanding of God is limited to the doctrines set forth by mainstream Christianity (ADDED NOTE- mainstream christianity refers more to the ideas set forth by Organized christianity. Christianity is as much of a personal philosophy (or relationship if you will) as it is a group mentality. Outside of a shared belief in God, there are some who believe totally different things about God). The issue with this is that with some of your understanding, your responses could be viewed as lumping all Christians together (at least until you have further discussion with specific ones). Forgive me up front if you think I'm being too presumptuous here. I think a lot of debates get so heated here because some (not all) atheists stay rooted to their understanding of the bible that is based on mainstream Christianity (which with a lot of it is stuck in OT teaching)
With this being said, I applaud you for your quest seeking further understanding of Christianity outside of the mainstream as well as getting down to what individuals think and how and why. SOM doesn't fall under the mainstream umbrella, nor do I. As a result of our particular beliefs, the mainstreamers mock and attack us as not being true Christians. It can get kinda tiring to catch it from both sides and we do slip up and let our frustrations boil over at times, but that is another aspect of Christianity. We aren't perfect nor are we supposed to be. We make mistakes, but as often as not our intentions are generally good (in our minds.. take that with a grain of salt though because I'm mostly speaking for myself).
I can understand why and how you would think this way, but there is another side to the story
Here is the other side to the story. If you stick to the OT, then that is all you will see, but there are different types and categories of Christians as what the scriptures state. There are some that state that everyone deserves hell because we are all sinful creatures and they see all sins in terms as totally evil up to the point that they have set a standard that they cannot even live up to. Then you have universalists who state that when Christ went to the cross this basically defeats hell and that everyone will go to heaven. Then there are some who state that Christ's death only benefits those who believe in Christ and God. Then you have someone like me who simply is trying to live as moral and ethical of a life as I can because no matter what God will have the final say as to who will get in. (NOTE- all of this is working off of the premise that God is real. I know I have no proof that can convince you or anyone else that he is real).. Ultimately, If I keep living as best as I know how and show love and tolerance as well as understanding for others I can go to my grave knowing I did the best I could here on earth and will leave the rest to whatever happens next since the bible states that i will return to dust and I know that dead flesh knows nothing once the functions of the body shuts down.
I don't think SOM's opinions are totally hate based. I think his opinions (rightfully so) are grounded in the fact that he has been attacked so many times (by both atheists and Christians) and that so many people mock and attack God that he has become more than a little tired of seeing it so with either side his reactions are at times reflex based on what he is used to. I personally don't totally blame him.
OK Deepes, I'm going to accuse (not mock - accuse) you of tiptoeing around the subject, ignoring it and talking all around it without ever mentioning it.
The god depicted in the OT is a barbarian, an ogre, a vicious and spoiled child that knows nothing of love but only the most severe punishment. it is evil in the extreme. Outside of the escape from Egypt (an event apparently unrecorded in any other history) it does virtually nothing FOR it's subjects, just TO them and the surrounding (innocent) populations.
The God of the NT is kind, generous, loving - all the things we find to be good. About the only thing He does "wrong" is require worship, and that is only according to the priests of modern Christianity and not according to the actual writings of the bible.
Yet - the two are one and the same being.
Either the OT is full of crap or the eternal, unchanging god depicted there changed. That's the dichotomy that Christians must solve to truly believe, and it is what I'm "accusing" you of tip toeing around. I've politely asked (maybe too obliquely?) several times for your own rationalization, but you haven't given it.
I conclude that your method of handling the question is to ignore it - to pretend it isn't there by changing the subject when pressed.
Is my "accusation" right? No one else has answered, SOM said he would rather remain quiet, so you're all I've got.
From my reply to SOM, posted before your post:
"I realize that many Christians take offense very easily - they have been mocked too much - but I have tried"
You see, we once again agree. I just thought my prior post needed a little shock value under the circumstances.
Fair enough.. Bottom line for me is that It is the same God. The God of the OT is the same as the God in the NT. The difference is that when Christ died, he fulfilled the law for the Hebrews and as such we are now living in the age of Grace. God didn't necessarily change, he simply is now showing us the other side (basically, in the OT we had mr hyde.. NT is dr jekyll)We have the principles of living in the NT and as such judgment, rather than being the swift and immediate smiting that is depicted in the OT will be made when we get there. With these principles in mind, it is up to me to live the best life that I can and not totally depend on Him to intervene in my life. There are things that I have been empowered to do for myself and as such I don't need to ask if it is ok. For me, a lot of God's will has been written and given, and as such we do not have to ask his will to be done for some things.. Ultimately, at the end I think a lot of people will be surprised as to the answer they will get when they get to see him (assuming of course that the biblical descriptions are real.
I've gone off topic again but the answer is that God in the OT is a god that I would have trouble following with my mindset. Luckily, I am in the events of the NT which basically means that I have to make the best possible choices that I can while I am here because they are the best possible choices and let the rest play itself out.
You were neither mocking nor accusing, IMO. You were not clear (reasonably so) on where I stood in the midst of all of my responses. You and I have had enough discussion to where I think you respect me to speak frankly.. I also am able (mostly) to separate my emotions from my beliefs and discuss them without getting angry
You are a breath of fresh air, Deepes, to discuss (not debate - discuss) with. I do appreciate honesty and even more a willingness to try and understand and accept rather than automatically take offense. Yeah, the "accusing" was a little tongue in cheek, but you caught it. Rather than take offense.
So God changed. Or perhaps a more accurate way to put it is that His "attitude", his "morals" or "actions" have changed and you accept that. Do you think that is common - to accept what you don't truly understand without trying to analyze it the best you can?
The reason I ask - if God changed then either He is not eternal OR His changes (plural) are cyclical and will repeat. At some time in the future, whether today or after the world ends, He will once more become a barbarian and hateful. Both are once more unacceptable, carry their own problems and questions and once more make a conundrum.
That is the result of analyzing that change - does that analysis mean that to understand, deep down in my gut, or to become a believer, I must change my own inner nature to analyze and be as logical as I can? This is also what I have long thought to be the major problem in conversing between a believer and non-believer. We think differently, and neither really understands how the other can possibly come to the conclusions they do. The conclusions just don't make any sense at all to the other side.
For me, there is not too much reason to take offense. I'm secure in my beliefs and that they are MY beliefs. I'm not trying to convert anyone over to my way of thinking. You have to find your own understanding and live in that even as you seek to learn more. We are all different. I enjoy the fact that I think differently. Besides, Someone disagreeing with me does not negatively impact my life (especially over a means of communication that can be turned off with people I may never run into in person. This is especially a big deal to me because I know I don't have evidence that makes what I believe true. I can only refer to certain ideas and principles that reinforces my belief for me. At the end of the day, the life I live is the best one I see for myself at this point in my life and will change as I get new information and more understanding.
I think it is very common to accept certain things without analyzing it. Both worlds (religious and scientific) do it. The difference is what each side chooses to reference in regards to their understanding of the world. Both sides try to analyze things further within their own respective fields, but there are some that truly do not care enough to try to analyze anything past a specific point. Once a specific answer is found then some stop once that question is answered. Totally common
This statement appears semi- fallacious to me. The reason I say this is because it is possible for someone or something to change without reverting back (I think the term is evolution). I get what you are saying, but i disagree to a degree on this aspect. The bible teaches that with the death of Christ that we are now living under grace. For God to revert back would mean nullifying the sacrifice that was made to save mankind which is the death of Christ.
Now as far as God not being eternal, because something changes, it doesn't take away from it's power because the change itself is powerful
The thing about the true spirit of belief is that it is simply a belief. Even though there are parts of the bible that are neither moral nor ethical (Yes I said it), there are principles of morals and ethics that are in the bible. The biggest problem is that those morals and ethics aren't being taught in some churches as guidelines for the reasons of morality and ethical behavior. They are being taught to be done because it's what the bible says and if we don't listen we are going to hell. Which in itself stunts the moral and ethical development of some people that do not read and seek the bible for themselves.
I agree.. Believers and non-believers do not think the same way totally. The total difference between the two (which is one that leads to the breakdown of conversations, IMO) is that both sides are debating from two different perspectives. Religion in itself deals more with the supernatural and the spiritual (which are things that go beyond our 5 senses) whereas nonbelievers (well a lot of them) deal more with the 5 senses. Also, some Christians see their experiences as proof of the existence of God and cannot understand why atheists cannot feel what they feel. Atheists (from my experiences here on HP) prefer to be rooted in things that are natural. Especially given that there is a more logical explanation for a lot of things that occur. Basically, it comes down to one side thinking that the other side is too limited in their thinking. Two sides of the same coin. Both sides believing themselves to be more logical and rational than the other
re; cyclical god
Here I completely leave the word of fact and enter that of philosophy, mathematical constructs and pure thought with absolutely no real connection with any reality we know. But, it's what we have, so here goes
1) God is eternal and His timeline is infinite both directions. He has always existed and always will
2) There are a very large, but limited "bits" of God. Compare to atoms in our universe; numbers too large to express even as an exponent of an exponent, but not infinite. I refuse to consider a God of either an amorphous, non-bit makeup OR with infinite bits.
Given 2), there is a large but limited number of actions God can take, according to possible permutations of the "bits" He is composed of.
Assign event A to the bad god, and event B to the good god, representing event periods in our historical timeline. Add as many other events as you wish, but again limited by 2) and the analogous number of "bits" in our own universe.
One specific event grouping, represented by ABGHQZ, (or as far as you wish to go) representing bad god followed by good god followed by whatever, will happen in 1 out of X possible event groups. X might be 10, a thousand, a million a trillion or add as many zeros as you wish. Whatever X is, in 2X event groups our particular event group of ABGHQZ will have happened twice. In 20X event groups it will have happened 20 times and in an infinite number of event groups it will have happened an infinite number of times. Make it all due to probability if you wish instead of an absolute 1 out of X; ABGHQZ will still happen an infinite number of times in an eternity.
Anything that exists will be either cyclical or steady state, with no actions or events at all. (Our future, dead, universe is an example of no events at all. Entropy has maxed out, there is no motion and no interaction between individual "bits" or particles.
God, in his already infinite time, has already created and destroyed an infinite number of universes, all identical down to the last atom. Along with an infinite number of different universes, of course. He has an infinite number of heavens and hells, each filled with an infinite number of souls.
And God, in infinite time, has already gone through the AB cycle an infinite number of times. It will happen again.
The concept of infinity plays havoc with what we see as time, actions, events or most anything else. At the same time, if God is not infinite, the question of what (who) caused His creation comes into play...
I'm sure there is something profound here. Unfortunately, math was never a strong suit of mine and as such this looks like Greek.
Other than the question of what caused the creation of God, this kinda slipped over my head as well. If I understand you correctly, then you are saying that God has played the same scenario out over and over again, which could be taken to mean that he has replayed the exact same scenario that is in the bible over and over.. If this is the case, then I must ask where you have gotten this information from and what evidence is there to support this.
LOL A little play with the mathematical concept of infinity. Infinite time in this case, or what we call eternity. Basically, it says that in infinite time anything and everything that can happen, will happen and furthermore it will happen an infinite number of times. God has already created us trillions of times, has been both the "bad" and the "good" god to the same identical people over and over and over.
Infinity is an imaginary concept - one that we can (to some extent) manipulate with the tool called mathematics, but something that is so far beyond any human experience that it cannot truly be understood. We just can't get a handle on it, not deep inside where it counts.
Here, let me give you a "feeling" for eternity. Imagine that you are eternal and will never die. That you need no nourishment (you can't die anyway) and will never "run down" as we do when we age.
Your task is to walk around the world. Around and around, until you've left a hard, deep trail in spite of everything the wind and rain can do to erase it. Say, once around every 5 years or so. You get bored, and stop to talk to everyone you meet. You take time off to fish every stream on earth, and to ski every mountain 10 times over. You partake of every food mentionable, 100 times for each meal.
Through it all, you keep walking the same path, and it begins to become visible. Mankind eventually dies out but you keep walking. The air leaks away, drawn by a moon now so far away it is barely visible but you keep going. The path is deeper now, several feet deep.
You walk, bored to tears with having tried every possible experience many, many times over a billion years of walking. The earth is a dead hulk, without air, and the sun flickers and goes out. Uncountable millions of years into the future the path, compressed only by your feet treading on it once every 5 years, finally reaches what used to be magma, now hardened into solid rock. And you...you have taken the first tiny baby step towards eternity.
Are you sure you want to live for eternity? No god could possibly be so cruel as the one that sentences you eternal life.
Here's the funny thing, If some peoples beliefs are correct then we will live forever regardless.. wither in paradise or in torment...LOL..
I stopped thinking about what happens after death years ago. Got enough to deal with in life.
Indeed, eternal life is the whole goal and purpose to a great many. Not how the live in the here and now; that is only a temporary road to the ultimate goal. I think they neither understand or even think about what it would mean to be eternal.
Like you, I have no concerns about the afterlife, if it exists. I do not see any way to affect it; what will be, will be. There is plenty here to keep me going.
But I just noticed I missed an earlier post; I must read it.
Replying to your earlier post; yes, I, too, am sometimes guilty of lumping people together. At the same time, though, I often find it more convenient and speedier road to understanding to make some assumptions about any specific Christian.
I have come to understand in the past few years that there is even more variance than I had thought, but there is still a strong root that holds all of Christianity together. It is almost impossible to believe in Christ (Christianity) without having seen and read the bible. People will make differing interpretations (the topic of this thread, for instance) of both God and everything else in the bible, but it is a starting point.
And, sometimes, I go beyond that for I am just as human, just as fallible, as anyone else. I know I should not, I know to watch for it, but I do it anyway.
I can go along with this statement. It is easy to make some assumptions and work off of the premise of the ONE common foundational link between all Christians. I stress the word ONE because, as you can tell, A belief in Christ is sometimes the only thing that some Christians have in common. It's just like the fact that sometimes a lack of belief is the only thing that atheists have in common. I think the main issue with communication between the two is that the most vocal representatives of each side basically spoils the image and perception of the entire bunch. Because of this, it is difficult to enter into conversation without a slight preconceived notion of what and how the conversation is going to end. For the record, I have thoroughly enjoyed this conversation with you. If more people were able to converse like this without the anger and preconceived accusations flying about then perhaps we can all increase understanding and acceptance of one another.
I haven't read entirely through the thread so, hopefully, this has already been brought up. I agree, that how someone interprets the chain of events presented in the Bible is more of a window into who we are than it is a window to the understanding of a deity. This goes all ways, in my opinion. Even those who don't believe give us a window into their minds when they argue against their interpretation.
I will say that one goal I think we are meant to aspire to is to hold all things of equal value. To not judge harshly. So, in that respect, the theist has taken a stride in the same direction the atheist has. No judgment of the universe. Wonder and awe at the universe. But, we all appear to use our idea of how others perceive the book to judge each other. So, I don't know. Maybe there is something we are all missing at this point.
Always love seeing you post (even when we disagree). We did touch more on the overall issues that limit communication to a point, so we didn't necessarily make the point as eloquently as you did. Wilderness was trying to get an understanding of what others thought and I was the main one discussing it with him..
Thanks for your input. I doubt I could have expressed it better myself
Thanks but, eloquent is something I'm pretty sure I'm not. I find it interesting because my take on the Bible is a simple progression of enlightenment as Man develops. Up through the gospels, at least. I see the tale end as Man attempting to grasp the new information. They get it right, at points; but being a radically new understanding means they get it wrong also, at times.
Pondering God is easy. He doesn't talk back, he doesn't get in the way of anything, you get to think what you want when you want. But, pondering ourselves and putting others on the same pedestal once reserved for ourselves was the radical left turn none of us seems willing to take.
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