A Christian Dilemma
I've been having a serious discussion with a Christian friend and thought I'd post the thoughts I shared with him. I'm curious what you all think of this...
But let’s go back to the very beginning. God created a race a beings (us) that are capable of failure. Why then punish us for it? He made us that way. He made you and me the way we are. It’s like binding someone’s hands together and blaming them for making a mess as they try to live in limited means. If I’m wrong about that, then there is a serious problem. We’re in an impossible position, where we are made flawed and sent to hell for simply being what we are, because we can’t possibly live up to His expectations.
Do you see what I mean? I’m really trying to riddle this out, because I’m at a point where my beliefs are falling apart. It just doesn’t make logical sense for an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being to say, “I made you. Do as you’re told or be punished for eternity. Oh, by the way, it’s going to be REALLY HARD to follow the rules.”
Why not this… an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being says, “I love you all and will never hurt you because we are One, and what I do to you I do to myself. You are all perfect and I can’t expect you live up to a grandiose way of living. All things are as they are meant to be. Live your lives, love one another, and know that I am with you on your journey, always able to help you. You are FREE. Nothing you do can alter my love for you.”
Not sure where those words just came from. Doesn’t that make more sense though? Oneness, Freedom, Love. None of this is new, but we seem to be getting away from all that. We’re falling back into a way of thinking that there is a toll booth on the way to Heaven. If we don’t pay, we get turned away. I honestly think that God doesn’t want or need anything from us. He has it all, he IS ALL.
What more could be said? One belief says our failures will condemn us (despite being purposely placed in a fallible scenario), and another says our faults are there for a reason but ultimately they are accepted because that’s how we were made.
I know God didn’t want to create a race of robots that are programmed to love him. There’s no freedom in that. So instead he created us so that we have the freedom to choose right from wrong. But what people keep avoiding is the idea that God sounds like a victim. Like his hands are tied. You either believe in Christ or face spiritual death, and there’s nothing he can do about it.
I don’t believe that for a second. The Creator has all the universe in his hands, every success and failure, life and death. He’s everything, every good and evil deed, every thought, word, and action. Nothing is forcing him to decide to put us in Heaven or Hell, punish or reward. That’s HIS decision. He’s not saying, “Well, you didn’t believe in Christ, so I have to send you to Hell, sorry, there’s nothing I can do.”
I realize this is a lot of rambling, but I figured it could bring up some interesting conversations.
the resolution that i have for you is that the Bible is not literally true and that Christians who adhere to literal interpretations are factually incorrect
creation and heaven and hell and jesus are all excellent ideas and i even think they are true and real as metaphors and representations of the human experience moving through reality, but they arent literally, factually true and real in the same way that the moon is real, or that george lucas is real
the awesomeness of this resolution is that once youve accepted it, youre free to glean the best and most useful ideas not only from traditional christianity, but also from all the other traditional religions of the world, as well as the many more recent cultural and scientific advances of the modern era
It's difficult to discuss Christian theology from within a Christian mindset, mainly because belief relies so heavily on faith that the Bible is the literal Word of God, and thus faith trumps logic, despite many contradictions in the Bible itself.
A looong time ago I had the same realization as the one you described. I grew up fearing God's wrath and feeling I would never be good enough to live up to His standards. I was miserable.
But, if I am going to Hell regardless, I might as well enjoy life first
To think the force and G-d are one
I feel that one day the whole earth shall known that G-d is one "Echad"
I feel that we are experiencing what G-d wills
and that there is no accidents and life is as it should be
if you were a star how would you know you were bright unless G-d made Darkness all around you
so you can experience who you really are
to completeness and fulfillment in your life may we all be with the force
I wrote this yesterday for a friend of mine but I thought it may apply on this post also
IDK My Name wrote:
In Christian beliefs, yes. But that is not necessarily true of Judaism. From what I can gather, Jews do not spend a lot of time on the afterlife. But those that take on scholarship into the subject say that Judaism believes that everyone goes into this sort of purgatory to be cleansed and then they are returned to heaven. They don't really believe in a "Hell"
It's a test. To find souls to populate heaven. There are a variety of theories on how such a test came about. 3 Earth Ages is one, where we live in the 2nd EA, and during the 1st it became apparent that every soul needed to be tested after Lucifer fell. Some believe the test ended up becoming a thing after Eve at the Apple. That God was lonely and set up a way to vet who can get into heaven beginning with Adam and Eve, etc. There are even some, which believe only so many slots are available (there use to be a Jehovah's Witness belief that only 144,000 of all the people throughout time will be able to live in Heaven, I once heard somewhere that has change though).
Life isn't fair. Why punish a criminal? It's because everyone is born with personal responsibility. We have the ability to make a choice of how we live our lives. If we choose to go against God's Word, then that is our choice and we should be punished. But I won't fault you completely, for you're asking the wrong question. What you should be asking is: Why doesn't God ensure that throughout all time EVERYONE is exposed to His teachings to give them a better opportunity to follow His Word? That is an answer I cannot provide you with.
This is perhaps where the Jewish tradition may come in handy to understand pre-Christ times. If it really was believed by Jews before Christ that everyone will eventually get to heaven, then maybe he viewed it as you describe below:
But then he changed that view to the above one after Christ came to Earth and gave people an opportunity to accept Christ and his sacrifice.
The thing is, it doesn't make sense at all. You might believe it does, but let me put it another way: You have a person in your home that is known to violate your rules constantly. They start killing animals around you, which is simply an escalation of their bad behavior. You begin to see them develop overtime some rather insane tendencies and you now have a small child in your home. For the safety of that child, do you send the person away? Or do you allow them to stay under your roof? You may love your friend and hate to cast them out, but for the safety of the child you also love, you have to make a decision.
If your soul fails to sustain it's discipline in the flesh, who is to say it won't fail altogether and prove damaging to the souls in Heaven which truly do love and honor God?
The very act of accepting Christ with earnestness is that you have finally allowed the Holy Spirit to come into your life and guide you to God. That's what it represents. That's also why it is acceptable for one to accept Christ on their deathbed. God isn't a victim, and neither is man. The test was put into place, and you have a lot of opportunities to have a change of heart. In the end, God made it so that the only person you have to blame is yourself. God could decide to never accept any of us, even if we do everything he asks of us. Just like a friend can decide to no longer be your friend. They aren't a victim for it, it's just a decision they have made.
For my part, I completely disagree with this. God is God. We equate him as being good or evil depending on how we want to perceive Him and His motives. I don't believe he is necessarily good, or that he has necessarily bad qualities. If you really look at His story in the Bible, from his prospective, he's very much embodies what you might consider a Human Leader would embody from the timeframe of the Ancient Hebrews.
Now onto the widespread assumption- that God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.
I think God plays Go, not Chess, Go. I think what we believe is Omniscience is actually just careful planning and developing a strong relationship with the souls that he can "read their thoughts". And that the belief he is omnipresent is simply a matter of not understanding how he is able to see what he sees. He might have a eyes all other place, but omnipresent is too far.
Read the Old Testament, you'll see times when God discovers things (debunking omnipresence). Where God makes decisions and then decides that it's not as great of an idea as he previously thought (debunking omniscience). And as to omnipotence, we certainly see a lot of great feats that God can accomplish, but nothing says He can do ANYTHING. It's just believed He can. The story of the earth being formed is one where the earth already had the materials in place- but there isn't any evidence that suggests the universe was created by God. We don't know, we just have a strong belief of such.
Alethea "Setanaoko" Thompson
There's no such thing an enemy. Just an obstacle you have to overcome -Me.
I'd imagine the disconnect represent the difference between how we exist within and view the world today compared to how people existed within and viewed the world back then. How much love is there when you are tired, hungry, cold, being hunted and injured. So people would be tempted constantly even if only in terms of survival, and so the God would be tested constantly to justify the effort. Perhaps as population grows this is how that looks... diluted to the extent God is not perceivable - yet with the system remaining (as the basis for this particular belief). As, if an omnibeing created us and all things, then IMO the question comes down to why - and the only indicators to that would be the starting conditions and operating environment. It gets tricky from there though if you believe everything in the Bible. But I find it mostly anthropological with some spiritual insight, rather then spiritual with anthropological insight so I'm not able to give a Christian's perspective (despite being raised Catholic).