Questions for Christians of the site

7 years 2 months ago #258750 by JamesSand

I don't know...the Bible sure makes it seem like God makes decisions. It also makes it seem like he thinks. "And God saw that it was good"...sounds like God is thinking to me. He/she is thinking that what he/she has made is good.

I have only read it in english, I'm not sure if other languages are more nuanced - but we say "The wind blows"
(which is ridiculous, because if it wasn't blowing, it wouldn't be wind.) In any case, the Wind has no will or wit when it blows. It's just the wind.

The Bible is also a book, written by people, not God.

God (and I'm falling into the trap here, by giving God personification) needs a book like a fish needs a bicycle.

some people needed books to understand God.

I follow (more or less) the teachings of Christ (who wasn't a Christian :side: ), and I believe in God.

That doesn't mean I need to internalise every word in the Bible.

Nor does the above make me "not a real Christian"

much the same as not owning an Xbox wouldn't make me "not a real Gamer" or not having a pixie-hair cut make me "not a real lesbian".

Anyway, getting sidetracked, I guess to answer you question (not really), about "issues in the bible" - I disregard the parts I can't find value in. If someone else gets value from them, more power to them.

Maybe you need a more fundamentalist crowd to chew through the nitty gritty of some of the nuttier stories. You may or may not find that crowd in this temple :cheer:

Please Log in to join the conversation.

7 years 2 months ago #258754 by steamboat28

MadHatter wrote: 1. Do you believe that it is a choice to go to heaven or hell? If you believe it's a choice how can it be when its made with a threat over one's head. To me, it feels like love me or suffer and that is not a choice in my eyes.

It is a choice in that it is merely the result of one's actions. No one is "sent" there; instead, people "go" there of their own will, based on the decisions they made. It is not a judgement so much as a consequence of action.

2. How do you get past the things that caused the death of children in the bible?

How do you get past the things that cause the death of chidlren now? People die in cataclysms. It's terribly unfortunate, but only recently have we developed the technology to predict natural disasters with any accuracy.

3. How do you get past Gods nonintervention in things like world hunger, rape, the murder of the innocent, etc?

Again, how do you get past our own non-intervention in those things? We created these problems: God didn't create food scarcity, greedy men and women did. God didn't create rape or murder, people invented those things. How can you expect God, who has given mankind stewardship of the earth, under our protection and authority, to solve all of our problems? We created these messes, and people should stop blaming God when we're the ones that perpetuate them.

4. What do you feel about actions such as the hardening of Pharos heart?

It's a figure of speech.

Don't take the Bible literally. It isn't meant to be a work taken literally.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

  • Visitor
7 years 2 months ago #258772 by
1. Do you believe it is a choice to speed or not? If you believe it is a choice how can it be when it’s made with a threat of a speeding fine over one’s head? The point here is that even we, as people, set rules about what we find appropriate behaviour in our lives, homes and countries. We make laws and set punishments for transgressions of those laws. If I were God I’d probably lay some ground rules about what is acceptable behaviour too. There are even ground rules here at TOTJO. Would it be such a pleasant environment here if they were never enforced?

2. If God is real, then death is not the end and our short existence on earth is nothing but a test of character. A learning experience from which nothing that is taken from you cannot be restored. A blink of an eye compared to an eternity. Exams are never fun for students. Some pass, some fail but at the end of the day the teacher makes allowances and decides what grade each student gets.

3. As a parent I tell my kids all the time “Don’t do that or you’ll hurt yourself/each other”. How many times do they listen? Mostly they have to learn the hard way. Sometimes they hurt others who don’t deserve it in the process. It is not that I don’t intervene. I do. I let them learn the hard way in an environment I can control. Where I can put band aids on cuts, wipe away tears, fix broken toys and compensate the innocent. If god is real, then his power is immeasurable. He can restore life and limb to name but a few so his learning environment is a bit deadlier and a lot more hurtful.

4. So dammed because he didn’t and now dammed because he did? Do you want a God who intervenes or not? Actually this ones really interesting and something I’ve been meaning to spend more time on. Do you have other example of this kind of thing? Maybe it is just figure of speech or translation issue. That said I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t. That is to say I had a child who would not stop swinging on their chair. I sat him down and explained why I didn’t want him to do it. That he could fall and hurt himself badly. One night he was swinging on his chair and the landing area was safe so I gave him a little nudge. I took from him the control of his chair and he was hurt as a result. Now he has learnt why he doesn’t swing on his chair anymore and I don’t have to worry about him doing real damage.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

7 years 2 months ago - 7 years 2 months ago #258784 by Wescli Wardest
There are many different beliefs in the Christian church as to what Heaven and Hell is. But choice is what it is all about. According to the Bible, “God” gave man the ability to choose. And long story short, it is our choices that will ultimately define who we are.

Of course, there are many different interpretations of the same message and that is why there are so many different denominations. And even within each denomination there are differing interpretations of what is written in the Bible. If one is objective and steps back looking at Christianity as a whole and not their experience with a particular group, it tends to resemble the varying degrees of understanding Jedi have about the Force and our own Doctrine.

There are value systems which are created by man and change with the times and the consensus of society over time. There are moral laws which are believed to be passed on by some greater “power” and undeniable by Man. Such as, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Thomas Jefferson was the one that put this down in writing for us all to hold and cherish. Then there are universal laws which are dictated by the universe itself. Universal law is not confined by the dualistic moral systems of man nor are they concerned with our value systems.

Another consideration is the Bible a literal history account, a set of stories and parables or a combination of both? Moral and value systems of the world and the societies of the world have changed drastically over the millennia. What we might judge to be of little value now could have had great recourse then and vice versa. I believe there are a lot of good lessons in the Bible, just as there are in many religious text. And, there are things everywhere that can guide us towards an enlightenment that unifies body, mind and spirit.
Last edit: 7 years 2 months ago by Wescli Wardest.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Carlos.Martinez3, MadHatter

Please Log in to join the conversation.

7 years 2 months ago #258803 by Ben
I’m certainly not speaking for any Christians (although when I myself was Christian, I held a fairly similar if much less well-articulated view than this), but perhaps the ideas offered back in the first chapter of ‘The Book’ (Alan Watts) may help:

God is the Self of the world, but you can’t see God for the same reason that, without a mirror, you can’t see your own eyes, and you certainly can’t bite your own teeth or look inside your head. Your self is that cleverly hidden because it is God hiding.

You may ask why God sometimes hides in the form of horrible people, or pretends to be people who suffer great disease and pain. Remember, first, that he isn’t really doing this to anyone but himself. Remember, too, that in almost all the stories you enjoy there have to be bad people as well as good people, for the thrill of the tale is to find out how the good people will get the better of the bad. It’s the same as when we play cards. At the beginning of the game we shuffle them all into a mess, which is like the bad things in the world, but the point of the game is to put the mess into good order, and the one who does it best is the winner. Then we shuffle the cards once more and play again, and so it goes with the world.

Perhaps it still wouldn’t seem to fully justify some cruelties, particularly those relating to people who haven’t yet realised that (hypothetically, in this way of thinking) they are God, but there may be some analogies that could make it easier to comprehend. For example, when we eat junk food we are putting parts of our body through absolute hell, but we feel (in that moment, anyway – if not so much when experiencing the guilt that tends to come afterwards!) that the overall experience will be worth the damage done to individual cells of our bodies, even though those individual cells presumably have no understanding that their suffering is contributing to this ‘higher’ purpose! The same can be said of a whole host of other activities that affect the body negatively, of course.

I don’t know if that helps any… :)

The whole passage is under the spoiler, if anyone wants to remind themselves of a bit more of the context:

Warning: Spoiler!
The following user(s) said Thank You: Loudzoo, MadHatter

Please Log in to join the conversation.

  • Visitor
7 years 2 months ago #258809 by
Just some background.

When I was born my father was in a Baptist bible college to become a minister or whatever Baptists call them. My lack of knowledge as to what they're called should tell you how long that lasted. I am not super familiar with any specifics of the Bible and it doesn't interest me all that much so I haven't actually read it. I no longer really consider myself a Christian really.

On to the question.

As to questions 2 and 3 regarding harm coming to children and God letting bad things happen in the world. I don't remember where I read this but a character in a book said something that I think makes a lot of sense to me. I'm not saying that I agree with it 100%, but I get where it's coming from and agree about as much as I feel I can no longer being a Christian.

Thinking on an individual scale it does seem that letting anyone come to harm is not something that a benevolent god worth worshiping completely would do. However, any super-powerful deity doesn't look at us as individuals. It's got a whole species of us to deal with (plus, you know, the rest of the Universe) so it looks at things from a compete species standpoint. In that perspective (one that exists outside of space and time) things that are absolutely horrible to individuals is a scraped knee to the species as a whole

Think of God like a parent and the human race as one child (as opposed to 9 billion children). If God protected us from every bad thing that happened we'd never learn. Instead, God lets us fall down, scrape our knee, and pick ourselves back up.

I can see where this explanation sucks on a "So God doesn't care about us as individuals?" stand point, but it's the best explanation I've heard so far.

Please Log in to join the conversation.