The Gloomy Quest for Hope - Christmas 2014

Discussion in 'Help From Above' started by elagache, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. Ken Mild

    Ken Mild King of 18 Year Resto's

    Warning - This is the longest post I have ever made on V8Buick


    I am not a master of scripture. In fact, I am not a master of anything.

    I really am sorry that you can't be comforted. Or maybe I should say, won't be. Because I think you can be, as nothing is impossible with God. With us, yes, with Him, no.

    Unfortunately, there is not much I can do about these emotions you have. i will pray for you but I'm not sure you even want me to or care if I do. Nonetheless, I can.

    You might not be alone in your feelings or position. Conversely, many millions if not billions of people trust Christ. Your depressed feelings about the country are happening because you may be putting too much faith in your country and more importantly in man himself, to do the right things. Unless you can get past that expectation of mankind, with his sinful, deceitful, prideful, arrogant flawed nature, you will always be disappointed in the direction of not only this country, but any country on the planet.

    There are people who want the truth and there are people who mock and scorn the truth. This is no surprise. Heck, have you seen the Passion of the Christ? This is as accurate a depiction according to biblical history as anyone has ever come to seeing what He endured for our sakes. It was probably worse. If the world did that to Him and hated Him while He was actually here, so much more now people that follow Him are scorned. As I cited yesterday, God's wisdom is foolishness to those who deny it. Some people just choose to close their hearts and "live life to the fullest". The term "fullest" as defined by a God fearing Christian and a God hating person has two entirely different meanings. For a Christian, it is living for Christ. For an unbeliever, it is living for self. It's really that simple. Even as a believer I sometimes struggle with one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom, spiritually. I am human and have a human nature that I battle every day. Each day is a new day. it is a war for my soul between good and evil. I cannot battle evil on my own. I need Jesus to do it for me, by me placing it in His hands and then being obedient to His word. That is my personal story. I have no hope without him. Is it easy? Yeah right....

    And you are not correct when you say Christianity is not universal. There are people getting murdered right this second all around the world for not denying their allegiance to Christ. However, you will never hear about these faithful followers on the mainstream news. Because Christians are a hated people, because they first hated Jesus. I have to show you one more series of verses if you would bear with me. If you attempt to survey the status of Christianity by looking at this country, it is an F-. The ones who really know Christ the best sometimes are the ones in 3rd world hell holes getting their drinking water from cesspools and living in shacks with mud floors. They understand the value of something as simple as a toothbrush. In this country, it is a challenge for us to even appreciate the value of a second home or third car. is it any wonder we are far from God. We are our own gods in this country, who needs God right? Is it any wonder why Christianity is thought of as a fairy tale in USA by so many? Who needs Christ, right? we have everything we need because we are awesome. The truth is, when life comes crashing down, where are these self-sufficient people? Where are they in their spiritual strength? This world will not last. It is temporary. Eternity is permanent. The sooner we get that through our thick skulls, our entire view of life changes.

    I know you needed a pep talk, but nothing I say can possibly make you feel better. The only thing that heals is truth.

    John 15:18-27
    The World’s Hatred the words of Jesus Himself
    “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant[a] is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 It is to fulfil the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.’ 26 But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; 27 and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning."

    One thing God never did was create a pill that was easy to swallow, when it came to revealing to the world the truth about ourselves. He can only speak truth and there are no lies in what He said.

    I need zero convincing that the moral underpinnings of western civilization will be undermined and our civilization will collapse. In fact, I whole heatedly expect it. Not because of anything that "I" predict but because again, in God's word, (sorry, have to do it) He says:

    2 Timothy 3
    Godlessness in the Last Days
    " But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people."

    BUT He also said:

    Revelation 21

    “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people,[a] and God himself will be with them; 4 he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”

    5 And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the fountain of the water of life without payment."

    The thirsty are you and me. Those who thirst for truth, justice, righteousness and a desire to know the One and Only.

    Hey man, I'm sorry for this huge long post. There's probably a lot of people doing :boring: and :rolleyes: but hey, it's all good.
  2. SmittyDawg

    SmittyDawg Need another garage....

    Thank you, Ken. Well said and quoted, and definitely NO rolling of the eyes here!:gp:
  3. Smokey15

    Smokey15 So old that I use AARP bolts.

    That makes, at least two of us. Thank you, again my Friend. God has gifted you with the ability to express yourself very well and wisely.
  4. bhambulldog

    bhambulldog 1955 76-RoadmasterRiviera

    Me 3
  5. elagache

    elagache Platinum Level Contributor

    Reclaiming our faith in the everyday. (Re: The Gloomy Quest for Hope)

    Caution: some of the points in this post are "half-baked." Please see subsequent post for clarification:

    Dear Ken, Cole, James, and V-8 Buick spiritualists,

    I have a story to tell that might seem like a degression, but bear with me for a moment. Over 30 years ago I was completing a double major in Physics and Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. I hope the Physics would get me a job, but my passion was undeniably philosophy. I wasn't practicing my faith, but I was a stubborn believer so those philosophy classes were very frequently hard to take.

    The first upper division class was called "Philosophical Methods" and was something of a rite of passage. The quarter I took it, the class was taught by a follower of "linguistic philosophy" by the name of Hans Sluga. This was another dead-end intellectual movement which in this case proposed to solve the world's problems based on an incredibly naive idea that all philosophical problem ultimately were caused by confusions over the nature of language. He was a smallish man with a pleasant foreign accent, it was hard to dislike him, but he definitely got off on the wrong foot with me. First day of class he announced with a calm sense of revelation: "I intend to show all of you that the concept of God is - incoherent!"

    "Oh boy, this is going to be another one of those 'fun' classes"
    - I thought.

    Well luckily, Professor Sluga was now middle-aged at that time and morality wasn't abstract. The last piece we read was a piece from Sluga himself in which he tried to comfort himself over the death of a good friend. He tried very hard to strike a middle ground between strict notion of religion as delusion (as Freud claimed) and any claims that spirituality was in some sense real.

    Well, this sort of waxing poetry might have consoled the fellow after losing his friend, but it just made me even more angry. I didn't have any obvious way to prove Sluga wrong, but I decided to make his point of view extremely uncomfortable. I wrote an essay in two parts. The first part argued what human experience has to be like if we take seriously the idea that we are nothing more than biological agents. I took some time to reach my dire conclusion, but in short it was that human beings must be carefully interbred to make us as successful as we can be. After all, if we do this sort of thing to make more successful plants, horses and so on, why whole we treat ourselves any differently. After all, we are just biological organisms - aren't we?

    At this point the teaching assistant reading the essay was about to ring my neck for being a neo-nazi. I then made my decisive counter-move. Clearly humans aren't just genetically superior livestock. Professor Sluga is right, we have these spiritual feelings - we can't deny it. However, if we have spiritual feelings, then we must accept that these feelings represent a real phenomena that goes beyond our minds. Professor Sluga's attempt to have spiritual feeling without religion is a kind of incoherence that claimed to be trying to avoid. If we experience religious phenomena - it must be in some sense - real.

    At this point you all must be yawning, but perhaps the punch-line will surprise you: I got an A in the class. It isn't easy, but it is possible to take on the atheist elite of our modern world and undermine their confidence that they truly know how to maintain a just, secure, and happy civilization. Even college professors suffer from the "there are no atheists in the foxhole" syndrome.

    Why does it matter? Well, I think it matters very dearly because matters of faith have been just about shoved into the closet completely away from decisions of society. I can personally say that I suffered from discrimination and ridicule for attempting to upload my religious beliefs in the workplace. There are hot-button social issues that I stay away from given their controversy, but clearly have a religious freedom angle that is being deliberately ignored. I think I can make my point using a less controversial, but perhaps even more troubling dispute over religious freedom.

    The Catholic church has objected to Obamacare's requirement that employers pay for birth-control, since Catholics are not suppose to use birth-control as that would interfere with God's will according to Catholic doctrine. Never mind you feelings about birth-control, consider the "remedy" that the Obama administration proposed. The "solution" was only to find some other way to pay for the birth control. In effect, the Obama administration was insisting that yes Catholic employees would have subsidized birth-control. That put the United States government implicitly denying the beliefs of Catholics. However, the Obama administration proposes that sparing the Catholic church the burden of actually paying for birth-control should be a good enough compromise. In effect, the Catholic church is being given a "bribe" to let the government interfere with the moral code of Catholics. No religion institution should be open to being "bought."

    This example should make it clear to you that people like Hans Sluga are damaging our ability to live out our faiths. Worse still the freedom to practice religion has become a wedge used to drive spirituality out of our everyday lives and force it into the privacy of religious institutions and our personal spaces. Public displays of faith are now viewed as offensive to others and therefore frequently banned. If you doubt this read about the controversy over the Mt. Soledad Cross near San Diego:

    The founding fathers would be appalled to see the state of our religious world. They were men of the Enlightenment and believed science to be a gift of God, not in conflict with God. So while they did guarantee freedom of religious practice, they fully expected that by now, science would have been of the tools that brought our relationship with God into focus - what else could happen?

    Well, what has happened? Yes my point of view is gloomy, but I am effectively carrying the disillusionment that all Enlightenment thinkers would have at this situation. It is that philosophy that I am most drawn to and I feel I am in some way a descendent of those thinkers. We really need to understand why our spiritual landscape looks as fractured and inconsistent as it does. Yes, our faith has to be a greater part in that quest, and I have experienced a spirituality that sure feels unique to me. Nonetheless, God created us with mind. Perhaps we cannot understand God, but we have to be able to understand our relationship with God, or we shall lose hope.

    I cannot feel whole in my spirituality if I cannot take on the Hans Slugas of our world and clip their wings at least some. I think we all have to try and we all have to demand of our intellectual elite a sincerely about the reality of spiritual phenomenon which thus-far they have not accepted. To the movers and shakers of our world, religion is a whimsical ritual and perhaps an activity that promotes human balance - but nothing more. Whether you believe in an incredibly powerful and mysterious God, or you look as I have to explain our spiritual experiences in a way more in tune with science, it is clear that the west is moving away our spiritual foundations and there is nothing else that we can ground ourselves with. I most definitely do believe in salvation, but I fear more and more people "don't give a damn" and will be damned for it.

    Last edited: Jan 11, 2015
  6. bhambulldog

    bhambulldog 1955 76-RoadmasterRiviera

    Thank you for writing that.
    It is most interesting and thought provoking.
  7. elagache

    elagache Platinum Level Contributor

    The enlightenment catastrophy - try #2 (Re: The Gloomy Quest for Hope)

    Dear James and V-8 Buick philosophical spiritualists,

    Well, I'm glad you liked it, but it was really half-baked and could have been offensive to some. I really need to unpack the middle part of those thoughts, so here it goes.

    I opened up the can of worms related to religious belief and birth control. Let's see if I can get those worm back under control to some degree. There are I think two completely opposing views on how we should understand God's role with regards to birth control:

    1. Birth control is part of the science and technology of medicine. Medicine is clearly a good thing and has to be therefore a gift from God. Birth control needs to be used in a mindful and prayerful way. However, if we made the effort to be doing God's will, we should be able to use birth control to achieve God's will were appropriate.
    2. Every human being is an intimate and personal creation of God. Just as marriage is the union of two people with God in an image of the Trinity, so the creation of a new human life is the intimate working of that tiny image of the trinity on earth and is therefore a divine moment of creation. To interfere with it in any way is sacrilege.

    If you believe take the second version on birth control then abortion becomes unthinkable. There is no point where the unborn aren't a creation of God. So if you didn't understand why religious institutions like Catholics are so bitterly opposed to abortion it is because of this deeply intimate notion of God's role in the creation of human life. This isn't the view of God as the celestial clockmaker and the production of a human being as simply another turn of the eternally perfect system of gears.

    Now I hope that everyone realizes both viewpoints are really appealing. The first view is really necessary. How can we believe that modern medicine is anything other than give from God? On the other hand, the second view is very Christian in its own right. It seems okay that the motion of the planets might be controlled by gears God set in motion at the beginning of time, but human life is supposed to be precious. We do want to believe that we aren't simply stamped out in some automated "human stamping factory."

    So whatever your point of view on either birth control or abortion, we really would like to have our cake and eat it too in this situation. But it should be obvious - only one of the two views is correct and worse still - only God can tell us which one it is. The scriptures don't provide enough information to infer something like this.

    It is at this point that I believe the founding fathers would have screamed: "Foul! This simply cannot be happening." Their world view was vastly different from ours. They lived in a time before the discovery of geological time and theories like evolution. There was no conflict between scientific thought and religious thought and western culture was clearly founded the bedrock of Christianity. So when they proposed "One nation under God" - they believed it as a matter practical course. The freedom to practice religious only meant that religious practice could be unique as there might be many paths to God. Nonetheless, over time we could come know God such that our nation would truly serve God in a way never before possible because the elimination of tyrannical rulers and religions that where instruments of oppression instead of enlightened paths to God. So I sincerely believe, the founding fathers and most enlightenment thinkers (although not all) would have believed a nation could be understand and follow God's will because after all that is what we thought God wanted of us. We might not understand God, but we absolutely needed to understand what God wanted us to become - otherwise how could we do it?

    The Obama administration finds itself struggling with birth control in a way that another president also struggled whom I'm sure President Obama deeply admires: Abraham Lincoln. Yet, I suspect Lincoln would have gladly traded places with Obama because the religious contradiction he was facing caused the Civil War: did God approve or disapprove of slavery? If you read Lincoln's Gettysburg address carefully, there isn't just a sense of deep loss and personal struggle - there is a man struggling with his faith. The founding fathers had created a nation that would finally be free to follow God's will - how on earth could we ever find ourselves so much at odds of God's vision of our world?

    In a way, the South has a right to be bitter to this very day. God never sent down the word that they should abandon slavery. Instead Southerners fought desperately for what they believed was God's vision for the world. As our modern world has concluded about slavery, all that sacrifice was completely in vain. That sort of a burden is just about impossible to swallow.

    I suppose we cannot fault the Obama administration for trying to make social policy as painless as possible for every diverse group in this country. But it is whitewashing conflicts in our diverse faith traditions that should be instead out in the open. The legacy of religious prejudice runs deeper than we would prefer to admit and the complexity of religious doctrine is often to understand. Behind the practice of religion, there is sharply differing views about how God act in the world and as I hope I have demonstrated here - each point of view truly has merit.

    So we truly have a desperate problem and it is very much in a space where our relationship with God must guide us if we have any hope to do God's will. This most definitely isn't a case where we are trying to know something about God that is beyond our grasp. We need to know what is God's position is on things like slavery, birth control, and to make peace between Christianity and Islam. We most definitely do not want to solve our problems as we had to do during the American Civil War.

    Indeed gloomy but I truly believe - nonetheless honest.

  8. bhambulldog

    bhambulldog 1955 76-RoadmasterRiviera

    It is quite a conundrum.
    I would agree with number 1
    To be clear, I do believe that birth control can be deemed necessary . ..
    Also abortion is not birth control. Abortion is murder.

    And you're not to be faulted for that.

    This afternoon, I had business about thirty miles from the house. During the drive back home the 6th chapter of Matthew of the Bible came to my mind;

  9. bhambulldog

    bhambulldog 1955 76-RoadmasterRiviera

    I saw this from Psalms today;

    "Psalm 142:3King James Version (KJV)

    3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.

    King James Version (KJV)
    by Public Domain"

    The way we walk, we can be overwhelmed. And we can get caught in the snare.
    God can lead us out of, or away from the snare.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  10. elagache

    elagache Platinum Level Contributor

    Recognizing Descartes decieving demon. (Re: The Gloomy Quest for Hope)

    Dear James and V-8 Buick "soul searchers,"

    Alas, things are even more muddled than this view would suggest. Let me offer an example that everyone on this board should be able sink their teeth into:

    You buy a new car and 20 miles down the road the car breaks down. There you are stuck so you look around the car and find a manual and collection of spare parts. With the manual and parts you get the car running again. So how do you feel about all this? Do you think: "Isn't this car great! It comes with a complete repair kit!" . . . or do you think: . . "This car must be lemon! I'm going right back to the dealer and demand that they make this right!"

    Modern medicine is a repair kit. Why would God make us with so many imperfections and then only give the tools to partially deal with them?

    Alas, this too isn't as simple as it seems. Women do get violently raped by what are undeniably evil men. It is extremely difficult to understand how such violence could nonetheless represent some sort of virtual image of the Trinity and thus produce a human life. If a women does conceive under such evil circumstances, how can we be sure what has been created isn't in some sense evil also? In any case, to demand that woman raise the child of her rapist seems unthinkable.

    I have come to see the hand of the devil in the way we become angrily divided. The pro-choice movement insists that abortion is a civil right, but that really isn't what they want. What they want is that conception only occur when a happy wanted child will be the result, and that is what everybody else wants as well. Under no circumstances is an abortion a good thing, and I know of women who have had abortions and lament about the child they have lost decades later. There really is some common ground in which to consider this problem. Perhaps it is inappropriate for government to outlaw abortion, precisely because it is a gut-wrenching moral decision that the individuals must settle on their own spiritual and moral considerations. Nonetheless, absolutely *everyone* should agree that abortion is an evil thing to do and we all should work as hard as possible to create social relationships that made abortion as rare as our imperfect society can manage. Why don't we agree on this?

    The anger in the abortion debate is misguided. It sure looks like the work of the devil to me.

    I do think a lot about the scriptures also I have so little time that I must resign myself to my memories of the scripture. As I ponder the life of Jesus, I cannot help but feel his melancholy. It goes beyond the emotional trauma as he approached the cross, but the sense of being unable to bring about the world he desired. This passage from Matthew makes me see Jesus as "in between" the world he was living and the world that would come into existence as a result of the second coming. It isn't as commonly understood simply striking down the Jewish dietary laws, it is looking forward to a time when food would not longer be something killed or cut down, but would instead be a manifestation of pure Love.

    There are several passages were Jesus laments that the "bridegroom" would not be with the people much longer. I've long puzzled over what Jesus might mean there. It doesn't correspond to usual interpretation of the church as "bride." Jesus had a analogy for that role: shepherd and his flock. It seems to me that Jesus is expressing a kind of loss and that it is this loss that ultimately lead to the cross.

    We want to believe that we live in a "perfect world," but it isn't hard to imagine a world that would have been much better. If Jesus instead of Saint Paul had gone to rest of the world to preach the new religion, instead of the cross, we have have a living faith anchored on the miracle that Jesus would have been immortal. Considering the power that we attribute to Jesus, why couldn't this have been possible?

    It seems to me that the first Christians had sized up the situation better than our revisionist ideas. Jesus isn't a superman who is faster than a speeding bullet, .etc., .etc., etc. As our science tells us there are limits out there. We need to imagine monotheism as the ancients did. Jesus isn't infinite, Jesus is instead just as his is described: "the one true god," because Jesus is the only path to salvation. There are other paths, but you won't get saved.

    Our world isn't perfect. Women do get violently raped and yet conceive. If Jesus cannot prevent violent rapes, might he not give us the technology of abortions to cope with that unspeakable evil? This is the sort of question that I absolutely agree we cannot know, but I think we need to resign ourselves to a devil that does a lot of damage. I do believe hope is possible, but we live in a messy world, and the task of cleaning things up will be harsh and in some ways cruel. Judgement day has been always portrayed as a troubling time - it surely will be.

  11. Smokey15

    Smokey15 So old that I use AARP bolts.

    Re: Recognizing Descartes decieving demon. (Re: The Gloomy Quest for Hope)

    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
  12. bhambulldog

    bhambulldog 1955 76-RoadmasterRiviera

    Re: Recognizing Descartes decieving demon. (Re: The Gloomy Quest for Hope)

    I don't hesitate to agree
  13. elagache

    elagache Platinum Level Contributor

    Evil as a kind of wildfire. (Re: The Gloomy Quest for Hope)

    Dear Jerry, James, and V-8 Buick "soul seekers,"

    At the risk of pouring oil on a potentially explosive situation, I'll add a few more thoughts on abortion that I hope will acknowledge your concerns Jerry. It is clear that my "compromise" isn't even remotely accepted in today's society. There is a particularly sad story of a young woman in this area becoming pregnant and obtaining the miscarriage inducing drug RU-486, without the knowledge of her parents. Unfortunately, she reacted badly to the induced miscarriage and this started a cascade of problems that ultimately killed her. Because her parents didn't know what was going on, they didn't rush to her the hospital soon enough. The result was the death of a young woman and an unborn child.

    The sensible thing to do would be to further restrict the use of RU-486 so that monitoring for such complications would now be in place. Instead all that has been done is to increasing the warning labels as far as I know. There is an obsession on the part of some feminists for unlimited sexual freedom for women. So much so that risking the lives of other young women is a acceptable price to pay for female sexual freedom.

    I had the misfortune to research scholarly feminism because I had uncovered sexual exploitation in the scuba diving industry and wasn't sure how to deal with it. I attended an educational research conference session on feminism. There were only 2 other men in the room with over 50 women. At the session peer approved papers were presented arguing that we need to liberate young girls sense of sexuality so that it was as free as what boys appear to have. Such work has to have been paid by tax dollars of one from or another, and to insist that what the world needs is more female sexual freedom . . . well, I really don't see how that solves any world problem.

    I may or may have not coined the phrase: "Ultimately, the most destructive and widespread sexually transmitted disease is: a broken heart. Worse still, that is not by any means the disease's only path of transmission."

    Sexual freedom has turned broken hearts into a raging epidemic and I don't think there is a single feminist who can honestly disagree with that.

    As my attempt to make sense of Jesus's mission has unfolded, I've come to realize that evil is so pervasive and entrenched that the task before Jesus (then and now) is much like fighting a wild fire. Evil people cannot be persuaded to become benevolent. The only workable strategy is to create what effectively are "spiritual fire breaks" and let the fire burn itself out. I now understand the crucifixion as the fulcrum that made a type of spiritual fire break possible. Salvation is literally what the word means: being saved from the fire storm.

    The trouble with that view is the gloom - lots of lots of people are going to be consumed by the fire storm of evil.

    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  14. bhambulldog

    bhambulldog 1955 76-RoadmasterRiviera

    Re: Evil as a kind of wildfire. (Re: The Gloomy Quest for Hope)

    I'm afraid that you are correct. It is indeed a sad state.

    While looking at another site, I came across this, quite unexpectedly;

    Attached Files:

  15. elagache

    elagache Platinum Level Contributor

    Shaking the dust from our sandals (Re: The Gloomy Quest for Hope)

    Dear James and V-8 Buick "soul seekers,"

    I've mostly lost touch with our French relatives, but the news from France is indeed discouraging as is the news from Germany as well. It is hard to be unmoved by so many people bickering so fiercely of which path to salvation is the correct one. The bickering by itself should be proof enough that they are on the wrong track.

    At the same time, Jesus instructed the disciples to go out and preach the good news. When they were not well received in a village, they were told to shake out the dust from their sandals and move on. We need to find a peace in our faith that allows us to be empathetic to those sincerely seeking salvation, but equally accepting that many are not willing to come to terms with what salvation must be. All we can do is agree to disagree and allow them the freedom that is ultimately their own damnation.

  16. bhambulldog

    bhambulldog 1955 76-RoadmasterRiviera

    Re: Shaking the dust from our sandals (Re: The Gloomy Quest for Hope)

    Sadly, yes.
  17. Smokey15

    Smokey15 So old that I use AARP bolts.

    Some years back, I was in an accident in which I was just inches from death, yet came out with just a bump on the head. It was 1am. I was on my way home from my shop. 2 miles from home. Horses had escaped and one hit my car head on at full gallop. Leg came through the windshield between the steering wheel and the door panel. Crushed the roof of my car down to the steering wheel. I was told by the Deputy that 2/3s of the mishaps I experienced were fatalities. The EMT seconded his statement and said "it wasn't my time". Before that, I took life for granted. My prayers now start with "Thank You."
  18. Ken Mild

    Ken Mild King of 18 Year Resto's

    Re: Shaking the dust from our sandals (Re: The Gloomy Quest for Hope)

  19. elagache

    elagache Platinum Level Contributor

    Why I choose benevolence over omnipotence (Re: The Gloomy Quest for Hope)

    Dear Jerry, Ken, James, and V-8 Buick "soul searchers,"

    I understand your feelings, but it is stories like that this which really rub me the wrong way compared to the benevolence of Jesus we see in the gospels. Can you think of any time when Jesus "threatens to take a life away and at the last minute gives you another chance?" I don't think Jesus wants death - at all. That's the extent of his benevolence. The second coming is something I don't think we can easily imagine. Everyone will be immortal. There won't be death, accidents, disease or hardship - at all.

    I have a sister who prays for parking spaces and yells out "Saint Anthony" whenever something is lost. At the same time, she suffers from horrible back-pain and seems resigned to it. Would Jesus leave someone in a condition like that? It is a kind of shallow spirituality that seems resigned to the idea that the real miracles she needs to be healthy just aren't on the table. If our God is truly omnipotent and benevolent, why are such miracles basically nonexistent?

    This may be another place where we must agree to disagree, but that is why I just cannot accept the idea that Jesus is truly omnipotent. Jesus was benevolent to the point of dying for us. If he had the power you'all are assuming, the world wouldn't look remotely as awful as it does. It may seem like a extremely odd idea to you, but I feel a whole lot better knowing that Jesus cannot do the things we wants for us than to be forced to imagine that Jesus has "good reasons" for leaving us as miserable as we are.

  20. Ken Mild

    Ken Mild King of 18 Year Resto's

    Wow, I derailed on that one Edouard. And I mean that in as loving a way as I can say it in text form.

    BTW, everyone who searches for the truth asks the same questions and comes to the same conclusions as you did in that post. Until their eyes are opened by the Spirit of Truth. You see that you are placing your human intellect and power of reasoning to form a judgment against Christ Jesus Himself, that you question His omnipotence. To feel this way, is to basically call Him a liar. Now if you are saying it out of frustration or rhetorically, that's another thing. But it's still serious nonetheless.

    In His word, He said that He did not come into this world to condemn us, but to save us. We were already condemned since the fall of man in the garden. Why doesn't Jesus just cure everybody of every disease and make all of humanity love each other and all nations never go to war again and nobody ever have an accident? The simple answer is because this is not Heaven, that's why. The complicated answer is that we must have the faith that His plan is perfect. Not perfect to our standards as we understand the meaning of perfection in our earthly pea brains. But perfect by His standards, which are not physical, but spiritual. The Lord is concerned with our physical being, yes, but our eternal souls are His primary concern. That is why He suffered on the cross. Something we are too stupid to realize as instant-gratification junkies. Can we agree that God's plan, which involves all of life on earth, from beginning to end, is quite large? Larger than we are? Yet He still considers us to the point that He knows the numbers of hair on our heads, the thoughts of our hearts, cries when we cry and not a sparrow falls to the ground outside His knowledge or outside His will. Are you perhaps doubting or confusing God's omnipotence with your will? Miriam Webster defines omnipotent as: "Having complete or unlimited power". It does not define it as "what we would like or expect or want God to do with that power for our convenience, selfishness or self righteous expectations". He already did more than we deserved when He came and let Himself get nailed to a cross for our sakes, while we were against Him.

    His ways are above our ways. He sees all. He sees what we cannot see. Have you considered how many blessings have come from someone else's pain? We always look at the wound and wonder why. He called us to be patient and persevere. What is perseverance? Miriam Webster defines it as: "the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult". Don't you think God knows it's difficult for us? But the only way we will come to finally be with Him, IS to persevere. He is our Hope. That word "Hope" is not a hope like we think of it, like I hope my team wins, realizing they may lose, His Hope is a blessed assurance. It is a guarantee of salvation to the fullest if we have FAITH and persevere.

    As long as we are on this side of eternity, we are in this fallen world. To find the answer to any question, what do we have to do? We have to get to the root, correct? The root cause. Sin. First, until you can accept that we live in a fallen world because of sin and that this world is under the influence of the prince of darkness, the enemy, Satan, and that Jesus did not "bring this upon us" but us upon ourselves, because He is holy and we are not, with our free will choosing evil over good, wrong over right, we will never come to the acceptance of God's plan. Not our plan, but His.

    Our plans lead nowhere. Remember, He sees our entire lives from beginning to end. That is why He knows what we need before we think or ask for it. Not what we WANT, what we NEED. If we got everything we wanted, many of us might be dead already. Sometimes what we need involves enduring things we do not want. We will all get sick and die. Friends, family, us... Why didn't God make us immortal? Well, He did. Do you realize Adam and Eve were just that until sin brought upon them not only Spritual death, but physical as well. Everything in existence is perishing from people to Buicks, to diamonds. Nothing lasts forever. Everything is perishing. The temptations of Satan combined with our free wills to do whatever we feel like doing for better or for worse, is a spiritual kryptonite and has resulted in the world you see around you.

    Our hope remains in Him. We all question why from time to time. At 3AM you may wake up and ask "why" for something that happened. Fine, a valid question. Lay it at the Lord's feet. Do you know that He hears every prayer? More importantly, do you "believe" that He hears every prayer? Do we always realize that Him answering a prayer according to our will or understanding may not be in His will? The will of one person may affect the will of another. We don't often see outside our small bubble of a life. But God sees all of humanity from beginning to end. One person dying or suffering may bring another to Christ. I'm sure it would be the Lord's preference that all of humanity would turn to Him. His great plan and final victory will be carried out with or without you and me though. But I choose to be with Him and rather than to doubt Him, I will continue to trust that He will open my eyes of my heart to spiritual truth. While we obsess with the physical, God is concerned with the spiritual. Because our spirits are eternal.

    I'm sure I went on a tangent and did not do the Lord justice with my words in text and for that I'm sorry. Please do not lose hope Edouard. Trust in the Lord. He is faithful. Not as we are faithful, but perfectly faithful as only He can be, if you come to Him. Until you stop trusting in your quest to "figure Him out" or doubt Him, you will be creating an obstacle in coming to peace with the things that are ailing you in your heart.

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