Discussion in 'Help From Above' started by elagache, Dec 24, 2014.
And yet again, Ken comes through, clear and concise. Thank You for being the voice of reason.
In this life, we can't understand God's plan.
When we reach heaven, every question will be answered
Still like it better my way. (Re: The Gloomy Quest for Hope)
Dear Ken, Jerry, James, and V-8 Buick "soul seekers,"
We've been here before and we continue to talk at cross purposes.
So God planned to have Muslims chopping Christians heads off? Did God plan to have the allies bombing french civilians so my Dad at age 15 would have dig out the mangled bodies? Did God intend us to use poison gas in World War I or nuclear bombs in World War II? Did God plan on the plague, Ebola, or cancer?
The very difficult question of why bad things happen to good people needs an answer and the scriptures utterly fail to provide a satisfactory one. The scriptures have another point of extreme derailment: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Exactly how are humans supposed to cope with the existence of 3 very different accounts of how to worship the very same God? Should we alternate and use a different scripture ever 3 days?
The emphasis on human sin can only go so far in explaining the wrongs of our world. To insist on blaming absolutely everything that is wrong on planet Earth on our own sin is nothing more than blaming the victim. It is quite a stretch to claim that the extinction of the dinosaurs was caused by the sin of beings that wouldn't exist for over 50 million years.
If you insist that the items I just listed are nonetheless evidence of a universe created by an omnipotent, infallible, and benevolent God. Sorry, all I can do is disagree. If all our questions will be answered when we reach heaven - shouldn't we all just commit suicide take the express train to the place were everyone can be happy?
I agree that we cannot understand everything, but I do insist, we need to able to understand why we are here and what we are supposed to do in this life. The joke: "This life is a test, only a test, if this had been a real life you have been clear instructions on what do to" - isn't funny. If you satisfied blithering in the dark, well that's your choice. I want an explanation for why things like mass extinction events and 9/11 happened. I have one that I can live with. If you can live with your omnipotent, infallible, and benevolent God wiping out 90% of the plant and animal species, you doing something that I'm incapable of.
Re: Still like it better my way. (Re: The Gloomy Quest for Hope)
Have I posted everything in vain, as it seems you have made up your mind regardless. So why keep posting in Help from Above if you don't want or even believe in Help from Above? If you can live with, as you state, with the fact that you are content believing that Jesus Christ is not omnipotent, infallible or benevolent, then there is no need for me to continue. I believe He is, but you say you are not capable of believing it. But know that God is capable of proving it. He is not a Jeanie though. Your wishes are not His commands. You have no faith. As the bible states, without faith, it is impossible to please Him. By pleasing Him, trusting and believing and obeying, He then reveals more of Him to us. Rather than thinking of this life as a test, why don't you consider it more of a gift, which is exactly what it is, and truly seek these answers from the one and only who can answer them? Christ Himself. If you choose the easy way out, not to believe, hardening your heart against Him even more, how do you expect to find the answer to why you are here? I know why I am here. I am here because He created me for His good pleasure, to have me be with Him forever, because He is love and He loves us and wants us to be His friend. Satan has other plans. God's plan is for redemption. All the things that you are saying are wrong with this world, will be gone forever when Christ returns. This is what we hope and expect and wait for. Patiently with perseverance. Or you can go through life with hate and anger against God with angst, blaming Him for everything. Do you realize that all the answers to all your questions are in the bible? All of them. But do you also realize that reading it with your mind already made up against Him will cloud, impede or even prevent your eyes from being opened?
You said "The emphasis on human sin can only go so far in explaining the wrongs of our world. To insist on blaming absolutely everything that is wrong on planet Earth on our own sin is nothing more than blaming the victim. "
Are we really the victim when we CHOOSE to purposely sin? Knowing that God has commanded something different? Or are we really the perpetrators, sinning and causing ourselves to be victims of the results of our own decisions?
I'm beginning to notice a pattern here:
1. Start a discussion with knowledgeable, friendly, genuinely helpful people.
2. Disagree with all of them.
Re: Still like it better my way. (Re: The Gloomy Quest for Hope)
Also the Zoroastrians, they often get overlooked. They are among the most ecuminical of religions.
Some folks do just that. A dear friend of mine did that just two weeks ago. I hope and pray she has found peace.
I will continue to pray for you.
What brings me hope. (Re: The Gloomy Quest for Hope)
Dear Ken, Patrick, Jerry, James and V-8 Buick soul seekers,
Okay, it is agree to disagree time, but let me toss out my current world view in as quick a gloss as I can manage to try to explain how I find hope these days.
The closest my Dad could come to a faith was the observation that throughout the history we can observe (going back to geological time) there is a progression. Things trend toward the world we now live in. Mass extinctions happened, the species that would lead to human beings became very diverse and some when extinct, civilizations would collapse. But every time something better would eventually emerge.
When my own attempts at faith imploded, I when back to what my Dad said and tried to make sense of it. That sure didn't look like the work of any conscious being. Instead it looked like a force. Not the kind that physicists are used to. It was closer to an ancient Greek idea of directedness called: telos. So I started playing around with the idea that the force that physicists are looking for in the unified field theory was a kind of changing force that was the source of all good in the universe. I decided to call it Love with a capital 'L'.
On this view, instead of Jesus being the force of everything, Jesus becomes the first complete fulfillment of Love's quest for a good universe. Jesus is a kind of keystone. As a result, Jesus has a kind of power that does manifest itself in the way that Christians experience as the omnipotent God. However, because Love is a force, not a conscious being, you cannot just ask things of it and have those things granted. Instead, prayer, meditation, doing good works, etc. are ways in which you interact with Love. In subtle ways, you are Loved back for doing Love's work. Also, because Love is a force it works everywhere it can. So the goodness we find in Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc. is genuine. Love isn't bound by ideology. Heaven forbid (full sarcasm intended) even Atheists can do Love's work without believing.
So I get back a view of the world that is fully consistent with the idea that prayer, religious institutions, and Christian doctrine are important paths to do Love's work. Since I've gotten this view I can even go back to the Gospels and read the with fresh eyes. They aren't static texts, they are ways to engage Love and can even provide what appear to be scientific insights if you think about what has been written with this sort of mind-set. I can see the Koran, teaching of Buddha, and so on has fitting into a consistent world of spiritual phenomena.
However, there is one undeniable fly in the ointment that I don't see you Christians very anxious to acknowledge. There has to be a devil in this system. Otherwise, how could things like mass extinction events occur? Sin isn't enough to explain all the evil in the world. Until very recently, Christians accepted and greatly feared the devil. Today, referring to the concept seen as either foolish or somehow "bad luck." That just isn't how I see things. I suppose I have to disagree on this one as well. Nonetheless, I am hopeful in the long term. If the force of Love could overcome all the mass extinction events we have found in the geological record, it will overcome our present misfortunes. Alas, the process of overcoming that could be very painful and devastating.
That's how I find hope these days.
Re: What brings me hope. (Re: The Gloomy Quest for Hope)
With all due respect, you are bordering on being mystical. There is only one force of Good in the universe. The one who in Genesis Chapter 1, is stated as being the Creator "of" it. Every other idea that any physicist or scientist has is irrelevant. Love is not like some Star Wars Force you can analyze and map out scientifically. Why do you have this urge to do so? The origin or all love is God. In fact, He is Love. "He who does not love God does not know God; for God is Love." 1 John 4:8
You do not have an interaction with love. You show love IN your interactions. Again, do not make this mystical. God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit are One and are very real. More real than the hands in front of our faces. Prayer, meditation (the right sort of meditation that is, meditation on God's word), doing good works, etc. are ways in which you interact in loving kindness with God and OTHER PEOPLE, not with love itself per se as you have defined love; as being this force. Everything good emanates from Him. Not good as we define good. But as He defines it. Love is not a force that works by itself magically. People share love with one another. People are the catalyst to put love's effects, God's love, in motion. Without people's actions, love is static and useless as it cannot be given or received. Like a wrench with no bolt to turn. Bad analogy but the best I can muster up. Atheists only love as they are capable of loving one another, by the world's standards. Not by God's standards, giving Him the glory. There is a difference between loving your wife and hating God, and loving your wife and loving God and thanking Him for her and realizing she is truly His, not yours. This is a different kind of love. A Godly love. Attributing everything back to Him. There is a difference between loving someone who loves you and loving someone who hates you. We love those back who hate us because we give that back to God and we let it go and try not to hold a grudge because that is the enemy at work we hold a grudge. The best I can do to even come close to showing this contrast is by quoting scripture once again, the words of Jesus Himself; Luke 6:32-34 "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full."
When Jesus is referring to "sinners" here He is referring to those who have chosen not to believe in Him, the One true God and would rather practice sin. He is saying here, that anyone can love anyone when it is easy. If you love me it's easy to love you back. If you hate me, it is hard to love you back. But I need to. He is saying, we are to be set apart from the world, by letting His love shine through us to others, whether they deserve it or not. This is God. This is how people see God's love through people, is when they emulate His commanded actions. Isn't that what He did for us? Think about it. If everyone did this, don't you think the world would be a better place? Of course it would. That is why He commands us .."This is my commandment. That you love one another as I have loved you". John 15:12. What does He mean, "as I have loved you"? He means dying to self and doing God's will, sacrificing self and putting others before us. Counting others as greater. What better example of this than Him not resisting being slaughtered for our sakes? We fail to listen. Till this day, we still turn our backs on His wisdom. The ultimate wisdom. And we somehow trust our own wisdom as being greater. This is pride and lack of faith. Both of which He hates.
Edouard, unless you missed it, I have mentioned Satan many times in my posts. But you are right. Many Christians tend to ignore the enemy. And that is exactly what he wants. To be hiding in the wings ready for the ambush. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.." 1 Peter 5:8. This devouring, is a spiritual devouring. With eternal implications. That is his goal. The more souls He can steal from God's hands through deception the better. But we are not to FEAR the devil. We are to be "sober and vigilant" regarding him. There is no need to fear the devil if God is with you. The devil trembles in His presence. The devil wishes to deceive you into believing through any method possible that God is a farce. Unfortunately, many believe this.
If you seek answers, all I can say is, try to seek them in the right place. But there is only one "right place". "Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded." James 4:7-8.
Very well stated Ken ! All of it !
Re: What brings me hope. (Re: The Gloomy Quest for Hope)
Not this Christian.
I know that Devil is very much real.
Very much there and everywhere , any where.
And, very powerful.
I would've thought that it went without saying....
Ken, for years now I've read your posts and replies to usually more earthly goings on. You have a depth of knowledge and faith that is admirable. Ed, I too have felt at least some if what you've shared here. I'm not nearly as well versed in the bible as Ken; my faith is hard to define. I grew up in church; but the scriptures and the details didn't stick, what did was how thankful true christians are for any benevolence be it a beautiful day on the golf course, the giggle of your daughter, the pride in your son's eye when he scores a goal, the love of a great woman, a beer shared by friends in a parking lot--- just look--grace is everywhere. My character aches for the victims you speak of. I cry when I hear someone hurt a child. I cry when I play 'Tuesday's Gone' because I listened to it after turning off the news on 9/11--holding my future wife and crying. But somewhere, somehow, I managed to accept that I control very little beyond my own actions, but my actions may affect more than I know, I try (and sometimes fail) to leave every place I go better than it was (even if it's just pushing a shopping cart in), I try to treat people well. Beyond that I have to accept that evil, greed, avorice, and any and all human flaws exist, and not having halted them completely is not failure. If I've protected my family and in dealing with others been decent, patient, and fair, and beyond that been thankful and pleasant to deal with, I'm ahead. I can't fix the world, but that's not an excuse to get disillusioned or quit. Faith is that if most of us try most of the time we'll make it better most of the time. But sometimes, excrement occurs.
/\/\/\/\ One of the Good Guys here. The kind of friend I'd be proud to have and a role model for his children and others. I am a people watcher and I notice those who do as this man. I, when possible, give them a thumbs up or even just a nod when I see their acts of kindness.
Science as a kind of scripture (Re: The Gloomy Quest for Hope)
Dear Ken, Gary, James, Patrick, Jerry, and V-8 Buick soul seekers,
Sorry if this seems like again talking at cross purposes, but I'll toss it out because it is one of the thing that really has bothered my spirituality. Oddly enough, the belief that science is a kind of truth is completely unfounded. David Hume in his A Treatise of Human Nature, argues that any attempt to predict the future based on past experience has to make a assumption: "The future will resemble the past." Science is ultimately founded on observation. All those observations are necessarily - in the past. So when science makes a claim about the future, it is assuming the future is like the past. Since science can never directly observe the future, there are no observations to guarantee that any scientific law does in fact hold in the future.
So paradoxically, that leaves only those who believe science is a divine gift having any reason to believe science actually works. But if that is the case, the science is no longer somehow different from religious matters. If the works of science are a divine gift they must be treated as a kind of "scripture" in their own right. Scientific results are telling us about our spiritual world as well.
That's where my spirituality comes crashing down upon the rocks of mass extinction events. If there is an eternal, omnipotent, infallible, and benevolent God. Then it was present at the creation of the creatures that died a horrible death and there when conditions became so bad that whole species died out. As I've said before, I just cannot swallow that. If your spirituality can accept this sort of reality in stride - well, I guess you are indeed made of different stuff than me.
Thanks, Jerry. I try. I fail sometimes. Sometimes I look back and say "I wish I'd done more" or "differently" or...something. Ed, I hope something happens for you to find the faith and peace you seek.
Since I would probably get fired if I typed anything this long, instead, read it at this link. I think you will find it addresses almost everything you have brought up in this thread. I read the whole thing and it's on point. Do not read it with spiritual blinders on though. Relax, open up your heart (not your mind) and read it. If you read with a wall in front of your heart, instead of receiving answers to your questions instead you will only generate more questions from your unbelief. Questions are great, don't get me wrong. It's question"ing" God, where you have to be careful. Especially since He says that "without faith it is impossible to please God". There comes a point (or should come a point), where, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, God can bring you to your knees with repentance and thanks. Just remember the enemy is always at your doorstep waiting to discourage you. We do not fight the enemy with our flesh and our minds. We fight with the power of Jesus Christ, because He has already won. He is not a co-pilot as some consider Him. He is God Almighty. The Alpha and the Omega. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." Rev 1:8
I "don't" know much more than I "do" know. The amazing thing about the word of God is that the more you read with an open heart, the more He reveals. The more hungry your spirit gets to know Him. It's amazing. It really is. But it does faith, trust and discipline. It's so much easier to get distracted and do something "fun" but I am 52 and I look at things a little differently now. What I thought was important yesterday, has very little importance today. Eternity is, well, eternal. I have to daily remember this:
"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6
I appreciate everything you wrote above man. You sound like a great guy. :beer
Thanks Ken, I appreciate it. Rereading what I wrote I realize I talked about me, and didn't really mean to. What I was hoping was that Ed might see that the answers he seeks may not come when one is questioning, they may come when one is living. At least, enough have for me, so far. I know this sounds oversimplified and even maudlin or worn, but he's written, read, and rebutted pages of articulate thought and sounds like gotten nowhere. Maybe quiet would be more productive. Regardless of whether or not he gets his answers he still has a life to live. Tick tock, brother.
Re: Still like it better my way. (Re: The Gloomy Quest for Hope)
Very well said Ken
to be fair, Edouard originally posted this thread on the Bench. It was moved here by a moderator. Perhaps at my suggestion