PDA

View Full Version : The God thread



Pages : [1] 2 3

ColoradoGuy
03-22-2006, 08:56 AM
Alright folks, here is your chance to bring together into one thread the question that has been dodging in and out of several other threads: what does the term God (or, if you prefer the lower case – god) mean to you? It’s your chance to wax lyrical or satirical, serious or mysterious.

I’ll start with full disclosure. I am a member of the Religious Society of Friends, aka Quakers. My particular branch of the Quaker tree is of the silent meeting sort; we sit for hours together in silence, “waiting on God,” straining to hear what He/She has to tell us. Sometimes that is very little, other times quite a lot. Like our founder four hundred years ago, George Fox, we strive to meet “that of God in everyone.” So what is that?

My working definition of God is that which compels nearly all of us, at unpredictable occasions, to give of ourselves to others even though we expect nothing in return. When we do that, we are knowing God. That’s it. There is no pie-in-the-sky we are working toward. All that we will ever have is here with us now. God is that fragile bond between humans that makes us human.

OK. Anyone else want to chime in? If not, you can go back to the evolution/creation thread and argue about fossils, primordial goo, and Darwin’s soul.

DamaNegra
03-22-2006, 09:18 AM
God is energy. Energy is everything. Therefore, God is everything.

For something to evolve, it has to be created first. Everything is made of energy. Energy created all things. Therefore, God created all things.

mdin
03-22-2006, 10:20 AM
I've always been fascinated by Quakers. I originally majored in Criminal Justice, and we studied extensively the Quaker prisons in the US, which had a recitivism average of something like 5%, and when I switched to religion we talked about them quite a bit.

Of all the religions that worship 'God,' I always thought the Quakers (along with the Muslims) had the most interesting prayer sessions.

But anyway...

I don't know if there's a god or not. I do know that the Christian god doesn't exist because Jesus never existed, the Bible is hopelessly flawed. The Jews and Muslims are wrong, too.

If he/she/it does exsit, then it's nothing like any of us have imagined.

Celia Cyanide
03-22-2006, 10:39 AM
I don't think God cares nearly as much about what we do as Christians want to believe It does.

aruna
03-22-2006, 11:44 AM
Alright folks, here is your chance to bring together into one thread the question that has been dodging in and out of several other threads: what does the term God (or, if you prefer the lower case – god) mean to you? It’s your chance to wax lyrical or satirical, serious or mysterious.



OK. Anyone else want to chime in? If not, you can go back to the evolution/creation thread and argue about fossils, primordial goo, and Darwin’s soul.

Hi Colorado Guy!
I was in the USA in 1981 and lived in Cambridge, Mass, with a Quaker couple. I often went to their meeitings and really enjoyed them. They had a Quaker wedding, too, which was beautiful!

I grew up with atheist parents but went to a very Christian schools. Due to my parents (my father especially was very critical of religion) I never accepted anything at face value; for me the important thing was what I felt, what I experienced, and almost in spite of myself I "felt" the beauty of Chrsitiantity, yet ever felt inclined to join a church.
I became an strong atheist myself in my teens. I remember arguing with a Christian friend, and I knew all the atheist arguments by heart, due to my father.
I have never belonged to an organised religion, never put my faith in books or dogmas.
Religion - I prefer the word spirituality - is for me something that takes place entirely in the heart. The concept of God that most appeals to me is similar to what DamaNegra said: everything. Energy. A vast field of energy, unbroken, unlimited.
I like the Vedanta name for God:
Sat-Chit-Amanda. Truth-Consciousness-Bliss. By that definition God is our very being, the basis of our existance, hidden from us only by the cloud of thought which we commonly mistake for our "I". When we look behind that cloud we can feel God as spirit, as consciousness, as "I", and know Him as the source of all happiness and love. God as our true being; fullness, bliss, completeness.
Ceryainly not a white-bearded man up in the sky.

blacbird
03-22-2006, 11:47 AM
If you want to see God, go outside on a starry night with a pair of binoculars. Visit the Grand Canyon. Hug your kids. Go feed hungry people at a homeless shelter.

Stay away from your nearest church.

caw.

Forbidden Snowflake
03-22-2006, 03:26 PM
I don't think God exists. Love between human beings does. And that's enough.

aruna
03-22-2006, 03:44 PM
I don't think God exists. Love between human beings does. And that's enough.

God is love. Period.

Forbidden Snowflake
03-22-2006, 03:49 PM
God is love. Period.

I think, I'd be able to agree with that. :)

loquax
03-22-2006, 03:50 PM
I think humans have a need to superimpose a God-like figure onto whatever they deem appropriate. We have reached a pinnacle with "God is everything". Religion made much more sense back when we worshipped the sun.

Edit - My post count is 666. In a thread about God. Awesome.

DamaNegra
03-22-2006, 04:13 PM
I don't know if there's a god or not. I do know that the Christian god doesn't exist because Jesus never existed, the Bible is hopelessly flawed. The Jews and Muslims are wrong, too.

Why doesn't their God exist? Shouldn't it be: their God does exist but their conception of the scriptures and blahblahblah is not quite right. I mean, any Christian, Jew or Muslim would say YOU'RE wrong.

My point is, telling other people that their beliefs are wrong is... wrong. Period.

Religion is such a shaky, untangible topic that there's no way to know what's the actual truth and what's not. Ok, maybe the Bible, the Ku'ran and the Torah are flawed, but that doesn't mean their conception of God is flawed or that their God doesn't exist.

aruna
03-22-2006, 04:16 PM
Religion is such a shaky, untangible topic that there's no way to know what's the actual truth and what's not. Ok, maybe the Bible, the Ku'ran and the Torah are flawed, but that doesn't mean their conception of God is flawed or that their God doesn't exist.

DamaNegra, you are very wise.

aruna
03-22-2006, 04:22 PM
I think humans have a need to superimpose a God-like figure onto whatever they deem appropriate. We have reached a pinnacle with "God is everything". Religion made much more sense back when we worshipped the sun.

Edit - My post count is 666. In a thread about God. Awesome.

That's not exactly what is being said; and I agree it's easy to misinterpret the "God is everything" slogan - taken at the most shallow level, it is indeed nonsense. But once we excape the God as white-bearded man sitting up in the sky cliche, and see God more as a vast, universal energy, the life of every living thing and omnipresent, it becomes more understandable.

poetinahat
03-22-2006, 04:32 PM
God is love. Period.

I'm an Episcopalian (that's Anglican in old money) -- one of the Protestant Christian churches. I've been lax in my church life for years, but have recently renewed my effort to pursue it. So far, this single quote is the most enlightening, powerful quote I've seen:



John 13:35 (http://www.blueletterbible.org/Jhn/Jhn013.html): By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

It's one of the last things Jesus said to his disciples at the Last Supper.

PattiTheWicked
03-22-2006, 05:30 PM
You know, even to a non-Christian like myself, this:

By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another

seems like a pretty good rule to live by. I see "god" as a job description, rather than a Proper Name, if that makes any sense. It doesn't mean that my gods are any more valid than those that other people follow. I really think that the best way to be in touch with the Divine -- of whatever persuasion -- is to be true to yourself, show compassion to others, and live your life as a person of honor. It sounds so simple, but does take a bit of effort.

poetinahat
03-22-2006, 05:32 PM
I really think that the best way to be in touch with the Divine -- of whatever persuasion -- is to be true to yourself, show compassion to others, and live your life as a person of honor. It sounds so simple, but does take a bit of effort.
Amen.

Although, it does take more effort with some. :D

NeuroFizz
03-22-2006, 05:50 PM
One of probably many forms of God in all of us is a conscience.

eldragon
03-22-2006, 05:53 PM
No matter how hard I have tried in the past, I cannot buy into organized religion.

After the deaths of my father and brother, I began my research in hopes of finding out what there is to life, or the afterlife.

Everything brought me to one conclusion: that we are only using earthly bodies for a brief period, before returning to the spirit world, and then we reincarnate again.


This goes on indefinitely, or until we forgo materialism, greed and hate, amongst other things.

The ultimate goal is to lose your individualism, and become one with the light, or God. Because we are selfish, this can take thousands of lifetimes.

I do not believe in a judging God. It has to be up to the individual to do the right thing, it's all paid back in karma.

I believe there was a man named Jesus, and he was a near perfect soul. I also believe in Buddha. In fact, I believe Buddhism is closest to the truth.


Also, I believe we create much of our own destiny, with the power of positive thinking. It's the toughest challenge for me.

There's a good movie just released, called "What the Bleep do we know?" It's all about how we came to be, what we are and the spiritual meaning of life.

Of course, there is much more, but I have mentioned a few things I believe in.

ColoradoGuy
03-22-2006, 06:54 PM
From what I've read so far, all of you would fit right in at a Quaker meeting. One of the things that got Quakers in trouble four centuries ago was their notion that the Bible, although an interesting and useful book in many ways, was not the revealed word of God. George Fox (Quaker numero uno) said (I am paraphrasing from memory here): "Mathew says this and Luke says that, but what dost THOU say?" The point being that each of us has within us the capacity to encounter the divine without need of books, clergy, and sacraments. The Puritans kept throwing him in jail for saying things like that. It also did not help his popularity with the authorities that he actually knew the Bible from memory and could dispute with the most learned ministers of his time.

A major theme in Quakerism also denies the special divinity of Christ: yes, of course Jesus was divine, but then so are we all, even if some of us are more divine than others. This is what is meant by the phrase "that of God in everyone."

Not surprisingly, many Quakers are essentially Buddhist in their outlook on the world.

Other traditional Quaker oddities are the pacifism thing, the old thee/thou speech forms (known as plain speech and still used by a few 90-year-olds whom I know), total equality of women, and the lack of any formal sacraments or clergy.

Interesting, Quakers in colonial America were very successful small business people because everyone knew that they could be trusted.

Enough on this. I didn't intend this thread to be to be for preaching. It's for listening.

robeiae
03-22-2006, 07:00 PM
My favorite hymn:

The lone, wild bird in lofty flight
Is still with thee, nor leaves thy sight.
And I am thine! I rest in thee.
Great Spirit, come, and rest in me.
The ends of earth are in thy hand,
The sea’s dark deep and far off land.
And I am thine! I rest in thee.
Great Spirit, come, and rest in me.
The lone, wild bird in lofty flight
Is still with thee, nor leaves thy sight

To hear the music, go here (http://www.hymnsite.com/fws/hymn.cgi?2052).

Rob :)

mdin
03-22-2006, 11:23 PM
My point is, telling other people that their beliefs are wrong is... wrong. Period.

... Ok, maybe the Bible, the Ku'ran and the Torah are flawed, but that doesn't mean their conception of God is flawed or that their God doesn't exist.

Are we talking about semantics? Every person who says they don't believe in god is telling someone who does that they're wrong, and vice versa. If you don't like hearing that then this is probably the wrong discussion for you. Religious tolerance has a very long history

You're relegating God into philosophy. That's fine, if the God you believe in a philosophical, real-if-you-want-him-to-be one.

But to true Christians and Jews and Muslims, their God isn't a philosophical non-thing that exists only how one believes. He is a real entity that has done specific things, and if you don't believe in how he is presented, then you're wrong, and they'll be happy to tell you you're wrong.

LightShadow
03-22-2006, 11:27 PM
I believe God's Word is the Holy Bible and that the Bible is the inspired and only infallible, authoritative Word of God. I believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I believe in the deity of Christ, in His Virgin Birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory. I believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful humanity, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is essential, and that repentance from sin and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is the only way to come into a relationship with God. I believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit, by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life. I believe His power and gifts are available to believers today. I believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they who are saved unto the resurrection of life, and they who are lost unto the resurrection of damnation. I believe it is important to uphold the scriptural practices of the early church. Therefore, holding to the practice of water baptism and the regular taking of Communion. I do not believe that either of these practices is essential for salvation, but that they serve as a demonstration of our living faith in Christ.

And I believe that when people criticize someone's religion or put's it down it is wrong, and society agrees and would call such actions intolerance and narrow-minded, until someone challenges virtually every traditional belief of Christianity, then that person is more often than not hailed by our society for their intellectual courage and honesty, winning respect in certain circles, and enjoy a certain vogue.

That's my take. I am not sticking around to debate this, I've already gotten into pickles in other threads over this subject. Take it or leave it. Believe it or not. That is between you and God.

ColoradoGuy
03-22-2006, 11:59 PM
And I believe that when people criticize someone's religion or put's it down it is wrong, and society agrees and would call such actions intolerance and narrow-minded
Agreed

until someone challenges virtually every traditional belief of Christianity, then that person is more often than not hailed by our society for their intellectual courage and honesty, winning respect in certain circles, and enjoy a certain vogue.
I'm not so sure about that one, though. I live near Colorado Springs, the mother house of evangelical Christians (home of Focus on the Family and many other organizations like it), so it looks a bit different from here. My world view is definitely a minority one around here. My last check of who was in the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court also suggests that your viewpoint is currently the dominant one.

That's my take. I am not sticking around to debate this, I've already gotten into pickles in other threads over this subject. Take it or leave it. Believe it or not. That is between you and God.
I didn't start this thread as a debate. I am just interested in what people feel and how they see the importance (or not) of their spiritual lives -- if they are content with where they are or if they are still searching. Thanks for coming.

blacbird
03-23-2006, 12:59 AM
I believe God's Word is the Holy Bible and that the Bible is the inspired and only infallible, authoritative Word of God.

And I believe that when people criticize someone's religion or put's it down it is wrong

So . . . in your view, does the second statement hold true for, say, Muslims, or Jews, or Hindus?

caw.

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 02:21 AM
So . . . in your view, does the second statement hold true for, say, Muslims, or Jews, or Hindus?

caw.the second statement holds true for everybody, but that is not going to then cause me to compromise my belief system that the Gift of Grace is only obtainable through Christ. That's not a condemnation, that's between them and God. I am only stating what is clear, or at least clear to me, through the Word of God.

tiny
03-23-2006, 02:23 AM
So anyone who has not accepted Christ is damned?

(I can't believe I'm letting myself get sucked into this)

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 02:31 AM
That's what I believe. If you believe otherwise, that is your perogative, and in your eyes that should be my shortcoming for not agreeing with you as it is in my eyes that it is your shortcoming that you don't see it the way I believe. It is just a matter of opinion. I just believe that if I am right I need to spread the word because I want as few as possible to have to experience such damnation.

trumancoyote
03-23-2006, 02:36 AM
Seeing other's beliefs as a shortcoming is a damnation in and of itself.

blacbird
03-23-2006, 02:45 AM
the second statement holds true for everybody

So . . . if, as Creationists propound, Evolution is a religion . . . why are you criticizing Evolutionists?

caw.

reph
03-23-2006, 03:25 AM
(I can't believe I'm letting myself get sucked into this)
Quick, grab my hand. Together we can escape the pull of the big vacuum pump.

tiny
03-23-2006, 03:38 AM
Quick, grab my hand. Together we can escape the pull of the big vacuum pump.


Thank you, I almost started to think I might care about some else's belief system, that it actually mattered in the great scheme of things.... sheeew. That was close.

fallenangelwriter
03-23-2006, 03:43 AM
criticizing a religion has NOTHING to do wiht religious tolerance.


the constitution says that people get to practice thier religions, and you can't discriminate against them.

it doesn't say you can't disagree with them. it doesn't say you can't voice that disagreement. it doesn't say you can't point out inconsistencies in other people's beliefs. it doesn't say you can't mock people mercilessly for their beliefs.

I have plenty of religious tolerance, in that i don't hold someone's religion against them, i'm willing to consider their religious npoint of view, and i'm willing to accommodate other people's religious practices.

I'm also tactful enough not to comment on people's religious choices unasked for in a public context.

however, my current girlfriend is a christian scientist. while i see a lot fo value in christian science, i can't agree with all of her church's doctrines. I have explained this, and laid out the reasons for my dissent quite clearly. in return, i've done my best to udnerstand christian science, that is, the religion i'm disagreeing with. it's made for some interesting conversations.

religious tolerance in no way means that one can't state the one personally feels a given religion is a nothing but a delusional pack of lies, if oen wants to, as long as it's not discrimination or harassment.

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 03:46 AM
So . . . if, as Creationists propound, Evolution is a religion . . . why are you criticizing Evolutionists?

caw. Because it is natural to criticize what you don't believe. Why do you criticize creationism? maybe for similar reasons? Maybe cause you find it hard to find all of such teachings plausible? Same here. I just don't see the feasibility of all of science's teachings. Note, I didn't say all of such teachings. It's just a matter of perspective. You are entitled to believe what you may. My opinion is only my opinion. I may be compelled to tell you my side of it, but ultimately what you believe is entirely up to you, as is what I believe is entirely up to me.

blacbird
03-23-2006, 04:00 AM
I'm just trying to make sure I understand the relationship between this:



I believe that when people criticize someone's religion or put's it down it is wrong

and this:


Because it is natural to criticize what you don't believe.

And if you look, you'll see that the Evolution thread started with a criticism of the Theory of Evolution. I have no desire whatever to alter your beliefs in any way. I just want to understand clearly what you're saying, and to insist that what you say about factual matters is, in fact, factual.

caw.

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 04:10 AM
I'm just trying to make sure I understand the relationship between this:



and this:



And if you look, you'll see that the Evolution thread started with a criticism of the Theory of Evolution. I have no desire whatever to alter your beliefs in any way. I just want to understand clearly what you're saying, and to insist that what you say about factual matters is, in fact, factual.

caw.Criticism often goes both ways. That's the wonderous advantage of living in a free society. We can spout various opinions and not be jailed or persecuted for such. And you are right, the thread began as a challenge against evolution. I am not saying that all points of evolution is in error, anyway. For example, the famous example of the white moth in Britain changing to black during the industrial revolution out of necessity of the specie's survival is a wonderful example that to a point natural selection is a reality. Bravo. Point for science. And, although I felt I was being accused of such, I never said that science was an entirely bad thing. And I understand the argument that in the eyes of some science believers creationism is nowhere near being scientific, especially when you can't apply the scientific method to it. But, my concern is that I thought science believed that until something was proven (and maybe I am way off on this) anything could be possible. Okay, maybe not anything, I am sure there are some possibilities that fall outside the so-called scientific laws that are impossible and never even considered, but I just figured that in the search for truth that science would consider something like creationism and the existence of God until it was proven entirely wrong.

trumancoyote
03-23-2006, 04:12 AM
On the contrary, scientists seek to disprove their hypotheses.

Or such is my understanding.

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 04:15 AM
On the contrary, scientists seek to disprove their hypotheses.

Or such is my understanding. Well, then, does that mean that you agree that most scientists are athiests? Because someone said something earlier along the line that many evolutionists believed in God. I'm not challenging you, just asking for clarification.

ColoradoGuy
03-23-2006, 04:24 AM
Quick, grab my hand. Together we can escape the pull of the big vacuum pump.
No, no, no: give in and follow me down the rabbit hole. Here is another wrinkle to consider. Are humans intrinsically good, or are they inherently bad? Traditional Christian theology, of course, holds that we are all fallen and need grace to reach paradise. So can that grace be earned? That viewpoint has always been deemed heretical by Christian theologians, but Catholicism, with its Purgatory and whatnot, has always tiptoed down that heretical line because the alternative seems so bleak. That alternative is pure predestination theology: that God knew before time began (because He knows everything) who would be saved and who would not. Puritans drove themselves nuts wondering if they were among the Elect, and there was nothing that they could do about it; nothing would get you into the Elect if you were not already chosen before the universe began.

So to me it all still comes down to the ancient Free Will problem. This dilemma should very much trouble evangelical Christians, who implore us to “choose Jesus,” but it has never seemed to me that it does bother them in the way that it tortured St. Augustine (and then Martin Luther and colleagues). Because if a human can freely decide to accept the Christian God (or not), that diminishes God’s putative omnipotence.

Me, I have no problem here because I continue to believe that, given the chance, nearly all of us will choose to do good. The Inner Light guiding us to do so is God. Yes, there is the occasional person (sociopathic killers spring to mind) whose Light is so dim that it may soon go out. There is that, and I don’t know what to do about them. But for the rest of us, God can save us if we choose to allow it. But that salvation doesn’t come by submitting to some higher power; it comes from the God within each of us reaching to our fellow humans and saving them. Heaven is really here on earth. Or Hell. We choose. As Red Green (my favorite Canuck) says: “Remember -- we’re all in this together. I’m pulling for you.”

So it seems to me that the right-wing evangelists are correct, but for entirely the wrong reasons. Now that’s ironic; God must have a sense of humor.

End of sermon. Hallelujah.

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 04:28 AM
Left to our own devices, we sin. One must only look at the state of society to prove that one. The proof is in the pudding.

trumancoyote
03-23-2006, 04:30 AM
And we don't sin when we're not left to our own devices?

I've never met anyone who could make me believe otherwise.

ColoradoGuy
03-23-2006, 04:36 AM
Left to our own devices, we sin. One must only look at the state of society to prove that one. The proof is in the pudding.
Yes, I look around me and see people doing bad things. But I also see people doing good things. Why would they do that if it is not in their immediate best interest? Why do many persons, many times, choose to do good?

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 04:39 AM
Yes, I look around me and see people doing bad things. But I also see people doing good things. Why would they do that if it is not in their immediate best interest? Why do many persons, many times, choose to do good? Not all good things are right. Sometimes the best things can be wrong because the motives behind them. Just an observation.

rtilryarms
03-23-2006, 04:44 AM
So.... how about that Japanese Baseball team.......?

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 04:55 AM
So.... how about that Japanese Baseball team.......?Oh, did that chap your.....wait, oh, I was confused. Sorry, baseball is a love that gives me goosebumps. I'm going to have to go have that checked out...

blacbird
03-23-2006, 05:03 AM
I thought science believed that until something was proven (and maybe I am way off on this) anything could be possible.

There's a serious conceptual problem here concerning this issue of "proof" in science, and it's one that seems never to be really understood by Creationists. Science most often works by a process of elimination; through an accumulation of observational evidence, the least likely possibilities for any theory or hypothesis become so unlikely that they are discarded, leaving only those with greater likelihood. Eventually, through an accumulation of such observational evidence, the better theories stand and the weaker ones fall, and the scope of inquiry becomes narrower and better focused. Proof? There's never "proof" in the austere intellectual sense of a mathematical proof. And that's what Creationists always seem to demand.

An example: Creationists have a lot of trouble with radiometric age-dating, because what it has revealed of the history of the earth gives them grave problems in maintaining the validity of their ideas. So, they attack it as "unproven" or "unreliable." The reality is, that a group of radiologically-derived ages for, say, the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, might get measured 100 times from a set of sample material. Ninety-eight of those fall with values between 63.8 and 66.4 million years. One gives a value of 150 million years, and the other gives a value of 2 million years. The scientist, recognizing the imperfection of sampling and measurement techniques, reasonably throws out the two anomalous values, and derives a bell curve of probability from the other 98, which winds up having a peak at 65 million years, plus or minus about 1 million.

The Creationist typically looks at this data and says, "Aha! See? They got a measurement of 2 million years and another of 150 million years. Obviously radiometric dating is unreliable." Such an evaluation is, of course, nonsense from a scientific standpoint, but that doesn't stop the Creationist.

All "possibilities" are not equal, and the idea that science is equally open to all possibilities until something is "proved", there being no clear definition of "proof", is disingenuous at best.

caw.

Sassenach
03-23-2006, 05:06 AM
And I believe that when people criticize someone's religion or put's it down it is wrong, and society agrees and would call such actions intolerance and narrow-minded, until someone challenges virtually every traditional belief of Christianity, then that person is more often than not hailed by our society for their intellectual courage and honesty, winning respect in certain circles, and enjoy a certain vogue.

That's my take. I am not sticking around to debate this, I've already gotten into pickles in other threads over this subject. Take it or leave it. Believe it or not. That is between you and God.


I think anyone--Christian, Muslim, whatever--who believes theirs is the only way, is wrong. And the very antithesis of 'intellectual courage and honesty.'

I'll 'leave it'.

MacAllister
03-23-2006, 05:06 AM
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/EmoteROFL.gif

yes...but, Blacbird...what do you believe about a higher power?

I'm really intrigued at the premise of this thread--and everyone seems to be playing nice.

Thanks, folks.

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 05:07 AM
process of elimination? So has God been eliminated by the equation? Oh, and I said somewhere, I can't remember which thread, that I think that since God created space and time the seven days of creation was just a way of keeping it simple so that we could understand, but actually what's a day to God? A million years? More? So the dating may be very accurate.

SpookyWriter
03-23-2006, 05:08 AM
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/EmoteROFL.gif
yes...but, Blacbird...what do you believe about a higher power?

What, like aliens? Or the power company???

Pat~
03-23-2006, 05:09 AM
Alright folks, here is your chance to bring together into one thread the question that has been dodging in and out of several other threads: what does the term God (or, if you prefer the lower case – god) mean to you? It’s your chance to wax lyrical or satirical, serious or mysterious.


Just to preface this, I am a Christian, though not affiliated with any one Christian denomination; I consider myself a sort of hybrid. I was raised Plymouth Brethren, but as an adult attend both Episcopalian and Bible Church services.

The term God 'means' something to me on various levels. On the purely theological level, I could tell you that I have a certain set of firm beliefs about who God is (and I'll post that last). But I thought I'd also 'wax lyrical' since Colorado Guy invited that, and share with you the first poem I ever had published, which tells what God means to me on a personal level. It's taken from the 23rd Psalm:

SHEPHERD PSALM

(Psalm 23)



Oh Lord, how can I tell You

Just what You mean to me?

In every vale I go through

Your shepherd’s love I see.

When I am lost and helpless,

And stumbling in despair,

You come and gently lift me

With arms of tender care.

You take me to fresh pastures,

Where I can lay my head;

You lead me by still waters,

And there my soul is fed.

There is no surer comfort

Than Your protective rod;

No greater joy exists than

The presence of my God!



(First printed in The Lutheran Digest,

Summer 2005, Vol. 53, p. 40, “Oh Lord,

How Can I Tell You?”)

The following is a run-down of my beliefs about God...(I am aware that many of you believe differently, and I respect your right to differ. I'm not interested in taking part in contentious debate, but am always open to amiable discourse.)


http://absolutewrite.com/forums/PicExportError The sixty-six books of both the Old and New Testaments comprise the inspired Word of God and are without error in the original writings. The Bible is God’s complete written revelation for the salvation of man and is the final authority regarding Christian life and faith.

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/PicExportError There is one uncreated eternal God, eternally existing in three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Deut. 6:4; Isa. 43:10; John 1:1; Acts 5:4; Eph. 4:6). These three are not merely one in purpose, but are also one in essence.

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/PicExportError Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16), was born of a virgin (Matt. 1:23), led a sinless life (Heb. 4:15), died on the cross and rose again bodily on the third day (1 Cor. 15:1-3). Because He ever lives, He alone is our High Priest and advocate (Heb. 7:28).

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/PicExportError The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, regenerates, indwells, guides, and instructs, as well as empowers the believer for godly living and service (Acts 13:2; Rom. 8:16; 1 Cor.2:10; 3:16; 2 Pet.1:20, 21). The Holy Spirit will never contradict what God the Father has already revealed.

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/PicExportError All mankind is sinful by nature (Romans 3:23; Eph. 2:1-3; 1 John 1:8,10). This condition makes it impossible to earn his salvation through good works. Good works are a by-product of saving faith, not a pre-requisite to be saved (Ephesians 2:8-10).

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/PicExportError Mankind is saved by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ (John 6:47; Gal.2:16; 24). Believers are justified by His shed blood and shall be saved from wrath through Him (John 3:36; 1 John 1:9).

ColoradoGuy
03-23-2006, 05:11 AM
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/EmoteROFL.gif
I'm really intrigued at the premise of this thread--and everyone seems to be playing nice.

Thanks, folks.

It's all part of my devious plot to turn everyone into Quakers.

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 05:14 AM
It's all part of my devious plot to turn everyone into Quakers. Whoa, whoa, whoa, *buzz begins in head* I am a Quaker, I am a Quaker, *must fight off the* I am a Quaker *got to fight off the* I am a Quaker bzzz bzzz bzzz

ColoradoGuy
03-23-2006, 05:15 AM
Nothing is better for thee than me. Heh

trumancoyote
03-23-2006, 05:16 AM
I know someone, whom I have difficulty calling a friend, who converted to Quakerdom just in case the draft came back. I guess they get out of it or something.

Same guy that implied he was an ethnic lesbian in a Grad School essay.

He's a fartface, to say the least.

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 05:18 AM
I know someone, whom I have difficulty calling a friend, who converted to Quakerdom just in case the draft came back. I guess they get out of it or something.

Same guy that implied he was an ethnic lesbian in a Grad School essay.

He's a fartface, to say the least. fartface? oh the language! Can I say, as a guy, that I am a lesbian stuck in a man's body? oops, sorry, off topic. Hey, howabout them Quakers?

blacbird
03-23-2006, 05:21 AM
process of elimination? So has God been eliminated by the equation?

At this point, I can only roll my eyes and slap my forehead.

And preen my feathers.

caw.

blacbird
03-23-2006, 05:23 AM
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/EmoteROFL.gif

yes...but, Blacbird...what do you believe about a higher power?



What I believe about a higher power is that, scientifically, it doesn't matter spit in a strong north wind what I believe about a higher power. That's been pretty much my main point throughout this discussion.

caw.

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 05:24 AM
At this point, I can only roll my eyes and slap my forehead.

And preen my feathers.

caw.Just askin' *crack* dang, that whip!

MacAllister
03-23-2006, 05:26 AM
...This IS the God thread, not the Evolution thread, right?


Alright folks, here is your chance to bring together into one thread the question that has been dodging in and out of several other threads: what does the term God (or, if you prefer the lower case – god) mean to you? It’s your chance to wax lyrical or satirical, serious or mysterious.


Y'all are confusing me.

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 05:29 AM
...This IS the God thread, not the Evolution thread, right?



Y'all are confusing me.Ah, man, did the coffee spill into the Tea?

maestrowork
03-23-2006, 05:30 AM
Focus, people.

OK, this, to me, could be one very nice, philosophical discussion thread without all that "my God is the only God" debate. So can we do that? Can we just listen and learn and have a good time?

Let's see...

dlcharles
03-23-2006, 05:30 AM
In my almost sixty-two years of studying humanity I have learned one cannot have a "discussion" about religion or politics without it turning into an "argument" about individual beliefs. However; being a sucker for a good bar fight, I'll jump in once again. Did you ever notice that when it comes to a "god" conversation those who believe are seemingly offended by someone who does not believe. It is as if their personal convictions are being questioned, the very core of their existence. I, personally, not only CANNOT, but WILL NOT, give credence to a self-authorized persona of all knowing forgiveness ability with a supreme deity complex. Freud would have a field day psychoanalyzing god. The human psyche has an automatic balance battle ongoing at all times, with inherent 'good'/'evil' opposing forces (matter/antimatter) in constant conflict. My personal 'god' concept is a swirling mass of nebulous energy flowing throughout the universe. A field of creation which had to have had an initial beginning - everything starts from a point of time/reference, whether we humans can fit said time frame into our mentality is immaterial. Nothing is forever, nothing. The universe is presently expanding outward, like a giant rubber band being stretched, but when the rubber band reaches its maximum stretch something else occurs - the band begins to draw back to its original shape and size. The universe follows proscribed rules also - it will someday begin to either retract - or the rubber band will break and allow everything to fly apart.

To talk "god" is, to me, rather akin to the 'right to life' discussions - I'll be receptive to those when the children already born are given a plausible chance at being loved and cared for. I recall a long ago saying: "You can tell the morals of a society by what it leaves in the streets." No matter which religion you speak of the litter left in the streets screams out the lack of those morals. This is not god like.

All Right, bartender, I'll pay for the damages and give everybody in the house another round on me.

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 05:32 AM
Focus, people.

OK, this, to me, could be one very nice, philosophical discussion thread without all that "my God is the only God" debate. So can we do that? Can we just listen and learn and have a good time?

Let's see...aren't we? I thought I just said that the coffee spilled into the tea? or did it spill into the premordial ooze? Never can tell.

maestrowork
03-23-2006, 05:33 AM
That was. My friend. A. Rhetorical. Question.

ColoradoGuy
03-23-2006, 05:33 AM
I know someone, whom I have difficulty calling a friend, who converted to Quakerdom just in case the draft came back. I guess they get out of it or something.
Yes, Quakers are pacifists. For example, I was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam war. We did alternative service rather than register for the draft.

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 05:35 AM
Yes, Quakers are pacifists. For example, I was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam war. We did alternative service rather than register for the draft. I'm a pacifist, for the most part, yet fought for my country in the Navy. Oh, wait, this was a discussion about God. Hmmmm, howabout them Angels? Hey, that's heavenly!

blacbird
03-23-2006, 05:40 AM
I seem to have inadvertently hijacked, or influenced to be hijacked, this thread. Didn't mean to do that. I was responding to something LS said earlier in the thread. Anyhow, regards my personal beliefs, I'll reiterate what I said earlier in the thread:

If you want to see God, go outside on a starry night with a pair of binoculars. Visit the Grand Canyon. Hug your kids. Go feed people at a homeless shelter.

Take from that what you will.

caw.

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 05:43 AM
I seem to have inadvertently hijacked, or influenced to be hijacked, this thread. Didn't mean to do that. I was responding to something LS said earlier in the thread. Anyhow, regards my personal beliefs, I'll reiterate what I said earlier in the thread:

If you want to see God, go outside on a starry night with a pair of binoculars. Visit the Grand Canyon. Hug your kids. Go feed people at a homeless shelter.

Take from that what you will.

caw.And enjoy God's glory,
hallelujah

ColoradoGuy
03-23-2006, 05:43 AM
If you want to see God, go outside on a starry night with a pair of binoculars. Visit the Grand Canyon. Hug your kids. Go feed people at a homeless shelter.

And look within yourself.

Dalron
03-23-2006, 05:46 AM
It's all part of my devious plot to turn everyone into Quakers.

Hi ColoradoGuy,

I am wondering what the Quaker position is on homosexuality. So many Christians talk about love, light, peace etc except when it comes to gays and lesbians.

maestrowork
03-23-2006, 05:51 AM
Look into a mirror.

SpookyWriter
03-23-2006, 05:53 AM
Look into a mirror.
...and I see a ray of light each time.

dlcharles
03-23-2006, 06:05 AM
I'm a pacifist, for the most part, yet fought for my country in the Navy. Oh, wait, this was a discussion about God. Hmmmm, howabout them Angels? Hey, that's heavenly!

I, too, am a pacifist, LightShadow - and I keep enough loaded weapons near to hand to allow me to remain one.

DamaNegra
03-23-2006, 06:05 AM
Religious tolerance has a very long history

And a very short temper :)



And regarding the good/bad nature issue, I'm going to share with you something one of my teachers (one of the few I respect) wrote once in an article:

"The human being is always compelled to do good. Good for whom? That's the question."





...and I see a ray of light each time.
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/EmoteROFL.gif You see a Ray??? I think we've can stop searching, then :)

ColoradoGuy
03-23-2006, 06:12 AM
Hi ColoradoGuy,
I am wondering what the Quaker position is on homosexuality. So many Christians talk about love, light, peace etc except when it comes to gays and lesbians.
First, I should tell you that there are various flavors of Quakers. It is all complicated by arguments among Friends 150 years ago that cracked the movement apart, but I speak from the traditional, "non-programmed," or silent meeting wing of the family. Still, what follows applies to most who call themselves Quakers.

Short answer: no position at all. To most Quakers it is a silly non-issue
Long answer: Quakers have no creeds, sacraments, or clergy. There are only the six principal Quaker tenents, termed "testimonies." They are often abbreviated as SPICE:

Simplicity: avoid ostentatious display. Live simply.
Peace: No fighting (hence the pacifism)
Integrity: Strive to speak honestly to all. (Also called the Truth testimony)
Community: We all should contribute to one
Equality: It means what it says, which is why Quaker women were regarded as equals in meeting, in life

So there is nothing there about sexuality, although to me the testimony of equality speaks to the issue directly.

The cliche about Quakers is that they didn't eliminate the clergy, they eliminated the laity.

While I'm at it, there are several Quaker expressions from 300 years ago that have entered the language; no one knows this but us. An example is the phrase "I hear you," or "I hear you, Friend," meaning that I understand you. And, of course, the guy on the box of oatmeal who says: "Nothing is better for thee than me." I have an old tee shirt from college with that on it.

There are several web sites that can tell you much more, if you like. A good one is, quite Simply of course, www.quaker.org (http://www.quaker.org/)

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 06:23 AM
I, too, am a pacifist, LightShadow - and I keep enough loaded weapons near to hand to allow me to remain one.now that is funny. Arkansas, huh? Lived there, moved out. Bugs carried off my parents once. Oh, right, God thread.

William Haskins
03-23-2006, 06:28 AM
First, I should tell you that there are various flavors of Quakers.

you're tellin me! i love your maple and brown sugar. great religion, great flavor!

http://graphics.samsclub.com/images/products/0003000043883_L4.jpg

ColoradoGuy
03-23-2006, 06:31 AM
Some of them are lumpier than others, though.

Dalron
03-23-2006, 06:31 AM
Short answer: no position at all. To most Quakers it is a silly non-issue


Thank you for the answer.

mdin
03-23-2006, 07:00 AM
Dear lord, I need to learn how to post and eat chicken mcnuggets at the same time. I'm not even finishing sentences.

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 07:05 AM
Dear lord, I need to learn how to post and eat chicken mcnuggets at the same time. I'm not even finishing sentences.McNuggets are cool. Hey, so with this God question, what came first? The chicken? or the egg? oh, wait, is that trampling on the creation/evolution thread's toes?

dlcharles
03-23-2006, 07:09 AM
now that is funny. Arkansas, huh? Lived there, moved out. Bugs carried off my parents once. Oh, right, God thread.

Made a wrong turn at Poplar Bluff, Missouri when we retired and were looking for a new place to live. God sent us here to raise havoc among the natives - and we do! No 'skeeters' where we live! Snakes, scorpions, skunks, possums, armadillos galore, but no skeeters.

And the chicken came first - Colonel Sanders told me and I believe the KFC monarch.

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 07:14 AM
In Hot Springs the skeeters can get so thick that you have to use a machete to get through them. What? I saw it happen. Oh, and I think the Chicken came first because Adam and Eve didn't want to sit on any eggs.

dlcharles
03-23-2006, 07:18 AM
[QUOTE=William Haskins]you're tellin me! i love your maple and brown sugar. great religion, great flavor!


And that was VERY funny!

reph
03-23-2006, 07:28 AM
For example, the famous example of the white moth in Britain changing to black during the industrial revolution out of necessity of the specie's survival is a wonderful example that to a point natural selection is a reality.
To this point, I've managed to stay out of the God issue (tiny terror, do you still have my hand? Hold on tight and PULL), but I can't resist saying something about evolution that happens to have come up in the God thread.

LightShadow, "out of necessity of the species' survival" doesn't belong in that sentence. You're misunderstanding evolution as something purposeful. It wasn't a foregone conclusion that any moths of that species would survive the darkening of the environment. The species would have gone extinct if all the moths had been light gray to start with and got picked off by predators. It just happened – this part is important, it just happened – that some moths were darker gray and got away in larger numbers. Because they got away, they were able to lay eggs and have descendants. Their descendants were darker than average, so they got away too, and their descendants laid eggs, and...

It isn't as if evolution contained a principle of doing whatever is necessary to keep a species alive when the environment changes. It isn't as if the moths decided to change color because they were in trouble. Evolutionary theory simply describes how change occurs. We do see expressions like "the species' battle for survival," but they're not to be taken literally.

mdin
03-23-2006, 07:31 AM
McNuggets are cool. Hey, so with this God question, what came first? The chicken? or the egg? oh, wait, is that trampling on the creation/evolution thread's toes?

Did you ever see the movie Mysterious Island? They came from that dinosaur chicken thing.

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 07:35 AM
Reph, I don't know, man. It's a tough thing to be talkin' about, and I don't want us getting all crazy. I understand the whole moth story but did not want to explain it out, and I used it because evolutionists tend to use that example to confirm their teachings. Your spin on it is cool, and understood, even though it doesn't convince me that there isn't a God, or what not. Do you want a McNugget?

dlcharles
03-23-2006, 07:37 AM
In Hot Springs the skeeters can get so thick that you have to use a machete to get through them. What? I saw it happen.

On that we agree. I took my classes in Hot springs when I first decided to get into the bail bond business. It was hot, HOT!, skeeters were really bad - I watched an eagle on the river dive down and grab a large fish, only to have a skeeter then grab both eagle and fish at once. And did that town have a musty odor, almost a stench - rather like being in Hannibal, Mo. - river rot smell.

Oh, yeah - God thread - sorry. God supposedly made the springs for Lucifer to bathe in and be healed.

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 07:40 AM
But I bet the chiggers hunted down the skeeters and took the eagle and fish from them. But Lucifer prefers volcanic hot tubs.

reph
03-23-2006, 07:49 AM
Your spin on it is cool, and understood, even though it doesn't convince me that there isn't a God, or what not.
Not trying to convince you of any such thing.


Do you want a McNugget?
Is it cooked?

ColoradoGuy
03-23-2006, 08:03 AM
Is it safe to come out now?

mysteryhost
03-23-2006, 08:05 AM
I am God.


My two witnesses will give you instructions soon.

ColoradoGuy
03-23-2006, 08:13 AM
I am God.

As are we all; see above posts.

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 08:21 AM
the McNugget is cooked, hot, and slathered in Bar-b-que sauce. Mmmm, mmmm, good. Oh, hey, glad you ain't tryin' to convince me, just lay it out on the table and I'll look at the evidence as I rub my chin and shake my head. Oh, and not to sound selfish or anything, but I put an example of successful creation on the evolution thread, but labled it as evolution.

WerenCole
03-23-2006, 08:27 AM
Did you ever see the movie Mysterious Island? They came from that dinosaur chicken thing.


On that note. . . concerning the thread. . . Have anyone ever read the Mysterious Stranger?

How about Letters From The Earth?

My visions correspond more with Mark Twain than is probably healthy.. . .


anyway, who is this god person you are referring to?

mysteryhost
03-23-2006, 08:28 AM
As are we all; see above posts.

Fakers.

Infidels!

Lesser Beings!

WerenCole
03-23-2006, 08:28 AM
I am God.


My two witnesses will give you instructions soon.


So. . . your cult only has two members? Working on your recruitment efforts?

Jean Marie
03-23-2006, 08:32 AM
better hurry, end of the month quota and all

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 08:32 AM
I am God.


My two witnesses will give you instructions soon. Oh great and mighty mysteryhost, can I get a decent agent? Please?

LightShadow
03-23-2006, 08:56 AM
God Bless you. All I can do is love you and hope for the best. I'll be praying for you.

blacbird
03-23-2006, 09:00 AM
And preen my feathers.

caw.

Dang, that felt good.

caw.

NicoleJLeBoeuf
03-23-2006, 09:19 AM
...and I see a ray of light each time.You see a Ray??? I think we've can stop searching, then :)"Ray, when someone asks you if you're a God, you say yes!!!"

NicoleJLeBoeuf
03-23-2006, 09:25 AM
God Bless you. All I can do is love you and hope for the best. I'll be praying for you."You keep saying that. I don't think it means what you think it means."

(I'm full of the movie quotes tonight. Bwah.)

In case anyone was confused, the Prayer Requests thread is over that-a-way. [pointing] I don't hang out there, I don't know if MartyKay has posted a request there, but I'm fairly certain MartyKay's post here wasn't one. A prayer request, that is.

Who ain't broke don't need fixing, and all that.

I have, in my youth, known born-again teens for whom the words "I'll pray for you" were their equivalent of the gauntlet thrown down; a declaration of spiritual warfare. It generally meant something along the lines of "I'll pray that God will change your mind and make you accept Jesus." None of us born-again Pagans were particularly worried that God would indeed do that, but the disrespect the statement communicated was highly annoying.

Jean Marie
03-23-2006, 09:35 AM
It goes along w/ that imposition of will that some people are all about. Which leaves others w/o a choice http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif Some like to refer to that as freedom. I believe that's being discussed in another thread too.

Dawno
03-23-2006, 09:53 AM
The topic of this thread is "what does the term God (or, if you prefer the lower case – god) mean to you?"

Can we meander back to it? :) Thanks...

Jean Marie
03-23-2006, 09:57 AM
*ahem* we were meandering. sometimes straightening is required beforehand http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif

Dawno
03-23-2006, 09:59 AM
You can just backtrack along the meander :) It's certainly been an interesting stroll...

Jean Marie
03-23-2006, 10:02 AM
yeah, and pick some flowers along the way--tip-toe thru the tulips...

ColoradoGuy
03-23-2006, 10:04 AM
Thanks Dawno. I feel a bit like the father of an unruly toddler loose in Pottery Barn.

Puddle Jumper
03-23-2006, 10:06 AM
What does God mean to me?
What does the idea of God mean to me?
Who is God to me?


He is Lord of Lords
He is King of Kings
He is Mighty God
Lord of Everything
He's Immanuel
He's the great I Am
He's my Prince of Peace
Who is the Lamb
He's the Living God
He's my saving grace
He will reign forever
He is Ancient of Days
He is Alpha, Omega
Beginning and End
He's my Savior, Messiah
Reedeemer and Friend
He's my Prince of Peace
And I will live my life for Him


That's a song we sometimes sing in church but it really does answer the question for me. It's simple and to the point.

Now for the lengthy...

God is not interested in religion, he doesn't want religion, when Jesus walked the earth He was not aloof, nor was He sitting in a high seat of power, nor was he unreachable. Anyone who wanted to see Jesus could.

When Adam and Eve were created, the Bible says that they walked with God, they talked with God, they were in fellowship with God. It wasn't religious, it was a Father and His children. Then the children chose to rebel and run away therefore bringing a curse of death upon themselves and all their offspring which is all of mankind.

God had the power to make them stay but allowed them to go because forcing someone to love and obey you isn't true love. If someone chooses to love you and do everything they can to show you honor and respect, that's true love. When you choose to obey your parents rather than having them force you to, that's true love.

Tiny Terror asked the challenging question, "So anyone who has not accepted Christ is damned?"

The short answer to that would only anger someone who doesn't accept Christ. Perhaps the full explanation might if that person still continued to reject Christ.

Adam and Eve essentially chose to rebel and run away from God. After they sinned they purposely tried to hide from Him. In their greed they lost their innocence and in God's presence, felt very ashamed.

God let us rebel, He let us run away and allowed a plague to fall upon us - that plague being death. Adam and Eve were not created to ever die. Death was a result of sin (aka rebellion against God). It was something that physically changed their bodies. You might think of it like AIDS. If you have AIDS and you then have a child, that child will be born with the disease. Likewise when Adam and Eve became mortal, it was an incurrable disease that would forever be passed on to their offspring and theirs and so on. We are still mortal today because of that curse. It is a physical impossiblity for us to give birth to an immortal human child.

But God allowed all this for a reason. Like the old saying goes, "If you love something let it go. If it returns to you it's yours to keep, if not then it was never meant to be." That is basically what God did. He loved us so much that He did not want to force us to love Him, He wanted us to love Him of our own free will but that could not happen unless we tasted what things would be apart from Him. Apart from God there is no life, only death, pain, and suffering.

The devil has twisted what God has done in the minds of non-believers to make them think that if God was truly loving, He would save everyone. In fact, He would never have let us sin to begin with. And that because He doesn't save everyone that must mean He isn't love but an enemy. And if he can impress that enough on to some people so that they become so disgusted with the idea of God, they'll choose to say that it's impossible for a God to exist because clearly there's no way a loving God would allow all this and there's no way I'd want to seve a hateful, cruel God.

Yet if you look at the life of Jesus as recorded in scripture you will see a person who is both God and man, God's way of bridging the gap between us replacing all the priests before who were the go-between, so that we can be in a direct relationship with God. And we see that Jesus was loving, forgiving, compassionate, caring. He washed people's feet when He deserved to have His washed by them. No one washed His feet. He ate with the lowest class of society so that the upper class despised Him for it. In their minds - how dare a man profess that God would love such lowly people apparantly more than them?

Jesus was a friend to the friendless and lived in true humility. And He never changed. He was the same man at the height of His popularity and at the lowest when all turned against Him. He had a choice, He had the power to save Himself, He didn't have to die on the cross. He died because it was God's will that He would die in our place.

Because as I said, death was the plague or curse that fell upon us. The wages of sin is death. We are on death row because of our sins. We will all die, not just physically which is the first death, but spiritually which is the second death. Jesus's death was not in place of our first death but of our second. To save us from Hell, the fate that fell upon all mankind when our earliest ancestors chose to turn away from God.

God loved us so much not to force us to stay and let us go. And because He loved us that much, He made a way for us to come back to Him if we decided that we wanted to go back. Jesus became that bridge for us to return back to God over bottomless eternal chasm which is death.

I said earlier that God does not seek a religion. In the Bible God chose to call Himself our Father, and to call us His children. There are those in the Bible who grew so close to Him that their relationship evolved beyond a father-child relationship. God chose to call those people friends, lovers, people like David who was called a "man after God's own heart."

All throughout the Bible we see that God never desired religion, He desired intimate relationships with humans, His creation whom He set above everything else in creation. We were His children, the devil stole us away, and His desire is to adopt us back and make us full heirs in His Kingdom.

Kingdom - those who belong to God through Jesus are royalty. The devil tries to strip people of the royal place with God. Those who belong to Christ are children of the one and only King who will never die and will never be defeated, who has no equal or rival, who is entirely good and loving and kind, and for about 2000 years, maybe more or less, has been creating a new world for all who belong to Him to live in for eternity where no one will die or get sick. Where no one will be hungry, thristy, cold, or hot. Where there is no such thing as hatred, anger or sadness. Where everyone will live in peace and harmony incapable of sin because we will be transformed as well into eternal people. No more sad goodbyes.

Which the Bible says God created this world in six days. This is a beautiful and fascinating world, full of wonder. If He did this all in only six days, what would a world look like that's been 2000 years in the making? Before Jesus left this world He told His disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them and that when it was done He would return. There world is going to look like pond scum compared to that world.

Jesus is God, to reject Jesus is to reject God. Which is clearly stated in the Bible. And for God to put Jesus through hell in order to save mankind - if God then chose to just save everyone who rejected Jesus, that would be a hateful act against Jesus, against Himself. If your child chose to sacrifice their life in order to save another person, you absoutely would not accept that person they died for if that person hated your child and rejected their sacrifice. You would not force someone to come into your home if they absolutely hated you. They would not want to be there and why would you want such a person there?

For the record I hate seeing religion used in politics. For a person to choose Jesus is reject this world, to claim eternal rights by giving up any rights in this world. For Christians to try and push their agenda in a world where Jesus never did such a thing, to me is wrong. We are to be humble and to treat everyone, that means non-Christians, as better than ourselves. After all, Jesus did say, "Love your enemies and pray for those who mistreat you."

But Christians are not perfect and it's very hard to be humble, especially if you're raised in a society like the USA where humblenss is seen as weakness and despised because the message being preached to us is to do whatever it takes to get ahead, get more power, wealth, fame, etc...

And I think a big reason for people not becoming Christians are they look at the weaknesses and failings of Christians to live up to what they preach and think that Christianity is nothing but a bunch of hypocrites. And what I try to tell people is this...

Don't look at me, don't look at other Christians, because if you look at us you're going to be disappointed. If you think we represent who God is you're mistaken, because becoming a Christian does not mean you are incapable of sin, it only increases your understanding of sin and your real struggle begins as a war is raged between your sinful mortal flesh and the spirit of God now living within you. When a person becomes a Christian, all of hell turns on that person because they just lost someone back to God. And Christians struggle greatly with sin because of it.

You have to look at the Bible, especially at Jesus, to begin to understand God. The Bible says that God has chosen the weak things of this world to shame the strong. He chose the stupid ignorant people to shame the wise. Doubtful in this world but when this world is gone and all stand before His throne and the books are opened and those who belong to Jesus are sifted out.

Heaven was never meant for Good people. Because as the Bible says, no one is good. Heaven has always been meant for Forgiven people. People who acknowledge that they are sinful and so fallen that there is no hope for them without a Savior, the only Savior being Jesus Christ, the son of God, God in the flesh.

God became man through Jesus and thus became familiar with all our sorrow, pain, and suffering. God can identify with us because of Jesus.

I am human, I am weak, I make mistakes daily. But my salvation is not dependent, was never dependent, and will never be dependent on my abilities, on how good I am or can be. My salvation is dependent, was always dependent, and will always be dependent, upon God's mercy and forgiveness. God is immortal, God is strong, God never makes mistakes. When I make mistakes, He disciplines me - because He loves me. Any loving parent disciplines their child.

God is hope when all hope is gone.
God is peace that passes all understanding. In the most turbulant of times, in the most horrible crisis, He gives us peace.
God is joy when sorrow is all around.
God is love.

I don't deserve God.
I don't deserve Heaven.
I don't deserve to be saved.
I deserve hell.
I am overwhelmed and speechless when I think about how much He loves me, when I see all that He has done for me, all the mountains He has moved in my life to draw me closer to Him. God has proven Himself to me time and time again. There's no way I can question His existance because of the proof He has given to me. It's not proof that I can give to anyone. But any true Christian will tell you the same. That God has prove Himself to them in such powerful, unique ways that there is no question in their minds of whether or not He exists.

And a world full of people who don't know His love, who do not have an intimate relationship with Jesus, grieves me deeply. Because they're really the ones missing out on a love that will make the love anyone else in this world has ever given them seem shallow and hollow.

Since I started with a song, I'll end with another.


They tell me Jesus died for my transgressions
And that He paid that price a long long time ago
When He gave His life for me
On a hill called Calvary
But there's something else I want to know

Does He still feel the nails
Every time I fail
Does He hear the crowd cry crucify again
Am I causing Him pain
Then I know I've got to change
I just can't bear the thought of hurting Him

It seems that I'm so good at breaking promises
And I treat His precious grace so carelessly
But each time He forgives
What if He relives
The agony He felt on that tree

Does He still feel the nails
Every time I fail
Does He hear the crowd cry crucify again
Am I causing Him pain
Then I know I've got to change
I just can't bear the thought of hurting Him

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord
Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord

Do you still feel the nails
Every time I fail
Have I crucified you Jesus
With my sins
Oh, I'm tired of playing games
I really want to change
I never want to hurt you again

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord
Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord

(Ray Boltz)

Jean Marie
03-23-2006, 10:06 AM
And that is in keeping w/ the spirit of this thread http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gif Is too, if you believe in God and if you believe He created the flowers and the trees...I'm going already--you just want to ban somebody, Dawno! Well, it ain't gonna be me. 'sides, that's in another thread too http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/tongue.gif

aruna
03-23-2006, 10:19 AM
Quick, grab my hand. Together we can escape the pull of the big vacuum pump.

Ohmegod. I go to bed innocently, and wake up to find five pages onthis thread. I'm leaving right now. Save me, save me.

Jean Marie
03-23-2006, 10:21 AM
Ohmegod. I go to bed innocently, and wake up to find five pages onthis thread. I'm leaving right now. Save me, save me.
Too late, you're doomed, just like the rest of us http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gif


ETA I never viewed life as death row.

aruna
03-23-2006, 10:27 AM
. Did you ever notice that when it comes to a "god" conversation those who believe are seemingly offended by someone who does not believe. It is as if their personal convictions are being questioned, the very core of their existence.

Nope. Not true. Give me an honest to goodness atheist over a Bible thumper any day.

ColoradoGuy
03-23-2006, 10:30 AM
Ohmegod. I go to bed innocently, and wake up to find five pages on this thread. I'm leaving right now. Save me, save me.
But it's easily skimmed. Some of the more recent stuff, I'm sorry to say, is essentially spam. Me, I'm hoping against hope that a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Wiccan, a . . . will weigh in before the thing peters out. But it's late, at least here, and I need to get to bed.

Puddle Jumper
03-23-2006, 10:47 AM
Did you ever notice that when it comes to a "god" conversation those who believe are seemingly offended by someone who does not believe. It is as if their personal convictions are being questioned, the very core of their existence.
It depends on who you talk to. I don't become offended if someone chooses not to believe. I don't understand why they don't believe, but I don't get offended that easily, certainly not by someone's choice regarding the matter of personal beliefs. I'm comfortable and confident in my own faith that someone not believing as I do doesn't shake my faith and is of no threat to my faith therefore not offensive.

I do grow weary rather quickly though if it moves from simply having a differece of opinion to an attack which I find a lot of non-Christians, specifically atheists, do in such discussions.

poetinahat
03-23-2006, 10:57 AM
...
Did you ever notice that when it comes to a "god" conversation those who believe are seemingly offended by someone who does not believe. It is as if their personal convictions are being questioned, the very core of their existence.
...


Nope. Not true. Give me an honest to goodness atheist over a Bible thumper any day.
Aruna, I don't follow. If "believer" = "Bible thumper" (which I don't agree with), then aren't you agreeing with dl?

There are lots of reasonable voices out there both ways - probably the majority. I can think of a couple on these very boards who, I understand, to be firm in their various beliefs; they're just not haranguing each other and boring the rest.

This sounds extremely similar to the original topic of that other thread (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29163). I think posts 2 (fallenangelwriter) and 5 (me) in particular address this issue.

Sad -- a noble thread, degenerated into snarling and hand-wringing.

aruna
03-23-2006, 12:09 PM
Aruna, I don't follow. If "believer" = "Bible thumper" (which I don't agree with), then aren't you agreeing with dl?

There are lots of reasonable voices out there both ways - probably the majority. I can think of a couple on these very boards who, I understand, to be firm in their various beliefs; they're just not haranguing each other and boring the rest.

This sounds extremely similar to the original topic of that other thread (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29163). I think posts 2 (fallenangelwriter) and 5 (me) in particular address this issue.

Sad -- a noble thread, degenerated into snarling and hand-wringing.

Maybe I misunderstood, but he seemed to be saying that believers in general - and that would include myself, as I am a believer - are ALWAYS offended by non-believers. Which is not true.

They only people I am offended by - and I try so hard not to be but it always irritates no end - are those who insist that Christianity is the ONLY way, and that non-Christians are going to hell.

poetinahat
03-23-2006, 02:43 PM
Ah, a case of violent agreement!

I clearly read your post wrong, aruna, and I'm sorry for it!

dlcharles
03-23-2006, 06:57 PM
Aruna: I did not mean to imply "always" as an infallible. I DO have a deep belief in some 'order' to things. My wife totally believes in the standardized Christian version of "God" and mayhap, if she is correct, I will have to sneak through Heaven's doors hanging onto her shirt tails.

My intention was more to play the Devil's Advocate with this thread than anything else. If anyone wants to get religion really fast, here is the way -- When you know the mortar rounds are coming directly at your foxhole you immediately develop what became known as 'foxhole religion'. "Please, God, let it miss me and get someone else. I'll be good, God, I promise! Just make it miss us (me) and I'll walk the proper path." And so on, usually silently thought with a terrified fervor while the rounds collect their toll.

When the incoming firepower is over and the medics are everywhere the same religious fervor then translates to a 'holy cause' of getting those *&%$^ (*&(* who were shooting at us. When you shake the dirt off of yourself and look around to see your buddy's body parts scattered in the foxhole you are torn with mixed emotions - religious gratitude it wasn't you, and a growing anger at the stupidity of humanity to continue in killing each other for whatever reasons, plus a guilt that maybe, just maybe, God heard you and your prayers made God let you live and he took your buddy.

And this is my last post on this thread - my mind just went back a few years and the memories still hurt.

fallenangelwriter
03-23-2006, 07:07 PM
Maybe I misunderstood, but he seemed to be saying that believers in general - and that would include myself, as I am a believer - are ALWAYS offended by non-believers. Which is not true.

They only people I am offended by - and I try so hard not to be but it always irritates no end - are those who insist that Christianity is the ONLY way, and that non-Christians are going to hell.

I'm an atheist, or was until recently. but I've always been mroe offended by smart-*** atheists than "bible thumpers." maybe because i've had more experience with them.

luckily, both are rare.

fallenangelwriter
03-23-2006, 07:12 PM
It depends on who you talk to. I don't become offended if someone chooses not to believe. I don't understand why they don't believe, but I don't get offended that easily, certainly not by someone's choice regarding the matter of personal beliefs.

I hope this isn't too off-topic, but what makes you assume that people "choose" not to belive? I don't think belief is entirely voluntary.

PuddleJumper, i'm going to guess (I could be wrong) that you were raised christian, and have always belived in christianity. when did you choose to belive it? was it really your choice?

I grew up in an ahteist household. my parents didn't tell me that God didn'te xist-- in fact, they didn't habitually discuss religion at all. they'd answer questions if i asked, but that was it. I'm 16 now, and it's only within the last couple of years that i've gone and really leartned what christianity is all about, started reading the New Testament, and the like.

I didn't belive as I grew up, and nothing i've read have spontaneously converted me to a believer. I see plenty of merit-- there's some great philosophical stuff in there, but it just doesn't fit in with my worldview and past experience.

I haven't chosen not to belive, at least not consciously. infact, once i tried the opposite: to make myself belive, but i just couldn't do it.

NeuroFizz
03-23-2006, 07:19 PM
I was offended way back in the thread, and I've just caught up to the end, so this is going to be a flashback. Please forgive me. Also, I'm going to paraphrase something I said in a similar thread some six months ago or so.

Sentencing someone to damnation isn't the province of humans, and for a human to even suggest such a thing would be a very bad move in the eyes of the God I know and understand. Human being #1 should never say to human being #2, you're destined for eternal damnation if you don't believe exactly as I do, unless, or course, human being #1's mother is a virgin.

And to say "I'll be praying for you" in that context doesn't come off as caring. It comes off as extremely condescending and judgemental.

Sassenach
03-23-2006, 08:33 PM
Why is telling someone they're going to hell for not believing as you do sharing your faith but being told 'I don't agree' is an assault on your faith?

rekirts
03-23-2006, 08:55 PM
I'm an atheist, or was until recently. but I've always been mroe offended by smart-*** atheists than "bible thumpers." maybe because i've had more experience with them.

luckily, both are rare.There are atheists of all personality types and fundamentalist Christians of all personality types. The ones I prefer not to associate with are the atheists who think they're intellectually superior and the Christians who think they're morally superior.

I don't personally have a clear cut idea of what god is, but I lean more towards theism than atheism.

Jean Marie
03-23-2006, 09:14 PM
I don't like being told what to do. Actually, I've had a problem w/ authority most of my life. Yeah, I know, not terribly obvious http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

I believe in God, always have and hope to for the rest of my days. I call myself a Christian. I'm also Catholic, but more into sprituality than religion. Yup, big difference.

Religion's something you do once a week w/ a group of people in a building. Spirituality is something you do on your own time whenever it strikes you. And it's personal, between you and your God. It's a quiet communication, anywhere, anytime. It's beautiful, centering and calming. For me.

Don't have the nerve nor the personality to tell anyone else what to believe in. If anyone is interested in knowing, I'll share. This thread asked, I shared. Imposition of beliefs can be misinterpreted and cause more damage. Saying "you'll pray for someone" who does not have any faith--nasty, off-putting. Those words, IMO, should be reserved for times of sickness, etc., when the intended recipient is of faith, thereby not insulted by your offer of prayer(s).

NicoleJLeBoeuf
03-23-2006, 09:27 PM
Ohmegod. I go to bed innocently, and wake up to find five pages onthis thread. I'm leaving right now. Save me, save me.But, but, but you and reph were using the buddy system! What happened?

(OK, now I'm having a Freakazoid! flashback. "But you were supposed to be holding Cosgrove's hand!" "Yes, I know, but it was all damp and sweaty and such.")


Me, I'm hoping against hope that a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Wiccan, a . . . will weigh in before the thing peters out.Well, I think you've gotten input from at least two Wiccans thus far...

[brain dump]

I can't speak for anyone else, but my personal concept of Deity is "All That Is"--It created the world, It is the world, It's in us and with us and we are in a continuing process over many lifetimes of realizing that We Are That. That's a hard sort of God-concept to visualize when one is praying, though, so when I do, I tend to pick and choose mythological/religious faces/names that inspire me and relate to the reasons for my prayer.

It's my opinion that That doesn't care very much what we call It, but when we do icky things in Its name we only distance ourselves from it. It's also my opinion that our true nature is Deity-like, since We Are That, but most of us have forgotton, distracted as we are by living our lives in the micro. And that's where the nasty things humans do and the sadness/incompleteness we experience comes from.

Which is, in effect, not so different from the idea of Original Sin. The difference between that doctrine and my own beliefs is in the cause of the "fall" and the method by which we obtain "grace" (terms I wouldn't personally use). Details, details.

This has been a very incomplete summary of my beliefs, and I probably won't be debating it with anyone. It's faith, after all. And it's really just my faith. I wouldn't presume to speak for all Wiccans; Wicca is not a religion with much theological dogma to it. If it has dogma, it's in ethics (how we're supposed to treat each other), not liturgy (the stories we tell about the Gods and how we relate to them). And what little dogma there is, is subject to personal interpretation. ("An it harm none, do what ye will"--well, exactly what does that mean, given that as a literal command it's unworkable in a world where life eats life to survive?)

[/brain dump]

Pat~
03-23-2006, 09:33 PM
I was offended way back in the thread, and I've just caught up to the end, so this is going to be a flashback. Please forgive me. Also, I'm going to paraphrase something I said in a similar thread some six months ago or so.

Sentencing someone to damnation isn't the province of humans, and for a human to even suggest such a thing would be a very bad move in the eyes of the God I know and understand. Human being #1 should never say to human being #2, you're destined for eternal damnation if you don't believe exactly as I do, unless, or course, human being #1's mother is a virgin.

And to say "I'll be praying for you" in that context doesn't come off as caring. It comes off as extremely condescending and judgemental.

NF, in all fairness, I think a distinction should be made between stating one's beliefs and 'sentencing someone to damnation.' When someone invites me to state what I think God is about, and I present my beliefs, including the belief that the Bible says God will judge nonbelievers, that is NOT the same as me judging or sentencing anyone to damnation. The Bible I believe in is firmly opposed to human judgment of others. God alone is the Judge; He alone knows the thoughts and intents of the heart.

ColoradoGuy
03-23-2006, 09:42 PM
[brain dump]
This has been a very incomplete summary of my beliefs, and I probably won't be debating it with anyone.
I'm not here to debate, just to listen, examine, and learn. Thanks for your post.

NeuroFizz
03-23-2006, 09:54 PM
NF, in all fairness, I think a distinction should be made between stating one's beliefs and 'sentencing someone to damnation.' When someone invites me to state what I think God is about, and I present my beliefs, including the belief that the Bible says God will judge nonbelievers, that is NOT the same as me judging or sentencing anyone to damnation. The Bible I believe in is firmly opposed to human judgment of others. God alone is the Judge; He alone knows the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Exactly why humans shouldn't bring up the issue of damnation. No human knows what's in the heart of another. Furthermore, there are many, many individuals with different beliefs that don't line up with Christianity, and therefore appear to be unbelievers to narrow-minded Christians, but who are still good, kind, and spiritual people. And I'll lay odds that any omniscient God will welcome these people at a time of judgement. So I don't appreciate it when well-meaning but narrow-visioned Christians bring up the subject of damnation when they have no role in it. And it was brought up. And like I said, bringing it up in a discussion like this with the insulting "I'll pray for you" topper is an insult I consider worthy of an apology, not for me, but for all of the good, kind pegs (people) of all shapes and sizes here who don't fit into the exact geometric hole of Christianity.

Note added (because I know someone will probably take this interpretation). I am not asking anyone to apologize for their beliefs. I'm asking for an apology for how some people are using their beliefs in ways others (myself included) see as inappropriate.

NicoleJLeBoeuf
03-23-2006, 10:02 PM
NF, in all fairness, I think a distinction should be made between stating one's beliefs and 'sentencing someone to damnation.' When someone invites me to state what I think God is about, and I present my beliefs, including the belief that the Bible says God will judge nonbelievers, that is NOT the same as me judging or sentencing anyone to damnation. The Bible I believe in is firmly opposed to human judgment of others. God alone is the Judge; He alone knows the thoughts and intents of the heart.I think that amongst us "heathens" (non-believers) there's a certain assumption that we all, to some extent, choose our beliefs. This is not to dismiss an earlier post which said that to some extent we don't choose, of course. But I think there's probably both components in one's spiritual choices: the hard-wired beliefs, along with logic and common sense in varying proportions, inform the choice to question what we were taught and then either confirm or deny those teachings.

So I look at someone like you, and I think, "Why, when that person began exercising his/her critical thinking capabilities, did that person choose to continue believing that their God would damn unbelievers to hell? Did it make logical sense to them? Does it give them some sort of twisted comfort? Why did they retain this among the precepts they believe?"

I mean, it can't just be "because the Bible says so." An actualfactual true believer in the literal truth of Every Single Verse In That Book is very rare. I mean, I doubt very much that you eschew clothes of mixed fabric, or avoid eating pork and shellfish, or tell the women in your family that they'd better cover their hair or shave it off, or tell them also not to go into teaching positions at co-ed schools because the Bible says women should not teach men. I presume that you, no less than most, pick and choose among the Bible verses. So why did you choose to continue believing in that particular Biblical precept and interpretation thereof?

I have met people who absolutely relish the idea of non-believers going through the torments of Hell forever. They are looking forward to being whisked away at the Rapture and then looking down on everyone undergoing the Tribulation, and everyone in Hell, and laughing at them. Those sorts of people, I can guess why they believe in eternal damnation.

But why do you?

You don't have to answer if you don't want to. But this, at least for me, is the sort of questioning that leads me to see "I believe that God damns unbelievers to Hell" as more than just a simple answer to "share what you believe."

Maybe the bigger question is, "Are the things you have faith in, things you want to be true?" I think the answer has to be Yes; otherwise, why have faith in them? The things I believe that I don't want to believe, those are things I've been convinced of by logic and evidence. Faith is not something supported by evidence, so I am free to only have faith in those things I think would make the world a better place. This premise leads me to wonder why you or anyone thinks that a faith in the existence of Hell not just for evildoers but also for people who simply called God by the wrong name all their lives is a desirable faith to have--is something you choose to have faith in--is something you think makes the world a better place--is something you want to be true.

Sassenach
03-23-2006, 10:25 PM
If someone believes that their way is the 'only' way, there's no room for discussion. Missionaries may believe they're doing good work, but I find them offensive.

aruna
03-23-2006, 10:38 PM
I was offended way back in the thread, and I've just caught up to the end, so this is going to be a flashback. Please forgive me. Also, I'm going to paraphrase something I said in a similar thread some six months ago or so.

Sentencing someone to damnation isn't the province of humans, and for a human to even suggest such a thing would be a very bad move in the eyes of the God I know and understand. Human being #1 should never say to human being #2, you're destined for eternal damnation if you don't believe exactly as I do, unless, or course, human being #1's mother is a virgin.

And to say "I'll be praying for you" in that context doesn't come off as caring. It comes off as extremely condescending and judgemental.

Even believing, thinking that another person is sentenced to eternal damnation is so utterly presumptious words fail me. Especially as millions of the people so "damned" are often deeply devoted to God. Love for the divine in not a purely Christian quality. All in all, I have to say, I prefer Hindus and Buddhists.
And to actually TELL people they are going to hell - that is so horrific I can only splutter in apoplexy. That's worse that telling them you know for cretin their entire family is going to be wiped out.

These people say that they explain this to non-Christians so as to save them. Sorry, but that is a religion founded on fear. My God is one of perfect and boundless love. Your threats have the very opposite effect - I am mighty glad I was never exposed to such a horrible indoctrination.

bloemmarc
03-23-2006, 10:54 PM
People are going to believe what they want to believe.
I for one am a strong christian and thoroughly believe in god, and accpet christ as my savior.
that is what I personally hold to, but I won't go push y personal belief on anybodyelse unless they specifically asked me.
I know that there are christians out there, just as there are certain people of other faiths who will push themselves on others. That is wrong; I believe myself.

Peggy
03-24-2006, 12:07 AM
I've been reluctant to post in this thread, in part because I find it difficult to put my own beliefs into words, but learning the art of wordsmithing is part of the reason why I'm here at AW, so I'll give it a shot.

I believe that God is outside of our physical universe and something vaster and greater than the human mind can comprehend. I think there is a deep human need to make God into something we can visualize, hence the paintings of an old man with a beard, but I personally believe God is neither male nor female and has no tangible form (although I use "He" for conversational purposes). I believe God set our universe (and possibly other universes) in motion, and created the observable natural laws. The God I believe in provides inspiration and hope and joy to humankind, but doesn't use hurricanes to destroy the hometowns of sinners or cause football teams to win the Super Bowl.

Even though I'm not a member of a church, I do consider myself a Christian. To me, Jesus played an important role in reminding humanity that God, even though vast and unknowable, does know us. Sort of along the lines of what Puddle Jumper said, "bridging the gap" betwen God and humanity.

Oh, and people who sanctimoniously say "I'll pray for you", simply because they have a different religious beliefs, make me want to declare myself a Satan-worshiper that eats babies, despoils the environment and kicks kittens, just to be contrary.

Pat~
03-24-2006, 12:58 AM
Nicole, you asked me several things in a deeply thoughtful post, and I’d like to respond to them, hoping all the while that what I say won’t serve to antagonize you, but might answer, at least to a degree, your questions. At the outset I want to emphasize that what I believe is at its foundation a faith—it is based on an admitted faith that the Bible is what it claims to be, the Word of God. Why do I believe in it in its totality even though it has things in it that I wish it didn’t? (eg. eternal judgment.) The answer is not because I relish the idea of non-believers going to hell. In fact, that is so abhorrent to me that I want to always be ready to share the gospel with anyone who asks me about the hope that I have in Christ. However, I also want to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading when doing so, and am not interested in shoving my beliefs down anybody’s throat. I share my beliefs only when I sense a sincere interest in them.



Although I was raised with Christian beliefs, I was exposed to the atheistic and agnostic beliefs of many close friends as a teenager. I sincerely enjoyed many discussions with them, picking their brains as to why they believed what they believed. In college I experienced a ‘crisis of faith’ that perhaps most people go through during those years when they (hopefully) critically examine what it is they truly believe (as opposed to what they have always heard). I was very hung up on Predestination and Free Will, and worse, I was not convinced that God actually was real to me—as a real entity, a personal Being that cared about and was involved in my life. While surrounded by intellectualism, I had to come to grips with the fact that my God was not one to fit into my neat little intellectual box. He had not dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s for me. He was a God who’d gone so far as to take on human flesh to reveal Himself, but was at the same time, a God of mystery and paradox. He was more than just my opinion of who He ought to be. So my first crisis of faith was in coming to terms with who God was, and allowing Him to be beyond my total comprehension. This decision happened slowly over a period of 3 or 4 months. I spent a lot of time praying, talking with others, and reading the writings of C. S. Lewis and other thinkers I respected. Though humbling, coming to terms with a theology of mystery was actually a giant step forward for my walk of faith (not to mention making me a lot easier to be around).



Then, about 20-some years later, I had another crisis of faith. This time it was because, though I had my theology as figured out as it was going to be, He still was not a real entity in my day-to-day experience. And I hit a period of my life where I really needed Him to be, or I was going to scrap the whole thing. At that time my 5-yr. old daughter was crippled with juvenile arthritis, my sister's marriage had shattered, my own marriage was rocky, my son was failing school, and I was in physical therapy after surgery for a skating injury. I was clinically depressed, and the faith that I had had was no longer enough. It was during this time that I remember thinking that if I couldn't have a faith that made a difference now, I didn't want it at all; I needed more. I wanted to have whatever it was that led martyrs to the stake. In actuality, what I needed was to know God, not just what I believed about Him.

Sometimes it takes the stripping away of everything else to get a clear picture of who God really is. Depression messes up your sleep patterns; those mornings when I couldn't sleep I began reading the One Year Bible, and I continued to do so every morning until I'd finally read it cover to cover. (I’d grown up exposed to a lot of it, but had never read it in its entirety.) Not only did the Old Testament finally make sense, but within those pages I finally encountered in a personal way the God I needed to know relationally, the God-who-sees-me. The experiences I had are too personal for this forum, but have been recorded in my journals, and I’d be happy to share in a PM. I’d be the first to admit that this is very subjective, but you asked why I believed, and I’d have to say that it is both because my intellect and heart are convinced it’s true.

Pat~
03-24-2006, 02:16 AM
This premise leads me to wonder why you or anyone thinks that a faith in the existence of Hell not just for evildoers but also for people who simply called God by the wrong name all their lives is a desirable faith to have--is something you choose to have faith in--is something you think makes the world a better place--is something you want to be true.

This is a tough one, but I'm inclined to go along with C.S. Lewis who said, "Here is another thing that used to puzzle me. Is it not frightfully unfair that this new life should be confined to people who have heard of Christ and been able to believe in Him? But the truth is, God has not told us what His arrangements about the other people are. We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him. But in the meantime, if you are worried about the people outside, the most unreasonable thing you can do is to remain outside yourself," (Mere Christianity).

Puddle Jumper
03-24-2006, 03:29 AM
PuddleJumper, i'm going to guess (I could be wrong) that you were raised christian, and have always belived in christianity. when did you choose to belive it? was it really your choice?
I was raised in a family that rarely went to church. Every Easter and then occassionally. My mom made me go to Sunday School a lot until I was around the age of 10 when I learned from my dad that if I slept in I could get out of going, so I pretended to sleep in.

I believed in God and Jesus but they had always been stories to me and I didn't really understand. I remember being 8 years old laying on my bed wondering if God really did exist and if He did, if I was going to go to heaven when I died. I kinda had a traumatic year when I was 8. Three near death experiences, so that might have prompted me thinking about such things.

My church led me to believe that all you had to do to be a Christian was have your name on the membership role of the church. That theory seemed really empty and hollow to me, which I think I pretended to sleep in to get out of going. It just didn't sit well with me.

When I was 12 I somehow drug myself to Sunday School one morning, ended up signing up for a church camp, went and for the first time in my life it was explained to me what Christianity really was and I made the choice to become a Christian then.


I didn't belive as I grew up, and nothing i've read have spontaneously converted me to a believer. I see plenty of merit-- there's some great philosophical stuff in there, but it just doesn't fit in with my worldview and past experience.
If all I had was the Bible to read, I doubt I would have become a Christian. Possible, but most people who become a Christian become one because of another person sharing with them. I became a Christian at that camp because the people who shared what Christianity was all about were among the most loving, caring people I've ever known. I felt very loved and cared for and I believe that as human beings, if we feel that kind of nurture, we have a habit of following it. If the only Christians you've ever known were self-righteous jerks, you're not going to follow them, you're not going to think Christianity is something you want to believe in if Christians are that way. I was exposed to very loving Christians who showed by example the kind of love Jesus showed and preached. And that has stuck with me so when I meet Christians who are rude and jerks, I don't lose faith because I've seen the potential for what we are capable of and I understand the love of God is nothing like those rude, jerky people.

It's rare for a person to become a Christian without ever having had a human being Christian who was a witness to them.

Puddle Jumper
03-24-2006, 03:41 AM
So I look at someone like you, and I think, "Why, when that person began exercising his/her critical thinking capabilities, did that person choose to continue believing that their God would damn unbelievers to hell? Did it make logical sense to them? Does it give them some sort of twisted comfort? Why did they retain this among the precepts they believe?"
I don't suppose you read through my lengthy first post in this thread did you?

Jean Marie
03-24-2006, 06:24 AM
snipped...
It's rare for a person to become a Christian without ever having had a human being Christian who was a witness to them.
I love being rare. I even have a semi-rare blood type http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gif AB+

Yup, I'll stop there. Don't wanna test Dawno's itchy, twitchy, trigger finger http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/wink.gif Or, Mac's infamous deportation w/o notice or packing...going...

fallenangelwriter
03-24-2006, 08:45 AM
If all I had was the Bible to read, I doubt I would have become a Christian. Possible, but most people who become a Christian become one because of another person sharing with them. I became a Christian at that camp because the people who shared what Christianity was all about were among the most loving, caring people I've ever known. I felt very loved and cared for and I believe that as human beings, if we feel that kind of nurture, we have a habit of following it. If the only Christians you've ever known were self-righteous jerks, you're not going to follow them, you're not going to think Christianity is something you want to believe in if Christians are that way. I was exposed to very loving Christians who showed by example the kind of love Jesus showed and preached. And that has stuck with me so when I meet Christians who are rude and jerks, I don't lose faith because I've seen the potential for what we are capable of and I understand the love of God is nothing like those rude, jerky people.

It's rare for a person to become a Christian without ever having had a human being Christian who was a witness to them.

First, apologies for my unwarranted assumption that you were raised christian.

second, I've had much mroe than the bible. I have a number of religious friends, (mainly christians) with whom I regularly discuss theology and spirituality. people talk to me about thier religious beliefs all the time, and I listen because i find it interesting. often, i find the beliefs worthwhile-- they make sense to me or they don't (some people's beliefs seem awfully bizarre and contradictory, others don't) and it often seems like the world would be a better place if people followed them. I even call myself a pseudochristian because i'm fascinated with biblical imagery and new testament concepts of grace and salvation.

even so, as fascinating as I find these dieas intellectually, they stay just that for me: intellecutally intriguing propositions. none of them has become an article of faith for me, and i'm not sure how that would happen.

Puddle Jumper
03-24-2006, 09:35 AM
second, I've had much mroe than the bible. I have a number of religious friends, (mainly christians) with whom I regularly discuss theology and spirituality. people talk to me about thier religious beliefs all the time, and I listen because i find it interesting. often, i find the beliefs worthwhile-- they make sense to me or they don't (some people's beliefs seem awfully bizarre and contradictory, others don't) and it often seems like the world would be a better place if people followed them. I even call myself a pseudochristian because i'm fascinated with biblical imagery and new testament concepts of grace and salvation.

even so, as fascinating as I find these dieas intellectually, they stay just that for me: intellecutally intriguing propositions. none of them has become an article of faith for me, and i'm not sure how that would happen.
Talk to God (aka prayer). You don't have to bow your head and close your eyes, just talk to Him. God can move mountains in peoples lives if they talk to Him in earnest. And acknowledge Jesus when you pray.

Get some Christian praise and worship CD's and play them. I highly recommend the Passion CD's. (No, not the movie soundtrack. There are a category of praise and worship CD's that have been around longer than the movie called Passion.)

Go to church, a good church. If you know what the Bible says then that should help you to determine if what the pastor says is good. If you can see a Statement of Faith for the church that's always good too. Don't pick one where the pastor likes to shout and scream the same things over and over. Don't pick one where there's absolutely no emotion whatsoever.

Christianity is a balance between intellect and emotion. Intellect being knowledge - knowing what the Bible says, knowing God, understanding why you believe what you believe. Emotion being what stirs us to move, act, love. If all you get is intellectual you won't be stirred to move - as you say, not stirred to become a Christian because your heart isn't feeling it's being pulled towards Christ. If all you get is emotional you may jump onboard but once all the hype has faded you won't have a clue what being a Christian means and will fall back into old habits and not know what it takes to be a Christian and the progress you should be making.

I suggest getting praise and worship CD's because music helps to stir our emotion. That's why love songs are so popular. If you really love someone and you can't find the words, you sing to them. Because even if the words aren't wowing, the emotion in the music is.

Your heart has to be moved to become a Christian. What you've said tells me you have a lot of knowledge, you understand some of the intellectual aspects of Christianity, but you're lacking the necessary emotion to believe.

Talking to God (prayer) is the absolute best thing you can do.

What should you start praying about? I would suggest to start by telling Him all about yourself. Yes He knows, but He likes it when we tell Him. He likes to hear us tell our stories. Tell Him your deepest hurts and pains in life, what has made you the saddest. Let the emotion of your life guide you in talking to God.

That would be my best suggestion.

blacbird
03-24-2006, 09:38 AM
You're free to pray for me all you want. You're not free to disrupt my life or impose legal restrictions on my behavior beyond sensible mainstream laws. In other words, you're welcome to your religion; leave me alone.

caw.

Atomic Bear
03-24-2006, 12:59 PM
I've been reluctant to post in this thread, in part because I find it difficult to put my own beliefs into words...

I would have to agree with Peggy. I have a hard time putting my beliefs into words as well. I am not sure if there is a higher "god" figure. But maybe I don't have to...

There are so many different belief systems with there own deities, how can one be right and the others wrong? Simply it can't, they all belong in the world equally. I guess that 'god' might be what ever we want to make or see him...her..them...it as. For the time being I am going to shop around for a religion or belief.

I do know it will not be a religion that tries to enforce their beliefs on non-believers. It would not be a religion that does not accept the reality of the real world. I know that it will be one that never judges or shames others for believing in something different. I know that it won't included demon overlords or spaceships. I know that it will not require that I have to spend money to get to heaven. I know that it will not be a religion where it obsessively takes over my life. And if I pick a religion it must live in harmony with the world.

Until I find something I will keep living a life where I try to be the best person I can be.

Pat~
03-24-2006, 10:37 PM
Just an addendum, as I realized I didn't address some questions of yours...



I mean, it can't just be "because the Bible says so." An actualfactual true believer in the literal truth of Every Single Verse In That Book is very rare. I mean, I doubt very much that you eschew clothes of mixed fabric, or avoid eating pork and shellfish, or tell the women in your family that they'd better cover their hair or shave it off, or tell them also not to go into teaching positions at co-ed schools because the Bible says women should not teach men. I presume that you, no less than most, pick and choose among the Bible verses. So why did you choose to continue believing in that particular Biblical precept and interpretation thereof?

As I posted earlier, I do believe that all of the Bible is the inspired Word of God, and therefore that it must be accepted in its entirety, if it's to be accepted. That said, I also believe that it is not a simple listing of do's and don'ts. As literature, it also contains history, poetry, prophecy, metaphor, figurative language, cultural idioms, and all those things which make it more complex, but more interesting as well. The challenge is in discerning what the message really is. And key to that is knowing the whole Bible, not just parts of it. Individual verses have meaning within the context of a consistent whole of scripture; also within the context of when they were written. Take, for instance, the OT verses forbidding the eating of pork, and the wearing of mixed fabric: these were just 2 of a long list of ceremonial cleanliness laws that were followed in OT times, but are no longer relevant today. These were followed in order that the Jew would be ceremonially 'clean' enough to worship God in the temple. With the coming of Christ, however, His shed blood is that which 'purifies' the believer and which admits him into the presence of a holy God. That's the beauty of the symbolism behind the tearing of the temple veil when Jesus died on the cross. Additionally, the ceremonial laws ceased to be followed by even the Jews, with the destruction of the temple (ca. 40 AD).

Concerning the other verses you mentioned (covered heads, and teaching of men)...when I was growing up I did follow the teaching of wearing a head covering in church. The Plymouth Brethren take that as a literal command. As an adult, after studying the Bible passage and several commentaries, I concluded that that was a cultural practice which illustrated the principle that Paul was teaching--and that the heart principle (submission) was the thing I was to obey, regardless of time and culture. (Do I do it? Not as often as I should! It'd be far easier just to don a head covering Sunday mornings. But I'm working on it...) Regarding the teaching of men: that passage is also about spiritual headship, concerning the spiritual teaching of men within the context of a gathering together of believers (eg. church). So, though I can and do teach men how to ice skate, for example, I teach only women's Bible studies. I know that there are many valid, different interpretations of this, though, (my Presbyterian sister is an elder in her church), and again, I think one has to operate by their own spiritual conviction in these 'gray' areas of scripture.

LightShadow
03-24-2006, 10:43 PM
As Kirk Cameron says: The Bible is not just a big dusty book that's filled with rules. It is the uncompromising Word of God.

aruna
03-24-2006, 10:53 PM
As Kirk Cameron says: The Bible is not just a big dusty book that's filled with rules. It is the uncompromising Word of God.

If so, it's not the only Word of God.

LightShadow
03-24-2006, 10:56 PM
If so, it's not the only Word of God.depends on what you believe.

aruna
03-24-2006, 10:57 PM
depends on what you believe.

Exactly. You may believe its the only one, I don't. What does God believe?;)

ColoradoGuy
03-24-2006, 10:57 PM
As literature, it also contains history, poetry, prophecy, metaphor, figurative language, cultural idioms, and all those things which make it more complex, but more interesting as well. The challenge is in discerning what the message really is.
Exactly! I would love to hear anyone's opinion, sort of a compare and contrast thing, of if and how the Bible might share similarities, both in interpretation and in actual use, with the I Ching. I know, for example, that it was once common for persons to cast open the Bible randomly to whatever verse presented itself as a way of resolving arguments or asking questions. These verses were then pondered in a similar way to how the I Ching was (and is) used.

Mosquito Gulch, Colorado, reportedly got its name from a Bible usage sort of like that. The first miners there were arguing about what to call the place. They opened the Bible to settle the issue (miners had Bibles?) and there was a squashed mosquito on the opened page. Problem solved.

Coments, anyone?

LightShadow
03-24-2006, 10:58 PM
Exactly. You may believe its the only one, I don't. What does God believe?;)I'll let you know when I go to Heaven and ask Him.

Dawno
03-24-2006, 11:00 PM
Time to remind everyone but Jean Marie ;) to think about the original post's request and perhaps cease turning this thread into Christian Apologetics 101.

Thank you.

aruna
03-24-2006, 11:01 PM
I'll let you know when I go to Heaven and ask Him.

But, according to you, I'll be in burning in Hell! How will you let me know??? This has me worried!

Pat~
03-24-2006, 11:06 PM
Exactly. You may believe its the only one, I don't. What does God believe?;)

That's a valid question, Aruna. The Bible portrays God as someone who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. In light of that, I'd compare the Bible to any other written word, to see if the two were consistent. God wouldn't say one thing in one revelation, and a different thing in another; He'd be internally consistent, because He cannot lie.

LightShadow
03-24-2006, 11:08 PM
That's a valid question, Aruna. The Bible portrays God as someone who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. In light of that, I'd compare the Bible to any other written word, to see if the two were consistent. God wouldn't say one thing in one revelation, and a different thing in another; He'd be internally consistent, because He cannot lie.Excellent point, or and Aruna, I'll send down some bottle water - - sizzle, - - never mind, it became a cloud of steam.

aruna
03-24-2006, 11:31 PM
That's a valid question, Aruna. The Bible portrays God as someone who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. In light of that, I'd compare the Bible to any other written word, to see if the two were consistent. God wouldn't say one thing in one revelation, and a different thing in another; He'd be internally consistent, because He cannot lie.

I agree with you. And that's what exactly the wonderful thing: the texts ARE consistent in their essence.

NeuroFizz
03-24-2006, 11:31 PM
As Kirk Cameron says: The Bible is not just a big dusty book that's filled with rules. It is the uncompromising Word of God.
So, all of the other religions of the world are out of luck? Their holy books are just bathroom reading? Do you feel comfortable drawing that conclusion, with your message being convert to my way, or I'll send down some water?

Sassenach
03-24-2006, 11:33 PM
As Kirk Cameron says: The Bible is not just a big dusty book that's filled with rules. It is the uncompromising Word of God.


If he says so, it's got to be the truth.

tiny
03-24-2006, 11:40 PM
I'm going to go way back to the very beginning of this discussion - to me... God is the thread that holds everything together. I don't need a book to know it, I don't a preacher to tell me. I don't believe in damnation. I do believe that organized religion is the root of just about everything wrong with this world. People spend too much time worried about what other people are doing and spend not enough time in their own house, taking care of their own issues.

That said, what I believe shouldn't matter to the next guy. Who cares. As long as I can be tolerant, I should be afforded the same courtesy.

reph
03-24-2006, 11:54 PM
Mosquito Gulch, Colorado, reportedly got its name from a Bible usage sort of like that. The first miners there were arguing about what to call the place. They opened the Bible to settle the issue (miners had Bibles?) and there was a squashed mosquito on the opened page. Problem solved.

Coments, anyone?
To this day, the citizens of Mosquito Gulch remain grateful that a pigeon didn't fly overhead and drop something on the Bible at that moment.

Well, you asked for comments.

ColoradoGuy
03-24-2006, 11:57 PM
As is the US Postal Service.

Jean Marie
03-25-2006, 12:04 AM
reph, that was excellent!!http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/EmoteROFL.gif kinda reminded me of tearing back into the gym to avoid the "bombers" when I was in high school. Damn pigeons would line up and wait. The school was only a mile from the beach in S. Cal. No, it wasn't beach school or surfing school http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

Colorado Guy, I'm glad you started this thread. One of the things that's sadly obvious is the lack of tolerance (not by all) and it doesn't have to be that way. Your intent was to share and learn from each other. Interesting how it doesn't work that well on a broad scope either. Certainly not the way God (however you believe) intended things to be.

I hope the conversation continues.

aruna
03-25-2006, 12:08 AM
With me it's not pigeons, it's seagulls. They sit on my roof and scream and fight half the night. Sometimes I go down and my car is covered, I mean, COVERED, in seagull ****, and all the other cars nearby are clean. What kind of a hidden message is that? How I have I sinned????

Jean Marie
03-25-2006, 12:09 AM
I meant to include the seagulls too! How the hay could I forget them!!

As to the how you sinned part, Aruna, um, I'm not touching that http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gif

Chacounne
03-25-2006, 12:14 AM
Excellent point, or and Aruna, I'll send down some bottle water - - sizzle, - - never mind, it became a cloud of steam.

Light Shadow,

I am having a difficult time finding the words to explain how this message made me feel. To me, it is smarmy and hateful and hits like a knife in the gut.
Perhaps that's not what you intended?

Sadly, and giving Aruna a giant hug,
Heather

Dawno
03-25-2006, 12:17 AM
In reference to that same post, that's exactly the stuff that will get this thread locked. If you can't stick to the OP's intent and you have to talk about things that are related you must refrain from personalizing or coming across as disrespectful of your fellow writers' beliefs and persons. One more shot like that and this thread is done.

William Haskins
03-25-2006, 12:18 AM
lock it. it's god's will.

ColoradoGuy
03-25-2006, 01:22 AM
In reference to that same post, that's exactly the stuff that will get this thread locked. If you can't stick to the OP's intent and you have to talk about things that are related you must refrain from personalizing or coming across as disrespectful of your fellow writers' beliefs and persons. One more shot like that and this thread is done.
Thanks Dawno for that rap on the knuckles – or blow to the head. Of course I don’t own this thread, but I did start it. I did so because it seemed to me that related threads contained strings of posts that all tiptoed around the question of what one really thought God is or is not. I thought that we might as well do it head-on.

Those related threads also contained exchanges that were at intervals mean-spirited and heavy-handed, and which indicated that posters did not always read carefully what they were responding to. There was evangelical witnessing, occasional flaming, and “Christian-off” dueling with Bible verses used as the bullets.

My notion was to start a safe-house from that and see what folks did. Because you see, as a fifty-four year old Quaker, I do continue to believe in the inherent goodness of people. All of us have an Inner Light: some are bright, some less so. For me, explaining to others what I believe is a good way to understand it myself. We often don’t know what we are until we try to tell someone else about it. And although I’m naturally more wordy than most, I also understand that quick witticisms from the likes of old-timers such as Blacbird, CaoPaux, Aconite, Haskins, et al. can be the most useful at times.

There are other TIO threads where we can make evil fun of each other, and it is clear to me that Dawno and colleagues keep it looser in those. But let’s not do that here, OK?

Thanks. End of second sermon. Praise Dog.

Atomic Bear
03-25-2006, 01:42 AM
ColoradoGuy,

Thanks for starting this thread. I find it interesting how no one person believes in a higher force the same way. We all view things differently, even those in the same religions. This is probably why no one view can represent everyone.

I was a bit nervous to post on it at first, and I did have to cut out some ill worded anger. But in the end I am glad I did.

Peggy
03-25-2006, 01:53 AM
For me, explaining to others what I believe is a good way to understand it myself. We often don’t know what we are until we try to tell someone else about it. This is true in my own experience as well. For the most part I've found this thread to be both interesting and enlightening.

William Haskins
03-25-2006, 02:12 AM
And although I’m naturally more wordy than most, I also understand that quick witticisms from the likes of old-timers such as Blacbird, CaoPaux, Aconite, Haskins, et al. can be the most useful at times.

thanks for the endorsement, but you had me at you don't own the thread.

reph
03-25-2006, 02:41 AM
In reference to that same post, that's exactly the stuff that will get this thread locked.
Dawno, if you find a post offensive, why not delete it, tell its author why, and let the rest of us go on talking? I feel a bit the way I did when a high school teacher made the whole English class write papers on "why I should not talk in class" because two or three kids did so. (My paper developed the theme that I should not talk in class because an unfair teacher, one with no sense of fairness, might unfairly assign extra homework to the whole class, thus unfairly punishing innocent students, and it wasn't fair. I wonder whether she read it.)

trumancoyote
03-25-2006, 02:44 AM
I don't think the post should be deleted at all. I would like TIO to maintain some semblance of TIO-itude.

A gentle reprimand is fine, and the thread moves on. I hope.

God knows I've said some mean things that should've been deleted at one time or another.

Dawno
03-25-2006, 02:49 AM
reph, thank you for the comment, I certainly understand your point of view. Whether or not, and how, I deal with an individual poster and posts, I won't comment upon, but my post was a general warning to "whom it may concern" that those kinds of posts would not be tolerated.

William Haskins
03-25-2006, 03:14 AM
religion, in and of itself, is mean-spirited.

ColoradoGuy
03-25-2006, 03:47 AM
religion, in and of itself, is mean-spirited.
Explain.

Pat~
03-25-2006, 04:31 AM
religion, in and of itself, is mean-spirited.

People are (sometimes) mean-spirited; religion is just one of the many venues it happens in, unfortunately. That's often because it taps into some very basic fears, and people react emotionally, rather than calmly and rationally. (This also happens in the venue of politics.)

William Haskins
03-25-2006, 04:42 AM
ancient texts are codifed into holy books which form the dogmatic foundations of beliefs—which are, in turn, made progressively more exclusive, whether it's a general concept of themselves as the elect, the moral delineation of what constitutes a sin, or which sins lead to damnation.

marriage outside of one's faith was, until very recently, frowned upon and inside the walls of their own houses of worship, these specific faiths insulate themselves in myopic self-righteousness and take for granted that they are the right ones, and all others—whether they call them heathen, infidels, unsaved or unbeliever—are seen as doomed. to believe that this doesn't color even the most trivial human interactions is to ignore the base psychology of humans.

this, however, is not an indictment of every manifestation of religion.

but the very notion of monotheistic religion, and all its denominational permutations, is predicated on being right and everyone else being wrong.

ColoradoGuy
03-25-2006, 04:54 AM
Agreed. But I was thinking a bit more globally than those based upon sky gods from the Bronze Age. We need not be like them.

William Haskins
03-25-2006, 04:57 AM
it doesn't really matter which god or when they're from. there are a lot of people who will be more than happy to discriminate, persecute, shun or kill you with the full confidence that they're on the right side.

Jean Marie
03-25-2006, 05:00 AM
And if we don't begin to learn toleration on some level at some point in time, than we are doomed. Entirely and completely. Hence, the sharing in this thread is some sort of a beginning. Maybe.

Otherwise, history will continue to repeat itself regardless of whom believes in what and in what form. Hard to accept that any G(g)od would allow for that to occur.

Pat~
03-25-2006, 05:26 AM
but the very notion of monotheistic religion, and all its denominational permutations, is predicated on being right and everyone else being wrong.

1. I think one can choose a denomination for reasons other than it being 'the only right one.' (Proximity to home, personality fit, etc. play a bigger part for some people.)

2. I think it's impossible for everybody to be 'right'. (But that's a whole 'nuther thread :D .)

3. I think it's possible to believe you are right without being mean-spirited.

Just my 3 centavos....

William Haskins
03-25-2006, 06:08 AM
of course you may be right.

my perspective is that of an atheist who grew up in the bible belt, but also someone who has extensively studied comparative religion and a political junkie, who is aware of the historical trends of religion and all that came with that.

these two elements of my life have converged to for a macro view of the function and consequence of religion in society, but i also have tremendous respect for individual people of faith who build their lives around its more benevolent tenets. i think that spirituality can have a positive impact on the world.

it's a shame that most of them don't feel the same way about me (http://www.ur.umn.edu/FMPro?-db=releases&-lay=web&-format=umnnewsreleases/releasesdetail.html&ID=2816&-Find).

Pat~
03-25-2006, 06:25 AM
Interesting article; it touches on the 'fear' factor mentioned earlier. I can see why that might be disheartening to an atheist--except there is some comfort in the fact that only 2000 people were polled. (Refresh my memory, but is that small of a percentage a representative sampling?)

ColoradoGuy
03-25-2006, 07:14 AM
(Refresh my memory, but is that small of a percentage a representative sampling?)
Poll reliability is related to sample size, but only related. There is a huge body of research in the social sciences about validating poll results and generalizing from them. I don't know it well, but I assume (on faith?) that the U of MN sociology professors who did the research reported here are poll adepts. Maybe someone with that special knowlege can chime in.

It always seemed to me that atheists are as much (or more) feared as disliked. Could this be because of their additional association with "Godless communism"?

In Europe, interestingly, atheists are said to be in the majority, and much of Europe is totally mystified by America's perceived obsession with religion.

PsychySensei
03-25-2006, 07:18 AM
marriage outside of one's faith was, until very recently, frowned upon and inside the walls of their own houses of worship, these specific faiths insulate themselves in myopic self-righteousness and take for granted that they are the

But you're talking as if these things are due to religion and not simply part of human nature, which they are. When religious elements are not a factor people find other elements. Religion is definitely one excuse, but people don't approve of others based on the state they live in, the accent they have, the education they have, the country they're from, the country their parents are from, the fact that they have relatives some don't approve of, the schools they go to, the color of their hair, skin, their height, illness, physical "irregularities," intellect. You can say "he doesn't want his daughter to marry that man because (his parents are Scottish, he's from the South, he went to a state college, he dropped out of high school, he's very short, he has arthritis, he has three nipples, his brother is a loser)". Feuds have started over such things, wars have started over some of them. In the UK you can't wear certain colors into a pub because of team rivalries.

I'm not convinced the religion is the basis for the problems. I think people look for reasons to create conflict and religion is convenient. It's not like people of the same faith all agree and never have conflicts amongst themselves.

It's human nature to form groups and clubs to support us in who we are and what we believe and to insulate our fragile egos from those who disagree - whether that's school A is better than school B or Italians are better than the Irish or Muslims are right and Catholics are wrong, or whatever.

If you took away all religion tomorrow, 50 years from now the world would be no more peaceful or less violent, they'd just be fighting over something else.

ColoradoGuy
03-25-2006, 07:25 AM
If you took away all religion tomorrow, 50 years from now the world would be no more peaceful or less violent, they'd just be fighting over something else.
Ah, but the question is, can you take away religion? Many besides me -- it is a cliche -- have wondered if the need for religion, at least defined as a spiritual quest for something significant outside of ourselves, is basic to the human brain. Are you truly that cynical, or am I truly that naive?

Duncan J Macdonald
03-25-2006, 07:26 AM
Poll reliability is related to sample size, but only related. There is a huge body of research in the social sciences about validating poll results and generalizing from them. I don't know it well, but I assume (on faith?) that the U of MN sociology professors who did the research reported here are poll adepts. Maybe someone with that special knowlege can chime in.I'm not a person with special knowledge, but statistical sampling is a pet peeve of mine, especially when polling such fickle creatures as humans. I'd much prefer a sample size of 100% -- then I might believe the figures.


It always seemed to me that atheists are as much (or more) feared as disliked. Could this be because of their additional association with "Godless communism"?Yup.


In Europe, interestingly, atheists are said to be in the majority, and much of Europe is totally mystified by America's perceived obsession with religion.It stems, I believe, from the fact that this country was founded mainly by the wackiest of the lunatic fringe group splinter sects of non-mainstream religious thought.

reph
03-25-2006, 07:27 AM
Poll reliability is related to sample size, but only related....

It always seemed to me that atheists are as much (or more) feared as disliked. Could this be because of their additional association with "Godless communism"?
I am not a statistician, but I think a sample of 2000 is big enough. The numbers to look at would be margin of error and the probability levels for individual findings.

Most people now wouldn't remember the Cold War, when "godless Communism" was a big catchphrase. Some were born since then; others were born early enough, but they don't remember much of anything. Possibly, fear and mistrust of atheists come from the notion among religious people that morality was invented by God, not by us, so that if you didn't go to Sunday school, you won't know right from wrong.

Duncan J Macdonald
03-25-2006, 07:29 AM
Ah, but the question is, can you take away religion? Many besides me -- it is a cliche -- have wondered if the need for religion, at least defined as a spiritual quest for something significant outside of ourselves, is basic to the human brain. Are you truly that cynical, or am I truly that naive?I don't think that PsychySensei is cynical -- more a realist.

reph
03-25-2006, 07:35 AM
Ah, but the question is, can you take away religion?
Why couldn't you? Look at the people who function well without it.

maestrowork
03-25-2006, 07:58 AM
Yeah, people live without religion or spirituality all the time, every day.

ColoradoGuy
03-25-2006, 07:59 AM
Why couldn't you? Look at the people who function well without it.
Well I suppose then my question becomes: should we examine our definition of just what religion is? If it is adherence to a set of instructions given (or sent) to us by some all-powerful higher entity, and association largely or even exclusively with others who share that viewpoint, then clearly we can do without that. Or at least I could.

But if religion is taken to mean a search for any larger meaning outside of ourselves, and our association with others of like mind, our own congregation of believers, it seems to me that most of us want that. We may even be driven by our intrinsic nature to seek it out. That is what I mean when I ask if religious yearning is basic to our human nature.

Atomic Bear
03-25-2006, 08:03 AM
Why couldn't you? Look at the people who function well without it.

I do.

Or some folks could use something else to replace religion. Fandom for movies, TV shows, etc. can reach a religious fervor at time. I go to San Diego Comic-Con ever year and some of the Star Wars fans are kind like that. Also look at the folks who were out side the court house to support Michael Jackson. Some of them imagined him as some magical holy androgynous angel or something.

I met someone who found Cirque du Soleil a spiritual experience.

Political movements can be like a religion as well. Look at the power some movements have for good or ill. Hitler had that kind of attention from his followers.

Heck some folk even find a person who they "worship the ground they walk on" to a point of obsession.

Atomic Bear
03-25-2006, 08:05 AM
...That is what I mean when I ask if religious yearning is basic to our human nature.

A need to have an explanation of how the world works?

blacbird
03-25-2006, 08:13 AM
only 2000 people were polled.

Standard statistical error deviation for a sample of 2000 would be less than 2%. I do a lot of statistical counting in my real life, and commonly stop at 200 or 250, which have a computed error bar of 5-6% (good enough for the kind of work I do). A sample set of 2000 is pretty big; most major political polls, like Gallup, run in the upper level of hundreds, with error bars of +-3% or so.

caw.

maestrowork
03-25-2006, 08:14 AM
I think spiritual needs are very human, and people seek spiritual experiences (be it rock concerts, drugs, Lord of the Rings, etc.) to enrich or connect with their souls. But spirituality is different from religons. Religions, to me, are cults, what with their rituals and pageantry and doctrines... Religions are also ideologies to bind people together, so they can feel like they belong to something greater and grander than they -- a common purpose. Not everyone needs to "belong" in that sense, but I think we all have that need to fulfill our souls in some way.

Puddle Jumper
03-25-2006, 08:49 AM
I'll let you know when I go to Heaven and ask Him.
Yet no one who's gone on has returned yet to let us know. Light Shadow, this comment and some others I've read from you seem a little condescending. If someone were to talk to me in that tone I'd be like, "Yeah whatever bud, see ya." It lacks kindness and humility.

Besides, I don't think we go to heaven when we die. I don't think we go to be with God when we die. I believe death is more like sleep. The Old Testament often refers to death as sleep. That or our spirits go somewhere, those belonging to the Lord going to paradise as Jesus told the repentant man on a cross next to Him that the man would be with Jesus that day in paradise.

But it's more than that. The Bible talks about when Jesus returns, the dead in Christ will rise first, then those who are alive belonging to Him will be caught up with those rising from the dead and together go up to meet Jesus in the air and then go to be with the Father. The picture I see being painted is that nobody who has died is yet with God the Father, they are awaiting the second return of Christ to this world to gather all who belong to the Father to then bring them up at once, the Groom Jesus bringing His Bride home. We being the Bride of Christ.

Just felt like adding that in.




As Kirk Cameron says: The Bible is not just a big dusty book that's filled with rules. It is the uncompromising Word of God.
So, all of the other religions of the world are out of luck? Their holy books are just bathroom reading? Do you feel comfortable drawing that conclusion, with your message being convert to my way, or I'll send down some water?

I can't speak for Kirk, I can't speak for LightShadow, just myself. I feel comfortable with the Bible being the uncompromising Word of God. And that's all I'll say in regards to what you asked.


In reference to that same post, that's exactly the stuff that will get this thread locked. If you can't stick to the OP's intent and you have to talk about things that are related you must refrain from personalizing or coming across as disrespectful of your fellow writers' beliefs and persons. One more shot like that and this thread is done.
Is it fair to lock a thread because of one person's comments? Why not delete the post?

I understand locking a thread if there is a complete breakdown and an all out brawl between posters.


religion, in and of itself, is mean-spirited.
William just took on the world!

I echo Pat, people can be mean-spirited, and they can find any reason to be that way.


marriage outside of one's faith was, until very recently, frowned upon
Why do you think it is no longer frowned upon? I don't know of any belief that is happy with someone marrying someone of another faith. Christianity is not that way. I've been taught since I became a Christian that you should not marry someone who isn't a Christian.


but the very notion of monotheistic religion, and all its denominational permutations, is predicated on being right and everyone else being wrong.
But aren't you saying that you're right and everyone who believes in these things are wrong? In which case, aren't you then condemning something that you yourself are guilty of?


And if we don't begin to learn toleration on some level at some point in time, than we are doomed.
We're doomed whether or not we learn tolerance. Even scientists will tell you this world will eventually die. Of course we're certainly helping it along, namely since the industrial revolution.

***

An argument I have heard from people, especially atheists, is that Christianity, like all other religions, is man-made and all religion and faiths are is a smorgosboard for people to decide what they want to believe in to make them feel better about their lives or to give them a reason to hate other people, etc...

Of course each religion and faith would make the claim that it's not man-made but that it came from God. So if I tried to argue that Christianity is the only faith that is not man-made, I'd get an earful, or eyeful as the case may be, of that.

I did choose to become a Christian when I was 12 years old. I saw who Jesus was, knew that He was the Living Son of God, and said to Him, "I choose you, Jesus."

Why was I so confident in that choice? Because before I was born, Jesus said to me, "I choose you." And He put people in my life to tell me about Him. My mother, my Sunday School teachers, and ultimately the people leading the came I went to. So that when the time was right there was no question in my mind. I chose Him because He first chose me. I love Him because He first loved me. If he had not first chosen me I would have never turned to Him. I'm blown away that He would want me, someone as low as me. It makes no sense to me as to why He loves me as much as He does and how He never gives up on me.

Perhaps people of all other religions will make similar claims, I don't know. But I know that there is no question in my mind. God has proven His existance to me time and time again so that I could no more question His existance than I could question the existance of the two human beings who brought me into this world - my parents.

ColoradoGuy
03-25-2006, 08:55 AM
One of my basic problems with standard Christian doctrine, particularly the severe Protestant varieties that trace their lineage back to Calvin, is its emphasis on the fallen nature of humankind, original sin and all that. This is the Lord of the Flies view of human nature: that we are all craven, some more, some less, but all of us would knife our neighbor if left to our own devices. “Left alone, we all sin,” as one of the more bombastic posters on this thread has put it.

I lean more toward the old utopian anarchist viewpoint: left to ourselves, we try to help each other more than Hobbes would have predicted. Not always, of course, but that we do it at all is astonishing. Why do we do that? As I have said before, that quality of freely giving of ourselves to strangers, that spark to do this, is my definition of God. Perhaps you would say that I have done a semantic and rhetorical sleight of hand, merely redefining God and religion so that I can keep them: I don’t think so.

Pat~
03-25-2006, 09:09 AM
Standard statistical error deviation for a sample of 2000 would be less than 2%. I do a lot of statistical counting in my real life, and commonly stop at 200 or 250, which have a computed error bar of 5-6% (good enough for the kind of work I do). A sample set of 2000 is pretty big; most major political polls, like Gallup, run in the upper level of hundreds, with error bars of +-3% or so.

caw.

Thanks for the info, Blacbird :) .

Puddle Jumper
03-25-2006, 09:12 AM
One of my basic problems with standard Christian doctrine, particularly the severe Protestant varieties that trace their lineage back to Calvin, is its emphasis on the fallen nature of humankind, original sin and all that. This is the Lord of the Flies view of human nature: that we are all craven, some more, some less, but all of us would knife our neighbor if left to our own devices. “Left alone, we all sin,” as one of the more bombastic posters on this thread has put it.

I lean more toward the old utopian anarchist viewpoint: left to ourselves, we try to help each other more than Hobbes would have predicted. Not always, of course, but that we do it at all is astonishing. Why do we do that? As I have said before, that quality of freely giving of ourselves to strangers, that spark to do this, is my definition of God. Perhaps you would say that I have done a semantic and rhetorical sleight of hand, merely redefining God and religion so that I can keep them: I don’t think so.
I don't suppose you read my lengthy first post in this thread?

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "left to ourselves." Are you suggesting what we would be like if God completely left this world? In which case, if left to ourselves we would immediately be dead. Apart from God there can be no life, there can be no goodness. If He left, our universe would immediately destroy all life. We'd be dead.

The fact that we're alive and have the capacity to do good is a clear indication of His existance and presence in this world. The devil may have stolen us away, but God, not satan, is our creator. So we have the ability within us to choose and do good.

You're comparing in the first paragraph against "standard Christian doctrine, particularly the severe Protestant varieties that trace their lineage back to Calvin," doesn't really make sense to me. Although my experience with Calvinists has been rather negative, I don't usually like talking to them as they carry the attitude that free-will does not exist and that we can't choose God, He can only choose those He wants to save. I don't even recall them discussing what you're discussing.

ColoradoGuy
03-25-2006, 09:40 AM
I don't suppose you read my lengthy first post in this thread?
Why yes, I did. What you are reading is my own kind of "witnessing."


I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "left to ourselves." Are you suggesting what we would be like if God completely left this world? In which case, if left to ourselves we would immediately be dead. Apart from God there can be no life, there can be no goodness. If He left, our universe would immediately destroy all life. We'd be dead.
Well you see, that is your belief: I do not share it.

The fact that we're alive and have the capacity to do good is a clear indication of His existance and presence in this world.
I respect your view, but again, I do not share it. I would say that it is a clear indication of our innate goodness, unaided by any higher power.

You're comparing in the first paragraph against "standard Christian doctrine, particularly the severe Protestant varieties that trace their lineage back to Calvin," doesn't really make sense to me. Although my experience with Calvinists has been rather negative, I don't usually like talking to them as they carry the attitude that free-will does not exist and that we can't choose God, He can only choose those He wants to save. I don't even recall them discussing what you're discussing.
My point was that those strains of Protestantism, the rigidly predestination-teaching ones, particularly stress the fallen nature of man and the inability ever to know, to really know, that one was among the Elect. You see, as a Quaker, I do not accept the notion of original sin. So those denominations that stress it bother me the most. Still, rigid predestination was one way completely to solve the Free Will Problem, an issue which has always vexed Christian theologians.

So we agree to disagree. Thanks for your post.

Puddle Jumper
03-25-2006, 09:48 AM
Do Quakers have the same Bible as protestants? Do you believe in Jesus? I'm not very clear on what exactly it is that Quakers believe.

How would you explain these verses if so...

Psalm 53:2-3
God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.

This verse is repeated in Romans 3:10-21

The whole message of the Bible is that we are not good, we are fallen, if we were good Jesus would have never come because we wouldn't have needed Him to save us if we had the ability to save ourselves which we would if we were good.

I hope in agreeing to disagree you're not wanting to end all conversation.

reph
03-25-2006, 10:08 AM
But if religion is taken to mean a search for any larger meaning outside of ourselves, and our association with others of like mind, our own congregation of believers, it seems to me that most of us want that. We may even be driven by our intrinsic nature to seek it out. That is what I mean when I ask if religious yearning is basic to our human nature.
That's a pretty secular definition of religion you've got there. Its first part, the more introverted part, describes the "seeker" that followers of Gurdjieff talk about. (I know exactly one G. follower, a full-blown narcissist for whom being a seeker is a matter of pride.)

In my unscientific opinion, members of conventional religions vary in how much they need a larger meaning, and so do nonmembers. Valuing an association with like-minded others would logically be found more among members of congregations than among loners. One might want to feel connected to something that transcends oneself, such as an important form of work, without caring whether others are also connected to it.

ColoradoGuy
03-25-2006, 10:21 AM
Do Quakers have the same Bible as protestants? Do you believe in Jesus? I'm not very clear on what exactly it is that Quakers believe.
Yes, we read the same Bible, but we do not attach the same weight to it as you do. We regard it as a useful book, but not the revealed truth. There are other paths to the Light besides the Bible. And yes, Jesus was divine, but so are we all; he was one in whom the Light shone particularly brightly. But rather than repeat myself about what Quakers believe, see my posts #19 and #75 in this thread.

I should caution you that I do not speak for all Quakers. There are several (four actually: sorry it's so complicated) types of Quakers: I am a member of a “traditional, unprogrammed” meeting. Other groups within Quakerism (so-called pastoral Quakers) would look more familiar to you. They have churches, not meetings, and have clergy. The reason the movement split into pieces in the 1820-1830s was precisely over what we are discussing – the divinity of Christ and the inerrancy of scripture. Ironically, there was a movement among younger, “trendier” Quakers to join the evangelical movement then sweeping across America and accept those what seemed to older Quakers new-fangled notions. So my group stayed with the old ways. There was a reconciliation among many of these groups in the 1950s after a century apart. It was arranged by the great Quaker writer and mystic, Rufus Jones (I recommend his slim book on Quakerism to you). He taught at the college I went to, Haverford, the oldest Quaker college in America.

Also ironically, there was long ago a strong Quaker missionary movement that planted nests of Friends many strange places: there is a huge group in East Africa, for example.

There is still an extremely conservative wing of Quakerism, members of which are mostly in Iowa and southern Indiana and Illinois, that still often uses “plain speech" (thee/thou usage) and dresses in what were once called “sadd colours.”

Whatever our doctrinal differences, however, all Quakers subscribe to the five major Testimonies: Simplicity, Peace, Truth, Community, and Equality. We also try to emulate the exhortation of our founder in the 1650s, George Fox, to “walk gladly over the earth, greeting that of God in everyone.”

You can find much more if you are interested at www.quaker.org


I hope in agreeing to disagree you're not wanting to end all conversation.
Not at all. If I felt that way, I never would have started this thread.

ColoradoGuy
03-25-2006, 10:51 AM
That's a pretty secular definition of religion you've got there.
Some say it is, yes. Some say it isn't. Some say it's just fiddling with words to make me feel better about it. On the other hand, I see the secular/sacred dichotomy as essentially false.

In my unscientific opinion, members of conventional religions vary in how much they need a larger meaning, and so do nonmembers. Valuing an association with like-minded others would logically be found more among members of congregations than among loners. One might want to feel connected to something that transcends oneself, such as an important form of work, without caring whether others are also connected to it.
Agreed. St. Anthony sitting on his pole in the desert for twenty years (I think that's who it was -- my late Roman history is a bit rusty) clearly didn't need anybody else on the pole with him. Others need a pole mate (or soul mate).

aruna
03-25-2006, 11:40 AM
Neither do I believe in original sin; yet I believe we are all "fallen", but in a different sense; and the Christian teaching is merely a metaphor for that fallenness.
I believe that the human spirit in its true nature is perfect: pure bliss, pure love, pure goodness. I believe that we are ALL perfect in our innermost self, and all equal in that perfection. And somehow, we know and long for the experience of that perfection. As long as we do not know it - and some few people do - we are fallen, hidden from ourselves.
Sometimes we see glimpses of our true being: when we love, when we see a beautiful sunset, when we hear a magnificent work of music, something utterly inexplicable overcomes us, we feel transported out of our fallen state, and into a state of grace.

Ego, or the sense of I-ness, is like a thick black cloud, or a curtain, that stands between us and that perfection. The ego is inherently imperfect, inherently unhappy. We all seek happiness, every one of us, and "happiness comes from within" is an old cliche. I believe it is literally true, and that we all have the means of experiencing our innate happiness here and now, but it is hard because we are constantly pulled away from it. We seek happiness in outer things, in possessions and achievements, which can never truly fulfill.

When we are happy we are also good. We do good, we help others, we are kind and compassionate.

Western culture emphasises the development of ego; Eastern religions, however, teach that ego must be uprooted. Christianity, too, teaches selflessness, which is the same thing. All of that are attempts to "see beyond the veil". Plato said "Know Thyself". Jesus said "The Kingdom of Heaven is Within You."

Like many here I used to reject Christianity. It is such a smug, hypocritical religion, so condescending towards others. It was while staying in a Hindu ashram, following a basically Hindu spiritual practice, that I was able to actually EXPERIENCE the truth of Christ's words. That doesn't make me a Christian, but it does help me to understand the NT.

I do not believe in converting others. My parents were atheists and they were good, functioning people. I don't believe anything I cannot experience myself. I don't believe in holy books; but sometimes I read a scripture - that can be the Bible as well as the Bhagavad Gita or the Tao or whatever - and I feel the truth of it and amlifted out of myself. Certainly, I would not want to go back to my atheist vision. To tell the truth, I was in agony.

Pat~
03-25-2006, 07:12 PM
I agree with you. And that's what exactly the wonderful thing: the texts ARE consistent in their essence.

There are many similarities to the ancient Hindu writings and beliefs, but a closer look also reveals some crucial, irreconciliable differences, IMHO. Just to review an earlier post exchange we had...



Did you know that Hindus respect and read the Bible as a valid scritpure? That may Hindus have pictures of Christ in their homes? That they believe he is a son of God?

Yes, I understand that Hinduism is a very inclusive religion, much more so than Christianity. (Eg. Hindus might believe that Christ is "a" son of God--they actually believe in many divinities, whereas Christians believe that Christ was "the only begotten" Son of God (John 1:14, 18, 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9). This is one example of where Hinduism is incompatible with biblical Christianity.




Hindus believe in an omnisicient, omnipotent and eternal God who can see our every thought and who has every hair on our head counted. Who is our comfort in times of need; who is loving and caring and compassionate. Who will never, ever let us fall. Who provides for us when we cannot provide for ourselves, a helper of the helpless. Who sees us through our trials. Who we can talk to as a friend. Who is such joy that just thinking of him causes the heart to sing. Who answers prays. Who is a personal guide in times of distress or trial. Who is full of grace and benevolence. Who is endless love and endless peace, an ocean of compassion for all living creatures.
Who is Absolute Truth.

This also describes the God of Christianity. But a closer look will reveal that the two are not the same.The earliest of the Hindu scriptures describe many and various deities who are gods of natural phenomena (sun, wind, fire, etc.). Later in the Vedas (in the Upanishads) comes mention of Brahman, the ultimate, single divine reality who is over these lesser gods, and is largely incomprehensible and impersonal. And then, with the Bhagavad Gita emerges the sense of personal devotion to a deity as being the path to 'salvation' (the end of the karmic cycle/Nirvana). The differences between my God and yours will become more evident below:

Some key areas of divergence between Christianity and Hinduism:

1) a concept of not only a gracious and loving God, but one who is at the same time holy and righteous and just. A God who forgives, but ONLY because the price for justice has been paid (through Christ's death on the cross). In Christianity there is also the belief that we will be held personally accountable before God for the way we lived our life (2 Corinthians 5:10).

2)In Hinduism the way one lives his life plays a role in his subsequent reincarnation; however, in Christian belief, "it is appointed unto man once to die, and after this, the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

3)The concept of human nature: in Hindu belief, man's core being is essentially divine. ("Atman is Brahman!"...all living things are Brahman at their core.) Man errs because he is ignorant of that fact, and is deceived by the material world. Though Christians believe they can become 'one' with God, it is, as Augustine said, "one in nature, not in substance"--we can share in God's nature because the Holy Spirit lives within us, but we are not divine. In Christian belief, man's core is essentially sinful and he is made righteous only by grace through faith (Romans 3:23-26):

23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement,[a (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/index.php?search=romans%203:23-26;&version=31;&interface=print#fen-NIV-28002a)] through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

4)the doctrine of salvation: Hindus believe that salvation (Nirvana, and the end of the karmic cycle) is achieved through a combination of good works, meditation, and devotion to God. Though Hindus may also emphasize grace, there is no belief in a need for atonement; forgiveness is offered without the simultaneous satisfaction of God's justice (His delivering of consequences for sin). This is central to biblical Christianity. God is not only Love, but He is Good, and his goodness requires that He also be Just. God so loved His errant creation that He Himself paid the price that His justice required; He sent His Son to pay the 'wage' (Romans 6:23; 5:1, 6-11):

23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/index.php?search=romans%206:23;&version=31;&interface=print#fen-NIV-28077a)] Christ Jesus our Lord.

1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/index.php?search=romans%205:1,%206-11;&version=31;&interface=print#fen-NIV-28034a)]have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

These, coupled with Ephesians 2:8, 9 contrast the gift of salvation by grace to a helpless humanity with the more works-oriented position of Hinduism.

There are probably other differences as well, but this covers some basics...

aruna
03-25-2006, 07:52 PM
This also describes the God of Christianity. But a closer look will reveal that the two are not the same.The earliest of the Hindu scriptures describe many and various deities who are gods of natural phenomena (sun, wind, fire, etc.). Later in the Vedas (in the Upanishads) comes mention of Brahman, the ultimate, single divine reality who is over these lesser gods, and is largely incomprehensible and impersonal.


The oft quoted "many gods" of Hinduism is very misleading for Westerners, and may need some explanation. Hinduism is a religion that relies a great deal on metaphor and analogy. And though a Hindu may tell stories about "the gods", you will find that when he prays it is to God - one God. In its essence, Hinduism says that there is only ONE - nothing, in fact, but the one. No gods, no separate souls, just one substanbce that expresses itself in the many. The various gods are symbols of the various aspects of that one.






1) a concept of not only a gracious and loving God, but one who is at the same time holy and righteous and just. A God who forgives, but ONLY because the price for justice has been paid (through Christ's death on the cross). In Christianity there is also the belief that we will be held personally accountable before God for the way we lived our life (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Yes, for Hindus God is also holy, righteous and just. However, they do not believe in sin as such; they speak of ignorance instead of sin, ignorance being ignorance of God as their true being. They do believe, however, that we can be freed of ignorance through God's grace, although not through the atonement of any one Son of God or equivalent. We are held accountable for our actions; most people in the West are now familiar with the concept of Karma, which is in fact nothing but the NT As you sow, so shall you reap. We pay the price for our weong actions ourselves, but final freedom comes only thorugh Grace.



2)In Hinduism the way one lives his life plays a role in his subsequent reincarnation; however, in Christian belief, "it is appointed unto man once to die, and after this, the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

The concept of reincarnation is perhaps the one area where the two religions do differ. However, belief in reincarnation is not as central an issue for Hindus as life after death is for Christians. Hindus believe that we can find heaven, and God right here and now, on earth, and we should not speculate about the afterlife.


)The concept of human nature: in Hindu belief, man's core being is essentially divine. ("Atman is Brahman!"...all living things are Brahman at their core.) Man errs because he is ignorant of that fact, and is deceived by the material world. Though Christians believe they can become 'one' with God, it is, as Augustine said, "one in nature, not in substance"--we can share in God's nature because the Holy Spirit lives within us, but we are not divine. In Christian belief, man's core is essentially sinful and he is made righteous only by grace through faith (Romans 3:23-26):


I think this is an area where it's unwise to speculate; there are Christian mystics who have said almost identical things to Hindu mystics, and the question as to whether or not we are divine in core or niot has to be experienced; we cannot read about it in books. If Augustine has experineced his core as sinful, then that is HIS experience. I do not believe Augustine was a mystic.




4)the doctrine of salvation: Hindus believe that salvation (Nirvana, and the end of the karmic cycle) is achieved through a combination of good works, meditation, and devotion to God. Though Hindus may also emphasize grace, there is no belief in a need for atonement; forgiveness is offered without the simultaneous satisfaction of God's justice (His delivering of consequences for sin). This is central to biblical Christianity. God is not only Love, but He is Good, and his goodness requires that He also be Just. God so loved His errant creation that He Himself paid the price that His justice required; He sent His Son to pay the 'wage' (Romans 6:23; 5:1, 6-11):


There are many paths within Hinduism, and the path of Love and Grace is one of the most beloved. All I can say to this is that the devotion of a Hindu to God is not one whit less than that of a Christian.

I won't go into this any further, but I would ask you to consider that just perhaps God, yes, the same God that you love, gave each culture a different path to follow, and that just perhaps a Hindu, or for that matter a Buddhist or a Sikh or a Taoist, are on a path to salvation that might be foreign to you but is perfectly right for them, and ensures their salvation as much as yours does. You love your religion and know it is right: FOR YOU. You simoply cannot know that it is right ofr everyone on earth. The Bible is a valid teaching FOR YOU; but until you can see into the hearyt of somneone who lives onthe other side of the world, unless you are yourself God, you are unable to judge their devotion or know where they will end up. Your holy book mat tell you this, and you have every right to BELIEVE it; but yet you do not KNOW.

One thing that I always loved with the Hindus is their great tolerance for other religions. A short while ago I visited a Hindu friend inLondon, and her mother wanted us to to visit a temple with her. I assumed it was a Hindu temple, but no, it happened to be a Sikh temple, in North London. It was the first time I'd ever been to a Sikh service, and it was wonderful to see that love and devotion is central to their religion as well.

Jean Marie
03-25-2006, 08:00 PM
snipped...
I won't go into this any further, but I would ask you to consider that just perhaps God, yes, the same God that you love, gave each culture a different path to follow, and that just perhaps a Hindu, or for that matter a Buddhist or a Sikh or a Taoist, are on a path to salvation that might be foreign to you but is perfectly right for them, and ensures their salvation as much as yours does.

Amen, sister http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/EmoteHug2.gif

ColoradoGuy
03-25-2006, 08:15 PM
I would ask you to consider that just perhaps God, yes, the same God that you love, gave each culture a different path to follow, and that just perhaps a Hindu, or for that matter a Buddhist or a Sikh or a Taoist, are on a path to salvation that might be foreign to you but is perfectly right for them, and ensures their salvation as much as yours does.
There are indeed many paths to the Light. The itinerary may vary. I have a favorite line from Another Roadside Attraction, a book which I'm pretty sure was written as an anti-religious text, but perhaps it isn't. I don't remember the words exactly, so I'll paraphrase: unusual travel arrangments are dancing lessons from God.

blacbird
03-25-2006, 09:50 PM
Do Quakers have the same Bible as protestants? Do you believe in Jesus? I'm not very clear on what exactly it is that Quakers believe.

How would you explain these verses if so...

Psalm 53:2-3
God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.

This verse is repeated in Romans 3:10-21

The whole message of the Bible is that we are not good, we are fallen, if we were good Jesus would have never come because we wouldn't have needed Him to save us if we had the ability to save ourselves which we would if we were good.


Yep, that Gandhi guy was one evil dude, for sure.

caw.

Sassenach
03-25-2006, 11:38 PM
Fundamentalists make it so easy to disdain and disregard them.

kikazaru
03-25-2006, 11:39 PM
Some of my reflections - and please excuse the disjointedness of it all.

My personal belief is that we are all seekers. We as humans have a need for equilibrium (for want of a better word) in our inner most selves. Some are naturally centred, some find it in religion, some attempt to find it with drugs or alcohol, some find it with meditation, some with exercise. I've often noticed that people who have abused drugs or alcohol take to religion with the same vengance that they used to have when they imbibed. This does not mean there is or is not a God but I do find it interesting to see the correlation between these things and many religious rituals which involve, wine, meditation (chanting, fingering rosary beads) drugs (hallucinogenic mushrooms, marijuana).

While I enjoy the mental exercise of religious debate, I am agnostic (I went to Sunday school as a child, but it obviously didn't take). I never liked the "he sees you when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake" concept of Santa when I was a child, a God who did the same was incredibly creepy in my eyes, and I find it odd that adults are still yearning for a paternal figure. Yet at the same time, due to some curious happenings in my life I cannot totally discount a Spirit greater than I, or the concept of an afterlife.

I guess I will just wait and see.

LightShadow
03-26-2006, 12:17 AM
Only time will tell...

rekirts
03-26-2006, 12:46 AM
I've often noticed that people who have abused drugs or alcohol take to religion with the same vengance that they used to have when they imbibed. This does not mean there is or is not a God but I do find it interesting to see the correlation between these things and many religious rituals which involve, wine, meditation (chanting, fingering rosary beads) drugs (hallucinogenic mushrooms, marijuana).
The ex-husband of a friend is like that. Went from drug addict to fundamenatalist Christianity addict. He even said, "I'm addicted to God!" He is a very scary person.

Sassenach
03-26-2006, 12:47 AM
Only time will tell...


Really? I thought you were so certain that you're saved and the non-Christians aren't.

ColoradoGuy
03-26-2006, 12:54 AM
The ex-husband of a friend is like that. Went from drug addict to fundamenatalist Christianity addict. He even said, "I'm addicted to God!" He is a very scary person.
I suspect that is in part because most recovery programs derive from the original AA 12-step program. These programs often still have a heavy Christian overlay.

SpookyWriter
03-26-2006, 01:43 AM
Try a mudpie first...

Pat~
03-26-2006, 01:46 AM
The oft quoted "many gods" of Hinduism is very misleading for Westerners, and may need some explanation. Hinduism is a religion that relies a great deal on metaphor and analogy. And though a Hindu may tell stories about "the gods", you will find that when he prays it is to God - one God. In its essence, Hinduism says that there is only ONE - nothing, in fact, but the one. No gods, no separate souls, just one substanbce that expresses itself in the many. The various gods are symbols of the various aspects of that one. But classic Hindu thought states that these are indeed separate deities—which is a difference with classic Christianity.




Yes, for Hindus God is also holy, righteous and just. However, they do not believe in sin as such; they speak of ignorance instead of sin, ignorance being ignorance of God as their true being. They do believe, however, that we can be freed of ignorance through God's grace, although not through the atonement of any one Son of God or equivalent. We are held accountable for our actions; most people in the West are now familiar with the concept of Karma, which is in fact nothing but the NT As you sow, so shall you reap. We pay the price for our weong actions ourselves, but final freedom comes only thorugh Grace. Though quite similar in some respects, the underlined are those essential areas in which the Bible and Hindu scriptures do not agree.




I think this is an area where it's unwise to speculate; there are Christian mystics who have said almost identical things to Hindu mystics, and the question as to whether or not we are divine in core or niot has to be experienced; we cannot read about it in books. If Augustine has experineced his core as sinful, then that is HIS experience. I do not believe Augustine was a mystic. Again, I agree that the mystics’ sayings are similar on occasion. However, Augustine (and many other Christians whom scholars classify as mystics) not only experienced their sin nature, but they read about it in scripture, and taught it as a basic tenet in their writings. The ones that said otherwise were deemed heretical.




There are many paths within Hinduism, and the path of Love and Grace is one of the most beloved. All I can say to this is that the devotion of a Hindu to God is not one whit less than that of a Christian.

On this we are in complete agreement :) .




I won't go into this any further, but I would ask you to consider that just perhaps God, yes, the same God that you love, gave each culture a different path to follow, and that just perhaps a Hindu, or for that matter a Buddhist or a Sikh or a Taoist, are on a path to salvation that might be foreign to you but is perfectly right for them, and ensures their salvation as much as yours does. You love your religion and know it is right: FOR YOU. You simoply cannot know that it is right ofr everyone on earth. The Bible is a valid teaching FOR YOU; but until you can see into the hearyt of somneone who lives onthe other side of the world, unless you are yourself God, you are unable to judge their devotion or know where they will end up. Your holy book mat tell you this, and you have every right to BELIEVE it; but yet you do not KNOW.

Foundational to my faith is my belief that the Bible is actually the Word of God, the final authority against which we measure all ‘truth’. So logically I could only consider the above to be true if it lined up with the Bible (such as Proverbs 14:12, John 14:6, Romans 10:9-13, etc.). Aruna, I would not judge someone’s devotion to their faith. And though I know the claims of the gospel, I would only tell you what they are—you would have to be the judge of whether or not your beliefs line up with it. Whether or not someone is a Christian is ultimately between them and God. Only God can see the heart, and only God can help us see our own hearts.

Sage
03-26-2006, 07:26 AM
I'm serious in that that was what I had been told by more than one Christian. Do I seriously believe it? Well, did you read the word "supposedly" in there?

Edit: Rereading it, I missed the "ly" on "supposedly," but anyway....

maestrowork
03-26-2006, 07:32 AM
Again, may I say this again: Let's not turn this thread into one that is about 'my religion is the right one' discussion. I was under the impression that this is a thread about what we each thinks God is or is not. Let's try to keep an open mind and turn a listening ear and learn from each other. M'Kay?

brokenfingers
03-26-2006, 07:41 AM
No. I'm the Abraham of this thread. I was interested in what folks thought about God, broadly defined. Really. I was. I'm curious by nature. The Bible? It's a Good Book, sure, but there are many good books.These latest comments are offshoots from another thread that has since been merged onto this thread.

William Haskins
03-26-2006, 08:22 AM
all gods are vengeful. because god is a human construct. the very function of myth is to explain nature. the only way for some humans to make sense of the unforgiving cruelty of nature is to put the responsibility on a power that holds sway over them.

ColoradoGuy
03-26-2006, 08:22 AM
That was Lot. And he did toss his daughters to the mob. They were subsequently raped to death.
I'm sure that an apologist would say that was a metaphor for something. Perhaps they should have left that abusive relationship, so it was their own fault (with apologies to the South Dakota thread).

maestrowork
03-26-2006, 08:25 AM
I'm sure that an apologist would say that was a metaphor for something. Perhaps they should have left that abusive relationship, so it was their own fault (with apologies to the South Dakota thread).

But it can't be a "metaphor" if you're to take every word of the Bible literally, right?

ColoradoGuy
03-26-2006, 08:33 AM
But it can't be a "metaphor" if you're to take every word of the Bible literally, right?
And therein lies the rub, of course. They want to cherry-pick passages, making allegory of those that make us squirm if taken literally. Of course those who take it ALL literally escape from that frying pan, only to find themselves in the fire of the dilemma that various parts of the Bible contradict each other. It's enough to make one's brain explode.

Puddle Jumper
03-26-2006, 08:38 AM
Are we missing some posts? :Huh:

William Haskins
03-26-2006, 08:42 AM
well crap.

reph
03-26-2006, 08:43 AM
What happened to the Bible subthread?

MacAllister
03-26-2006, 08:43 AM
Everyone wanted to crank about merging the threads.

So I unmerged 'em.

Now, maybe I'll move 'em into the poetry forum.

Or not.

Pat~
03-26-2006, 08:43 AM
It's been moved to the Christian thread...

tiny
03-26-2006, 08:43 AM
Sent to the christian forum for some odd reason...

Which I would have never posted my views in considering it's like walking into someone's house and screaming "My god that's an ugly couch!"

MacAllister
03-26-2006, 08:46 AM
The OP protested the merging of the threads. Then stated that the Bible thread was a specifically Christian thread, while the God thread is not...and accused us of bias.

So I split it back out. Can't have anyone thinking we feed our Christians to the lions, eh?

maestrowork
03-26-2006, 08:47 AM
Move it to Share Your Work... maybe we could all crit the Bible.

Puddle Jumper
03-26-2006, 08:52 AM
I understood the Christian forum to be primarily a place for Christians, not a debate forum with non-Christians. At least I seem to remember that issue being brought up some months ago. I'm just not comfortable with debating this in the Christian forum.

ColoradoGuy
03-26-2006, 08:54 AM
So you want them blended again?

NicoleJLeBoeuf
03-26-2006, 08:55 AM
I have to disagree with WH: Not all Gods are vengeful Gods. I think we have already seen posts in this thread from people of different religions whose idea of God is in no way a vengeful one. Mine certainly isn't. The idea that humans are only capable of inventing vengeful Gods strikes me as a very limited one--one that shows great condemnation for humanity, or at the very least it underestimates humanity's breadth of imagination.

Just as a "for instance," would anyone who knows more than I about Her care to speak about the Goddess Kuan Yin, and how She compares to the claim "all Gods are vengeful Gods"? Seems to me that the Chinese Goddess of mercy wouldn't fit that description.

(On an unrelated note: pb, thanks for addressing my questions earlier. Sorry I've had to absent myself from the thread for a few days and wasn't able to engage at the time. Deadlines are much like the itty bitty paws of a seventeen-pound cat walking on your chest: The pressure applied by a given deadline is indirectly proportional to the surface area, which is to say, the amount of time remaining until the deadline arrives.)

reph
03-26-2006, 08:56 AM
So the Bible is a specifically Christian subject now.

Is this good for the Jews?

MacAllister
03-26-2006, 09:03 AM
Originally posted by Puddle Jumper (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=541295&postcount=21):

I hear ya. I disagree with combining the threads. "God" refers to just about every religion because pretty much every religion calls their deity "God."

The thread I started was Christian specific. It really does not belong in this thread. It seems bias to me.


A Christian specific thread, then, does not belong in TIO, either.

Pat~
03-26-2006, 09:03 AM
The Bible can also be a sub topic in the Jewish forum, if desired. It would look considerably shorter there.

ColoradoGuy
03-26-2006, 09:21 AM
The Bible can also be a sub topic in the Jewish forum, if desired. It would look considerably shorter there.
I know a few rabbis, and they would vigorously disagree.

reph
03-26-2006, 09:33 AM
If non-Christians may participate in the thread, I suggest the "Other" section of the Religious forum. If the thread was only for Christians, Puddle Jumper, you should have said so at the beginning.

Puddle Jumper
03-26-2006, 09:46 AM
So you want them blended again?
No, I'm saying I wish it hadn't been blended or moved.


So the Bible is a specifically Christian subject now.

Is this good for the Jews?

If non-Christians may participate in the thread, I suggest the "Other" section of the Religious forum. If the thread was only for Christians, Puddle Jumper, you should have said so at the beginning.
Reph, I don't think you're understanding. My point is that it's not for Christians only, if I had only been interested in Christians discussing this topic I would have put it in the Christian forum. I put it in this forum because I meant for a discussion between Christians and non-Christians on the topic which has the potential, as we've seen, for explosive threads.

But I agree, the Other forum would be better than the Christian forum. As I said earlier, I feel like the Christian forum has always been a forum designed for Christians, not debates with non-Christians.

When I said "Christian specific," I was referring to the topic of the thread referring to the Christian Bible, not that I wanted only to discuss this with other Christians. I'd seen issues raised about its authenticity in other threads and didn't want to detract from its topic. That's why I started a thread.


The Bible can also be a sub topic in the Jewish forum, if desired. It would look considerably shorter there.
Is that the only Jewish scripture? I admit that I don't know what a Jewish Bible looks like. Do they call it a Bible or something else?

Pat~
03-26-2006, 09:47 AM
I know a few rabbis, and they would vigorously disagree.

I was referring to the fact that it would not include the New Testament. (I was under the impression that the Jewish Bible contained the books of the Old Testament:

http://www.breslov.com/bible/

...but let me know if I'm mistaken).

ColoradoGuy
03-26-2006, 10:14 AM
I was referring to the fact that it would not include the New Testament. (I was under the impression that the Jewish Bible contained the books of the Old Testament:

http://www.breslov.com/bible/

...but let me know if I'm mistaken).
And I was referring to the the incredible density and richness of rabbinic biblical exegesis. Those guys can argue for days and write dense texts about the meaning of a single word.

ColoradoGuy
03-26-2006, 10:19 AM
Is that the only Jewish scripture? I admit that I don't know what a Jewish Bible looks like. Do they call it a Bible or something else?
The Jewish tradition of learned commentary on holy books is extremely rich. It has many components: besides the OT there are the Talmud and the Midrash (I think that I spelled that correctly), which is both a commentary on the Bible and a written commentary on the commentaries.

Perhaps there is someone lurking out there who can tell us more?

Pat~
03-26-2006, 10:21 AM
And I was referring to the the incredible density and richness of rabbinic biblical exegesis. Those guys can argue for days and write dense texts about the meaning of a single word.
Oh, I can believe it--the Hebrew language is incredibly rich; one word has a paragraph of meaning! (Ever read the Amplified Bible? Not a "Jewish" document, per se, but it's a translation that expands on the meaning of every word. It's good reading.)

reph
03-26-2006, 10:26 AM
When I said "Christian specific," I was referring to the topic of the thread referring to the Christian Bible, not that I wanted only to discuss this with other Christians.
Okay, but by "the Christian Bible," then, do you mean just the New Testament? The Bible isn't Christian specific. The Old Testament is the Jewish bible.


Is that the only Jewish scripture? I admit that I don't know what a Jewish Bible looks like. Do they call it a Bible or something else?
From Leo Rosten, The Joys of Yiddish:

Torah...
1. The Pentateuch, or Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
2. The scroll containing the Five Books of Moses, handwritten by a scribe on parchment, and read in the synagogue...
3. All of Jewish law and religious studies. Torah she-he-al peh refers to the oral teachings of the rabbis, as contrasted to Torah sheh-bik-sav, the written teachings of the Pentateuch, Prophets, and Hagiographa (Sacred Writings).

Talmud...
The Talmud is a massive and monumental compendium of sixty-three books: the learned debates, dialogues, conclusions, commentaries, commentaries upon commentaries, commentaries upon commentaries upon commentaries, of the scholars who for over a thousand years interpreted the Torah... and applied its teachings to problems of law, ethics, ceremony, traditions....

The Talmud embraces everything from theology to contracts, cosmology to cosmetics, jurisprudence to etiquette, criminal law to diet, delusions, and drinking....

Traditional Jews live not by Biblical law, but by the rabbinical teachings and decisions based thereon.

aruna
03-26-2006, 10:27 AM
Just wanted to say that LightShadow apologized to me about the "sizzling water" remark, and I have accepted with no hard feelings.