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Online Weisshaupt

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What if God is Liberal?
« on: November 10, 2014, 06:03:44 AM »
So CHF's comment to my bunker entertainment thread got me thinking..

(warning, the following is likely to challenge  your faith, as its largely a description of what is challenging mine.  If you find yourself getting angry, upset or otherwise uncomfortable, please understand that 1) I am not trying to piss anyone off 2) you are perfectly free to stop reading and ignore me)


So many of you know that while I am sympathetic to Christianity, and adhere largely to the Christian definition of morality,  that I do not count myself as Christian because I have always found myself unable to accept - on faith - Christ as my savior.  It often feels to me that God just doesn't want me to take that path, just as he seems keen on discouraging me from playing cards by giving me more than my statistical due of bad hands.
As far as my life goes, I have always been lucky when it counted, and I also ascribe those few lucky things that happened, the right opportunities, the right spouse, the wonderful children, the right friends  to help me out of a jam, to divine intervention on my behalf.

As a child I read the entire Bible cover to cover.  I made an earnest and honest attempt to study it - and tried to until my first year in High School .  But I never found it "entertaining" - or even particularly illuminating. Most of what it says ( or I understand it to say)  falls under the category "common sense" in my mind. As I learned Christ's teachings in Sunday School I kept thinking - well of course Christ taught that- what other way could this possibly work without violence and bloodshed? (I did not fully appreciate at the time that the humans around me tend to prefer violence and bloodshed naturally..)

Perhaps the point of throwing me the bad hands at cards is that he is trying to get me to play them as well as I can anyway - but I simply lack the interest in learning to do that. Winning or losing  at cards just doesn't matter that much at me (and I am normally super competitive at games)  Perhaps following Christ and reading the Bible  is the same way - I simply lack the interest in doing that - and that may end up sending me to hell.  But how could I lack interest in "winning at life" - or winning at the  afterlife - or whatever?  Because the rules, like the rules in cards, seem rather arbitrary to me.  We aren't talking about the rules - as far as morality and right or wrong, but the rules on "salvation"

Nearly every religion teaches that there is only one true, narrow  path to God, salvation, non-existence or whatever,  and of course that way is the one that religion preaches ( The  Mormons was the correct answer)  I find that clip from south park funny in that it highlights what I feel is the absurdity of that notion. What sort of a loving God would take that "quiz show" approach? You picked door number three?  Aw sorry, you don't get the new car, that was behind door number one.  I am afraid you are booked on an all expense paid trip to hell to be tortured for all eternity!

Seriously, is a God who  sets things up that way worthy of worship?
Or maybe God isn't all powerful and has some sort of deep magic, some universal law that even he must obey? ( even if its a constraint he places on himself?)
If a Blood sacrifice is required to forgive us of our sins to appease the deep magic,  but then why wait to send himself/his son to die for us, condemning so many to never hearing the word of Christ?
Why leave so many in the dark for so many centuries because of the primitive state of communication and travel?
Why not post his commandments using 50 foot unexplainable  flaming letter in the desert for all to read and see? Maybe add a booming voice for the blind?

Obviously he doesn't because FAITH is required. But WHY?
For what reason does God require faith and deny his children proof of his existence?
It is to protect our freewill? To force us to use our own judgement and not simply point to the letters  in the desert to affirm our beliefs?
Is it all some bet with Satan ( Book of Job style)  where he can't prove he exists to us because that would unfairly till us in God's direction?
Is a God who is willing to destroy men's lives and cause them suffering over a Bet ( book of Job style) a God worth worshiping?
Is a God who is willing to tell a man to sacrifice his first born son and then tell him "only fooling" worthy of worship?
Why are the terms of the first covenant  with Moses and his people so very different  than those that Jesus gave us and taught us?
Is it the same God in the old and new testaments?
 Were the different terms a result of the human race growing up- similar to how you treat and deal with a toddler much differently than how you deal with an older child who can be reasoned with?
All of these questions assume a rational God who does things for rational reasons ( as imperfectly as I may be able to understand them) - but that begs the question - Is an irrational and capricious God worth worshiping?

I had a Christian friend tell me I simply wasn't serious about walking with God or attain salvation. That I had no right to question God on his motives or to decide if he was worth worshiping. That Its not up to be to chose what God should be like.

But say you die and show up to heaven and find that God is just like Obama, Hillary, Valerie Jarret or Nancy Pelosi - is he still worthy of Worship?
If anyone can lay claim to your life, God certainly can, but what sort of choice is Obey or be tortured in hell?
That makes worshiping God a lot like Harry Reid's "voluntary tax system"  doesn't it?
Is that something a loving father would do?
Does God really want people to worship him under coercion and duress?
IF God is a liberal in that way, is he worth worshiping?
I have heard many Christians deal with this by simply redefining Hell as a turning away From God. A Choice to not face him and join with him - but is that really what the Bible teaches? (are we talking Old Testament God or New Testament God...)

No, I can't know the mind of god. No I can't understand all of the reasons he may or may  not make certain choices and take certain courses of action.
But He gave us free will (and NO, I can't accept that we are at fault for that. Put a child in a room - a child bound to instinct and therefore  with no free will - and tell him not to eat the candy? If we can all see the outcome of that, couldn't God?) and with that Free will are we not supposed to use our judgement?

Perhaps the  entire point of returning to God is to give up our freewill and our judgement and thus return to the Eden we rejected buy willingly placing our trust in him.. .. God is our natural ruler, actually possessing the knowledge and power that the leftists arrogantly imagine they have,  but if giving up our freewill is the price, and something to be enforced by threats of torture if we choose wrongly, can you "trust" such an entity if he makes the same threats Harry Reid does? Are our souls just spiritual currency to God? A pocket of split change he wants back in his wallet?

As you can see, I have few answers. And Trust doesn't come easily to me. ( And yes I fully appreciate the parallels to the Dwarves in Narnia)
The God described in the Bible - the old Testament God in particular,  his actions - do not engender trust in me, and are at odds with what I believe to be my encounters with God over my lifetime. He has always been there when I needed him - like a loving father  would be. HE has touched me and comforted me, showed me his presence in the miracles around me, reassured me there is a plan to all I see,  and given me challenges to teach me, to prepare me for what is coming.  Isn't that what a father would do? Help each child to grow, to learn? To prepare them for what they face?

 Would a loving father set up a single path by which his children could come to him, and then make his children try to figure out  the correct one ( its was the Mormons) ? Would a loving father really leave that open to chance?  Would he leave some of his children in the dark and deny them ever even hearing about this path to him?  Would a loving father deny a child who had acted morally and loves his Father simply because that child  failed to put his Faith in one of those paths? If God isn't a loving father , is he still worthy of worship?

This is why when I pick up a Bible its of little use to me.  It tells the story of and describes a God that I am unsure of.  It doesn't bring me peace or hope. It fills me with dread that this is the God I will one day face, and a God that is willing to use his most devoted child, Job, as a plaything in a bet, could only be a liberal - with no concern for that man's life or suffering. Job was rewarded? No - he lost his wife and children. Getting a New wife and new Children is NOT an adequate substitute nor will it take away the scars and tears he suffered. It describes a God that would tell his child - its not enough you obey my rules, it is not enough you love me. You must also accept this (or that) story of blood sacrifice  - on faith - or I will deny you.

Offline Libertas

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Re: What if God is Liberal?
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2014, 07:08:41 AM »
The way I look at it the OT was God trying to establish himself and his chosen people, and like rearing kids the kids tend to screw up, rebel, and need punishment...and there are wicked neighbors nearby who need an ass-kicking now and then.  It is what it is.

The NT is where a Christian should focus on, and I think you may be forgetting the concepts of contrition and forgiveness, nobody can obey God in all things...if they could they'd be a prophet and a saint...we are flawed, have been from the beginning, overcoming flaws is one thing, but lacking perfection we seek cleansing from the perfect, Christ.  I understand the angst though, the my way or the highway absolutism, and who hasn't been angry at God at least once in their life...but faith is a cement, it covers the cracks and fissures, it levels out and bridges the gap between flaw and perfection.  I dunno if that helps, take it for what it's worth.

Personally, I don't worry if God is liberal, I sincerely doubt it, not in the political philosophic sense of the word, there is simply too much there to loath (not the least being abortion), not that Pubbies are that much better.  And if he is a liberal, well, we'll see y'all in Hell I guess!
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Online Weisshaupt

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Re: What if God is Liberal?
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2014, 08:08:59 AM »
I think you may be forgetting the concepts of contrition and forgiveness, nobody can obey God in all things...if they could they'd be a prophet and a saint...we are flawed, have been from the beginning, overcoming flaws is one thing, but lacking perfection we seek cleansing from the perfect, Christ.

If a machine is flawed, do you blame the machine or the engineer who designed it?
We are flawed only because he made us flawed - or allowed us to become so.
Maybe he had  to by the rules of the deep magic.
But yes I should say "obey his rules to the best of one's ability"
And so, okay we need to be cleansed - and this comes from - blood sacrifice. Abraham to sacrifice his  own son,  God to sacrifice  his.  Deep magic that compels it? Who sets up something like that?

Quote
who hasn't been angry at God at least once in their life...but faith is a cement, it covers the cracks and fissures, it levels out and bridges the gap between flaw and perfection.

Actually I can't really remember a time I was angry.  Sometime in College I had an.. experience ( no not drug induced, I have never done drugs to my knowledge., nor do I think the punch was spiked on this one..) . It was like being scoped up, shown this terrific size painting or map, and seeing the order in it - in all things.  And I emerged from the other side with the only faith I have ever had - Faith there is a plan, someone loving is in charge of it, but I have no guarantee I will like the part I am to play. So I don't get angry with God, its all going to work out in the big picture.  Its my little picture I have to worry about.


Quote
Personally, I don't worry if God is liberal, I sincerely doubt it, not in the political philosophic sense of the word, there is simply too much there to loath (not the least being abortion), not that Pubbies are that much better.  And if he is a liberal, well, we'll see y'all in Hell I guess!

Yeah, see that is my attitude as well.  My Christian friend was quite upset by the notion that I would reject God in any form, but there are some forms I feel I would be duty bound to reject him. Then I was told I was hopeless and that I would never find my way because I was expecting God to do Tricks for me and conform to my expectations. Perhaps, I am hopeless. Like that deck of cards providing me no joy when it works for so many other people,  the Bible just doesn't seem to contain my path. I just have to hope there is some other way than blood sacrifice to get there.


 
« Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 11:55:22 AM by Weisshaupt »

Offline IronDioPriest

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Re: What if God is Liberal?
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2014, 09:08:21 AM »
The bible says that tiny faith (the size of a mustard seed - the smallest of seeds) is all that is required for faith to grow. I don't believe one seeks God without at least a mustard seed of faith. In my opinion, asking hard questions about God and faith - and wrestling with all the possible answers - is the definition of seeking God.

Christian faith is not unreasonable. In other words, it can be arrived at through reason. Intellectually honest questions are an intrinsic part of any reasoning process. Avoiding the asking of those questions doesn't serve the truth. Wrestling with the answers does. So it seems to me that you're on a good path, my friend.

Profound questions and faith can coexist in your mind. There is nothing in the bible that requires us to stop asking hard questions once we make a decision to believe. I think some people avoid making a decision for Christ because they think that somehow they aren't being genuine if they hold faith and deep questions simultaneously.

I have deep questions, and I love Christ Jesus.

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« Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 10:52:42 AM by IronDioPriest »
"A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means."

- Thomas Jefferson

Online Pandora

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Re: What if God is Liberal?
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2014, 01:12:55 PM »
Weisshaupt, not that it matters, but I've never been able to get anything worthwhile from the Bible either.

Quote
... He has always been there when I needed him - like a loving father  would be. HE has touched me and comforted me, showed me his presence in the miracles around me, reassured me there is a plan to all I see,  and given me challenges to teach me, to prepare me for what is coming.

... Sometime in College I had an.. experience ( no not drug induced, I have never done drugs to my knowledge., nor do I think the punch was spiked on this one..) . It was like being scoped up, shown this terrific size painting or map, and seeing the order in it - in all things.  And I emerged from the other side with the only faith I have ever had - Faith there is a plan, someone loving is in charge of it, but I have no guarantee I will like the part I am to play. So I don't get angry with God, its all going to work out in the big picture.

These are similar to my experiences as well.  Although I have gotten very angry at God, in a way, that is comforting to me in that it reaffirms my faith that He IS there, because I have had periods of doubt when I asked myself the same hard questions that you do.

In the end and as for the rest, who says what, and the Bible itself, none of that matters to me.  I know what I know in my heart, and that God put it there, and that's all I need to know.

I'm never going to be a good proselytizer because I don't have the gift.  But there is alternative; to live my life as an example and let others take from that what they will or can.  You're already doing that, too.

"Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer." - Mark Twain

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Offline IronDioPriest

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Re: What if God is Liberal?
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2014, 02:08:21 PM »
Even Mother Teresa had doubts that surfaced during darker times in her long life. I'd say that on the spectrum of faith in God/Christianity, she was at the tippy-top end of it.

Knowing what we know about how she lived her life, if she could have lingering doubts and moments that tried her faith, how much more will those doubts and trials challenge us?

For that matter, Jesus Christ had His moment of feeling forsaken by God. I'm sure He snapped-to quicker than anyone, but He shows us that times of doubt in God's plan is an intrinsic part of faith.
"A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means."

- Thomas Jefferson

Offline AlanS

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Re: What if God is Liberal?
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2014, 02:43:34 PM »
Although I have gotten very angry at God, in a way, that is comforting to me in that it reaffirms my faith that He IS there, because I have had periods of doubt when I asked myself the same hard questions that you do.


I don't think a person alive hasn't been angry with Him at one time or another. With my children and especially the way the world is going down the tubes.

The most I ever ask of Him is the strength to deal with it every day.
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Online Weisshaupt

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Re: What if God is Liberal?
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2014, 08:01:31 PM »
This is the Neanderthal Guy from the r/K thread.
And I found this discussion interesting.
I clicked upon it largely because it seemed it may be relevant to this thread due to the Mustard Seed reference, and  it surely is
I am still chewing on it myself, but I would be interested in hearing other comments.

Faith of a Mustard Seed - Koan update

Offline ChrstnHsbndFthr

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Re: What if God is Liberal?
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2014, 02:20:27 AM »
There are a great deal of questions there, more than even a verbose fellow such as myself can answer, but let me hit some highlights, if you will.

True, I once thought faith was a decision, but I no longer believe it so. One either is given faith, by grace, or one is not.  Though I have often expressed it as a choice to believe, it is actually a decision whether to translate our belief into action. I can no more decide to believe I can fly than I can actually fly.  But, it is entirely possible to believe one can run and still refuse to do so, as I am living proof of that myself.  Therefore one could believe that there is a God, that He is the one we are told of in the bible, that the teachings make moral sense, and still refuse to implement them in one's own life.  This is what James called a dead faith, for faith without works is dead.

Now the explanation of Savior and why that is necessary is more complex still. God is unchanging and unalterably good. He makes clear and reveals His nature to us through His Word and He is glorified by mankind, as He shows His mercy and goodness to us.  God cannot accept sin without penalty, because that would make sin acceptable, and would thereby alter the nature of God.  But, in His grace and mercy, He pays the penalty for us. Sin still has a consequence. It is not free. It is not acceptable. But, WE do not pay the price, because we cannot. Without God arranging the Savior, a perfect and sinless sacrifice, there could be no salvation.  God maintains His nature, which is love and goodness, and His children have the free gift of salvation, just as a child cannot pay the price for the broken window, the Father must pay, but the children must be aware of the cost and must learn from it. They must learn not to cost the Father and Christians attempt not to cost the Savior. 

(There is a big discussion of God living outside of time, which is a created thing, and the crucifixion being a constant thing, but that gets pretty distended.

The issue of one Way, is a scriptural concept.  He teaches us to seek and we will find.  I view that as a promise. He does not teach us to follow denominations, which is a modern was of saying divisions, in fact He teaches against that.  Follow Christ. Simple enough in my book. Will I make errors in my reading and understanding? Certainly. But, ours is a great and merciful God. I look to the example of Abraham, who had faith in God and was accounted as righteous, even though he was wrong in his thinking about how God would give him back his son, whom he had been commanded to sacrifice. (He though God would raise him from the dead, but instead God stayed his hand.)  The technical error was not important to the nature of God. It was the faith in God that was credited to Abraham as righteousness.

Coercion?  I do not think so.  One either has faith or one does not. If one believes God, the threat really does not come into it. He is due worship as the Creator, as the Savior, as Father, Teacher, etc.  Some sects of the Jews did not believe man was an eternal being, but STILL worshiped God and tried to keep His commandments.  That is a natural consequence of faith. Remember that as a child, one may obey their father out of fear, but after learning and in due course, the taught son obeys because it is the right thing to do and understanding that it is in the son's best interest to obey the father who loves him and only wants what is best for him. How much more so to obey God because we know He loves us and wants what is best for us? Likewise, if one does not believe God, the threat does not come into it because when one does not believe that God is, then one does not fear punishment. 

As to the common sense of it, in a sense your point is true, we should all see the wisdom of it and live by it, though most will not. But, no other religion teaches this. Our nature does not teach us these principles to live by, how to get along, how to treat one another, etc.  Personally, I believe with nothing other than a bible to learn from, our entire society could be restarted from scratch and function reasonably well, if people would study and apply those principles.

“My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together.

“However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”
Phil Robertson an elder in the church of Christ

Offline Pablo de Fleurs

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Re: What if God is Liberal?
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2014, 06:53:32 AM »
This won’t put your questions to rest…merely point in a direction (towards God). One must fervently pursue a relationship with Him in order for any of this to make sense…but that’s your job (for you) and my job (for me).

A. God doesn’t need us in order to have a relationship; He already has a relationship with Christ & Holy Spirit.
B. God created us and desires (but does not force) a relationship with us. He may call us or draw us to Him – but the choice is ours.
C. He wants a relationship, not a set of rules to follow…however rules & requirements are necessary for ANY relationship to function.
D. God has given us ample “evidence” of His creation (Romans 1:20). Those rejecting it do so at their own peril & I don’t care much if, after presenting the evidence, they reject it. Those wishing to argue for the sake of arguing can, literally, go to Hell.
E. God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). So don’t think of it as “Liberal” or “Conservative” – God doesn’t use man’s labels to define Himself (though you can guess which “side” He leans toward from His Word).

You have children. You’d like to be in relationship with them. And you are. You’d prefer not to have them be promiscuous or use illegal drugs…but they might…so you establish rules (which they may or may not follow). Flipping a switch & making them automatons brings no one the satisfaction of a relationship…you want them to desire the relationship. What would be the point if they followed you blindly, like zombies?

The opportunity to better ourselves and follow God’s ways is ours…not His. His standards are extremely high & following Him (sort of like desiring to become the CEO of a huge corporation) will require sacrifice & tough choices. But the game is eternal & the benefits everlasting…so the “sacrifice” is worth it.  We’re preparing for eternity…not simply a month’s vacation. And preparing for eternity takes…a long time.

We, as a result of free will which then feeds the ego to a point of thinking that WE are the “gods”, screwed it up so badly that God provided a solution to the problem (Christ’s death upon the Cross – a final blood sacrifice to end all sacrifices). But it’s a gift, which must be intentionally & purposefully chosen…OR the transaction of the gift-giver isn’t complete. We must choose to follow Christ & accept the gift.

We know that technology doesn’t create itself – WE create it. In exactly the same way, someone who thinks we are not created, but have evolved…is effing stupid & not using their reason. We are too intricate & the universe too precisely tuned, to have ANY chance of freak, happenstance occurrence (ten to the 400th power or something).

We can ascertain God’s stance on issues (abortion, homosexuality, tyranny) from His Word and the conditions of life itself (freedom vs. bondage). Jesus physically fed the 5,000…but not every day or as part of an ongoing program.

If you were to buy a boat, one of the criteria would be its seaworthiness. If it don’t float, it ain’t worth the investment. You wouldn’t simply suggest that it be free of holes…you’d demand it! Actually, you’d assume it or…why are they in the boat business? So too does God require our striving for perfection. Not perfection itself…simply the striving toward it. We, unlike the boat, will have holes…but God’s plan covers that (that’s called grace).

Have the terms changed over the years? Absolutely. But we’re now on the “Jesus Plan”. Accept or reject it at your own peril. Mock now (feeding self), pay later. Pay now (dying to self) & enjoy later. Pretty simple (though not easy)- it’s we who complicate it. Praise God for the patience to deal with it all. Lord know I don’t have that level of patience…but my ways aren’t His. No irrationality. No capriciousness – but a plan for those of us that are irrational & capricious.

Short answers to lengthy questions. Sorry. But studying Scripture, not merely reading it, is the key. What you physically "see" ain't all there is...by a long shot. That's where faith enters (added to the rationality of why we believe in the first place). All religions may claim to be the path - but only one can be correct. If many paths start up a mountain, which one ends successfully? You have to decide, based upon the evidence. God has told us...and, being that it's HE who sits atop the mountain, He has the best view of the paths & where they lead. Only one does - and it's revealed within a book that has withstood the scrutiny of scholars & time & that is better corroborated than any other ancient writings. The more I read God's Word, the better i find that it agrees with God's world.

Good luck!
2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power & of love and of calm, a well-balanced mind, discipline and self-control.

Offline Libertas

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Re: What if God is Liberal?
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2014, 07:17:04 AM »
Oh, and as far as the Bible goes Weisshaupt, not sure if the version used is an issue or not, I know I've read the Old and New Testaments completely though like 9 times...I used to favor the original KJV as the other "new" versions were too modern in vernacular and the ones that omit He and all that can be burned for apostasy...anyway, before launching my 10th run through I sought a new version.  I went back, way back...and found a Geneva Bible, the first one translated entirely and directly from Hebrew texts into English.  I figure the closer to root the more accurate the version.  Anyway, don't give up on reading it, and don't dwell too much on the Old Testament (though I do like Psalms, that book is brilliant and the prose is elegant and profound), the New is where our core lessons are, and you don't have to obsess over every meaning to the point of madness, sometimes just the act of reading without thinking (it's hard, my silly CPU runs constantly, even at night and wakes me up!) and let it soak in over time.  Don't read it like an auto manual.  Just read and know that you'll not glom onto everything right away or even ever.  I am not big on organized religion, I am much more private than that and have issues with their bureaucracy and such, and while I have faith I am far from perfect and not averse to doubts and confusion.  I do what I can how I can and try not to dwell on vexations.
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Offline IronDioPriest

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Re: What if God is Liberal?
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2014, 08:39:04 AM »
...studying Scripture, not merely reading it, is the key. What you physically "see" ain't all there is...by a long shot. That's where faith enters (added to the rationality of why we believe in the first place)...

This is an important point re; trying to glean meaning from the bible using only our worldly understanding as our guide and only our intellect as our discernment. Reading is not enough. Studying is not enough. But reading and studying with faith will open doors of understanding.

The New Testament comes right out and says in several ways that to those who do not believe, the Word of God makes no sense. I found this to be true for myself, since reading the bible made no sense to me until I willingly entered into relationship with Christ. Suddenly - and I do mean suddenly - it was as if I was granted some supernatural understanding of the words that had seemed like gibberish. Ideas began to tie together, and entire passages that had seemed like lofty ideas with no practical application to my life suddenly meant everything.

Here is a LINK to several of those scriptures that essentially say that wisdom or discernment of the Word come from the spirit of God, and absent His spirit, there can be no understanding of it.

I realize this is touchy, and I do not mean to offend anyone. It is as if the bible says you don't understand the bible because you don't have enough faith to fully understand. But I wouldn't put it that harshly. I would say to those who seek God but find the bible difficult to swallow, that your faith hasn't yet taken the leap necessary to turn the key. They call it a leap of faith for a reason.

If you can bring yourself to just believe that Jesus is the Christ; that He died and rose again so that we could see a pathway to relationship with God, and through that relationship, be compelled to repent for our sins and sinful nature; and ask Him for the forgiveness freely given - if we can do just that much, and then say a prayer for understanding and discernment each time we sit down to read the Word of God - supernatural understanding of the Word will be granted.

That seems backwards to the intellect, doesn't it? Our mind tells us we should be able to read the bible, and based on whether it all makes sense to us, use it to discern the truth of whether Jesus is the Christ, and then make our decision for or against Him based on our worldly understanding of the Word. That approach can only get us part of the way there. We have to take that final leap of faith, and the understanding of the Word will unfold before our eyes.

A good teacher doesn't hurt either. If you don't like church, I'd suggest finding a group of seekers and study the bible led by a good teacher.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2014, 08:45:34 AM by IronDioPriest »
"A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means."

- Thomas Jefferson

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Re: What if God is Liberal?
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2014, 09:08:31 AM »
God cannot accept sin without penalty, because that would make sin acceptable, and would thereby alter the nature of God. But, in His grace and mercy, He pays the penalty for us. Sin still has a consequence. It is not free. It is not acceptable. But, WE do not pay the price, because we cannot.

The point of a penalty or punishment is that it deters the behavior and teaches the individual to avoid the pain. That God, as a good father must from time to time punish his children to correct them makes sense.   So your son disobeys you, causes property damage and then lies to you about it. Your daughter then steps in front of him and says "I love him!  punish me instead." -
Do you go ahead and punish your daughter as if she had done the things your son did?

 If you did , would your son learn to not do what he did? Maybe.  Perhaps he so loves his sister that he does avoid it in the future. Or perhaps he learns that consequences fall on others and he is free to continue as he has done. 

But now what does he think of you - that you are willing to punish his sister for what he did? 

Wouldn't you rather your son would then do the honorable thing, confess his wrong doing and demand you punish him and leave his sister out of it?

Will me avoiding sin, in any way, diminish or protect Christ from his throughout time and space suffering in the Crucifixion?

Quote
"that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of Time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."

That there should and must be a penalty for Sin or it would change the nature of God ( and probably make him unworthy of worship)  is something I can wholeheartedly accept.

But the penalty God sets is Blood Sacrifice? 
And someone else can pay it?
Sin is some sort of debt, and human suffering ( by anyone) is the  currency in which it is repaid?
I create a creature with a sinful nature, then claim because of that nature he owes a debt paid in his own suffering, but  he can let  someone else to suffer for him to pay the debt.  Again I ask, who sets up something like that?

Is God the Author of this deep Magic?
If sin is so offensive to God why did he create creatures with a Sinful nature?  He put small  children in a room with candy  and told them not to eat it.   It would seem he was TRYING to create sinful creatures but was forbidden by the deep magic to do it directly.

 
God maintains His nature, which is love and goodness, and His children have the free gift of salvation, just as a child cannot pay the price for the broken window, the Father must pay, but the children must be aware of the cost and must learn from it. They must learn not to cost the Father and Christians attempt not to cost the Savior. 

Your childhood was quite different from mine apparently.  I did work for the neighbor every day till I had paid for the window. (as it should be)
A child too young to provide any compensation (as even a token)  is unlikely to be able to comprehend a concept such as "cost"


Coercion?  I do not think so.

Hellfire and Brimstone for not accepting Jesus Christ is not a threat? That is Coercion. I think that is why many scholars want to think of hell as simply turning away from God and not an active punishment. But I am not convinced scripture supports that interpretation.

One either has faith or one does not. If one believes God, the threat really does not come into it. He is due worship as the Creator, as the Savior, as Father, Teacher, etc.

Then why care about Obamacare - weren't you going to buy insurance anyway? So the threats of punishment and fines are irrelevant.
The threat is still relevant even if they are trying to force you to do something you were going to do anyway. Your point about threatening a small child to behave until he learns you have his best interests at heart is well taken,  but this is a standing threat even to the older child who is trying to obey (and failing because of his nature)

 
B. God created us and desires (but does not force) a relationship with us. He may call us or draw us to Him – but the choice is ours.


And if we make the wrong "choice", we spend eternity tortured in hellfire. Don't worry - your taxes are voluntary, there are just consequences if you choose not to pay them. A choice offered with a threat is not a "choice"

 
E. God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). So don’t think of it as “Liberal” or “Conservative” – God doesn’t use man’s labels to define Himself (though you can guess which “side” He leans toward from His Word).

He may not, but I am human and those labels are all I have.  He is God. I am not. Yet I have freewill, and I have a keen interest in the nature of  God if I am to commit to worshiping him.  A large part of my problem is the God of the Old Testament, whose nature as indicated by his actions, is capricious and often simply mean. I understand new covenant, new rules - but if its the same God its hard to forget the history.  ( I tend to prefer the Gnostic explanation)

We, as a result of free will which then feeds the ego to a point of thinking that WE are the “gods”, screwed it up so badly that God provided a solution to the problem (Christ’s death upon the Cross – a final blood sacrifice to end all sacrifices). But it’s a gift, which must be intentionally & purposefully chosen…OR the transaction of the gift-giver isn’t complete. We must choose to follow Christ & accept the gift.

This is the scenario where the hypothetical son above allows the sister to take the punishment as a gift. If the deep magic is the coin I must pay in, shouldn't I be demanding that the suffering fall on me ( as much as I can take of it) instead of letting Christ do it all for me?  In the "broken window" suggested by CHF shouldn't a child make amends to the amount he is able, even if the father pays the rest?


Have the terms changed over the years? Absolutely. But we’re now on the “Jesus Plan”. Accept or reject it at your own peril.

And you don't think that is a threat? If I come to your house and tell you to obey me, or your life will be in peril, would you not take it as a threat?

 
But studying Scripture, not merely reading it, is the key. What you physically "see" ain't all there is...by a long shot.

So when you are trying to explain right and wrong to your kids, do you explain it in code and complex analogy  that has to be studied? He is the creator of the universe, but lacks good communication skills? (why did Christ not write his OWN book and testament? Why did the apostles have to do it for him?)  Being clear and consistent with children is really important.  Again, this is part of the "Game Show Host" God - "here is a puzzle, see if you can figure it out and you win the prize under this box!"

 
. All religions may claim to be the path - but only one can be correct. If many paths start up a mountain, which one ends successfully?

"The correct answer was the Mormons" - Again, its the "Game Show Host" God. Pick the right path, open the right door, guess the right price. Solve my riddle.
Why would a loving God make it difficult to discern  the easiest path to him? Why would he create only ONE path?

 ALL PATHS  arrive at the top of the mountain if you keep going up. Some may require slow and tedious bush-wacking through miles of thorns, others may require danger ridden scaling  of cliff faces, and some may arrive at an impossible obstacle, a river that can't be crossed, quicksand, lava, man-eating dragons - which require you to track the contour or backtrack until another path upward (maybe even the "correct one" ) presents itself. Some paths may be longer and harder, but all of them reach the top if you keep going up.  The difference between them is the difficulty.  I have climbed too many mountains from "the wrong side" just to be alone and avoid meeting people on the "correct (and easier) path"  to think otherwise.




Every Weekend, all summer long, people Climb Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Forest.  Some take the 16 Mile long trail ( usually in a line) Some climb straight up the "Diamond" cliff face. Some climb Mt. Meeker and then traverse this really nasty narrow trail through the ravine between them.  At the top, does anyone say - you didn't come MY way so you didn't really climb this mountain ( okay, yeah, some of the people who came up the cliff DO say that)

Will God really reject me if I arrive at the mountain top after conquering the thorn bushes, killing the dragons, swimming the river, and scaling the cliff?
Sorry son, you didn't come up the "one true path" where your suffering was borne by my son - you will now be punished for all eternity.
Why would a loving Father provide only one path for all to follow? - when all of his children are different?  As I father I know what works for my daughter does not work for my son. How could that be any less so when you have billions of children? There may be better paths and worse paths.  But not "one true" path, and if that is the case, I am not sure this narrow minded  God is worth worshiping.


« Last Edit: November 11, 2014, 09:13:21 AM by Weisshaupt »

Offline ChrstnHsbndFthr

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Re: What if God is Liberal?
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2014, 09:21:37 AM »
Your analogy of the mountain is good.  There is one mountain top. Certainly, if we all agree the goal is the mountain top, then the route is not so important.  Christ IS the goal. It does not matter where I start from, I will travel toward that goal. Does that make my path different than yours? Assuredly. But, the GOAL remains the same. We come to God through the Son and only through the Son.  "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light, no man cometh to the Father but by me."

One may start out in any of several denominations, but in the end, the goal has to be the same. Christ.
“My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together.

“However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”
Phil Robertson an elder in the church of Christ

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Re: What if God is Liberal?
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2014, 09:24:26 AM »

The New Testament comes right out and says in several ways that to those who do not believe, the Word of God makes no sense. I found this to be true for myself, since reading the bible made no sense to me until I willingly entered into relationship with Christ. Suddenly - and I do mean suddenly - it was as if I was granted some supernatural understanding of the words that had seemed like gibberish. Ideas began to tie together, and entire passages that had seemed like lofty ideas with no practical application to my life suddenly meant everything.

So now the Father of all things turns out be really really bad at advertizing as well?
Again, is he compelled to be this bad at communicating by the deep magic, or some bet with Satan?


I realize this is touchy, and I do not mean to offend anyone. It is as if the bible says you don't understand the bible because you don't have enough faith to fully understand. But I wouldn't put it that harshly. I would say to those who seek God but find the bible difficult to swallow, that your faith hasn't yet taken the leap necessary to turn the key. They call it a leap of faith for a reason.

And that faith is actually granted you by God, correct? Like a light switch?  So what if he wants some of his children to come by a different path - because they are recalcitrant A-holes like myself. Because we have remedial lessons we must also learn.  Does he open the door to the easier path for us,  or does he, like any good parent, bring us by the longer road - which may or may not, eventually meet this one?
 
If you can bring yourself to just believe that Jesus is the Christ; that He died and rose again so that we could see a pathway to relationship with God, and through that relationship, be compelled to repent for our sins and sinful nature; and ask Him for the forgiveness freely given - if we can do just that much, and then say a prayer for understanding and discernment each time we sit down to read the Word of God - supernatural understanding of the Word will be granted.

Yeah, I can't do that until someone explains to me why the deep magic is the way it is and who set it up that way. Because engaging in blood sacrifice of a willing victim  doesn't sit well with me. I accept god exists, he is good and is in charge. I have seen too much of him in my life to believe otherwise.  I am stuck at accepting that Blood sacrifice is the only way I may be forgiven for the sins I commit as part of the imperfect nature GOD created me with.
 

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Re: What if God is Liberal?
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2014, 09:30:02 AM »
Your analogy of the mountain is good.  There is one mountain top. Certainly, if we all agree the goal is the mountain top, then the route is not so important.  Christ IS the goal. It does not matter where I start from, I will travel toward that goal. Does that make my path different than yours? Assuredly. But, the GOAL remains the same. We come to God through the Son and only through the Son.  "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light, no man cometh to the Father but by me."

One may start out in any of several denominations, but in the end, the goal has to be the same. Christ.

Is Christ on the mountaintop? Or God? Or Both? Is there even going to be a functional difference that we can perceive between those concepts if and when I arrive at the summit?  I don't see how one could know till one arrives, just as I won't be able to see the view on the other side of the mountain till I get there.
I understand that the Bible says that Christ is the ONE WAY..  I also understand that is just what any man trying to grow a religion would say.  Perhaps its true, but I am skeptical.  Which is why I need a far better of the Deep Magic and why that was the one and only way by which I could make penance for my sins - is by letting my innocent,  bigger, stronger, older, wiser, perfect brother  take my licks for me.

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Re: What if God is Liberal?
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2014, 09:31:43 AM »
God did not create us with a sinful nature. That was created by Adam's choice.

Romans 5 12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 for [h]until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

15 But [j]the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression [k]resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions [l]resulting in justification. 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
“My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together.

“However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”
Phil Robertson an elder in the church of Christ

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Re: What if God is Liberal?
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2014, 09:37:45 AM »
In your analogy Christ is the mountain top. The concept of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is hard to express. They are one.  There is only one God. But, the full expression of God appears as three.
The Father personifies the purity and goodness and authority of our Creator.
The physical aspect is referred to as the Son. (God with us in bodily form, suffering all the trials and temptations of life just as we do.
And the Holy Spirit personifies the work of bringing faith, protection, and comfort.

(Obviously this is incomplete shorthand at best.)
“My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together.

“However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”
Phil Robertson an elder in the church of Christ

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Re: What if God is Liberal?
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2014, 10:04:24 AM »
God did not create us with a sinful nature. That was created by Adam's choice.

Yeah, and the 3 year old kid left alone in the room with the candy he was told not to eat it  made a choice too. Any Adult knows what is going to happen there.
Adam had no knowledge of good and evil till he ate of the apple, so did he make an informed choice?  He believed a lie told to him by Eve. 
Did he know fully know and understand what he was doing?
And while we are not supposed to visit the sins of the father upon the son, I am responsible for the sins of my great^Nth power grandfather?
I don't deny the sinful nature of man, I see it every day.  But if the story is to be taken in a literal sense  God  knew it would happen and allowed it to happen. A parent is responsible for the well being of a child - especially one with no understanding or knowledge of good and evil.

 



Offline Pablo de Fleurs

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Re: What if God is Liberal?
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2014, 11:51:11 AM »
Whether you process the Heaven/Hell invitation as a threat is a choice, Weisshaupt.

I explain it this way:

Is there someone in your life (wife, best friend, etc.) who’s company you enjoy & in who’s presence you have a good time…whether that be chatting, spending quality time together, etc.?
Think of Heaven/eternal life as a place where those who feel that way about God or Jesus Christ get to spend eternity.

OTOH, have you ever known a person whom you do not care for - to the point of not wanting to be in the same room with them…OR…not attending an event (small venue, not a football stadium) if they’re going to be there? You’ve not taken the time to get to know them & as a result, want nothing to do with them & who you think you know they are. Think of Hell as a place where you don’t have to spend time with the creator who’s ways, thoughts, methods you find so distasteful.

Ultimately I don’t convince anyone…they must come to Christ on their own. One choice would, even pragmatically, be perceived as better than the other. The alternative really appears to suck. Weigh the costs (cost here on earth vs. eternal consequences) and choose. God’s moral standards are what they are. They are the basis/origin for our objective moral code here on earth. And we must conform to them. Have you ever told your children: “Because I’m the daddy…THAT’s why!”? That’s, in effect, what God is saying to us. Like it or not, it’s His game. He has, however, made relationship with Him rather pleasant…IF you choose to process it that way.

If not, well…..
2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power & of love and of calm, a well-balanced mind, discipline and self-control.