Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Questions Answered!

If you missed my Sure, I'll Answer That post last week, some of my readers sent me questions that they wanted to know what I know, or at least what I think.

GCT said
I know that you claim that you can't argue to god using reason, etc, but surely you must have some reason for belief in your particular religious faith vs. any other, correct? What is that reason and why is it compelling? Further, do you have any reasons that you feel are compelling coming from you but are not compelling coming from someone with a different set of beliefs?

These are tough questions because it is hard to explain God to someone that can't see Him, or has felt His presence - but as always, I'll try.

Me personal experience with God was a total surprise to me, and it wasn't in a church. I didn't say the sinner's prayer, or respond to an altar call. I was at an Alateen conference and they were closing it with the "God as We Understand Him" meeting. It was a bunch of kids that got up there and expressed their thoughts on the "higher power". I was an atheist at the time.I was telling some of the kids waiting in line how I didn't believe in God. Somewhere between that statement, and the microphone, I felt a strange presence. I was born again right there. The experience is still indescribable, and that was in 1978. HERE is more on that story.

To answer why I believe what I believe is more difficult - so I will explain that process. I am a programmer, so everything needs to be scripted, and orderly. In 1982, I decided to read that Bible for myself. I grew up in a church with no power, and no presence, but  lots of religion. HERE is more on that. I also went to a healing meeting where a little boy was healed of a club foot! HERE is more on that story. That kind of stuff gets your attention.

I have read that Bible 7 times cover-to-cover in 5 different translations. (NIV, RSV, NAS, AMP, NKJ) and I like the Message to just read. Each time I would read it, I would find something that was really cool - healing, prophesy, the coin in the fishes mouth - I wanted to experience it. I also read HUNDREDS of books about the supernatural and went ot Bible School, seminary, and ministry school.  I think I've heard it all. HERE is more on denominations.

I am a simple guy. I thought if Jesus came and found me at the God meeting, people told me that He could do stuff, and this little boy was healed, then I ought to get out there and see it for myself. I didn't really follow any specific denomination, but I spent years as a Charismatic Episcopalian, a few years in some evangelical churches, a few more in Pentecostal churches, and 10+ years in Vineyard Christian Fellowships. All of them had a mix of religion, and Spirit. I witnessed far more of the supernatural in Brazil, than in USA.

Americans don't have nearly as many needs, and therefore; they can often fix whatever is wrong on their own, without ever giving God a thought. Healthcare, bankruptcy, unemployment insurance, welfare, soup kitchens all insulate folks from a need for a supernatural God.

I don't worry about who is right, or who wins the debate. Debating God is basically pointless. If God heals your loved one, or provides some pressing need, that is much more convincing than some debate. Guys like the Bible Answer Man and John McCarthy bore me to tears with their debate and theory about God. I read the Bible, and if God does that very thing I read about before my very eyes - well, then I think I am right.

The bottom line for me is this, if God said it in the Bible, then it is possible that I can experience it. The rest - which I'll get to - like were Adam and Eve real folks, was Noah a real guy, did Jonah really go in the belly of  whale, and what is Heaven like? Are things that I can't prove, and honestly, I don't care too. I can tell you what I have seen, and you can check it out for yourself. I have 30+ years of experience in seeing God heal, prophecies come to pass, people radically delivered from addictions, as well as other miracles and supernatural events. I don't need anyone else's scholarship, faith, denominational doctrines or belief. I just as convinced of God's power, as I am of the fact that their is a car in my driveway.

I know there are lots of folks that claim to rightly divide the word, and in their own minds, they do. As we've discussed previously, if there is no fruit, I don't believe it. If it sounds plausible, I check it out against what I already know to be true. And unlike a lot of others, I admit the things I am unsure of. That doesn't make God wrong, or the Bible in conflict. It simply means that I don't know yet, and God hasn't reveled it to me yet. For instance, I am still waiting to see some raised from the dead after 3 days.

Here are a few blogs about how I know God.
- The Man From Argentina
- The Red Mazda
- Personal Healing
- Full Tank
- The Bald Man
- The Black BMW

The above stories are compelling because I was there, not because some body told me what, or how to believe.

Joyce Lighari said...
How important are rituals? Or are they important at all? If so, what is the one that you can't live without. Do you believe when we die we immediately go to heaven or do we wait for the resurrection? If we wait, where do we wait?

Good question Joyce. Rituals are good if they point us to God. It is the same with symbols. Otherwise they can stick us right in the middle of dead religion, where we won't see God. Certainly communion is a mandate - "do this in remembrance of me." All the other sacraments, water baptism, reconciliation (confession), confirmation (laying on of hands to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit), marriage, holy orders (ordination) and the anointing of the sick are all in the Bible. It seems that more often that we do them, the less meaningful they can become unless we truly connect with God - that's always exciting.

I am New Testament guy, and I think the word, fellowship, communion and  prayer (Acts 2:42) are the essential personal rituals.

I believe that we go straight up. If we had to wait, that would present a theological problem. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." I know there are other verses that talk about sleep - but Jesus is easier to understand than Paul.

photogr said...
Are you a pre tribulationist ( Jesus comes at the beginning of tribulation and takes up His church) or Post tribulationist ( Jesus comes at the end of the tribulations and then takes up his church)?

I believe in a post tribulation resurrection. (You can Google a million pages on the Bible verses) Certainly there are good theological arguments for both - well, and even a mid-tribulation resurrection. I believe that the Body of Christ (church) will suffer like the body of Christ. It will be tortured and persecuted worse than the 1st century church. There will be be millions of church buildings destroyed, and hundreds of thousands slaughtered for their faith. Of course others see us getting out of here a la Left Behind, but I don't see it happening like that. I think real Christians will be very popular in the tribulation in preaching the final years of Gospel to a very lost and evil world.

Tony C said...
Why is vanilla ice cream white when vanilla beans are actually dark brown?


Because ice cream is 99% cream, which is white. Vanilla beans and extract are very dark, but not dark enough to turn the cream dark.


Did Lazarus get a refund on his burial expenses?
I'll ask him when I get to heaven, but I don't think they paid for those services, they were traditionally done by the family. I can send Candice a handbook when the time comes. ;o)


Do Asian people get English words tattooed on their bodies? Yes, see this link.


The reason we have interstates in Hawaii is quite simple...that's a way for the federal gov't to spend more money for 'defense' purposes which is the original reason for the interstate system. Grrrrrrr!

A freeway system linking cites throughout the United States - that is  states with an "s."

KB said...
What is your vision for the perfect church?

I happen to think that the 5-fold church model (Ephesian 4:11) is the most biblical, along with a spirit led meeting format outlined in 1 Corinthians 14.

Here is my take on the Ascension Gifts.

Rick Yushenko said...
I trust that you believe in Biblical infallibility, that the Bible is true for matters of the spirit.


What are your thoughts on Biblical inerrancy, that all details of the Bible are completely true, and that contradictions do not exist?

I believe that the Bible is the true and inspired word of God. I don't think there are any mistakes in it. I do think there are some difficult passages which are hard to understand. I do not think any one person knows every thing there is to know about the word of God, nor do I believe God wants that to be so. The reason is that we are a body made of many parts. These parts are meant to function together. That said, I know there are difficulties when we try to understand the Bible on a completely intellectual level. It contains parables, allegory, poetry, historical passages, symbolism and the trouble comes when intellectuals interpret passages using the proper literary type.

For example, folks get all widgy about creation. The Bible simply says that God created the heavens and the earth in 6 days. Now, some folks think that humankind as we know it in the Bible is about 6,000 years old. Of course scientists say that the earth is a bajillion years old or whatever. The Bible does not need to be accurate in this detail - it is a not a science book. However; that does not make the Bible untrue, or in conflict. If we read Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

The real question is how long was the earth formless? A day, a week, a million years?  The Bible does not say.Amazingly, this is the kind of stuff people who could care less about God debate every day.

There are other theological questions. When does one receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit for example? Some believe that it is at the moment of regeneration (faith in salvation by Jesus Christ) and others believe that it happens by the laying on of hands.

I will say this without reservation. It is impossible to understand the Bible apart from the Holy Spirit. I am concentrating on the parts of the Bible that are true for me.- loving my neighbor, helping the poor, bearing one another's burdens etc. I pray for others when the opportunity presents itself. And from time-to-time I see positive results.

Are there parts of the Bible I do not understand? Yes. Am I worried about it? No! Perceived contradictions are not contradictions. For instance, the Gospels are not a completely homogeneous work. Each one is written from a different perspective; for a different audience. Because one does not give the same eye-witness account doesn't mean that eye witness wasn't there. Look at all the work that has gone into investigating the JFK assassination. There are still conspiracy theories even after they have confirmed that the trajectory of the bullet is consistent with a shot fired from the Book Depository. It is the same thing with the Bible.

Of all the historical accounts, I find the book of Acts fascinating. I have experienced many similar acts of God.

I don't worry about whether Jonah was swallowed by a big fish, a whale or a non-species fish - I believe that it happened.

Eagle Girl asked...

How often do you speak in tongues?


Interesting questions about tongues, Carol. First, I make a distinction between those used as a "personal 
prayer language" and those meant to be interpreted in a church gathering. I don't knew that the content or quality is actually different - just the purpose.


How often? Pretty much every day for some reason or another. Usually while I am driving/praying, but also when I am worshipping to music, spending a quiet moment, or looking for words that I don't have when I am praying with a friend over the phone. I have often prayed through an entire church service (when I am not Facebooking on my Blackberry)


Do you understand any of the words you speak in tongues?
Nope, not yet. What I do know is that my spirit is edified, and it is the power behind the gifts of the Holy Spirit. If you want to increase the anointing, this is the key. Folks who desire the spiritual gifts, will have a harder time if they don't add this fuel to that which God has gifted them to do.


Have you ever translated [interpreted] anyone else speaking in tongues?
Yes. One time I was watching a web-cast from Friends of the Bridegroom with Mick Bickle with a friend of mine. He started to worship in tongues and it was if I heard it in English. He was giving glory to God, giving praise and thanking Jesus for various things. It was a shock to both of us - but that was exaclty what was on his heart as we were listening to this wonderful testimony on the web.


Has anyone translated [interpreted] your speaking in tongues? 
No, I am very quiet and pretty much don't use them on public settings - maybe in a small prayer group. The church needs some help in this area. Tongues have been abused in many setting. But when the real thing happens, it is captivating.


David I will always remember when you came to Cincinnati to visit an old friend of yours along with other believers and we all had such a great time in the Spirit.

Thanks, Carol. Yes, that was a fun time and God really did a lot those few days back in Cinci. it is those types of meetings that confirm to me that God love us, and is at work in our lives.

And there you have it - David's answers to your questions.



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20 comments:

photogr said...

Well David:

This was a mouthfull and quite interesting.

Although I don't agree with you on the tribulation theories, it will be something for us to debate on some day.

"I think real Christians will be very popular in the tribulation in preaching the final years of Gospel to a very lost and evil world."

It will be interesting to see who the 144,000 chosen by God are that will continue to preach the scriptures during those times.


An interesting book I ran across by Pastor Don Piper: 90 Minutes in Heaven. Certainly a must read for those concerned about life after death.

Tongues. Certainly some thing to experience. I pray that I will be ready the next time to understand it.

If you are ever near Cincinnti again, let me know. There is a lot issue we can discuss.

Tony C said...

Ohhhh...you wanted serious questions.

Boy, don't I feel stupid now...

Rick Yushenko said...

In the Gospel of Matthew (13:10-17) Jesus provides an answer when asked about his use of parables:[19]
The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" He replied,
"The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables:
Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand."


If Jesus can teach with parables, then His Father certainly can as well, especially given that in the Book of Job the Lord specifically addresses the limited ability of humankind to unstand the Divine.

So if the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis is a parable of our own creation, then is it any less true than Jesus's parable about the Good Samaritan?

Suppose the Lord (the Word) started the universe 13.4 billion years ago with the Big Bang (Let there be light), created the Earth from dust orbiting Sol 6 billion years ago, brought forth the waters and then the grasses, and penulitimatly, Adam (finishing with the last and most refined creation, Eve). This latter interpretation still gives full credit to the Lord for His creation.

Oh, and interstate highways? They're built with Federal funds, and Hawaii is a VERY strategic possession.

David said...

@Larry - If one ponders the tribulation, how wold it make any sense for God to pull out every living witness? Just asking.

@Tony - shoe.

@Rick - as I stated in my answer, the trick is to know when something is a parable or not. I don't get all worried about creation. I am certain that it happened, and I know how it ends. ;o0

Thanks for asking and commenting.

David said...

Right - and Interstate thing was funny, because no highway connects Hawaii to any other state. I suppose there it would have to be a Inner-State. No?

photogr said...

David:

Glad you asked.

As you know, God will appoint 144,000 to witness ( Revelations) to others of His glory as a last chance to repent during the tribulations. Also two special witnesses will ascend from heaven in Jerusalem and cannot be harmed or untill the alloted time ( Revelations). These two witnesses will display many miraculous signs during their tenure.

Also not all the believers ( self professed or other wise ) will be taken from the earth in the pre tribulations due to some factor of existing sin in their lives like me and some others ( Only the perfect in God's eyes will make the first cut).

Many of the so called Christians will be left through the tribulations as a test of their devotion to God and willingness to sacrifice their lives for Christ in order to gain eternal life.

Many will fail I am afraid, just to save their lives and buy time here on earth. Others will take up the fight and refuse to bear the mark of the anti christ. Some will just not repent and refuse by taking the mark of the anti christ by choice, cohersion, or not getting what is happening around them.

Sadly they ( the left behind group) will witness it all from the beginning to the end and stand before God in judgement.

GCT said...

@David,
So, your answer is that you believe in god because you believe in god. Your feeling of "feeling" god around you is no different than what other believers for other faiths claim. Why is your "feeling" more real than their's?

"I read the Bible, and if God does that very thing I read about before my very eyes - well, then I think I am right."

A lot of people read their horoscopes and claim that those happen before their very eyes.

@Rick,
I happen to like the passage you cite, as it shows how unfair Jesus really is. He's basically admitting that some people can't get it and that he intentionally speaks in riddles in order to make sure that they don't understand (the upshot being that they go to hell and Jesus is helping them go to hell).

Also, the Genesis story does not read like a parable, but as a straight-forward statement of fact. If anything that is factually incorrect in the Bible can simply be re-interpreted as a "parable" then you should extend the same courtesy to all other holy books, should you not? Also, what's left of the Bible if everything is parable?

David said...

@GCT - no, my definition of believing in God is the fact that I have seen Him at work in supernatural ways. I listed some blogs to support my point.

I also think that real horoscopes work as well. There are some demoniacally "powered" folks that can predict things using astrology.

My use of "before my eyes, is in fact that." A prayer said, a healing taking place or word of knowledge about someone's past, things like that. I don't believe that God needs any lying representatives.

Rick Yushenko said...

@GCT,
You have answered your own questions!

"So, your answer is that you believe in god because you believe in god."
That's correct, belief is self referential. Consider the theory of Gravity. Prior to Sir Isaac Newton's proof, people could observe that stones dropped, while birds flew. And if you threw a rock at a bird and hit it, the bird fell as well. After Sir Isaac Newton, people tended to believe that "Gravity" was a "proven" force. Yet, nothing really changed. All we had was an elegant set of math, which could be repeated independently by neutral parties (the fabled Scientific Method).

The belief in God and belief in Gravity are both internalized by you. Climb up a tall ladder and walk the roof, and you might experience both a belief that God is watching over you, along with a belief that Gravity won't pull you down. In the end, internal belief is just that: an internal process.


"Your feeling of "feeling" god around you is no different than what other believers for other faiths claim. Why is your "feeling" more real than their's?"
Again, you are correct. My Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist and Atheist friends all have their own internal beliefs, which are shared by their own spiritual community. It's when the different belief groups start imposing their own beliefs on others by force of law that you run into trouble.

@GCT,
"I happen to like the passage you cite, as it shows how unfair Jesus really is. He's basically admitting that some people can't get it and that he intentionally speaks in riddles in order to make sure that they don't understand (the upshot being that they go to hell and Jesus is helping them go to hell)."
I cited that passage to explicitly put forth the proposition that the Creation events put forth in the Book of Genesis could be a parable. Now, a parable can be a literal description - an example would be a patient talking to a psychologist, starting with, "My friend has this problem". The patient is her own friend, and the problem is her problem. There is truth in that, but also falsity in that it's implied that the problem is with some third party. So it is with parables. Rebbe Jesuah says straight out, "This is a parable". That means that some parts are made up.

Was there really a Good Samaritan? Rebbe Jesuah made sure that the story had a point, a teaching lesson. Did it matter whether a Samaritan did a Mitzvah, while Jews passed the stricken traveler by? The lesson is that good works are a blessing.

It's very interesting to me that modern Christianity has turned the story of the Good Samaratain on its head. Modern Christianity is quite clear that Good Works do NOT let one go to Heaven; but the Belief in Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God, Died on the cross for our sins, and is the only path to Heaven – that belief lets us into Heaven.

So, Good Samaratain? Hell. The Jews who passed the traveler by? Heaven.
Mohatma Ghandi? Hell. Benito Mussolini? Heaven.

Once again, a big shout out to Rebbe David for facilitating this converstation.

GCT said...

@David,
"...my definition of believing in God is the fact that I have seen Him at work in supernatural ways. I listed some blogs to support my point.

I also think that real horoscopes work as well. There are some demoniacally "powered" folks that can predict things using astrology."

Let's grant for the sake of argument that you've seen something supernatural. How do you know that your supernatural experiences are genuinely from god while those of astrology are from the devil? Perhaps you've gotten it backwards. How would you ever know? Do you really think that a demon/devil/supernatural being would be unable to fool you?

@Rick,
I have to object to your comparison of belief in god to gravity. "Gravity" is a description of the way the universe works. It's not a "belief" per se. One does not "believe" or not "believe" in gravity. We accept that the universe works in a certain way due to the fact that we have a multitude of evidence for it. This is quite different than a "belief" in god, especially since we lack evidence for god.

"It's when the different belief groups start imposing their own beliefs on others by force of law that you run into trouble."

Bravo. I like this, since I happen to agree with it - although I would caution you that atheism is not a "belief group."

"I cited that passage to explicitly put forth the proposition that the Creation events put forth in the Book of Genesis could be a parable."

Yeah, I got that and what I brought up was a bit OT. Still, Jesus claims that he speaks in parables in order to confuse people, which is different from what most Xians claim he wants - for people to be saved.

Still, Genesis does not read like a parable nor is it written as such. Again, if everytime the Bible is wrong we can claim that it's a parable, then what good is it and I wonder why you wouldn't extend the same courtesy to all other holy books?

"It's very interesting to me that modern Christianity has turned the story of the Good Samaratain on its head. Modern Christianity is quite clear that Good Works do NOT let one go to Heaven; but the Belief in Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God, Died on the cross for our sins, and is the only path to Heaven – that belief lets us into Heaven."

Honestly, I find the idea that god would judge us based on our moral actions vs. our beliefs to be quite a bit more equitable. But, I think this is something for you and other Xians to figure out. Which is it? Is it works or is it belief? Let me know when you guys figure it out.

GCT said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
GCT said...

@David,
"...my definition of believing in God is the fact that I have seen Him at work in supernatural ways. I listed some blogs to support my point.

I also think that real horoscopes work as well. There are some demoniacally "powered" folks that can predict things using astrology."

Let's grant for the sake of argument that you've seen something supernatural. How do you know that your supernatural experiences are genuinely from god while those of astrology are from the devil? Perhaps you've gotten it backwards. How would you ever know? Do you really think that a demon/devil/supernatural being would be unable to fool you?

@Rick,
I have to object to your comparison of belief in god to gravity. "Gravity" is a description of the way the universe works. It's not a "belief" per se. One does not "believe" or not "believe" in gravity. We accept that the universe works in a certain way due to the fact that we have a multitude of evidence for it. This is quite different than a "belief" in god, especially since we lack evidence for god.

"It's when the different belief groups start imposing their own beliefs on others by force of law that you run into trouble."

Bravo. I like this, since I happen to agree with it - although I would caution you that atheism is not a "belief group."

"I cited that passage to explicitly put forth the proposition that the Creation events put forth in the Book of Genesis could be a parable."

Yeah, I got that and what I brought up was a bit OT. Still, Jesus claims that he speaks in parables in order to confuse people, which is different from what most Xians claim he wants - for people to be saved.

Still, Genesis does not read like a parable nor is it written as such. Again, if everytime the Bible is wrong we can claim that it's a parable, then what good is it and I wonder why you wouldn't extend the same courtesy to all other holy books?

"It's very interesting to me that modern Christianity has turned the story of the Good Samaratain on its head. Modern Christianity is quite clear that Good Works do NOT let one go to Heaven; but the Belief in Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God, Died on the cross for our sins, and is the only path to Heaven – that belief lets us into Heaven."

Honestly, I find the idea that god would judge us based on our moral actions vs. our beliefs to be quite a bit more equitable. But, I think this is something for you and other Xians to figure out. Which is it? Is it works or is it belief? Let me know when you guys figure it out.

GCT said...

@David,
"...my definition of believing in God is the fact that I have seen Him at work in supernatural ways. I listed some blogs to support my point.

I also think that real horoscopes work as well. There are some demoniacally "powered" folks that can predict things using astrology."

Let's grant for the sake of argument that you've seen something supernatural. How do you know that your supernatural experiences are genuinely from god while those of astrology are from the devil? Perhaps you've gotten it backwards. How would you ever know? Do you really think that a demon/devil/supernatural being would be unable to fool you?

@Rick,
I have to object to your comparison of belief in god to gravity. "Gravity" is a description of the way the universe works. It's not a "belief" per se. One does not "believe" or not "believe" in gravity. We accept that the universe works in a certain way due to the fact that we have a multitude of evidence for it. This is quite different than a "belief" in god, especially since we lack evidence for god.

"It's when the different belief groups start imposing their own beliefs on others by force of law that you run into trouble."

Bravo. I like this, since I happen to agree with it - although I would caution you that atheism is not a "belief group."

"I cited that passage to explicitly put forth the proposition that the Creation events put forth in the Book of Genesis could be a parable."

Yeah, I got that and what I brought up was a bit OT. Still, Jesus claims that he speaks in parables in order to confuse people, which is different from what most Xians claim he wants - for people to be saved.

Still, Genesis does not read like a parable nor is it written as such. Again, if everytime the Bible is wrong we can claim that it's a parable, then what good is it and I wonder why you wouldn't extend the same courtesy to all other holy books?

"It's very interesting to me that modern Christianity has turned the story of the Good Samaratain on its head. Modern Christianity is quite clear that Good Works do NOT let one go to Heaven; but the Belief in Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God, Died on the cross for our sins, and is the only path to Heaven – that belief lets us into Heaven."

Honestly, I find the idea that god would judge us based on our moral actions vs. our beliefs to be quite a bit more equitable. But, I think this is something for you and other Xians to figure out. Which is it? Is it works or is it belief? Let me know when you guys figure it out.

David said...

@GCT - Well, let's just say that anything that is evil, or self centered, is of the devil, and anything that is pure, encouraging, and edifying is of God. Of course, Satan is out to destroy the Kingdom of God, so to the unaware, there are counterfeits. Those always point to men, and do not give glory God. And yes, there is an element of faith.

In your comment to Rick, you said that you would prefer to be judged on morals, and not on faith. Therein lies the problem for mankind, someone has to make the rules, and some has to determine where the line is, and now you have the same mess of religion that we already have.

Jesus' plan is simply believe in Me and the forgiveness I offer - you can't do anything to earn it; simply accept it by faith.

In His book, everyone falls short, hurts another, lies, cheats, or does worse. It is a much simpler plan with only one rule.

David said...

On the topic of parables - if the Bible is all parables, then we are in trouble. If it is all literally true - historical; word for word, than we have some real accuracy issues. The same is true if is all poetry, or allegory, or symbolic.

Each passage needs to be understood by the literary type that it is. That takes godly wisdom, not intellectual horse power.

GCT said...

David,
"Well, let's just say that anything that is evil, or self centered, is of the devil, and anything that is pure, encouraging, and edifying is of God."

Post hoc reasoning at its finest! Yet, we have instances in the Bible that contradict this, unless you're willing to argue that genocide and rape are not evil when god commands them. Either way, if I were the devil and trying to deceive, I would perhaps not ask you to do something evil until you trusted me. Either way, it's begging the question to simply assume your conclusions like that.

"In your comment to Rick, you said that you would prefer to be judged on morals, and not on faith. Therein lies the problem for mankind, someone has to make the rules, and some has to determine where the line is, and now you have the same mess of religion that we already have."

I don't see the problem here. Under your scheme, it doesn't matter what I do, how evil I am, etc. so long as I believe the right "facts" about the universe. In the scheme where a god judges us on our actions, then we'd actually be judged by how moral we are rather than how well we can do on a perception test.

"In His book, everyone falls short, hurts another, lies, cheats, or does worse. It is a much simpler plan with only one rule."

And, it is rather barbaric, evil, and horrible, don't you think? Everyone is slated for hell unless they can pass the equivalent of a math test. How is that equitable? How can god be considered good for creating people that are slated for hell simply by virtue of being born?

"Each passage needs to be understood by the literary type that it is. That takes godly wisdom, not intellectual horse power."

And, it seems in this case that "godly wisdom" is the process of seeing what science can figure out, comparing it to the Bible, and then deciding that something is allegory any time science disagrees with what the Bible says. Again, why can we not apply "godly wisdom" to other holy texts?

David said...

@GCT - From the New Testament, point out genocide and rape, by chapter and verse, then we'll talk. Neither is OK with God, and it certainly isn't a way to love anyone.

You are wrong in terms of how one engages God. Your statement: "right "facts" about the universe" has nothing to do with faith. All one needs to do is have faith in Jesus Christ. No science, no moral debates, no high IQ; nothing. Just simple faith the size of a mustard seed. It's so easy even a child can do it. In fact, they are better at than adults because they make it difficult.

In terms of sin, where wold one draw the line? Theft, murder - where? You say it's barbaric, I say it's justifiable considering the glory of God would burn up any impurities. For God to have a heaven where there is no pain and no death, He needs complete holiness.

Only one who knows God can have godly wisdom. If you want to join the club, you have to have real faith in Jesus. Without the Spirit of God, one can never have a godly perspective. For example: If you haven't been a woman, you can't describe child birth. It's impossible. You can observe it, and hear the feelings and descriptions from woman, but you can't experience it.

GCT said...

David,
"From the New Testament, point out genocide and rape, by chapter and verse, then we'll talk. Neither is OK with God, and it certainly isn't a way to love anyone."

So, you're claiming that the god of the OT is not the same god as the NT? Also, the story of revelation is all about how people will be annihilated (genocide).

"You are wrong in terms of how one engages God. Your statement: "right "facts" about the universe" has nothing to do with faith. All one needs to do is have faith in Jesus Christ."

Exactly. And, how does one do that? One does that by discerning the world around them, which informs their beliefs. If you think that is incorrect, why don't you try and believe in Zeus for a day. You'll find it very difficult. Belief is NOT a moral choice nor a choice at all. We believe in things because we are convinced of them - it is a factual matter. Hence, my statement stands.

"In terms of sin, where wold one draw the line? Theft, murder - where? You say it's barbaric, I say it's justifiable considering the glory of God would burn up any impurities. For God to have a heaven where there is no pain and no death, He needs complete holiness."

What I say is barbaric is to create beings that are inherently flawed and then to punish them for it. And, the method of punishment is barbaric as well. Eternal torture for finite sins is unjust. And, the concept of heaven "where there is no pain and no death" is non-sensical in this respect, because there's no logical reason why we have to have a world with pain and suffering in order to have one without.

"Only one who knows God can have godly wisdom."

And anyone from any other faith can say the same thing. Further, once again, if "godly wisdom" is figuring out which parts of the Bible are contradicted by science and the real world then concluding those parts of the Bible are "parable" then why do we not apply the same standards to other holy texts? You're engaging in special pleading.

David said...

It is the same God as the OT, new covenant - love your God with all your heart, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself etc.

We don't discern the world around us, we have a RELATIONSHIP with God. It is not some stupid philosophy, or group of beliefs.

That's the problem with all other religions, their God's are dead - well, except for Satanism.

Revelations is primarily about the final days before the return of Jesus. At the time time evil has reached a fever pitch, and judgement is poured out. Like a 1/3 of the oceans fish die. Heck, that could be happening now in the Gulf.

The enemies of God will come under judgement - and all it takes is faith to avoid it.

Well, I guess you are smarter than God. How else would you create a people that love you by their free will? If they were created to obey, ha wold not be free will. If they cold just do harm to the earth, to others, and to animals, how would that be just?

Salvation by faith is the perfect solution, each one getting to choose by their own free will. Otherwise they would be controlled.

Your system has flawed morals for which god is whatever you want it to be. How is that fair to someone that doesn't agree?

There is only one God, one godly wisdom. All the other religions point to guys that are dead in the ground - bones in a box - mere philosophies. There is only one living God - Jesus. He engages human kind on His terms, and by His laws.

If you look at all of mankind, there has never been peace, never has man gotten past their basic selfish evil. Never, and we are not getting closer.

GCT said...

David,
"It is the same God as the OT, new covenant"

Then you can't deny that your god is responsible for genocide and rape. Not only was your god OK with it, he ordered it!

"We don't discern the world around us, we have a RELATIONSHIP with God."

Um, yeah we do. We have to believe in god in order to have a relationship.

"That's the problem with all other religions, their God's are dead - well, except for Satanism."

That's factually untrue and I think you know that.

"Revelations is primarily about the final days before the return of Jesus."

And, it includes what happens to those people. Most will die, which is genocide considering that whole entire peoples will be wiped out.

"The enemies of God will come under judgement"

Judgement? Is that what you call being human?

"Well, I guess you are smarter than God. How else would you create a people that love you by their free will?"

If I were god, I would have no need to create people at all, because I'd be perfect. I certainly wouldn't create a hell and send people there for eternal torture. I also wouldn't create an Earth where people needlessly suffer. So, yeah, I guess I am smarter than god, meaning your god does not exist.

"If they cold just do harm to the earth, to others, and to animals, how would that be just?"

It would be more just than allowing evil actions to negatively impact others.

"Salvation by faith is the perfect solution, each one getting to choose by their own free will. Otherwise they would be controlled."

You're not listening. You can no more believe in Zeus for a day than I can believe in Jesus. I need to be convinced to believe in Jesus, which would mean that I need some evidence to do so. If the evidence is out there, as Xians claim, then I'm too stupid to see it and will be punished for not discerning the evidence correctly. This is not equitable because I will be tortured for simply being stupid.

"Your system has flawed morals for which god is whatever you want it to be. How is that fair to someone that doesn't agree?"

What are you talking about? My system? Could you please remind me what my system is?

"There is only one God, one godly wisdom."

You're dodging the questions I raised.

"If you look at all of mankind, there has never been peace, never has man gotten past their basic selfish evil. Never, and we are not getting closer."

And, what role has theistic belief played in all of this? How many times have we had religious wars? How many times have religious beliefs been used to justify war and get people to participate?

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