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  1. #251
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Journey View Post
    What you don't fathom, Jennifer, is that I did not choose to believe God. God chose me to believe Him. That is the ultimate difference between you and me at this point in time. Whether He has chosen you to believe Him is yet to be seen. Is that "N" enough for you?
    Do you really belive that Calvinism has anything whatsoever to do with N?

    And though it seems to be the last thing you would want, I am praying that you will choose to believe God.
    So you think I don't actually believe in God now? That's sweet.

    And yes, actually, I have Christians with beliefs similar to yours who do pray for me, and I value their prayers. And when I talk to them, I actually get the idea that they love me, by how they interact with me... something I never sense with you.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  2. #252
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Journey View Post
    I don't claim that God is omnibenevolent. More over and much more importantly God doesn't claim in His Word to be omnibenevolent. That seems to be more a wish of man than an attribute of the Creator.
    Then why the hell should I have any respect for the concept? Creating all of humanity to suffer for eons at a whim, to satisfy a personal need for glorification by others? Then manifesting himself to putatively save mankind, but actually only offering it to a select few, who were already chosen before time, essentially damning most of humanity from the start?

    Forgive me if I find that to be incredibly offensive. If that's the deity, I want no part of an afterlife anywhere near that sort of malignant narcissist.

  3. #253
    Senior Member Journey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Do you really belive that Calvinism has anything whatsoever to do with N?
    No, it really doesn't. It was just a snappy comeback that fell flat.

    So you think I don't actually believe in God now? That's sweet.
    Read more carefully, Jennifer. I never said you didn't believe in God. People can believe in anything they want to describe to themselves. I said believe God. Believe who He said He is. Believe what He has done as revealed in His Word. Believe how He stepped into history as Jesus to save us. Believe on Jesus for your salvation... That's what I meant by believe God.

    And yes, actually, I have Christians with beliefs similar to yours who do pray for me, and I value their prayers. And when I talk to them, I actually get the idea that they love me, by how they interact with me... something I never sense with you.
    I regret that you don't sense it with me. It is there. But I'm not surprised that you don't. You don't seem to respect me or my thought processes.
    "My Journey is my Destination."

    "Today Counts Forever." R.C. Sproul

  4. #254
    Senior Member Journey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Then why the hell should I have any respect for the concept? Creating all of humanity to suffer for eons at a whim, to satisfy a personal need for glorification by others? Then manifesting himself to putatively save mankind, but actually only offering it to a select few, who were already chosen before time, essentially damning most of humanity from the start?

    Forgive me if I find that to be incredibly offensive. If that's the deity, I want no part of an afterlife anywhere near that sort of malignant narcissist.
    Begin reading at Job 40:6 for some enlightenment, if you choose.
    "My Journey is my Destination."

    "Today Counts Forever." R.C. Sproul

  5. #255
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Then why the hell should I have any respect for the concept? Creating all of humanity to suffer for eons at a whim, to satisfy a personal need for glorification by others? Then manifesting himself to putatively save mankind, but actually only offering it to a select few, who were already chosen before time, essentially damning most of humanity from the start?

    Forgive me if I find that to be incredibly offensive. If that's the deity, I want no part of an afterlife anywhere near that sort of malignant narcissist.
    That seems to be one valid "Big Picture" interpretation of the issue.

    At best, you can assert that "God loves you and is doing all these things because you don't realize how badly you need him, and His decisions are best because He is God and you are not" ... which is about the only case you can try to make that preserves any ounce of goodness in God -- an appeal to "well, it's possible that <etc>!"... but that's a faith statement, not a proof statement.

    I think when you're inside the religious framework, you don't see how crazy such a supposition can sound to people outside your religion. And that seems pretty fair.

    Take a similar example: "What, Dad is playing favorites again, and making some of us sleep every night out in the yard and throwing us scraps while letting a few of us who he loves out of some whim we don't understand sleep in the house where it's nice and warm and dine on scrumptuous food with him; and letting the rest of us be beaten up and mugged and only protecting the few people he cares about... and then telling us that it's our fault we're sleeping in the yard because he didn't choose us, and if we get angry and rebel over this style of abandonment/favoritism, then it's just a sign that we were bad people to begin with?"

    Human services takes away children from a parent who would operate this way; instead we've fomented a doctrine out of it; and it's no wonder that people find the idea not just crazy but offensive. It only makes sense if you forcibly assume that God exists and that he has valid reasons for playing favorites.

    Dosteovsky had some interesting spins on topics like this.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  6. #256
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    That seems to be one valid "Big Picture" interpretation of the issue.

    At best, you can assert that "God loves you and is doing all these things because you don't realize how badly you need him, and His decisions are best because He is God and you are not" ... which is about the only case you can try to make that preserves any ounce of goodness in God -- an appeal to "well, it's possible that <etc>!"... but that's a faith statement, not a proof statement.

    I think when you're inside the religious framework, you don't see how crazy such a supposition can sound to people outside your religion. And that seems pretty fair.

    Take a similar example: "What, Dad is playing favorites again, and making some of us sleep every night out in the yard and throwing us scraps while letting a few of us who he loves out of some whim we don't understand sleep in the house where it's nice and warm and dine on scrumptuous food with him; and letting the rest of us be beaten up and mugged and only protecting the few people he cares about... and then telling us that it's our fault we're sleeping in the yard because he didn't choose us, and if we get angry and rebel over this style of abandonment/favoritism, then it's just a sign that we were bad people to begin with?"

    Human services takes away children from a parent who would operate this way; instead we've fomented a doctrine out of it; and it's no wonder that people find the idea not just crazy but offensive. It only makes sense if you forcibly assume that God exists and that he has valid reasons for playing favorites.

    Dosteovsky had some interesting spins on topics like this.
    I know exactly what you're talking about. It took me a good 20 years before I realized I did not need religion to understand the universe, and not only that, it made no logical sense whatsoever.

    You're right about Dostoevsky, but it's so disappointing to see him consistently get close to the answer, and pull away at the last second for fear of the implications. Then again, living in pre-revolutionary Russia, if he didn't have the glimmer of post-mortem hope, he'd have likely blown his brains out. The sense of religious feeling attached to epilepsy also makes sense, as well.

  7. #257
    Senior Member Journey's Avatar
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    What is amazing about God is that He lets any of us have a crust of bread or a blanket to wrap around us, not that some of us have to sleep outside, much less that He treats some of us like His adopted children and some of us like the outcasts we all truly are. Some of us get what we deserve and some of us get divine grace, unmerited, unearned. Who can charge God with unfairness?
    "My Journey is my Destination."

    "Today Counts Forever." R.C. Sproul

  8. #258
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Journey View Post
    What is amazing about God is that He lets any of us have a crust of bread or a blanket to wrap around us, not that some of us have to sleep outside, much less that He treats some of us like His adopted children and some of us like the outcasts we all truly are. Some of us get what we deserve and some of us get divine grace, unmerited, unearned. Who can charge God with unfairness?
    How is it fair to create someone, knowing full well that he or she will experience pain and suffering far beyond that of others, and still be doomed to eternal torment or annihilation at the end of that person's existence? The only way to define that as fair is to assume that all of the deity's actions are per definition fair. I don't think there's a person on this planet who has the knowledge or ability to make that determination.

    If God is omniscient, there is no free will, as all actions are known beforehand, and not only that, the knowledge of the path these actions will take is determined. A god that would create something to suffer, knowing that the end result of their existence is suffering, and not offer an opportunity to choose another path (impossible because of deterministic omniscience), then that by its very nature is malicious. If God is omnipotent, he should be able to deviate from the already-known nature of the Universe, but then, he is no longer omniscient.

  9. #259
    PEST that STEPs on PETS stellar renegade's Avatar
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    Oh boy, is this a huge mess.

    True Christianity as originally concieved by Jesus and the apostles in no way suffocates or oppresses individuality and creativity; it encourages it and makes it flourish. It encourages questions and challenges, in fact it opens the mind. It was the influence of the world around it and paganism, ironically, that made it so stuffy.

    Think about it: who were the ones in the pagan world who most vehemently opposed Paul and his ministry? Those who were making money off religion. Paul and his companions were trying to liberate people from the pervasive theological mold of the day, the anthropomorphic deity worship shaped by gold and politics. When they came on the scene, the idol-crafters of their day instigated riots.

    Notice also that Paul never bossed his fellow brothers and sisters around. He pleaded with them, gave advice to them, lovingly doted on them, passionately embraced them, gave them insight, corrected them from a distance, but never did he make them do anything, coerce, force or threaten them.

    Why? For one, he realized how unworthy he was to do something like that since he was formerly the worst enemy of Christians, but he also realized that it just wasn't right. If you'll read his letters looking for a human element (and not as a textbook) you'll notice that he was about as in love with them as a lover would be with the object of his desire.

    Moving on, many if not most of the liturgical practices and theological notions we have handed to us today are not only different from first century Christianity but completely opposed to them. It's such a different animal today.

    There were no church buildings or official pastoral roles, no hierarchies, just people partying together in their houses and loving each other like family. It was completely informal, their "church" was simply whenever they got together - simply called "meetings". ("Going to church" was a term invented later on.)

    Also, notions like the spiritual world is fundamentally separate from the physical one (and thus that the body is evil) is completely foreign to Christianity, a viewpoint that Gnosticism brought with it when it invaded the Christian phenomenon. Or take the belief that the Son was separated from the Father. God not only can look upon sin, He can take sin on and let it do its worst to him. The idea that Jesus was God yet God can't look upon sin is ignorant at best, deceptive and destructive at worst.

    Or the idea that some, and probably most, will be banished to spend an endless duration of time in hell. This was an idea invented by pagans, too, and forced into the scriptures. The Jews weren't thinking of "endless time" when they viewed the judgment, they were thinking about God setting things right at a specific point in time. Thus the assumption was not there when Jesus and the others started talking about divine correction.

    In fact, Paul tells us that everyone will eventually be saved, just as surely as everyone has been subject to corruption since the dawn of time. C. S. Lewis even admits that it certainly looks like that's what he could've been saying, and his biggest source of inspiration was a staunch supporter of that viewpoint.

    There is so much more that I could say about all of this, but suffice it to say that the Christianity you're looking at today is most definitely not the version that existed at its first inception. It's a hard fight for purity, love and justice in this world, and sometimes major battles are lost in the overall war.
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  10. #260
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    stellar renegade:

    You seem like an interesting enough person, and your concept of Christianity required a good bit of thought, which needless to say is quite different than the conception of many.

    Let me go ahead and say I disagree vehemently with your analysis, particularly of Paul (one of history's greatest monsters in my estimation), but I certainly respect your views.

    That being said, let me pose a question to you - from an outsider's perspective, what's to distinguish Christianity as you understand it from any other pagan religion? Without resorting to the assumption that what is said in the Gospel and Epistles is true, what's to distinguish it from the rest of the world's religions?

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