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Richard Amiel McGough
10-05-2011, 12:08 PM
Gilgal posted this link to an interview with Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias in another thread:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-msCm_NmX3U

Beginning at 5:09 minutes in, he states:
How can a person be of intrinsic value if time plus matter plus chance has been the cause of that person? It's nothing more than chemistry in motion. The only way the person can be of value is if the person is the creation of somebody with infinite and intrinsic worth. Which means it's God Himself.
There are a number of problems with his argument.

1) He assumes that without a "God" humans can only be understood in terms of atheistic materialistic reductionism (time + matter + chance). I see no foundation for the presumption. Meaning could be "intrinsic" to human beings regardless of how we came to be.

2) What is it about God that makes him "of value?" Of value to whom? And what does "infinite value" mean anyway? Who is measuring this "value" and what does it mean? Of value for what? Value is a relative term. What does "intrinsic value" mean? And if it has a meaning, why don't people have "intrinsic value" in and of themselves without God? None of these things are defined in his system, and they don't make any sense to me at all.

3) He merely asserts without proof that God is "meaningful" which must mean that he thinks God is an "end in himself." But if God has meaning because he is an "end in himself" why can't the universe and our lives in it have meaning for the same reason without any reference to God at all? And besides, there is no direct evidence that God exists, so how could he actually function as a source of meaning if he is indistinguishable from a God who doesn't exist?

4) And the biggest problem of all is this: If his arguments are true, and we need God as a foundation for Morality (something he stated at the very beginning of the video), then we know that the God of the Bible cannot be the true God because the God of the Bible has blatant disregard for human life. He killed Job's children in a bet with Satan. He commanded the death of all the men, women, and children of the Midianites but allows the capture and enslavement of 32,000 virgins. And on and on it goes - the God of the Bible is not a good example of "unchanging morals" so if Ravi's argument is true about God, it proves that God of the Bible is not the true God.

Bob May
10-06-2011, 05:54 AM
Hi Richard,

Many years ago, when my father died, I went to speak with my pastor at the chuch I attended.
My father was an alchoholic.
As I spoke to John, my pastor, I said that what upset me the most about my father's death was that I thought that he had wasted his life.

I said, "My father's life was a waste."
John said, "To who?,,To him it wasn't a waste. It was his life."

Bob

Richard Amiel McGough
10-06-2011, 11:08 AM
Hi Richard,

Many years ago, when my father died, I went to speak with my pastor at the chuch I attended.
My father was an alchoholic.
As I spoke to John, my pastor, I said that what upset me the most about my father's death was that I thought that he had wasted his life.

I said, "My father's life was a waste."
John said, "To who?,,To him it wasn't a waste. It was his life."

Bob
Hummm ... I can sorta see the logic of that. I think it touches my fundamental intuition that the "meaning of life" is a property of the life that is lived. In other words - a person's life is an "end in itself" and that's the only way it does or could have any "meaning."

But I still would say that your father wasted his life in as much as he did not cherish it and nurture it. It makes no sense to me to say that it is logically impossible for a person to "waste their life."

Bob May
10-07-2011, 08:56 AM
Hummm ... I can sorta see the logic of that. I think it touches my fundamental intuition that the "meaning of life" is a property of the life that is lived. In other words - a person's life is an "end in itself" and that's the only way it does or could have any "meaning."

But I still would say that your father wasted his life in as much as he did not cherish it and nurture it. It makes no sense to me to say that it is logically impossible for a person to "waste their life."

I think what I got out of his comment was a good look at my own arrogance.
He also used to say, "God gave us free will, who am I to take it away."
He was a healer and in his practice he would also necessarily council people on lifestyle, emotions, diet, and vitamins etc.
But in the end it was their life. They would live it as they saw fit.

I would agree with you. To me my father's life, as far as the alchoholism goes, was a waste. In fact when I was younger I had the exact same problem as did my sister and now one of my sons. One thing I have learned is that you cannot force that out of someone especially when it is in the DNA.

And, also in my opinion, a life without God (or at least an idea that there is something more to come after this life) would be wasted.
But it boils down to the same thing as alchoholism. That it is my opinion as to what is an ideal life.
I am surrounded at work by people who's ideal life is to tell dirty jokes, gossip about fellow workers or friends or whatever. They will do it until they die or until they change their minds. Change their harmonics,..what they vibrate to or what they draw to them.
To me that is a waste also.

Most people avoid the very thought that someday they will die. They fear it.
Paul says we have been held in bondage to the fear of death. Looking into spiritual things we are hit head on by the concept of death and dying.
Why wait to learn about it after it is too late to learn anything about it?
After it is too late.
If everything boiled down to keeping warm when it is cold and cool when it is warm and putting a roof over our heads and eating, excreting and mating and giving birht to more of the same in the next generation,...Then it is all a just a waste. Again, in my opinion.

But it is not all about that. And that is why we are here discussing these things.

All the best,
Bob

heb13-13
10-07-2011, 09:14 AM
I think what I got out of his comment was a good look at my own arrogance.
He also used to say, "God gave us free will, who am I to take it away."
He was a healer and in his practice he would also necessarily council people on lifestyle, emotions, diet, and vitamins etc.
But in the end it was their life. They would live it as they saw fit.

I would agree with you. To me my father's life, as far as the alchoholism goes, was a waste. In fact when I was younger I had the exact same problem as did my sister and now one of my sons. One thing I have learned is that you cannot force that out of someone especially when it is in the DNA.

And, also in my opinion, a life without God (or at least an idea that there is something more to come after this life) would be wasted.
But it boils down to the same thing as alchoholism. That it is my opinion as to what is an ideal life.
I am surrounded at work by people who's ideal life is to tell dirty jokes, gossip about fellow workers or friends or whatever. They will do it until they die or until they change their minds. Change their harmonics,..what they vibrate to or what they draw to them.
To me that is a waste also.

Most people avoid the very thought that someday they will die. They fear it.
Paul says we have been held in bondage to the fear of death. Looking into spiritual things we are hit head on by the concept of death and dying.
Why wait to learn about it after it is too late to learn anything about it?
After it is too late.
If everything boiled down to keeping warm when it is cold and cool when it is warm and putting a roof over our heads and eating, excreting and mating and giving birht to more of the same in the next generation,...Then it is all a just a waste. Again, in my opinion.

But it is not all about that. And that is why we are here discussing these things.

All the best,
Bob

There were two men on crosses on either side of Jesus.

One man's life experiences brought him to a place of humility while the other man's life experiences did not. Why would one man think that the person in the middle who was dying in front of his very eyes, could in any way rescue him?

It is hard to judge a man on the outward and we all do it. Everything he has gone through in life including all of his many mistakes that he may have subjected himself to, can still be redeemed, by the Great Redeemer depending on the attitude of his heart.

We see two attitudes, quite vividly on either side of Jesus.

Yes, when Jesus is lifted up, all men will be drawn to Him, but that does not mean, they will all come to the same conclusion.

Blessings to you,
Rick

Bob May
10-07-2011, 10:14 AM
There were two men on crosses on either side of Jesus.

One man's life experiences brought him to a place of humility while the other man's life experiences did not. Why would one man think that the person in the middle who was dying in front of his very eyes, could in any way rescue him?

It is hard to judge a man on the outward and we all do it. Everything he has gone through in life including all of his many mistakes that he may have subjected himself to, can still be redeemed, by the Great Redeemer depending on the attitude of his heart.

We see two attitudes, quite vividly on either side of Jesus.

Yes, when Jesus is lifted up, all men will be drawn to Him, but that does not mean, they will all come to the same conclusion.

Blessings to you,
Rick

Hi Rick,
You are so right. And coming to the Lord may happen in an instant, to anyone, even at the point of death.
Also with the thief on the cross there is a very interesting aspect.
His hands and feet were bound. He could not do anything to change his life as those who are "under the law" would think was a prerequisite for salvation. All he could do was believe that Jesus was a righteous man and he was promised a place in Paradise.

And as far as my father goes, I am not wanting to make him look all bad. He was not. He was struggling with an addiction. He also was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart during world war II. and raised 5 children.

It was more of an example of the way I was thinking at the time of his death. It is an example of something I had to wrestle with also.
And we are exploring the meaninglessness of life without God.

In some ways a person who experiences the depths to which they can fall has a certain advantage over those whose lives go on as usual without any major changes. They/we are forced to look past the surface meanings of things.

Bob

Richard Amiel McGough
10-07-2011, 11:00 AM
There were two men on crosses on either side of Jesus.

One man's life experiences brought him to a place of humility while the other man's life experiences did not. Why would one man think that the person in the middle who was dying in front of his very eyes, could in any way rescue him?

It is hard to judge a man on the outward and we all do it. Everything he has gone through in life including all of his many mistakes that he may have subjected himself to, can still be redeemed, by the Great Redeemer depending on the attitude of his heart.

We see two attitudes, quite vividly on either side of Jesus.

Yes, when Jesus is lifted up, all men will be drawn to Him, but that does not mean, they will all come to the same conclusion.

Blessings to you,
Rick
So are you saying that a man's fate to suffer eternal conscious torment is determined by his finite "life experiences" - many of which he had no control over (such as being born as an American Indian in pre-Columbus times, or a Muslim who never heard the Gospel, etc.)?

You have opened a very large can of very squirmy worms - and that should lead to some great conversation! :thumb: One of my first big problems after becoming Christian when I was 19 was the fate of those who never heard. The thought of them going to hell brought me to sobbing tears. And during all my years as a devout Christian, I never found a satisfactory answer. I would be very interested to know how you (and others in this forum) deal with this profoundly vexing problem.

Richard Amiel McGough
10-07-2011, 11:02 AM
Also with the thief on the cross there is a very interesting aspect.
His hands and feet were bound. He could not do anything to change his life as those who are "under the law" would think was a prerequisite for salvation. All he could do was believe that Jesus was a righteous man and he was promised a place in Paradise.

That is a profound illustration of the doctrine "by faith, not works" - I'm surprised I never heard it or thought it during my many years as a Christian.

:signthankspin:

Bob May
10-07-2011, 12:28 PM
That is a profound illustration of the doctrine "by faith, not works" - I'm surprised I never heard it or thought it during my many years as a Christian.

:signthankspin:

Yep,

Hidden in plain sight.

And for some people that would be enough,..enough to close that can of worms.
I think we complicate things too much sometimes. Lately I see it more as One Revelation that it is all pointing towards.
Both within scripture and without.

I think any religion has those who think outside of the box and that may be the whole point.
Jesus brought Grace and Truth.

Anyone can look around them and come to the realization that Ravens do not reap or sow and yet God provides for them. That is an awareness of Grace and Truth. If they stay on that train of thought I think they will meet Jesus along the way.

All the best,
Bob

Richard Amiel McGough
10-07-2011, 01:06 PM
Yep,

Hidden in plain sight.

And for some people that would be enough,..enough to close that can of worms.
I think we complicate things too much sometimes. Lately I see it more as One Revelation that it is all pointing towards.
Both within scripture and without.

I think any religion has those who think outside of the box and that may be the whole point.
Jesus brought Grace and Truth.

Anyone can look around them and come to the realization that Ravens do not reap or sow and yet God provides for them. That is an awareness of Grace and Truth. If they stay on that train of thought I think they will meet Jesus along the way.

All the best,
Bob
Yes, we often complicate things too much, but then again, many of the answers are much too simplistic. And worse, many of the presumptions are simply false. For example, the whole idea that people need "salvation" by "accepting Jesus as their personal savior" immediately creates the problems of "What happens to those who have not heard?" and "What happens to those who were born before Christ?". The obvious solution to me seems to be to toss out the idea that people need "salvation" to save them from an "eternal hell."

As for the idea of wild animals illustrating God's grace - that seems to deconstruct the entire edifice of Christianity since the animals all receive grace without asking. So if we just lived in harmony with the universe and "trusted God" like Jesus suggested (without any dogma at all) then we'd be happy and free like the birds. Sounds great to me! But it also sounds contrary to everything else about Christianity (which is a dogmatic religion that says you must believe certain propositions to be saved).

Bob May
10-07-2011, 03:41 PM
Yes, we often complicate things too much, but then again, many of the answers are much too simplistic. And worse, many of the presumptions are simply false. For example, the whole idea that people need "salvation" by "accepting Jesus as their personal savior" immediately creates the problems of "What happens to those who have not heard?" and "What happens to those who were born before Christ?". The obvious solution to me seems to be to toss out the idea that people need "salvation" to save them from an "eternal hell."


I though we closed that can.

Ro 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them.
Ro 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Jesus' illustration with the ravens is an example of this.



As for the idea of wild animals illustrating God's grace - that seems to deconstruct the entire edifice of Christianity since the animals all receive grace without asking.


Maybe they do not ask verbally but they also do not doubt.
The law causes us to doubt because we cannot live up to it, and so why should we, under the law, expect any provision?
Jesus said to consider them. He also said follow him. He was considering them.
That is part of his doctrine and teachiong,...not dogma.
Considering the ravens causes us to think in a way that runs contrary to the problem which is the law mentality.



So if we just lived in harmony with the universe and "trusted God" like Jesus suggested (without any dogma at all) then we'd be happy and free like the birds. Sounds great to me!


Me too!




But it also sounds contrary to everything else about Christianity (which is a dogmatic religion that says you must believe certain propositions to be saved.


Which propositions?
What you call Christianity is not if what you are seeing is dogmatic.
I see that also but I don't call it Christianity.

A friend of mine, who is raised Catholic and a decent honorable man, once said to me, "I believe what Jesus stood for."

For most people what Jesus stood for means do good, get good.
Do evil, get evil.
Those are what the "edifices" of what you are calling Christianity.
But what they really are is mixing law and grace.



As for the idea of wild animals illustrating God's grace - that seems to deconstruct the entire edifice of Christianity since the animals all receive grace without asking.


At work I feed wild ground squirrels. Mostly cheez-its. After awhile each season about half of them will eat out of my hand. They come up to the door and stand straight up and look at me until they get a cracker. They don't doubt I will give them one. They just know where the food comes from. So they come to me and stand up waiting for it.
Some never get close. But they will still eat the cheez-its if I thow them far enough away from me.

Jesus is telling us that we will not get stomped if we come close.
Most churches are telling us we deserve to get stomped.

So I would rather listen to what Jesus was/is teaching than what churches are teaching.
We do have to deconstruct "Christianity" in order to learn what Jesus is teaching us.
This is why David's sheep found pasture outside of the sheepfold and Paul said to follow Jesus outside the camp bearing his reproach.

All the best,
Bob

heb13-13
10-07-2011, 07:08 PM
For most people what Jesus stood for means do good, get good.
Do evil, get evil.
Those are what the "edifices" of what you are calling Christianity.
But what they really are is mixing law and grace.

At work I feed wild ground squirrels. Mostly cheez-its. After awhile each season about half of them will eat out of my hand. They come up to the door and stand straight up and look at me until they get a cracker. They don't doubt I will give them one. They just know where the food comes from. So they come to me and stand up waiting for it.
Some never get close. But they will still eat the cheez-its if I thow them far enough away from me.

Jesus is telling us that we will not get stomped if we come close.
Most churches are telling us we deserve to get stomped.

So I would rather listen to what Jesus was/is teaching than what churches are teaching.
We do have to deconstruct "Christianity" in order to learn what Jesus is teaching us.
This is why David's sheep found pasture outside of the sheepfold and Paul said to follow Jesus outside the camp bearing his reproach.

All the best,
Bob

Hey there Bob,

I really enjoyed what you said. It is true that you have to listen to what the Spirit says rather than listen to what the churches (men) are saying.

I mean, we hear men, we listen to men, but like the Bereans who "received the word with all readiness of mind", it behooves us to "search the scriptures to see whether these things are so."

When I don't have answers, I would rather draw close to God rather than run away from Him.

There is a great perversion today of what is called Christianity and many on this forum can see it quite clearly. It is full of mixture and Jesus says to all those who have ears to hear: "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues (Rev 18:4).

I don't want to post an entire chapter, but Ezekiel 34 pretty much shows us that man has not changed. Lots of things have become better in this world for many people (technology, health, living conditions, etc) but the heart of man itself has not changed.

We have a parallel to Rev 18:4 in Ezra. The Bible says 2:64 in that 42,360 people answered the call of God to come out of Babylon and go to Jerusalem to rebuild the city.

Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem. Ezr 1:5

By most historical accounts this was a small remnant of all the Jews in Babylon that had been there for 70 years. I have heard estimates of many 2 million or more which would be just over 2 percent.

The thing that impressed me about those that left Babylon is that there is no mention of them condemning the ones that stayed or causing division and strife. In fact, I believe the ones that stayed gave those that were leaving valuables to help them rebuild.

And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered. Ezr 1:6

So, they left peacefully and I am sure their attitude was "we are going back to Jerusalem to rebuild the City of God and what we are building is just as much for you as it is for us. So come and join us when you can to rebuild the City of God."

That should be the attitude today for believers that are coming out of "Babylon."

Just by leaving Babylon they were separating themselves from the mixture in Babylon without decrying their brethren and I think that should be our attitude, today. It does not mean that we turn a blind eye to the mixture and the compromising, but rather that we keep our eyes on Jesus and keep pointing to Him for others to see.

Jesus said, "Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me" (John14:30).

Babylon is always in the heart. That is where we must come out of it. In our hearts. "Have no idols before me."

Anyway, thanks for your post. It was inspiring to me.

Rick

Bob May
10-08-2011, 08:03 AM
Hi Rick and Richard and all,


Hey there Bob,

I really enjoyed what you said. It is true that you have to listen to what the Spirit says rather than listen to what the churches (men) are saying.

I mean, we hear men, we listen to men, but like the Bereans who "received the word with all readiness of mind", it behooves us to "search the scriptures to see whether these things are so."

When I don't have answers, I would rather draw close to God rather than run away from Him.

There is a great perversion today of what is called Christianity and many on this forum can see it quite clearly. It is full of mixture and Jesus says to all those who have ears to hear: "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues (Rev 18:4).

I don't want to post an entire chapter, but Ezekiel 34 pretty much shows us that man has not changed. Lots of things have become better in this world for many people (technology, health, living conditions, etc) but the heart of man itself has not changed.

We have a parallel to Rev 18:4 in Ezra. The Bible says 2:64 in that 42,360 people answered the call of God to come out of Babylon and go to Jerusalem to rebuild the city.

Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem. Ezr 1:5

By most historical accounts this was a small remnant of all the Jews in Babylon that had been there for 70 years. I have heard estimates of many 2 million or more which would be just over 2 percent.

The thing that impressed me about those that left Babylon is that there is no mention of them condemning the ones that stayed or causing division and strife. In fact, I believe the ones that stayed gave those that were leaving valuables to help them rebuild.

And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered. Ezr 1:6

So, they left peacefully and I am sure their attitude was "we are going back to Jerusalem to rebuild the City of God and what we are building is just as much for you as it is for us. So come and join us when you can to rebuild the City of God."

That should be the attitude today for believers that are coming out of "Babylon."

Just by leaving Babylon they were separating themselves from the mixture in Babylon without decrying their brethren and I think that should be our attitude, today. It does not mean that we turn a blind eye to the mixture and the compromising, but rather that we keep our eyes on Jesus and keep pointing to Him for others to see.

Jesus said, "Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me" (John14:30).

Babylon is always in the heart. That is where we must come out of it. In our hearts. "Have no idols before me."

Anyway, thanks for your post. It was inspiring to me.

Rick

Hi Rick,
Excellent post and some very interesting connections.
I will look into the chapters you mentioned as they seem to fit holes in my viewpoint.

When I and a small group left my old church many years ago it was obvious to us that something had happened to us.
We had put off baptism for years because the pastor thought we were not yet ready for it.
When I finally pinned him down and found a spring fed stream which was one of the stipulations he had put on it, he decided to baptize a small group of us. His plan was to have a larger baptism for the entire church a few weeks later.

But things bgan happening to those who were baptized.
We began to see more in Scripture than the church as a whole was seeing. Also some signs and wonders (many reaffirmations) and a few visions.
We were asked to do some classes and sermons concerning what we were experiencing.
Each time we did, many church members were very angry at us afterwards.
I was asked to do a sermon on how we are saved by grace.
The tape of that sermon was "accidentally" destroyed and the next Sunday another church member was asked to do a sermon on how we are saved by the law.
What we were experiencing we related to the tower of Babel where language was confused and people could not understand each other anymore.
I also relate that to the 14 generations from David to the captivity in Babylon.

The key of David is a necessary awareness to our spiritual growth.
Blessed is the man whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are not counted against him.Those who do not come to this realization do not see what is happening.
At a certain point the sword of the word divides/separates us spirit from soul.

Those reading the book from a Spiritual perspective cannot be understood by those reading it from the perspective of the soul.
But at the same time they were giving us confirmation that what we were seeing and hearing was actually the right course.

As you put it; "strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things."
While in a dissagreement with one church member he asked me, "If you have recieved the Spirit or been born again, show me the miracles."

I just shook my head in disbelief. His comment was exactly what Satan did to Jesus. "If you be the son of God, turn this stone into bread."
Many things like this were happening to us. This fits with the "precious things" you mentioned.
Even those who do not believe will confirm that what you see happening all around you is actually happening.
We also began relating it to the flood, the opening of the windows of heaven.
When too many things are happening all around you to take it all in.

Ge 7:11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
Mal 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

When both Pilate and the high priest asked Jesus if he was the king of Jews the Christ and the son of God jesus answer was the same:
Mt 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said:
Mt 27:11 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.

Jesus was watching as all of the signs were pointing to and confirming what he already knew.
What do you think went through his mind when they put the crown of thorns on his head???

Ge 22:8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
Ge 22:13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

Jesus was experiencing this "flood" big time.
When in this "flood" everything around you confirms what you are witnessing.
Afterwards it lessens somewhat but how it works sticks with you.
You cannot be talked out of it because the very people who try to talk you out of it are confirming that what you are experiencing is true.

Because God uses everything and everyone around us to confirm to us that He is speaking to us.

Joh 11:49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,
Joh 11:50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
Joh 11:51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;
Joh 11:52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

Thanks for the chapters and verses. I will have a look at them.
The segment from the captivity of Babylon to Christ is a mystery that I believe many of us are going through at this time without knowing it.
It is the third segment of 14 generations and I believe has to do with the further cleansing of the Baptism of fire and the further opening of our spiritual senses.
Sorry for the long post.

All the best,
Bob

heb13-13
10-08-2011, 09:29 PM
Sorry for the long post.

Bob

Hi Bob,

No problem. I enjoyed it and would like to mention a few things.




The key of David is a necessary awareness to our spiritual growth.

Bob

In Rev 3:7, Jesus is a quoting from Isaiah 22:22
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; Rev 3:7


And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. Isa 22:22


I would love to talk about the Key of David and the Tabernacle of David (which is a type of Christ). I think I will bring this over to the Shadows of Christ thread that Gilgal started. What do you think? Or maybe start a new thread.




Jesus was experiencing this "flood" big time.
When in this "flood" everything around you confirms what you are witnessing.

Afterwards it lessens somewhat but how it works sticks with you.
You cannot be talked out of it because the very people who try to talk you out of it are confirming that what you are experiencing is true.

Because God uses everything and everyone around us to confirm to us that He is speaking to us.

Bob

I agree that God uses everything and everyone around us to confirm to us that He is speaking! This is exactly how I came to understand the Tabernacle of David. Well partly. I had to see God's church and man's church in order for the Word to make sense.

Almost two thousand years ago, the Lord Jesus Christ made this great declaration, "I will build My church." Down through the ages He has been building. Unfortunately, man has been building also. And the work of man is always detrimental to the work of God...even when it is done in His name.







Thanks for the chapters and verses. I will have a look at them.
The segment from the captivity of Babylon to Christ is a mystery that I believe many of us are going through at this time without knowing it.
It is the third segment of 14 generations and I believe has to do with the further cleansing of the Baptism of fire and the further opening of our spiritual senses.



Bob

There is so much happening today that parallels with our understanding of the exodus from Babylon and the Tabernacle of David prophecied in Amos and spoken by James in Acts.

God's plan is very purposeful and gives us purpose. I could stay here with this, or move it to Shadows, but an even better idea would be to start a thread on the Tabernacle of David/Key of David.

I hope to continue in the "Can You Be Righteous" thread. One of the things I want to get to is the Baptism of Fire.

Only time for a short one tonight. See ya online.

Rick

Richard Amiel McGough
10-09-2011, 09:47 AM
Yes, we often complicate things too much, but then again, many of the answers are much too simplistic. And worse, many of the presumptions are simply false. For example, the whole idea that people need "salvation" by "accepting Jesus as their personal savior" immediately creates the problems of "What happens to those who have not heard?" and "What happens to those who were born before Christ?". The obvious solution to me seems to be to toss out the idea that people need "salvation" to save them from an "eternal hell."
I though we closed that can.

Ro 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them.
Ro 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Jesus' illustration with the ravens is an example of this.

Yes, I know that you don't agree with Christianity about many things. But I forget your position on hell and the need for "salvation." Are you saying that there is no hell and no need for salvation? I get the impression you see Christianity as a revelation of a path for mystics to commune with God and grow spiritually. But then again, you say other things that make me think you are a regular Christian who believes that the death and resurrection of Christ were really important for everybody. So I must admit that I don't really know where you are coming from.

How does God feeding the wild birds indicate Universalism? Is that what you meant to imply? Everyone gets "saved" without having to "do" anything just like ravens all get fed by God without sowing and reaping?




As for the idea of wild animals illustrating God's grace - that seems to deconstruct the entire edifice of Christianity since the animals all receive grace without asking.

Maybe they do not ask verbally but they also do not doubt.
The law causes us to doubt because we cannot live up to it, and so why should we, under the law, expect any provision?
Jesus said to consider them. He also said follow him. He was considering them.
That is part of his doctrine and teachiong,...not dogma.
Considering the ravens causes us to think in a way that runs contrary to the problem which is the law mentality.

Animals don't have the ability to "doubt" because they don't have language.

"Considering the ravens" teaches us to have "faith like a child" - to abandon the civilized way of living an return to nature, trusting God to supply all our needs. It's a great way to live, but if everyone did it we'd all be back in the stone age. It makes me think of the kind of idealism common amongst the Rainbow Family. Babylon must burn! We must all return to Mother Nature. We gotta get back to the Garden.

My "doubt" about the "Law" has nothing to do with my lack of ability to fulfill it. It comes from all sorts of things, like "What is the law anyway?" It's used in various senses in the Bible, and many of them make no sense to me. For example, the Law in the sense of the five books of the Torah is not even a "Law" but rather a mixture of rules (ranging from profound to absurd) and history (ranging from factual to weird unbelievable mythology). Am I really supposed to believe that Jacob caused sheep to produce mottled offspring by putting striped sticks in front of them when they mated (Gen 30:37)? So what is the "Law" of which Paul spoke? Sometimes it was just the rules in the Torah, sometimes the whole Torah as a book, sometimes it included the Prophets, and so on. I couldn't tell you what "Law" I am supposed to "obey" if you asked me. There is much confusion on the meaning of that word. And even if I had an answer, I would probably reject a lot of it as wrong anyway.





So if we just lived in harmony with the universe and "trusted God" like Jesus suggested (without any dogma at all) then we'd be happy and free like the birds. Sounds great to me!
Me too!

Yeah but if everyone did it we'd all starve to death. Someone's gotta grow the food for seven billion humans. And who's gonna put in the plumbing and the sewage treatment plant? Etc.




But it also sounds contrary to everything else about Christianity (which is a dogmatic religion that says you must believe certain propositions to be saved.
Which propositions?
What you call Christianity is not if what you are seeing is dogmatic.
I see that also but I don't call it Christianity.

Well, everyone is free to make up their own definitions I guess. But that destroys the meaning of language. I don't understand why you want to invent a new religion and call it by the name of the already existing religion of Christianity which by its very definition is "dogmatic." Historically, the religion has been defined by creeds like the Nicene Creed, etc..



So I would rather listen to what Jesus was/is teaching than what churches are teaching.
We do have to deconstruct "Christianity" in order to learn what Jesus is teaching us.
This is why David's sheep found pasture outside of the sheepfold and Paul said to follow Jesus outside the camp bearing his reproach.

All the best,
Bob
Well ... I agree that we are all on our own. But if I have to "deconstruct Christianity" in order to be a Christian, why bother? Why not just open my mind to accept all truth and reject all dogmatic sectarian religions?

Basically, if you reject the Christian dogmas it seems absurd to call yourself a Christian. Every man just does what is right in his own eyes.

Great chatting!

Richard

heb13-13
10-09-2011, 11:58 AM
And Bob, we need to "stay on the cross", but our flesh always wants to try and pry one or two hands loose thinking that will "win" freedom for ourselves. Hah!! We are free! We are more free (and more safe) than we think if we just stay on the cross and entrust our souls to Him and keep our dirty, fleshly hands out of His business.

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. Psa 127:1


Richard, for the answers that I don't have, the one answer that I do have is the eternal love and mercy of God in His Son Jesus Christ. I can trust in that much more than my own reasoning and questions. In time He answers some questions, and others I will never get an answer to in this life. I'm ok with that. I'm subject to Him not the other way around.

When Jesus sent the Apostles out they did not have all their doctrine right or all the answers to every question. But they had what they needed - the revelation of the Son of God and the Holy Spirit. They did not spend years getting all their questions answered before they would get back on the cross to make sure they were doing the right thing.

I am to trust and obey not verify and delay or argue.

Doesn't mean I can't ask questions or think for myself, but I cannot withhold faithfulness or obedience to Him, until He gives me what I want.

All the best,
Rick

Richard Amiel McGough
10-09-2011, 12:45 PM
Alright - this is an interesting digression, but I think it would be nice if we could get back on topic.

Is life meaningless without God? If so, why? How does "God" cause there to be meaning? What does "meaning of life" have to do with the afterlife anyway? These are the kinds of questions I was hoping to discuss.

:focus:

heb13-13
10-09-2011, 07:36 PM
Alright - this is an interesting digression, but I think it would be nice if we could get back on topic.

Is life meaningless without God? If so, why? How does "God" cause there to be meaning? What does "meaning of life" have to do with the afterlife anyway? These are the kinds of questions I was hoping to discuss.

:focus:


Hi Richard,

I agree and I think I may have been the one that caused the digression. My apologies. Let me give it another try. :)

Regarding life being meaningless without God? That is an excellent question.

There are many people of different "persuasions" that you would be hard-pressed to convince that life is meaningless without God. Many who self-admittedly believe in no God, would say that their life is full of meaning and why would anyone want to argue their self-defined meaning of "purpose" in life? I certainly would not. To them, my purpose in life is "self-defined." Be that as it may, I will give you my thoughts from my Christian perspective.

To your questions?

How does God cause there to be "meaning" for us little "specs of dust" on the map?

I believe if we find out God's purpose then we will find our purpose.

God's purpose from the beginning was that He might "circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart" (Deut. 30:6).

To build a temple for His glory, and--to plant a garden that will flourish with the fruit of His Spirit.

Our purpose first and foremost is to know God. And in knowing Him, we have been invited into His family, to be a working, functioning member in the Body of Christ. (I'm not talking about "going to church"). Our purpose is to exercise the gifts that God imparted to us by His Holy Spirit to build up the Body of Christ and to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to the lost.

God's purpose is to bring many sons to glory and to conform us to the image of His Son, thus growing up into maturity in Christ.

Our purpose is to listen to the Spirit and learn the will of God and harmonize or sync up our wills with the Father's will just as Jesus and the Father were one (unity).

He calls us to walk as He walked, to carry the cross as He carried His cross, entrusting Himself to His Father.

For those people who are looking for a City whose Builder and Maker is God, He has set before us a very clear pattern and example:

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Php 2:5-8).
For Jesus Christ, the Captain of our Salvation, the Son of God, the Author and the Finisher of our faith...

The call of of His Father heavenward, brought Him lower, and lower, and lower...even unto the death of the Cross.

And so it must be with all who desire to follow the Lord. God deliver us from all the jockeying for position, power, wealth and acclaim that we see today... striving for significance and honor. When we find our significance in Him alone, we have found our purpose. The pathway of SONSHIP does not lead upward but rather takes you lower and lower. We must decrease and He must increase.

"And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
But yeshallnotbeso: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve" (Luke 22:25-6).

"For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Mar 10:45).

And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; (Luke 22:29).


God's Kingdom is established on different principles than the world's kingdom (even and especially the world's religious kingdoms). His disciples are not to expect titles, position, offices and power. The most advanced disciple in His kingdom will be characterized by being a very humble servant. Jesus painted many pictures, spiritualizing the natural and even demonstrating to His disciples what He meant. He then shows them what He is talking about.

Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them" (John 13:13-16)
Yes, if you know these things, happy and blessed are you if you do them.

God's ways are not man's ways.

God's path UP is to go DOWN.

Instead of being OVER others, God's way is to go UNDER and lift others up.

God's way to SUCCESS is through "FAILURE."

True PROSPERITY is not through personal gain but through spiritual BANKRUPTCY.

God's way to VICTORY is through DEFEAT.

The way to HONOR is through RIDICULE AND SHAME.

And of course one of the most well known paradoxes of Jesus is the way to LIFE, is through DEATH.

There is much, much more that could be said, Richard, but I will allow others to add to it.

Our purpose is to walk as Jesus walked (which encompasses much more than this one post).

"He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked" (1Jn 2:6).

Have a blessed week,
Rick

Bob May
10-10-2011, 08:48 AM
Hi Richard, Rick and anyone else who comes,
I know you want to move on but I couldn't post yesterday to answer some of your questions.




Yes, I know that you don't agree with Christianity about many things. But I forget your position on hell and the need for "salvation." Are you saying that there is no hell and no need for salvation?


I believe there are levels of hell. I've visited at least one. I didn't like it.
I believe that without salvation we are lost. Salvation is through Jesus Christ. But I do not write off people of other faiths. Those who come to a realization of Grace and truth do so outside and beyond their religious dogmas, whatever those might be. That is why I said they might meet Jesus along the way. If he brought Grace and Truth where would they have gotten it from otherwise.




I get the impression you see Christianity as a revelation of a path for mystics to commune with God and grow spiritually. But then again, you say other things that make me think you are a regular Christian who believes that the death and resurrection of Christ were really important for everybody. So I must admit that I don't really know where you are coming from.


I believe both. Jesus said, "I am the way." That is the entire way. He brought the highest form of Mysticism to mankind.
Not just through the physical, formative, astral, spiritual realms but all the way to the divine. He sits on the right hand of the Father and waits for the consumation of all things. And yet he lives inside of us.
He said follow me.
He runs the greatest "Mystery School" there ever was. It encompasses the entire universe and yet we do not even have to leave the house to enroll.



How does God feeding the wild birds indicate Universalism? Is that what you meant to imply? Everyone gets "saved" without having to "do" anything just like ravens all get fed by God without sowing and reaping?


Animals don't have the ability to "doubt" because they don't have language.

"Considering the ravens" teaches us to have "faith like a child" - to abandon the civilized way of living an return to nature, trusting God to supply all our needs. It's a great way to live, but if everyone did it we'd all be back in the stone age. It makes me think of the kind of idealism common amongst the Rainbow Family. Babylon must burn! We must all return to Mother Nature. We gotta get back to the Garden.


He didn't say become a raven, he said to consider them.
The main thing he was pointing out is that if we keep our minds on spiritual things our physical needs will be provided. That may mean we will get a job when we need it or the neighbor may ask us for dinner when we just ran out of money two days before payday or whatever.

But you, by considering them, pointed out two more important aspects.
Faith like a child is a good one.
The other, that they do not doubt because they don't have language.
As I mentioned before, I began my spiritual journey reading and practicing the teachings of Don Juan, written by Carlos Castaneda.
In his system of knowledge, don Juan points out that the single most important element of his teachings concerning the opening of spiritual perception was the practice of "stopping the internal dialog."It is the incessant speaking in our heads that we do out of habit that keeps us where we are. Tied to the physical realm.
This agrees with the bible.

Ps 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
Ec 3:7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;






My "doubt" about the "Law" has nothing to do with my lack of ability to fulfill it. It comes from all sorts of things, like "What is the law anyway?" It's used in various senses in the Bible, and many of them make no sense to me. For example, the Law in the sense of the five books of the Torah is not even a "Law" but rather a mixture of rules (ranging from profound to absurd) and history (ranging from factual to weird unbelievable mythology). Am I really supposed to believe that Jacob caused sheep to produce mottled offspring by putting striped sticks in front of them when they mated (Gen 30:37)? So what is the "Law" of which Paul spoke? Sometimes it was just the rules in the Torah, sometimes the whole Torah as a book, sometimes it included the Prophets, and so on. I couldn't tell you what "Law" I am supposed to "obey" if you asked me. There is much confusion on the meaning of that word.


The law is a puzzle with no answer. It is painting ourselves into a corner so that the only way out is to cut a hole in the wall behind us. It is a test that in order to pass it we have to cheat.
That is if we look at the letter of the law as natural men.
But the law because it is unable to be kept without breaking it and unable to be understood leads us to Christ.
Then because of the blood he spilled on the cross life has been added to the entire world and every element within it. Including the Scriptures.

Ex 15:26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

It is the voice that we are to listen to. That implies a living being, not dead words.



And even if I had an answer, I would probably reject a lot of it as wrong anyway.


No, you wouldn't. You would do what you do. Store it away in the back of your mind and it would bother you like a pebble in your shoe until you had the answer.



Yeah but if everyone did it we'd all starve to death. Someone's gotta grow the food for seven billion humans. And who's gonna put in the plumbing and the sewage treatment plant? Etc.


I was joking when I said "Me too."



Well, everyone is free to make up their own definitions I guess. But that destroys the meaning of language. I don't understand why you want to invent a new religion and call it by the name of the already existing religion of Christianity which by its very definition is "dogmatic." Historically, the religion has been defined by creeds like the Nicene Creed, etc..


My teacher used to say, "If someone asks you what religion you are tell them Christian. If they ask you if you are a Christian, say no."
I guess it bugs me a little that, in my opinion, the term has been usurped.
If someone is a follower of Luther they are called Lutheran.
Maybe I need to coin a new term, but all the good ones have been taken, Disciples of Christ, Church if Jesus Christ, Christian fellowship.
How about Jesites. No, that sounds too much like Jesuits.



Well ... I agree that we are all on our own. But if I have to "deconstruct Christianity" in order to be a Christian, why bother? Why not just open my mind to accept all truth and reject all dogmatic sectarian religions?


Yes. Separate what Jesus taught from what men taught. They are not the way, Jesus is. Yes accept all Truth. Don't reject all religions. See if the elements of their teachings match up with the elements of his teachings. Accept the ones that do and reject the ones that don't.



Basically, if you reject the Christian dogmas it seems absurd to call yourself a Christian. Every man just does what is right in his own eyes.


If you accept dogma it seems to me absurd to call yourself a Christian. Jesus came to free mankind from the Law and law is dogma.



Great chatting!

Richard
[/QUOTE]

You too Richard

Richard Amiel McGough
10-10-2011, 02:36 PM
Hi Richard,

I agree and I think I may have been the one that caused the digression. My apologies. Let me give it another try. :)

Regarding life being meaningless without God? That is an excellent question.

There are many people of different "persuasions" that you would be hard-pressed to convince that life is meaningless without God. Many who self-admittedly believe in no God, would say that their life is full of meaning and why would anyone want to argue their self-defined meaning of "purpose" in life? I certainly would not. To them, my purpose in life is "self-defined." Be that as it may, I will give you my thoughts from my Christian perspective.

Hey there Rick, :yo:

No worries about digressions. They are the hallmark of excellent conversations.



To your questions?

How does God cause there to be "meaning" for us little "specs of dust" on the map?

I believe if we find out God's purpose then we will find our purpose.

God's purpose from the beginning was that He might "circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart" (Deut. 30:6).

To build a temple for His glory, and--to plant a garden that will flourish with the fruit of His Spirit.

Our purpose first and foremost is to know God. And in knowing Him, we have been invited into His family, to be a working, functioning member in the Body of Christ. (I'm not talking about "going to church"). Our purpose is to exercise the gifts that God imparted to us by His Holy Spirit to build up the Body of Christ and to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to the lost.

God's purpose is to bring many sons to glory and to conform us to the image of His Son, thus growing up into maturity in Christ.

OK - basically, you are saying that this life is meaningful because it has a purpose beyond itself. It sounds rather like saying we are in the "womb" right now and when we die we will be born (resurrected) into the eternal "Kingdom of God" where we and God will enjoy ourselves forever in another world that is basically just like this world (only better, no sin, death, etc.). Are you saying that the ultimate meaning of life is mere enjoyment? We enjoy God and our eternal existence doing whatever it is we will be doing, and God enjoys it all. Is this what you believe? Is the ultimate "meaning of life, the universe, and everything" a kind of Divine Hedonism? Divine Play? Or do you think there is some other purpose beyond that? I would guess that you would add other values such as "Beauty" and "Wisdom" and "Joy" and "Love." That's all great. But we have all those things in this life - so why do we need a "future life" to make this life meaningful?

This is the problem I have with your answer. What is it about the future life that makes it meaningful "in and of itself" as an "end in itself' as opposed to this life? Does the future life have a "purpose" that is missing from this life? What is it about the future life that makes it meaningful as opposed to this life?

Sorry if my questions seem a little "loopy" but that's pretty much inevitable when talking about the meaning of meaning. Self-reference is always filled with mystery. Like self-consciousness. That's where we get all our logical contradictions like "This statement is a lie." The word "this" refers back to the sentence that contains it, and so opens the door to paradox. Our own consciousness seems like that too. A mirror reflecting a mirror, the images extend to infinity. And indeed, the concept of infinity also leads to some paradoxes. Think of the set of integers. Now think of the set of odd integers. One should be half the size of the other, right? Wrong. They are equally infinite (according to the rule that a one-to-one correspondence implies equality of size, that is). Isn't it odd that you can subtract an infinite set from an infinite set and the set remains infinite?

Well now, it looks like I'm the one digressing! :p

Great chatting!

Richard

Richard Amiel McGough
10-10-2011, 03:08 PM
Hi Richard, Rick and anyone else who comes,
I know you want to move on but I couldn't post yesterday to answer some of your questions.

That's great. I'll separate out the digressions into separate threads if the need becomes obvious.



Yes, I know that you don't agree with Christianity about many things. But I forget your position on hell and the need for "salvation." Are you saying that there is no hell and no need for salvation?
I believe there are levels of hell. I've visited at least one. I didn't like it.
I believe that without salvation we are lost. Salvation is through Jesus Christ. But I do not write off people of other faiths. Those who come to a realization of Grace and truth do so outside and beyond their religious dogmas, whatever those might be. That is why I said they might meet Jesus along the way. If he brought Grace and Truth where would they have gotten it from otherwise.

But what do you mean by "hell." I was talking about the word as used by most Christians to refer to a place in the afterlife of eternal conscious torment. You say that you've visited hell so I'm guessing we are still confused over definitions. Let's see if we can clear that up with a little plain talk, eh?

And what do you mean by "salvation?" Are you a Universalist? Or do some go to hell forever? If so, why? What good does God accomplish by tormenting the creatures he created that way?




I get the impression you see Christianity as a revelation of a path for mystics to commune with God and grow spiritually. But then again, you say other things that make me think you are a regular Christian who believes that the death and resurrection of Christ were really important for everybody. So I must admit that I don't really know where you are coming from.
I believe both. Jesus said, "I am the way." That is the entire way. He brought the highest form of Mysticism to mankind.
Not just through the physical, formative, astral, spiritual realms but all the way to the divine. He sits on the right hand of the Father and waits for the consumation of all things. And yet he lives inside of us.
He said follow me.
He runs the greatest "Mystery School" there ever was. It encompasses the entire universe and yet we do not even have to leave the house to enroll.

That makes perfect sense. Of course you can believe in both the traditional meaning of Christianity as well as mystical. But you could also reject the traditional forms and accept only your own personal mystical interpretation. It was my impression that you inclined towards the latter given how many times you rejected what I thought were traditional Christian teachings.




How does God feeding the wild birds indicate Universalism? Is that what you meant to imply? Everyone gets "saved" without having to "do" anything just like ravens all get fed by God without sowing and reaping?

Animals don't have the ability to "doubt" because they don't have language.

"Considering the ravens" teaches us to have "faith like a child" - to abandon the civilized way of living an return to nature, trusting God to supply all our needs. It's a great way to live, but if everyone did it we'd all be back in the stone age. It makes me think of the kind of idealism common amongst the Rainbow Family. Babylon must burn! We must all return to Mother Nature. We gotta get back to the Garden.

He didn't say become a raven, he said to consider them.
The main thing he was pointing out is that if we keep our minds on spiritual things our physical needs will be provided. That may mean we will get a job when we need it or the neighbor may ask us for dinner when we just ran out of money two days before payday or whatever.

But you, by considering them, pointed out two more important aspects.
Faith like a child is a good one.
The other, that they do not doubt because they don't have language.
As I mentioned before, I began my spiritual journey reading and practicing the teachings of Don Juan, written by Carlos Castaneda.
In his system of knowledge, don Juan points out that the single most important element of his teachings concerning the opening of spiritual perception was the practice of "stopping the internal dialog."It is the incessant speaking in our heads that we do out of habit that keeps us where we are. Tied to the physical realm.
This agrees with the bible.

Ps 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
Ec 3:7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

Now that's profound. I had forgotten about your interest in Don Juan's teachings. I am currently reading books about the right/left brain hemispheres. The "internal dialogue" is usually the process of the left hemisphere. Jill Taylor is a brain scientist who experienced a huge stroke that shut down her left brain and she experienced Nirvana. She described by saying that the "internal dialogue stopped." It took her years to recover, but recover she did and she wrote an excellent little book called "My Stroke of Insight." It's an excellent read. And her first hand experiences have been confirmed in a 600 page fine print synthesis of hundreds of studies on the hemispheres called The Master and His Emissary by Iain McGilchrist. I highly recommend both if you are interested in brain physiology and how it relates to states of consciousness (including the mystical).

Oh, and the verse "Be still and know I am God" was a major meditation point for Rose and myself back in the winter of 2009-10 when we began this journey of discovery. The other key meditation was "Why should we care what others think?"




My "doubt" about the "Law" has nothing to do with my lack of ability to fulfill it. It comes from all sorts of things, like "What is the law anyway?" It's used in various senses in the Bible, and many of them make no sense to me. For example, the Law in the sense of the five books of the Torah is not even a "Law" but rather a mixture of rules (ranging from profound to absurd) and history (ranging from factual to weird unbelievable mythology). Am I really supposed to believe that Jacob caused sheep to produce mottled offspring by putting striped sticks in front of them when they mated (Gen 30:37)? So what is the "Law" of which Paul spoke? Sometimes it was just the rules in the Torah, sometimes the whole Torah as a book, sometimes it included the Prophets, and so on. I couldn't tell you what "Law" I am supposed to "obey" if you asked me. There is much confusion on the meaning of that word.
The law is a puzzle with no answer. It is painting ourselves into a corner so that the only way out is to cut a hole in the wall behind us. It is a test that in order to pass it we have to cheat.
That is if we look at the letter of the law as natural men.
But the law because it is unable to be kept without breaking it and unable to be understood leads us to Christ.
Then because of the blood he spilled on the cross life has been added to the entire world and every element within it. Including the Scriptures.

Ex 15:26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

It is the voice that we are to listen to. That implies a living being, not dead words.

"It is a test that in order to pass it we have to cheat." - I love that! I long ago concluded that if the Bible is from God, it must be a test to see if we love truth more than the crazy dogmas other people teach us.

The problem with the "Voice" is that folks confuse the "voice" of their own minds with the "voice" of God. There's no fix for that as far as I can tell.

It seems your approach is entirely private and personal and I don't see how it differs from any other mystical religion. Do you know anything about Sufism? The Perennial Philosophy?



No, you wouldn't. You would do what you do. Store it away in the back of your mind and it would bother you like a pebble in your shoe until you had the answer.

Are you saying my mind is like an old shoe? :p





Yeah but if everyone did it we'd all starve to death. Someone's gotta grow the food for seven billion humans. And who's gonna put in the plumbing and the sewage treatment plant? Etc.
I was joking when I said "Me too."

Dang! I missed that one.




Well, everyone is free to make up their own definitions I guess. But that destroys the meaning of language. I don't understand why you want to invent a new religion and call it by the name of the already existing religion of Christianity which by its very definition is "dogmatic." Historically, the religion has been defined by creeds like the Nicene Creed, etc..
My teacher used to say, "If someone asks you what religion you are tell them Christian. If they ask you if you are a Christian, say no."
I guess it bugs me a little that, in my opinion, the term has been usurped.
If someone is a follower of Luther they are called Lutheran.
Maybe I need to coin a new term, but all the good ones have been taken, Disciples of Christ, Church if Jesus Christ, Christian fellowship.
How about Jesites. No, that sounds too much like Jesuits.

I appreciate your point, but I think we are well beyond labels in this conversation. I'm trying to determine what you actually believe - not so I can label you, but so I can understand you.




Well ... I agree that we are all on our own. But if I have to "deconstruct Christianity" in order to be a Christian, why bother? Why not just open my mind to accept all truth and reject all dogmatic sectarian religions?
Yes. Separate what Jesus taught from what men taught. They are not the way, Jesus is. Yes accept all Truth. Don't reject all religions. See if the elements of their teachings match up with the elements of his teachings. Accept the ones that do and reject the ones that don't.

What does it even mean to say that Jesus is the Way? Is this an anthropomorphic form of Taoism?

Why do you believe that "Jesus is the way?" What does that mean to you? What does it mean in practice?

And how can we separate what "Jesus" said from what "men" say given that the only things we know about Jesus are transmitted by men in the book?

Great chatting!

Richard

Bob May
10-11-2011, 10:19 AM
That's great. I'll separate out the digressions into separate threads if the need becomes obvious.


Sounds good. Just leave a note



But what do you mean by "hell." I was talking about the word as used by most Christians to refer to a place in the afterlife of eternal conscious torment. You say that you've visited hell so I'm guessing we are still confused over definitions. Let's see if we can clear that up with a little plain talk, eh?


Ok. I found myself in a place of utter darkness during a meditation. No hope, no connection with God. I thought that if I was not able to get out of it during that meditation, that whetheror not I died right there and then physically, made little difference. I would experience the second death or death of the soul.
That is the fear that holds everyone in bondage as far as I can tell.
The fear of death of the soul, not the body.
That darkness would be hell for anyone.
I have found that that experience is in the bible and heard one gentleman describe it on a History channel show. Her had had a near death experience and was burned over 90% of his body and to this day (of his interviewing), he is afraid that at death he will go there again.
There is also the idea that there are two more planes of hell. The first I described above. Complete separation from God, the second I don't remember offhand and the third the plane of decaying souls.

Then there is the popular idea of burning in eternal torment. AQ lot is mixing up the ideas about the cleansing aspect of fire.
Many descriptions in Scripture have to do with the baptism of fire and this cleansing process. Kundalini in the Eastern Schools of thought. You have to be burned to experience some of the higher things.
The removal of the dross etc.




And what do you mean by "salvation?" Are you a Universalist? Or do some go to hell forever? If so, why? What good does God accomplish by tormenting the creatures he created that way?


Salvation from death is salvation from what we are in as natural mankind.
We are separate from God. Jesus shows us the way to connect and even become one with God.
If you go through this life and die and see that you could have become closer to God yet refused the invitation wouldn't that be hell enough?




That makes perfect sense. Of course you can believe in both the traditional meaning of Christianity as well as mystical. But you could also reject the traditional forms and accept only your own personal mystical interpretation. It was my impression that you inclined towards the latter given how many times you rejected what I thought were traditional Christian teachings.


I reject the "traditional Christian" teachings that put me back under the law.
If you add one law to grace it is no more grace. If you are circumcised you are a debtor to do the whole law. If you break one law you are guilty of all.
The law acts like leaven.
And to quote the God Father, "They keep pulling me back in."
Few churches because of their being organizations, by their very nature come up with rules. People take the rules as laws relating to our relationship with God and we get pulled back in.
I see no problem with some of the Creeds of some protestant churches as a statement of belief. But do they add to those and if you try to believe those statements beyond what the leaders of those churches themselves believe them you are banned or shunned or something.
There is a church in the next town over from mine. One of those franchises that have a lot of churches, but I don't recall the denomination. They did a
Promotional event a while back and had big banner in front of the churches that read. "God is still Speaking"
I stopped in on a Sunday morning and attended a service. I saw no evidence or sermon or discussion of what the banner stated. I was disappointed, but not suprised.



Now that's profound. I had forgotten about your interest in Don Juan's teachings. I am currently reading books about the right/left brain hemispheres. The "internal dialogue" is usually the process of the left hemisphere. Jill Taylor is a brain scientist who experienced a huge stroke that shut down her left brain and she experienced Nirvana. She described by saying that the "internal dialogue stopped." It took her years to recover, but recover she did and she wrote an excellent little book called "My Stroke of Insight." It's an excellent read. And her first hand experiences have been confirmed in a 600 page fine print synthesis of hundreds of studies on the hemispheres called The Master and His Emissary by Iain McGilchrist. I highly recommend both if you are interested in brain physiology and how it relates to states of consciousness (including the mystical).


I did post a comment on Rose's thread of left and right brain and something I have always felt related to that in Genesis. Jubal and Tubalcain.



Oh, and the verse "Be still and know I am God" was a major meditation point for Rose and myself back in the winter of 2009-10 when we began this journey of discovery. The other key meditation was "Why should we care what others think?"


It is not just a verse to be meditated upon. It is silent meditation. Not Speaking. (Which, by the way, is the definition of Infant which is what Jesus said the kingdom of heaven was made up of)

Lu 18:15 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
Lu 18:16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Lu 18:17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. Lu 18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
Lu 18:22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
Lu 18:23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
Lu 18:24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
Lu 18:25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. Lu 18:26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?
Lu 18:27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
Lu 18:28 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.
Lu 18:29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake,
Lu 18:30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

It is interesting that he goes from the idea of not speaking (infant to giving up all we have, and to nothing is impossible with God even if it is with us as men.)
The giving up all we have is part of the process of silence. Giving up all of our ideas and thoughts and influences of family and doctines etc.
It leaves us open for the Truth to slip through the crack we have made.
Not speaking. Be still and know.
It is a practice that yeilds much fruit.
But then the fruit is tested. Does it fit with the New Covenant and the teachings of Jesus? If so keep it. It is good fruit fromthe tree of life. If not reject it.




"It is a test that in order to pass it we have to cheat." - I love that! I long ago concluded that if the Bible is from God, it must be a test to see if we love truth more than the crazy dogmas other people teach us.


Yes but God provided this cheat for us. We are supposed to come to this realization.
Weren't the tables of stone graven on the front and back side?
And wasn't the lambs book of life written also on the front and on the back side?
Dogma is law and the New Covenant promises are the litmus test.
Does our philosophy/doctrine lead to life or death?
Our doctrine should match Jesus' doctrine and will if we keep following what he was saying.




The problem with the "Voice" is that folks confuse the "voice" of their own minds with the "voice" of God. There's no fix for that as far as I can tell.


The test that I just mentioned is a good one. That is the fix.
And I am much more sceptical than you know when it comes to people hearing voices. But it is not just audible voices I am speaking of. It is what are we getting from Scripture. That is the main way God speaks to us.
We may have visions and dreams etc. But the New Covenant as given in Scripture is the test. Not the laws given by some church.



It seems your approach is entirely private and personal and I don't see how it differs from any other mystical religion. Do you know anything about Sufism? The Perennial Philosophy?


Scripture is of no private interpretation.

2pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

When something comes from God it comes with a certainty. Many times it is a very literal aspect of the words of Scripture.
"He was the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
If that is literal it is of no private interpretation. It is just not understood by someone who has not experienced this light.
It is not private because everyone who experiences this light will agree that it exists.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating.



I have to get ready for work, Talk later.
Bob

Bob May
10-12-2011, 08:39 AM
Hi Richard,
I missed some points yesterday.


That's great. I'll separate out the digressions into separate threads if the need becomes obvious.

But what do you mean by "hell." I was talking about the word as used by most Christians to refer to a place in the afterlife of eternal conscious torment. You say that you've visited hell so I'm guessing we are still confused over definitions. Let's see if we can clear that up with a little plain talk, eh?


Some thing I missed. I have spoken about finding ourselves in Scripture.
The bible is full of prophecies, some of which apply to Jesus coming in the first century. Some of which apply to us. Some of which it becomes difficult to determine which is which.
Recently while reading Isaiah I saw that it was difficult to tell whether it was speaking about us as heirs of the promises or about Jesus. I was speaking to a friend about it and he said maybe it's both.
The eunuch thast Philip met on the road seemed to have the same problem.

Ac 8:30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
Ac 8:34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?

Now take this same state of mind that the eunuch had and apply it to reading this psalm.

Ps 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Ps 16:11 Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Does it apply to Jesus or to David or to us as well?
Or all three?

When Jesus said "Follow me," I believe it was more of a command similar to "Let there be light." It was not a request, it was a command and a prophecy of what is to come.

Jesus went to hell and came out. He also said that he would teach us all things. If we stay on the Path or Way that Jesus claimed to be we will go through some things we could not have imagined existed before we experience them.
You asked the question a while ago about the Spirit teaching us "all things."
If hell is one of those things we may have to pass through it on the way to Christ Consciousness or Cosmic Consciousness.




And what do you mean by "salvation?" Are you a Universalist? Or do some go to hell forever? If so, why? What good does God accomplish by tormenting the creatures he created that way?


The moment we believe we are saved. I cannot tell you when I fist believed but I can tell you when I first began hearing.
Do we believe to the saving of the soul though? That is, I think up to us. It is a process.
I said we may have to pass through hell and gave evidence above.
Do some go to hell forever? Maybe.
I think if they do it would be by rejecting Grace rather than by breaking the Law though.



I appreciate your point, but I think we are well beyond labels in this conversation. I'm trying to determine what you actually believe - not so I can label you, but so I can understand you.


I understand and that is why I told you my thoughts on the matter.




What does it even mean to say that Jesus is the Way? Is this an anthropomorphic form of Taoism?


I gave examples above. We are to follow him and in the process we will experience the things he experienced. Not everyone will experience all of the same things though. There are different gifts and there are twelve gates in the New Jerusalem from which to enter.



Why do you believe that "Jesus is the way?" What does that mean to you? What does it mean in practice?

And how can we separate what "Jesus" said from what "men" say given that the only things we know about Jesus are transmitted by men in the book?


I believe he is the way because I have found myself in scripture and it has confirmed that when certain things have happened to me it was already written there before I experienced it.
The men in the book are not the only way this information is transmitted.
If it were I would probably have my doubts.
As it is the personal experiences that I have had and the confirmation afterwards that what I had experienced was true came from the book.

I once had a vision. I had previously found (several months earlier)that a certain scripture spoke directly to me and I went directly to that place in the
bible and began reading. The very next chapter told me exactly what I had just experienced in detail ten minutes before I read it.
In other words the bible told me what had just happened to me in detail.

This has happened many times to a lesser extent but always speaks of Grace and Truth.
It is 20/20 spiritual hindsight. I experience something and then I find it in scripture. Kind of like an inside out map.
It has happened too many times to doubt now.
Paul called Scripture the "oracles of God," and for good reason.




Great chatting!

Richard

With you too'
Bob